Does the air feel different lately or is it just me and what I’m reading? I feel like there’s a rising up… (a text I recently sent to a friend who responded in agreement…. something is up!)
I’ve had a fire in my belly for several years now. A fire that has tried to be extinguished, put out, doused, but even then, it smolders. Nothing fans that flame more than reading about women being mistreated “in Jesus’ name”.
In the big picture of things, I am but a small flame, but this is my outlet, my voice, my way of telling women in my circle that you are seen and heard and known. And who knows, perhaps the women in your circles need to hear this same message.
Jesus is FOR you. He sees you. He hears you. He knows you. And you are loved. He wants you to use your gifts and talents. It grieves him to see those who are meant to be trusted use their power to abuse and use, downplay and destroy.
Women were meant to walk alongside, not under, not over but beside men to do kingdom work.
When the Holy Spirit descended upon the first Christians at Pentecost, Peter uses the words of the prophet Joel to describe what has happened:
In the last days, God says, I will pour out my spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days and they will prophesy.
(Acts 2:17-18NIV bold is mine)
God using female prophets is nothing new. We’ve met Huldah already. The Bible identifies nine others in the Old and New Testaments: Miriam, Deborah Noadiah, Isaiah’s wife, Anna and the four daughters of Philip. In addition, women like Rachel, Hannah, Abigail, Elisabeth and Mary are described as having prophetic visions about the future of their children, the destiny of nations and the coming Messiah.
And no. It wasn’t just because a man was not available, as some may say and try to downplay biblical examples of female disciples, teachers, leaders and apostles. They were chosen because they had something to offer, something to say, something that was needed right then and there.
This is where we (all my female readers) come in. YOU are needed. You, with your gifts and givings, thoughts and talents, inputs and ideas. You. Right now. Right here. More than ever.
Right now, close to five million people are victims of sex trafficking. 99% are women, 3.8 million are adults, 1 million are children. (this statistic may be higher as this was from 2016)
Right now, 5.2 million children worldwide under the age of five die from preventable and treatable causes. (According to WHO international)
Right now, 821 million people in the world, that’s 1 in 9, do not have access to enough food. (World Vision)
Right now, 50-75% of women experience baby blues with 15% of these women developing a more sever and longer lasting depression called postpartum depression or PPD. (Cleveland Clinic)
Right now, women age 15-44 are more likely to be maimed or to die from male violence than from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined.
Meanwhile, the evangelical church has busied itself with endless debates about appropriate titles and roles for the women in the church. Churches are spending hours (years?) debating whether a female missionary should be allowed to speak on a Sunday morning. Whether girls should be allowed to attend seminary and what to do with them after graduation if they do.
Meanwhile, churches prefer to have you “speak” from the floor and not the “stage” because “we wouldn’t want anyone to think you’re preaching.” Pastors are excusing themselves “once you start speaking” because “you have no authority” over them. Please use this music stand and not the pulpit…that’s for the person of authority. (These are personal stories from my “speaking” days.)
Meanwhile, churches are debating whether women should be permitted to pass the offering plate or make announcements from the stage or serve communion or lead worship or give the benediction or baptize.
Folks who see the leadership of women like Huldah and Junia as special exceptions for times of great need are oblivious to the “right now” world we are living in. They have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear.
We’ve got to listen to the Voice of the One who is calling us…so we can be a “right now” and not a “meanwhile”.
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In Mark chapter five we find one of the synagogue rulers, Jairus, falling at the feet of Jesus, begging him to help his dying daughter. Jesus goes with him but gets caught up in the large crowd that is following him. A woman who has bled for 12 years touches his robe and she is healed. Jesus notices the power go out from him and asks who touched him. While they were figuring all of this out, some men from Jairus’ house came to him and told him his daughter had died.
Jesus ignored them and told Jairus, Don’t be afraid; just believe.
Jesus asks the crowd outside Jairus’ house who were weeping and wailing, Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.
He has them all leave and goes in with this little girl’s parents to where she was laying. He took her by the hand and said to her, ‘Talitha koum!’ (which means ‘little girl, I say to you, get up!’) Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.
Talitha koum. Little girl, get up!
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I know some remarkable women that are wiping the sleepy dirt from their eyes and waking up to do good works!
Here are just a handful I’d like you to meet:
My friend, Victoria, has labored tirelessly to receive her PhD so she can rejoin her husband in Ghana where they are liberating Trokosi women who have been enslaved from a young age. She will counsel them and give them a safe space to heal their minds and souls. She and Dr. Joshua will help them learn a trade so they can be be on their own financially. She fought long and hard for her degree, facing many uphill battles so she can fight hard for these precious women in Ghana. Well done, Dr. Victoria Bah Binney!
Victoria gave me this bracelet several years ago. It is made from broken glass, proving that broken can be made beautiful!
My friend and author Lisa Hardwick was a first time Mom in the throes of post-partum depression. She begged the question, Does this get any easier? Please tell me it gets easier. She has since written a book to help other “Momma bears” because: It was there at the bottom of the valley that she found hope and a light to pierce the darkness. Healing. Restoration. Redemption. Lisa’s story proclaims to the world that hope is real and true love from our neighbors is a life-giving fountain of strength. Well done, Lisa! You used what the enemy meant for your harm and allowed God to use it for the good!
My friend Missy works tirelessly to help women who are living in domestic abuse. She’s watched countless women be belittled, broken, and beaten. Rich people, poor people. Christian, non-Christian. Doesn’t matter…abuse knows no boundaries. She wants women in these situations to know God’s plan was never for them to be abused, whether that is emotionally, physically, verbally or spiritually. God is there with them. God will provide lifelines if you’ll grab ahold of them. She is one of those lifelines. Well done, Missy!
My girlfriends who devised a plan to feed four families in their community who didn’t have the means to have a Thanksgiving Day dinner. Seventy-three turkeys (really 75 because “they found 2 turkeys in the communion fridge”) and full course dinners with dessert (!) boxed up and delivered later, this small band of mighty women and the 80+ volunteers that helped them were amazed at how God moved. Well done, feeding the least of these!
Each of these women stepped up and into their calling, despite enemy attacks, little support, ugly stares from men across the court room, hard seasons, brutal sacrifices and being told no.
I wonder how many of you reading this want to use your gifts and talents to do kingdom work?
I wonder how many of you feel the calling but have been told you can’t because you’re female?
I wonder how many of you have been belittled, lied to or abused in the church (either physically or spiritually)?
I wonder how many dreams are asleep in you right now?
I wonder if you can hear Jesus saying to that dream, that calling, that gifting that’s been asleep or thought to be dead:
Sweet girl wake up! Get up! The world needs who you were meant to be!
Yawn and stretch. We’ve got kingdom work to do.
Change the world.
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