We Are Women and We Are Strong

Ericka Henry – Lead Life Group Pastor, Mesa Campus

I recently returned from a life-changing trip to Israel-Palestine, a place in our world rife with violence, pain and complexity. There are more heartbreaking narratives happening in this space than I had heard or could have imagined. In the midst of all the complexity, I was exposed to stories of women who are bringing peace into their communities, despite the challenges they face.

Let me tell you a story about a woman I know.

She is a mother and a wife and a business owner. She cares about her neighborhood and her faith community. She loves her family and has found creative ways to broaden her understanding of “family” by engaging refugees in her community, inviting them into her life and home.

She is beautiful and kind and generous… and she battles feelings of inadequacy.
There is a voice that tells her she is not knowledgeable enough to lead.

Let me tell you a story about a woman I know.

She is single in a society that struggles to see a woman’s worth outside of her relationship to another. She is vibrant and kind, compassionate and humble. She is a front runner in her career field and leader in her faith community. She is a survivor of an abusive relationship and she is learning to use her experience to help others heal.

She is strong and wise and capable… and she wrestles with the “not enough” notion that thrives in her world.
There is a voice that tells her she is not equipped for the work to which God has called her.

Let me tell you a story about a woman I know.

She is passionate about empowering disadvantaged women in her community and abroad. Her work with underprivileged women inspired her to go back to school (law school, in fact) in order to find a way to influence the legal systems which endanger women and propagate systems of abuse.

She is beautiful and intelligent and focused… and yet she contends with a society that tells her that going back to school at this stage of life would ruin her marriage and her chance for a family.

There is a voice that tells her to sacrifice her calling in order to live up to the expectations of others.

 

Do you see a common thread throughout these stories? Each of these women are peacemakers. Each of them are making a difference in their lives and communities. And all of them, at some point, have been made to believe that they are not enough, not equipped, not acceptable.

There is another common thread within these stories that may surprise you. These women are not Israeli or Palestinian. These women are American women. Women in our community that I have recently gotten to know. Women just like you. Or your daughter. Or your mother. Your wife. Your co-worker. Your sister.

In fact, there is a common thread that weaves its way throughout the stories of all women throughout history. A voice which has been spoken to each of us in different ways as long as we have lived. It is a voice that tells us that we are not strong. A voice that says we, by nature, are defective.

We were told by early church fathers that “one must be on one’s guard with every woman, as if she were a poisonous snake and the horned devil.” That “woman does not possess the image of God in herself.” We are told by society that we are objects and not people. We are told by other women and ourselves that we are not enough.

And yet…there is another voice that speaks into this narrative. It is the voice of Jesus.
Woman:

Jesus looks at you and he tells you that you are strong.

He sees you and he calls you daughter. Jesus sees you and he calls you whole. He sees you and calls you disciple. He relies on you to support his ministry of healing. He entrusts you with the message of his resurrection.

Why, you ask?
Because we are women and we are strong.

Women supported the life and ministry of Jesus (Luke 8:1-3).
Women learned at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10:38-42).
Women followed Jesus to the cross (John 19:25).
Women received first the message of his resurrection (Mark 16:9).
We have not been allowed to enter the most holy of places;

And yet we have followed Jesus.

We have been restricted from leading;

And yet we have mothered movements.

We have been sexualized, objectified and abused;

And yet we have fought for our healing and nurtured others through brokenness.

 

We create. We carry. We labor. We sacrifice.

Creating the miracle of life, carrying it in ourselves, laboring life into the world, sacrificing our very bodies.

Creating communities, carrying water on our heads to our families, laboring under oppressive governments, sacrificing our well-being.

Creating beauty, carrying peace into broken communities, laboring for justice, sacrificing our privileges.

 

This is our common thread. We are women and we are strong.

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We Are Women and We Are Strong

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About The Author
- I am the programming coordinator at Central Christian Church AZ. I also moderate the Central Teaching Blog. If you have any questions, feel free to ask!