I remember what it was like being identified as the “fairer” and “lesser” sex. I remember going along with, and even briefly buying into, the things that men taught me (both through word and deed) about my own femaleness and subsequent destiny. I remember feeling trapped by Paul’s cold God-breathed words about my place in this world, and by Christian women’s books constantly telling me that God designed me to have a life that revolved around men.
But what about when those men proved untrustworthy?
I also remember how much that environment destroyed my self-esteem because I never really did fit the mold. I’m naturally a leader, an independent thinker and doer, and a loud person. Did God not want me the way he made me?
Some may say that sexual discrimination is a thing of the past, but never for a moment listen to them. You don’t have to look far to see that our best interests are not what is at the heart of either secular or Christian culture. If it’s not the media telling you that your power comes from your ability to be a sex goddess, it’s the church telling you that your only proper place is in the home or in the delivery room. Some would like for you to believe that living under a man’s thumb is where you will prosper the most because God has ingrained strength and capability for action into men but not women.
Obviously, those men have neglected to pay attention to womankind.
Who defeated the Philistines for Israel when the Hebrew army’s male captain refused to do what he needed to do?
Who stood up to God himself, plead their case, and won when his laws discriminated against them?
Who stayed at the foot of the cross when Jesus’ twelve closest male companions (other than John) had scattered and fled, and who went to his tomb to take proper care of his body when the men were too afraid to be known for having any association with him?
Who picked up their young children and went to the uttermost parts of the earth to bring the gospel to a tribe that had brutally killed their missionary husbands?
Who peacefully but valiantly protested male violence against women in Liberia, setting aside Christian/Muslim differences and risking their lives?
So, my darlings, never ever let any man tell you that women are not as strong, brave, or capable of handling crises as men. It’s simply not true.
I beg of you to never buy into the lie that “girly” equals “weak.” Boys may call each other “pussies,” but whenever you hear someone using your genitalia as an insult, I want you to smile to yourself because you know that your parts can take the beating theirs can’t.
For the entire length of human history, women have been doing things with more strength, courage, and smarts than patriarchy can explain. You are strong, brave, intelligent, and capable; do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
Who of the sexes has the ability to grow human life inside of her and deliver it into independence, yet also has a most unique and influential connection with that life?
(And who in the animal kingdom do you want most to avoid? Mothers. They are MEAN!)
Never buy into the lie that motherhood is anything less than the greatest strength humankind has ever seen. The blood, sweat, and tears that a woman sheds for her child deserves the same reverent nod and public applause that a soldier gets for shedding his in battle.
On the other hand, do not buy into the lie that marriage and motherhood have to be your only divine callings in life. You are way more than your uterus and a diamond ring.
Oh, you lovely, brave, brilliant, capable young women, never let anyone prevent or discourage you from being anything less than the great women of valor that you were born to be. God has given you great talents and no one has any right to tell you that you cannot use them. Dream big and fear nothing; God is with you. Never accept anything less than the respect you deserve, but also do not let hate or bitterness be your response to those who withhold it. With the love, grace, and humility of our God, show the world (and the powers of hell) that womankind is a force to be reckoned with.
And on a final note, just because I have uplifted the state of women does not mean I have less respect for men. God has always wanted us to be interdependent, submitting to one another and standing side-by-side. It is imperative that we must not be divided. We need each other. Embrace your brothers and uplift them even when they neglect to uplift you. God already knows what a valiant daughter he has in you; as long as you are confident in what you know you are, the recognition of others is unnecessary. Never give up and you will have a greater reward.
I know these charges are not easy (I struggle with them, too), but they are noble. You will always have my support.
Peace to you, my sisters.