Just a few thoughts on International Women’s Day…
My Sisters. Fellow Movers and Shakers, Home Makers, Child Carriers and Image Bearers, alike. We are sometimes soft, yet ready to do the hard. Sometimes weak, yet ready to show our strength. Sometimes in fear, yet willing to walk on in bravery. We are united, yet unique…each so alike and so different, and yet…so, very different than our brothers. But, that “different”? Well…you know…It is so very goooooood.
Because, you know how the Bible explains during the time of Creation both male and female were created in the very image of God and that, though he came first, Man was not so very good all alone, so God determined that the Woman would be created from the rib of that very Man? Not the dust of the earth, as Man was, but from the very bones of God’s likeness. And then, when Eve – uniquely different, yet still beautifully connected to Adam – burst onto that glorious scene, God concluded His Creation to be “good”??
Sisters… Do we get this? I mean, really get this?? If God, in The God Head (united with Jesus and the Holy Spirit as The Trinity), Who has always existed and is perfect in all His ways…if He, who is THE very definition of Love, Mercy, Grace, Joy, Goodness, Justice, Righteousness, Peace, and Holiness (and so much more!), found it pleasing to create the Universe and everything in it, yet still found all of that lacking UNTIL He created the woman…if His creation was not YET complete until WE came on the scene, then can we conclude that He loves us? Like, truly and perfectly. Like a make-no-mistake, head-over-heals LOVE for us! Because, His Creation… built simply for His pleasure and glory, was incomplete without creating us. Creating You. He loves our differences because they reflect the parts of Him that Man alone did not. Do you… Can you…really receive this glorious news of His Perfect Love?? Maybe? This may help…
Jesus – God’s only Son. Jesus – The Word made flesh. Jesus – The exact representation of God in human form. Jesus – who was brought into this world by a woman – a teenage one, at that – and was nurtured, fed, held, and loved by that woman. His first miracle, turning water into wine, was performed at a wedding – so arguably done, at least in part, for a bride – at the request of his own mother. He raised a son from the dead for a widow who would have been left destitute by that son’s death. He reached out to a woman of a people group his people were supposed to shun, lovingly revealing the not so pretty truth about her, while sharing with her the truth of Himself and His purposes on earth. He healed and gave dignity to a woman who had been suffering for 12 years with a bleeding disease – which, in that society – left her lonely, exhausted, and penniless. He saved an adulteress from a sentence of death by telling those around her that the first man without sin could cast the first stone of that sentence. He wept with two sisters at the death of their brother before resurrecting him from that death. And, as he hung from a cross, suffering the death we deserved, He put His mother above Himself by making sure his friend John would care for her as his own. Then, after His very own resurrection from that very death on the cross, his very first appearance was to comfort a woman who, in her wonderfully and beautifully created way, could not contain her tears of grief over losing Him.
Time and again, Jesus gave dignity, love, and hope to the least of those around Him…the children, the sick, the lame, the impoverished and, yes, the women. His love for us is well documented and, best of all, undeniably attractive. His miracles and interactions with women give away his very heart for us…a heart that does not allow this world, regardless of its attempts, to define our value, our purpose, our personhood, or our dignity. In fact, nowhere in the Bible do we ever see Jesus allowing any circumstance or the surrounding world to define any one person. No. Being made in the very image of God is His only standard.
What’s more, through Jesus everything that is made, was made, and He alone is holding everything together. So that, by Him and for Him, we were created and when our faith is in Him, we can NEVER be undone! Please hear this. In Jesus, no force on earth…no law, no belief system, no government, no words, no act or even violence against us, can threaten His holding us together. And, regardless of the actions of others, He remains united to us and His is the very heart that holds ours simply because… He. Is. For. Us.
And, even better, in Jesus, whether we find ourselves alone on an island or in a prison cell…whether beaten, abused, enslaved, sick or penniless, we can still be found full of His joy, contentment, and hope! And, this? Well, to me, this is true freedom. A lasting freedom found only in Christ. And, this is truly everything…and, something I want for everyone…both my sisters and brothers, alike. A truth I can unite behind…because, truly, how can any real lasting freedom be found in something created…be it a person, an institution, a government, a group, or otherwise? How can the created produce anything at all that will really last? Sisters, I believe the only answer that lasts, is simply more of the One in whom it was ALL created…the One we were created for and meant to be united to.
Now, maybe you do not believe the Bible. Or, in Jesus. I get that. I walked many years believing only what I could see. I did not even know I had a Creator and believed I created my own life. I believed I defined my freedom… that I was able to share myself with whomever I wanted, without any consequences… that I would be happy living my life to fill every desire and whim and want… that I could love and leave without heartbreak… that the created in this world could meet the needs of my own. I believed in my college degree (I do have a minor in Women’s Studies, after all) and that the fate of my world – my life – fell on me. But, I turned out to be wrong. And, a liar. I lied to myself and to others, but worse, I now believe I lied to my Creator, who was there all along, drawing me to meet Him while I simply ignored and denied His existence. I made mistake after mistake, suffering heartache, embarrassment and brokenness. I tried to meet my own need out of my own reservoir, only I didn’t have the resources to fill it nor the answers for why I couldn’t. And, truthfully, I was exhausted. And, Yet…
One day, I heard Jesus. I heard His Word. Heard His heart for me. And, felt His love. It was a love filled with a hope and freedom I had longed for, yet never knew, and could no longer deny. In Jesus, I met the Someone my heart could unite to simply because He was the Someone I was created for. He, alone, could answer every question and meet every need.
Only He is the source of my freedom and motivation of my will. He, alone, is the One I run to when I feel someone is level set on defining me and my purpose. His arms, alone, are where I rest when I get overwhelmed at the brokenness that spills out of my life and the lives of those I love or have never even met. His feet, alone, are where I place my hope for the future of my family, my life, my dreams, and where I kneel when all that feels threatened. His opinion, alone, is the only one I care about when the world shouts out theirs because His truth, alone, is the only one I believe in when I no longer know who’s to believe. And, His Kingdom, alone, is the Kingdom I long to be united to when any earthly one is shaken.
So, Sisters…while, I cannot tell you what to believe in this world, I can tell you that I believe I met the One who holds it all together and that I have been forever changed by Him. I can tell you that as I fix my eyes upon Him, I see how my sin separates me from the very One I was created for and from being the one He created me to be. I can tell you that as I see my broken and the broken around me, feeling incapable of fixing either, He shows me Himself, fixed upon a tree for all that is broken, so that we could all be freely united to Him. I can tell you that as stunningly unbelievable as all this may be to you, being united to Him has accomplished in me the very thing no thing created in this world ever could. I can tell you that if He is Who you want to be united to, it is already yours for the asking. And finally, I can tell you the absolute best news YET… YOU do not have to ever fight for a thing because HE has already won it all for you on the Cross of Calvary.
Sisters, be united to Christ and be free