Women’s History Month is upon us, and honestly it is not something I specifically set aside to celebrate. After spending a year in the wilderness, however, it seems that God has again filled my heart with gratitude and I am thankful these days for the small things in life. We spent last month celebrating Black History, and this month I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate Godly women of the past, the present, and those that are shaping the future of this world.
Today, I am reminded again of my gratitude for being born both, African American and a woman. The realities of being a “double minority” does not always lend itself to an easy life by any means, yet I feel my reality has deeply shaped the way I view God and engage his world. Being a double minority has deepened my faith, and I am sometimes amazed by the simple things that jump off the page to catch my eyes while reading scripture.
As I pondered the focus of today’s introductory series post, I considered the persecution of the apostles in Acts 5. Beginning in verse 17, we see the apostles were thrown in jail. An angel appears, breaks them out of prison, and tells them, “Go, stand in the temple courts and tell the people the full message of this new life (20).” The apostles go and teach the people about Jesus. The religious leaders are baffled to find that the apostles have broken out of prison, even though the gates are still locked. When the apostles are gathered for questioning concerning their actions, the apostles give a simple response, “We must obey God rather than men (29)!” The religious leaders wanted to silence the apostles and put them to death but Gamaliel, a respected leader in the community, gave the following advice, “Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God (38b-39).”
While this passage does not mention women, I took great comfort and encouragement while reading it and thinking about this month’s series. The reality is that women all across the world are being threatened and their lives are being ended simply because they were born a girl. Even in our own country, women have been oppressed and devalued throughout history. The good news for women in Africa, America, India, China, and the rest of the world is, “God cares about his women.” The full message of the gospel is that God has provided a new life for the Jews and Gentiles, those in slavery and their oppressors, for males and females, for we are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28).
The good news for women is that God has allowed them to triumph in spite of those in power who desire to devalue them, silence them, marginalize their purpose, and hinder them from pursuing their calling. The good news is that when the enemy locks gates, tries to destroy your hope and end your life, God commands his angels concerning you—His women. Hagar’s story in Gen 16 is a testament to this fact. Our God sees YOU (Gen 16:13)! And when God’s daughters understand that they have been seen by God, they have no choice but to respond in the same manner as the apostles: We must obey God rather than men (29)! You can respond to God in confidence knowing that God is with you and his purposes for your life will not fail (Deut 31:6 & 8, Joshua 1:7, Is 58:11).
I pray that this month’ series will release you to celebrate. I pray that you will be educated and inspired by the women’s voices and stories featured this month. I pray you will know that God loves and values his women, and that you too will embrace that love.
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2013