Yesterday, when I saw on Instagram that it was International Women’s Day, I thought about what that means to me for a while.
I grew up very conservative. I knew that if I went to Facebook I would see posts from people I knew about how women didn’t need a day (or a protest or a march or a movement); they needed to get to work or they needed to forget about themselves and look at Jesus or they needed to stop trying to be men. There are still people who don’t realize that women need a day.
Not because women are better than men. Not because women are the point because really, as trite as it sounds, Jesus is. Not because motherhood isn’t valuable or I don’t believe in traditional marriage or I want to argue about the wage gap.
Women need a day. Women need a day because there are stories like this and this and this. (And that last line of that last article? “I don’t have help from anyone, but my children have dreams and I want to make them real.” makes me cry out ‘Why am I wasting time on dumb stuff?’) Y’all, I skipped the graphic stories. Disappear into the internet on this topic for a while.
I co-host a podcast with a friend (Uniquely Woman: you can find it on iTunes, Spotify, and Stitcher) and we talk a lot about women’s issues, especially in the church. People get all touchy when you care about women’s issues in the church. You are automatically labeled a feminist. I’m not a feminist, although I do empathize with Christian women who fall into feminist camps.
What I do want is to see the next generation of Christian women rise up as fierce and gracious warriors. I don’t ever want a woman to go to Christian resources and read that she needs to make up for being a woman or that God has cursed her or that she’s subservient to men. (Do I believe in the headship of husbands? Yes, absolutely, but there should be serious conversations about what that means. It’s based on the Trinity [1 Corinthians 11:3] and that means equality, not hierarchy or order of importance.)
I want to see the next generation of women grow up knowing their faith is their own. I want them to know they are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). That God has important, kingdom work for them to do (Matthew 6:33, Colossians 1:13, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20). That they can be-should be- students of the Word (2 Timothy 2:15, 2 Peter 3:15). That they can work and contribute to society (Genesis 1:28, Colossians 3:23). That motherhood is a calling, but not one that eclipses all the others (stories of many, many women in the Bible, including the Proverbs 31 woman).
I want them to know that God uses warrior words to describe them. That they aren’t weak or dainty, but strong because of His power within them (Ephesians 3:16). I want them to know that everywhere they aren’t enough, He is (2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Corinthians 4:7). I want them to know that He is their rescue (Psalm 34:17, Psalm 40:17, Isaiah 41:10). He is the story (Psalm 59:17, Philippians 2:9-11). I want them to know that they are called holy and called to pursue holiness (Colossians 3:12, 1 Peter 1:15-16). I want them to know that He made them just the way they are (Psalm 139:14, Isaiah 43:7), and they need to fan the flame of what He’s given them (2 Timothy 1:6, 1 Peter 4:10-11).
We act out of our identity. If we, as women, know who we are (we are adopted; we are heirs; we are beloved; we are ambassadors; we are fellow citizens and members of the household of God; we are led in triumphal procession; we call out ‘Abba, Father’ to the Majesty on high; He has given us His Spirit; Jesus had made us His own- do I need to keep going?) because we know who Jesus is (He is the cornerstone, the radiance of His glory, the heir of all things, the creator of the world, the upholder of the universe, the Lamb of God, the King of Kings, the Alpha and the Omega-I can keep going here too!), everyone wins. This isn’t about women winning, although women will win. Men will win too.
Men will win in marriage because men need an equal, a counterpart to journey through life with them. I want to raise my boys to marry women who challenge them. I want them to marry women who will encourage them in their faith, spur them on when they want to quit, take risks with them, dream with them.
Families will win because families need wives and mothers who know and love God. We need women to champion their husbands, to mother with grace and firmness, to be the glue of the family, to shepherd and nourish the souls in the home.
The world will win because we need the contributions of women in science and medicine and law. We need them in education and law enforcement. We need their skills and their unique way of looking at the world. We need their entrepreneurship and their drive.
The church will win because men and women are supposed to work in tandem. Paul said he labored side by side with women in the Gospel (Philippians 4:3). Jesus said that “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50). We are commanded to interact with each other as the closest family members (1 Timothy 5:1-2).
Women around the globe will win because people- men and women- will be speaking up against the injustices that exist (Matthew 6:10, Isaiah 1:17). We can stop treating women like objects; stop teaching women that they are objects. We can push away porn. We can acknowledge that sex trafficking is a problem, even in suburban America, and fight it. We can partner with maternity homes and work with refugees .
I’m glad women have a day, mostly because there are people who still don’t know that women need one.