Updated: Oct 23, 2020
I was asked to write about women’s empowerment. The more I thought about this phrase, the more I realized that this conversation is not about women’s empowerment, it is about human dignity. Think about it! When we talk about empowering women, we imagine being seen fully, we imagine being heard, we imagine being empowered in our gifting, we imagine being believed. I do not believe that God rushes to tie a pretty bow on our pain, but I believe He sits with us in the dark, until we see the Light for ourselves. Jesus does not ask us to fragment ourselves, but He calls us to be our authentic selves with Him and with one another.
Women, and definitely women of color, have been dehumanized, silenced, obscured, harmed, and the list goes on. I think about Breonna Taylor. I think about Dawn Wooten. I think about our sisters in that wicked detention camp in Georgia. Rage and grief bounce through my bones. Why is it radical to say that women have a voice and should use it? Why is it radical to say that women should not be objectified? Why is it radical to say that women should be able to use the gifts that God has given to them?
If my humanity depended on man to affirm me, I would be patiently waiting to live. If my hope depended on the next political candidate, I would be hopeless. If my body, hair, lips, and nose needed to be seen as beautiful by the media, I would never love myself. But choosing to push past the systems that threaten to silence us is, my sisters and brothers, an act of resistance. It is much easier to bow to respectability politics. It is much easier to bow to bitterness and self-hatred. It is much easier to shrink back.
I am inspired by the audacity of these women who met Jesus, like the woman who had been bleeding for years. At this moment, she refused to let society silence her. She pushed through the crowd, and reached for the hem of Jesus. Mary, Martha’s sister, felt the freedom to be her authentic self. She was not bothered by cultural responsibilities or gender assumptions. She showed up and sat at the feet of Jesus.
So, Woman, I just stopped by on paper to say, keep showing up. Not for the sake of disrupting or even for other people. Today, I am asking you to show up for yourself and to Jesus. In your Mama’s womb, Christ formed you, and called you to Himself, to be conformed into His image, that you might do good works for His glory. May you live fully today, knowing that you are seen. You are heard. You are gifted. You are believed.
Leslie C. Rogers
MDiv-Trinity Evangelical Divinity School