I woke up today without a voice. Everyone at home is straining to hear me. This reminds me of so many in the world who practically lack a voice, to fight oppression, injustice, abuse, and neglect. Today we celebrate the “better half.” Let’s give them a voice.
As my wonderful wife Kari opens on her blog, today we have reason to celebrate:
Today is International Women’s Day, which means that for this one day we get to shout YEEHAW! to the world about all things woman. Raise a chocolate bar in the air, swing your hips, turn your face to heaven and give your biggest smile to thank God for making you a woman. You are beautiful, you are cherished, you are celebrated, you are the crown of his creation. (Or, if you’re a man, thank God for making women and consider how you can bless one today!)
Seriously, men, let’s pause and thank about that. Today we celebrate women by pursuing their best.
Yesterday afternoon my Bus Stop 32 friend Julie and I sat in my kitchen over steaming bowls of lentil soup. I watched her face light up as I sliced up an avocado and sprinkled it with salt. “My favorite!” She smiled, and as I looked across the kitchen at her, I couldn’t help but stop, struck by this one thought:
She’s so beautiful.
So incredibly beautiful. Yes, broken. Yes, addicted. Yes, in desperate need. But so am I and when I look at her I see her beauty and it’s a beauty that’s worth fighting for.
A beauty we must fight for.
Because every woman displays the beauty of God.
Yes, women show the world the beauty of God.
Yet not in the way we typically assume.
(By the way, later in the evening while Kari was at a meeting celebrating a dear friend, and while I had my attention on creating a model volcano with the kids, the re-heating of that lentil soup went awry, and I burned it. Didn’t offer it to the kids, but I ate some. Later, when Kari arrived home she asked, “What’s the smell? Is something burning?” I should have responded: “It’s the smell of me needing you. Thanks for being awesome.”)
Again, all women are beautiful in a deeper-than-skin way. Kari continues:
No, I don’t mean the beauty of a size 0 figure or flawless skin. The beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. The beauty of bravery and courage. The beauty of faith-filled trust. The beauty of sacrificial love. The beauty of vulnerability. And yes, even a woman’s physical appearance–in all sizes and shapes and ages–reflects the beauty of our God.
It’s a beauty that the evil one wants to destroy. Julie had told me last week that in her job search she’d found an 80-year old man who said she could clean his house for $15. So she did. Then yesterday when I asked her about it, she got quiet.
“Yeah, that’s probably not going to work out. I cleaned his house Monday night but then he wanted me to do other stuff. Take off my clothes and stuff.”
She looked up at me. “I can’t do that. So I guess that job is probably gone.”
Man aside: I kinda want to punch that dirtbag in the face. (I won’t, but angry rises in my heart over situations like this.)
There is no doubt in my mind that Satan has a special hatred for women. We need look no further than the pages of history to see this focused assault. Stasi Eldredge says it like this.
“The assault on femininity — its long history, its utter viciousness — cannot be understood apart from the spiritual forces of evil we are warned against in the Scriptures. That is not to say that men (and women, for they, too, assault women) have no accountability in their treatment of women. Not at all. It is simply to say that no explanation for the assault upon Eve and her daughters is sufficient unless it opens our eyes to the Prince of Darkness and his special hatred of femininity.” (Captivating, 84)
But instead of sitting around and wringing our hands about the state of our world, we can take the LIGHT of Jesus Christ into the darkness and illuminate God’s women and lift them up so they too can be beacons of his beauty, love, grace.
Whenever we bring light into the darkness, we discover more and more of His beauty that we never even knew existed.
So today, for International Women’s Day, here are 4 ways you can shine light on the beauty of God’s women in our world:
0. Encourage a Godly Man.
(I added this after realizing I tend to rant about terrible dirtbags, yet often neglect speaking words of encouragement to inspire more courage in the godly men who are already giving their time, talents, and treasure to causes greater than themselves. They are the unsung heroes who rebel against the low expectations we’ve normalized for “boys” in society today.)
This morning I sent personal text messages and emails to many of the godly men in my life who daily represent The Man Jesus by serving, loving, cherishing, protecting, and promoting the women in their lives and those who do not have godly men in their lives. They are faithful husbands, loving fathers, courageous leaders, wise teachers and coaches, generous volunteers, and hard workers. May their tribe increase, and may more women be served by more men in their image.
1. Sponsor a Woman Missionary.
For only $30/month (cutting out one restaurant meal a month could free up this much cash) can sponsor a woman missionary through Gospel for Asia. Consider: Over 50,000 female children are aborted every month in South Asia. Females are often the last to eat and the most likely to be illiterate. They’re the first to work as child laborers and sometimes even sold to become one of 1.2 million child prostitutes. As they grow they gain little respect. They live in the most unreached parts of the world—places that have yet to hear the Gospel. And many women cannot be approached by men due to cultural customs, making their slim chance of hearing the Gospel even slimmer. Gospel for Asia has a burden to reach them. We believe that uplifting the lives of these women is one of the most significant things that can come about to transform families and communities for Christ.
Today, if you will sponsor a woman missionary through GFA, we’ll send you a FREE copy of Half The Sky. Just email me your receipt (jeff at Godrenews dot us) and I’ll send you the book.
2. Watch the GIRL RISING trailer and request a screening in your city.
WORLD VISION hosted Seattle’s red carpet premiere of this documentary last night, and Kari and I have requested to have a screening come in April to the Hilltop 9 theater in Oregon City. Go HERE to request a screening in your city (direct link here to pre-purchase a ticket; still need 100 people to “tip” it at the theatre near us) after watching the trailer:
3. Read Half The Sky.
No, it’s not a light read. No, you won’t fall asleep with warm, happy feelings in your heart. But I believe you will have a better understanding of this focused assault on women, and be encouraged and inspired to do whatever you can to share the love of Christ with women in the margins worldwide. From the far reaches of Cambodia to the neighbor woman right down your street. ALL women are worth of God’s love and special care. It’s about $10 for the paperback on Amazon, with Kindle version about $12 and DVD about $15. Not a reader? Get the DVD and watch with the women in your life. Bring a tissue.
Or, better yet » hop back up to #1, sponsor a missionary and we’ll send you the book for free!
“We love because HE first loved us.”
—1 John 4:19 (about Jesus The Man)
My beautiful wife ends this with a word of thanks:
Thank you to all you beautiful woman (and fabulous men!) for spreading the light of Jesus Christ to the dark corners of the world. Let’s pray this International Women’s Day finds a few more girls rising in the light of His love … Thanks for reading.
Men, if you read it to the end, you’re awesome. Thank you.