So yeah, I am still stuck on this.
Still stuck on the idea of celebrating women, of cherishing women, of what Mother’s Day and birthdays and everyday should be about.
For all the holidays in this world and every food having it’s own special day on the calendar, such as National Ice Cream Day or National Apple Pie Day, we really do not celebrate as much as we should.
Because we forget.
Because we get busy or flustered or are told we are not worth celebrating. Because we are robbed of joy.
And I wrote on Mother’s Day how little women are valued and how it makes it hard to celebrate being a mother or a woman on most days, let alone on the one day set aside for us. Because there are so many who are not celebrated, not valued, not reminded of their worth. So many that have never even been told they are worth something.
It breaks my heart watching and hearing girls grow up like this. It breaks it even more to hear women who have lived decades like this.
I have seen a lot lately Scriptures printed in pretty texts on lovely flowery backgrounds that are meant to encourage women. The “he” in the verse has been changed to “she.” At first, I thought this was strange, to change the “he” to “she” because most people realize that the “he” is a general term for man as in mankind, to include man and woman alike. I also debated on whether this was changing the Word of God, which is a dangerous place to tread. But there is nothing deceptive about this change, there is nothing defiling of this change when posted as a reminder to women.
I realized that some women need to see it that way. Need to see the “she” or “woman” instead of “he” or “man” because that is the only way for them to realize the Word is for them too.
That they are also Imago Dei, created in the image of God.
I have to let that sink in every now and then too.
Man was created first, and then the woman. But both are in the image of God, possessing His qualities. It is not a possession of masculine and feminine qualities, it a balance between the two of perfect God qualities.
His Word states He is jealous for us. He wants us for Him, to be loved by Him, not for our love to be swept away by possessions or other people or other images of worship. A woman has this quality when she is jealous for her children and her husband, to be the one they can depend on as mother and wife.
When you cry as a woman because you are so deeply moved by another’s sorrow or pain, that is the compassion of God showing through you. Jesus had the power to bring life back to people and He wept over Lazarus’ death, wept over the children of Israel whom He longed to gather under his wing like a mother hen gathers her chicks. A God quality that we quantify as feminine.
When we possess a servant’s heart or sacrifice ourselves on a daily basis for the needs of others, when we erupt with laughter and joy and delight in our children, when we protect our family and care for the sick, when we lay ourselves low to lift others higher, we are not showing feminine qualities. We are showing God, we are proving we too are Imago Dei.
I am no feminist by any sense of the modern idea of the definition of such, nor do I think women are better than men. But women deserve respect and honor and it is not found in this world. We may have the illusion of it in our great country where women are praised for reaching powerful positions in their career, but there is a falsity there.
There is no real sense of worth when a woman is told she is good for sex and nothing else, traded as cheap property. There is no worth for a woman who is beat daily by her husband and told she has to submit and do as he tells her. There is no worth in selling age inappropriate clothes to girls and telling them to dress older than they are, to shed them of their innocence sooner rather than later. There is no worth in a woman who is abandoned by her husband and family for no fault of her own. There is no worth in our own country where women tear each other down and “jokes” of women being catty or worse are no longer considered insulting but a fact of life.
No worth but in God. No worth until we cherish and hold these women in high esteem. Not until we bend down and lift each other up, encourage and whisper the love of God to them. When we use our God qualities to connect to those women, to remind them they are loved and valued and yes, they too are Imago Dei.
My heart is heavy and I feel words are failing me here. I think of young girls making their way through sex trades, trying to survive just one more day. I think of the girls stolen away in Nigeria and the fear they are breathing and wondering who will save them. I think on the girls living here, most likely within my own county too, being told they are stupid or worse day in and day out and they start to believe it.
I think of my 18 month old daughter and the daughter still forming inside me, of what kind of struggles they will go through. I remember my own issues with self-esteem and discouragement and how I can make a difference for my daughters. How I can whisper prayers over them each day, tell them they are smart, beautiful, funny, wonderful, special, cherished. How maybe one day I can make that difference in another girl’s life, or a woman I encounter, just to counter the lies they have been fed all their lives and shout into their hearts that it is not true, they are loved!
We celebrate once a year a specific type of woman. We generally forget about them and all the others the remaining days of the year. The present is given, our duty fulfilled. But what would happen if we really took a moment to make a woman feel worthy of being adored and loved, to really fill her heart up?
Our worth is found in Christ. Let us allow our God qualities that He placed uniquely in us women to overflow and fill up the lives of others, to embrace them with joy and remind them, to whisper into the dark part of their souls:
You too are Imago Dei. That Word of Truth there? That is for you too. That promise of God knowing His plans for you of a hope and a future? He is talking to you. Yes, you. That promise of joy in the morning? It’s a promise to you. A God that is jealous for you and wants you to be His, to wrap you in love and peace and blessing?
Yes, for you.
Because you are cherished.
I whisper it to myself because I need to be reminded-because I need to believe it before I tell others. Those promises are for me too. They are for you too, man or woman reading this. My prayer is that these words ring truth to you, to others, that it would be the heart’s cry of women as we lift each other up, that we celebrate all human life as a life worth living and celebrating and valuing. There is no human that is better than the other, no one person more deserving than the other. All are created Imago Dei.
Let’s not forget anymore.