I’m back! At least, I feel more mentally back. I’m beginning to feel better. I visited the doctor last Friday & my iron is up by one point (I was on the verge of needing a blood transfusion, apparently, which explains a lot.) & my thyroid (which is apparently a lunatic) is beginning to respond a little to the medicine. I’m going to continue medication & visit the doctor again in early February, when I’m briefly here in Greenwood pre-Australia.
P.S. It’s officially snowing on my blog. Check it.
So now that I feel less out-of-it, here’s what I’m thinking about:
Anne and I have really only known each other for a few months – but I appreciate her quite a bit. When I say “quite a bit,” I really mean “She is awesome! I am enthusiastic about our friendship!”
I know I’ve mentioned Anne before, in my post on learning the Irish language, but to refresh your memory she and I have a lot in common. Anne is also a single 20-something woman with a call from God to go to Ireland with OMS, though she is going with a different OMS ministry & assignment. We also both subscribe to generally “hippie” ideals about health and food. We both like to learn and we both feel strongly about feminism. In other words, we both believe that God never intended for man or woman to be above the other; both have equally inherent worth as creations of the Living God. And we are both still thinking about what this means.
Anne brought it up on her second visit. Another missionary had asked her how she felt about something “as a women of God.” We started thinking: what does it really mean to be a woman of God, anyway? For that matter, what does it mean to be a woman?
There’s the basic anatomy of it all, but then there has to be something more. There are the scripture verses, but these are most often used to introduce cultural traditions that the people preaching them do not even practice. There must be – and I believe I’ve seen it – a deeper “role” from God, shown in the scriptures and the ways God leads women…AND men.
There are plenty of academically better qualified people discussing and calling for true gender equality from the Church, the home, the public. Let’s face it: some of these people seem to be off their hinges. But there are many people speaking in truth, love, and boldness, and for those folks I’m thankful. I’m not interested in turning this blog’s focus solely to women’s rights, although given its main topic of how God is using human trafficking prevention to bring about real justice, it will inevitably come up again. I’m not even asking for answers, although if you want to comment with what you believe to be the answers, I’d love to read them!
As I begin to consciously think about those two questions:
“What does it really mean to be a woman of God?” and “What does it really mean to be a woman?” I have two things to note.
1. You’d think I’d already know, since I’ve been a female for the past 22+ years and I’ve been a Christian for the past 18 years. But I think it’s a learning process and that is OK.
Without a doubt, there are men with holy passion. I’ve heard, seen, and read the words of men in the past and in the present who are passionate about justice. In fact, some of them (i.e. Benjamin Nolot & Don Brewster) are going to be speaking at Abolition Summit, January 2nd – 4th. (Oh, how I WISH I could go! But being with my family wins.) It does me so much good to know of men I’ve never met who are lit up with God’s holy fire.
One thing I believe, however, in this “Who are women?” foray is that passion, particularly for equality for our own gender, makes us special. Are you thinking – Obviously, Emily, obviously women are passionate about women being treated fairly. –? I can see where you’re coming from. But thanks to a Houghton friend named Hannah, I am realizing I don’t get how powerful a divine passion is. Hannah and I were really only acquaintances for a long time, but through God’s grace, we had supper together during my visit at Houghton. To make a long dinner short, she is one incredible person. Hannah is still a newlywed and a senior at Houghton. She has been blessed with a husband who is also intensely passionate about equality for women.
I have never heard someone preach with such…prophetic wisdom. Really. Hannah literally had me in tears of simultaneous passion and anguish as she told me the raw details of her struggle with God. A struggle that doesn’t go away and maybe isn’t meant to – it’s one where she asks Him why, if He really has made female and male equal (and the Bible gives us that truth), would women be so horrifically abused so often? Where is justice? But at the same time, God is so good. He shows His goodness every moment. Hannah didn’t hold back tears as she told me about these questions, and yet her deep faith in her Creator and Lover of her soul.
Throughout our conversation, I kept thinking of the Old Testament prophets. Ezekiel is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Hosea, Isaiah…and later, John the Baptist. The words “The voice of one crying in the wilderness” (Matthew 3:3) kept coming to my mind. Hannah’s voice really was like one crying into the wilderness. She expressed all the pain that comes with being a human but especially comes with being a woman, and yet, never during that time did she disrespect the Lord God or his equally beloved human creation of man. With a passion that really must come from the Holy Spirit, Hannah was truthful and real but in awe and in love with her Heavenly Father.
Being with Hannah made me proud to be a woman and a follower of Jesus Christ. It made me realize how much more holy fire I need, how much more holy resolve I need to pray for, and how much I don’t quite understand about my own strength as a woman created by God, in His image. Still, thanks to people like Anne and Hannah, I’m beginning to figure it out.
More thoughts on this topic to come.