“No harm will come to you if you humble yourself. God will bless you if you do.”
My mother often tells me this when she is asking me to apologize to someone who doesn’t deserve it. She, like many others, uses God and His Word to cover over people or actions that are neither Godly or from His Word.
She uses this same rhetoric to justify injustices to her. She believes if she cries out to God, God will hear her frustrations and discomforts.
She, like many other women I know, has fallen victim to a system that allowed emotional abuse to her.
This system silently placed women in second place.
I grew up in an ethnocentric church. I never saw a woman in a pastoral leadership role.
I also grew up in America.
My family immigrated to the U.S. and I was the first of two girls in an immigrant family. Church was our safe haven – the place where we found community. This church community allowed us to connect to God in the same language and traditions.
“Church” became a safety net to connect with people who understood our current and our past.
It made people feel more at home in a country that didn’t always know how to ease their new residences into these grand new places.
As I grew older, silence was the chosen mode of communication. Women served church as Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, and food coordinators, but were never given the pulpit.
I spent 80% of my life in church, with none of it showing me a woman’s ability to lead.
My fight for equality didn’t start when I walked into the workplace, or when I was cat called for the first time.
It started when I was not empowered as a Christian woman.
The issue of gender is a very real, very silent issue in our heaven on earth. We are silenced, covered, and we then ultimately allow it because God is letting it happen to us.
We have allowed an unbiblical view of womanhood to seep into not only how we perceive our Christian women, but how the world perceives us as Christian women.
#MeToo and #TimesUp is looking at Christians for their response to women’s issues.
It is about time the church stands up and defines boldly, loudly, and courageously what it means to be a woman.
Women are not supposed to be rejected verbally.
Women are not meant to be made small in public spaces.
They aren’t just meant to be the wives of called, important Christian men.
The pain of poorly placed words, sentiments, and actions cannot be justified by “good intentions.”
My future husband is the crown jewel of his family. He is the pride and joy of his parents. He hasn’t experienced oppression at home. He has never heard his opinion doesn’t matter. He was never silenced in his safest spaces and the people who love him the most, love him freely.
He is empowered at home to believe he is capable on his own, as his own.
My experience was not the same: I found myself fighting for the affection and right to be loved. It always appeared that my value, worth, and ability to be love was at risk. The church created a culture for women to earn the respect and validation of the people around them.
To prove their femininity was valued.
To prove their femininity was enough.
To prove their femininity wasn’t just for children and women.
Women are capable.
Women are loved.
And they can live independently, graciously, and boldly.
And nobody, not even in the systems around you, can deny what the spirit of God can do with the feminine heart.