"The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God. Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!"
Proverbs 31: 30, 31, The Message
"Does Heaven Have a Gender Gap?"
"‘Tis woman's strongest vindication for speaking that the world needs to hear her voice. It would be subversive of every human interest that the cry of one-half the human family be stifled…the world has had to limp along with the wobbling gait and one-sided hesitancy of a (person) with one eye. Suddenly the bandage is removed from the other eye and the whole body is filled with light. It sees a circle where before it saw a segment. The darkened eye restored, every member rejoices with it."
Anna Julia Cooper
What does it mean to me when I am called, "God's daughter?"
"I was climbing up a mountain path
With many things to do,
Important business of my own,
And other people's too,
When I ran against a Prejudice
That quite cut off the view."
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
"There is neither male nor female, for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Galatians 3: 28
Yesterday we studied Strike One - Poverty. The first strike that devalued a poor widow who brought her gift to the Temple. But if you think poverty pushed this lady to the bottom of the barrel, being born a woman was also another shove that kept her down in society.
If you don't believe what I just said, then let's take a look at some of the things spoken and written about women when Jesus was on earth. The noted Jewish historian Josephus, offered this perspective on the female gender: "A woman is inferior to man in every way." If you're a woman, I rather imagine a statement like that makes you feel really worthwhile…treasured…and valued?!
But another Rabbinic saying went even one step further in demeaning the female gender, "Each time that a man prolongs converse with a woman he causes evil to himself, and desists from the law, and in the end inherits Gehinnom." Whoa! However, before you think that the Jewish culture at the time of Jesus was the only society that placed women in a lesser role, look no further than these choice words written by the Protestant reformer, Martin Luther: "Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children." All I can say is, "Thank you Mr. Luther for that open-minded, gender-inclusive observation." I guess when he was studying the Scripture and found the part about, "the just shall live by faith," he skipped over the passage that tells us that, "in Christ we are all one." Even men and women!
With these long held gender prejudices infusing religious thought, how are God's daughters to conduct themselves. Over the years as I have personally run into some of the same stereo-types and limited thinking that tries to keep women in a box or push them into a corner, I have found that the only way that "God's girls" throughout history have lived fulfilled lives is when they follow His purpose, walk His path, and adhere to His calling in their lives. There is no other way we as women can reach our created potential outside of God. (And to all the men who come to Transformation Garden, this same statement applies to you, too. No man can reach his created potential outside of God, either).
We may try to be the business guru, science whiz, creative genius, or literary prodigy. But outside of God - who created man and woman - we cannot reach any higher than where man or woman decides we should be. And the last time I checked, God said, "Dorothy, you are mine." God claims rulership over my life and because He is in charge, nothing man or woman has to say about me on earth supersedes what my Heavenly Father says about me or has for me to do.
If we as women are to reach our Heavenly potential, I recommend we look no further than the life of Jesus for our affirmation and direction. I absolutely love these words written by Rose Wu in her poem, "I Am a Woman."
"Jesus Christ listened to women's appeals,
Affirmed a woman's value,
Reproached the tradition that oppresses women.
He made friends with prostitutes,
Talked with heathen women,
Affirmed Mary's choice as good.
Praised the widow's offering.
He affirmed that woman is also created and cared for by God.
Therefore, I have decided to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord.
I am a woman,
A life that God created and cares about.
I have an independent personality
And the right to choose my way of living.
I have to live out God's image."
God's original plan wasn't one gender dominating another. It was for unity, wholeness, and oneness in His universe. He longed for His family to live in harmony, with every person's strengths blending together. In God's family, we are one in Christ. And because we are, we must uplift and encourage each other to be all God has purposed we should be, with no distinction because of race, culture, or gender.
Daughter of God, arise so you can fulfill the purpose and embrace the womanhood God has planned for you.
"Give your difference, welcome my difference, unify all difference in the larger whole - such is the law of growth. The unifying of difference is the eternal process of life - the creative synthesis, the highest act of creation, the at-onement."
M. P. Follett
A Woman's Prayer
"God our Divine Mother and Father…the wholeness of my being, I give You thanks for the gift of being a woman. In Your name I celebrate the special qualities that You have given: the gift of connectedness, the gift of empathy, the gift of compassion, the gift of nurturing, the gift of insight, the gifts of flexibility and multiplicity. Guide me, gracious God that I may claim the unique strengths of these gifts and use them to Your glory in the world. Give me the wisdom to honor these attributes within myself that they may be used freely, fully, and always in Your name. Amen."
Dr. Kay Collier-Spone
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. I invite you to tell a friend about Transformation Garden. In a world where it seems that everything costs something, Transformation Garden is a place where you are welcome at no cost. What's more, we're thrilled to have you visit every day, for a Garden is always more pleasant when shared with friends. So why not share this free gift with one of your friends, too?
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.