Why International Women's Day is a Game Changer
We pray for revival for our cities, churches and families, but do we ever pray for revival for ourselves?
Generations of women have experienced revival in their hearts because they steadily prayed for it and sought it out. As many try to silence the voices of women, we find the strength to rise up and speak out. The truth is, women are called to great places. They are called to lead and empower people from every gender, socioeconomic and ethnic background. The world around us sees a need for women in leadership and authority, but often times the Church falls behind in seeing that.
The revival of women rising up, pursuing God with everything and bringing many to find salvation in Jesus will not stop. The question then becomes, how will we foster this revival in the hearts of women who have been silenced for so long?
The first National Women’s Day was observed in 1909, just a year after the Garment Worker’s Strike in New York. It was such a powerful moment of time where women rose up to protest the working conditions they were under. In 1910, Women’s Day became an international celebration. Men and women participated in a rally day, marking March 19th as International Women’s Day in 1911. A few years later, Women’s Day was declared to be celebrated on March 8th by the United Nations.
Women gained their right to vote in 1920, and in the 1970’s feminist activists revised school curriculum to include contributions women have made. This spurred on a Women’s History Week to celebrate it all. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter declared the official first Women’s History Week. In his speech, he clearly illustrated how this country was built on not only the contributions of men, but also women. This was huge for women around the nation.
As this is only some of the rich history of women’s contributions, we have to realize two very important points that have been made. When we look at marches, rallies and speeches like President Carter’s, we need to realize that women have not gained momentum all on their own. The reality is that men have been largely in charge in many contexts, and as women, we must respect those positions. However, the intentions of many of the men who played a role in women’s history was that of goodness and empowerment. As women, we have to be thankful for the doors that have opened because of someone else (whether male or female). Equality is not gained by one party overthrowing the other; no, equality is gained by both parties working together to reach a commonality. The world sees that and got behind many women to elevate them to the places they desired to be. So, what about the Church?
It’s interesting to think that there are spaces where a woman in leadership is more widely accepted in a world where morality and integrity is not the highest honor. Why is it that our churches, organizations and nonprofits are not always up to speed on this progress?
To address the calling of women into leadership, let’s take a look at scripture. We see that “men and women are equal in value; but equality does not mean ‘sameness’,” as stated by Gay Zambrano, DVM. She says, “[I] believe that women and men are equally created in God’s image and given equal authority and stewardship of God’s creation.”
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28, New International Version)
We are all one in Christ Jesus.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27, NIV)
Man didn’t get more of God’s image or some special part of God that was hidden away from women, so why do we treat it like that? Both are created in His image. Uniquely created. Differently created. Equal.
Many objections to women in leadership try to point to scripture, claiming things such as women being called to be silent, not dressing up or even being submissive under every circumstance. When we look at the heart of God and the context of scripture, it’s easy to dismiss these lies. The reason we get these objections is because of a lack of understanding, wrong translation or misinterpretation of scripture.
In Genesis 2:18, God says that it’s not good for man to be alone. So we see that He makes Eve, his companion (not his servant).
Translating that word “helper,” the Hebrew word is “ezer kenegdo.” This is an aid, a help mate, an equal. This does not translate to a word to be “lesser than” or a servant of any kind. Briefly flip through the pages of the Old Testament, and you will find women who were prophets. God used them to do incredible things! Flip through the pages of the New Testament and watch how Jesus (the flesh incarnate of God) treated women. He respected, healed, forgave and talked with them about theology. When scripture is in its context, we see that God created us to be equal. He even gives us this amazing promise in Acts 2:16-18. Go check it out!
Now that we’ve gotten the history both globally and scripturally, it’s time to do something about it. There are four things you can do to celebrate this coming Women’s Day (March 8) and the contributions of women around the world. These four things will shape you and the people around you if you do them with all your heart!
How to Celebrate Women’s Day:
1.Share this information
Educate others on the rich history that women possess! It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman, you have a voice! Don’t keep this to yourself. Share this article with friends and family. Especially the ones who disagree! Get the conversation going and listen intently to the hearts of the people you speak with. You just might learn something.
2. Mentor young women around you
Invite the young girls in your church, community or family to a meal and talk with them about their gifts and talents. Foster them in their growth. Encourage them. Give them hope. It’s a tough world when you feel all alone; however, mentorship provides a safe space for those young women to flourish.
3. Empower your peers
Reminder: all of this is for both men and women alike! Ladies, start a gathering of women in similar life stages that meets to get coffee and talk about life. Create a sisterhood of empowerment! Guys, find ways to empower the incredible women around you. If you know a woman who can speak, lead, sing, organize… put her up on your platform! Sharing is caring!
4. Find a mentor
If you’re reading this and do not currently have a mentor who will empower you and show you how to empower others, please find that in your context. This is pertinent to growing into a more effective leader, friend and family member. You will change your communities by seeking wise counsel for your life.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.