Saturday, February 01, 2014


"Please pray for my marriage. My family is putting pressure on me to get married. In our culture, my younger sisters cannot marry, until I am married."  The anxiety in her voice revealed the burden this was for my friend Sara (name is changed to protect her identity) as she shared this with our Women’s Bible study group.  We were gathering together our prayer requests and hers was one I had never heard before. 
                  She was not in any particular hurry to get married.  She had enjoyed her university studies and was happy and successful in her work.  She had enlarged our horizons earlier when she explained that as a little girl, she asked her grandmother why baby girls were often not allowed to live.  Her grandmother’s answer was that it was the lot of women to suffer.  When a baby girl died, she was saved from a life of suffering.  Sara was the first person in her family who had chosen to become a Christian.  One of the changes that happened when she became a Christian is that she realized that she had value to God and He did not want to punish her because she was a woman. 
                  Other women in the group talked of their own cultures and how sometimes in their families that had adopted Christian ways, when it came to family relationships they resorted to the weight of their cultural background that they found oppressive of women.  My heart ached as I listened to their pain and the struggle that they faced, just trying to accept the fact that they are loved and valued by God and can hold their heads high. 
                  Then I recalled something of my own journey.  As a young woman I was convinced that my role was to live to please my husband and make life good for him.  If he was unhappy, it must be my fault.  I was raised in a good, Christian home and how I developed the ideas that my life was only valuable as I erased myself to make someone else look good, I now see as bizarre. 
                  Slowly, as I have grown in my faith, I have realized that God created me as a person with my own unique gifts and abilities and that my greatest joy comes in sharing these with others.  One of the gifts that He has given me is compassion.  So my heart is deeply moved as I hear and see the struggles of other women.

As I study history and see the huge strides that women have made in finding their place in the world.  I understand how women of God were the initiators of the feminist movement, as they felt compelled to address a social injustice.  I sense sometimes that our daughters do not realize the price that some of us paid so that they could enjoy the independence that is theirs.  I also observe the price they sometimes pay for that independence. 

I look at my little granddaughter and I realize that the place that she will have in the world, I cannot yet even imagine.  My prayer is that she will have opportunities to discover and share with others the wonderful unique gifts that God has entrusted to her.  I hope too that she will be able to walk with the daughters and sons of my friend Sara, and encourage them to find their way and realize their value as children created in the image of a God of unconditional love.   


Word Guild Award
Word Guild Award


Glynis said...

Oppression of women in some cultures is still a very real issue. Good for you, Eleanor, for showing such compassion. A sincere listening ear is a great start.

Peter Black said...

A timely topic, Eleanor, and presented with thoughtful compassion.
It's unfortunate and a blight on the testimony to the gospel of our Lord that within the Christian community interpretations still persist -- vis-à-vis Pauls' teaching of the husband-wife relationship -- that repress or belittle women.
I'm positive that was not his intention and certainly doesn't fit the example of our Lord Jesus.
Every blessing to you and your ministry among those dear women. ~~+~~

Tracy Krauss said...

It is alarming that so many women in the world still face such oppression. While we are to respect our husbands (if we are married) and there is precedent in the Bible for women to rely on the 'men' in their lives, there are also many examples of strong women who were given a leadership role or who changed the course of history.

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