On Sunday, during church, I just kept thinking about how Jesus chose to appear to women first when he rose from the dead. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I love thinking about this, and the other ways in which Christ uplifted the dignity of women, and knew them all by name: the woman at the well, the woman who was about to be stoned, the woman and her perfume, his mother, Lazarus' sisters, all the little girls that were included in 'let all the children come to me,' the woman who touched his cloak to heal her bleeding. (Please share the ones I'm missing!)
I love how Christ decides that this very bold and scandalous truth of his return should be entrusted to the women who were not even thought of to be entrusted with such matters.This week was UNICEF's International Day of the Girl Child, and it reminded me of the dream I have that girls will one day be accepted as the professional, political, and spiritual leaders they have been gifted to be. I want my daughter to grow up not only knowing she can be anyone she wants, but seeing that represented in the world around her. I want that for all the daughters around the world.
According to the UN World's Women 2020: Trends and Statistics, we have a lot of work to do: In 2020, only 47% of women of working age go to work, while 74% of men of working age go to work.Typically, women spend 3x as much time on unpaid domestic and care work as men. In some areas, it's 7x as much.
Women hold less than 30% of managerial positions (data from 2019), and sadly this number hasn't changed since 1995! About one third of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by intimate partners, with over 130 women being murdered by an intimate partner or family member every day.
I recently read the classic Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and what struck me most was how differently the majority of the men talked about treating imaginary women compared to how they treated the actual women in their lives.
For me, learning to see God as Mother has allowed me to imagine God as fully understanding the female experience: the subjugation, the objectification, the heavier workload, the toll on the body of wanting a child, having a child, not having a child, or not wanting to be pregnant, the domestic violence, subordination in the workplace, misogyny and patriarchy (even and especially in theology), the cat calls, the self doubt, the worry about being seen as beautiful, the tension of living up to others' expectations of what a woman should be.
Under the shadow of God's wings, women are there, protected, cared for, advocated for, given voice, given autonomy, given the scandalously good news that their lives matter not just because of how they are (or are not) relationally tied to a father or a husband. These are the women of God, seen and heard and represented in God Herself.