Celebrating Remarkable Women

"Hope" by George Fredric Watts Today is International Women's Day.

Historically, this has been a day dedicated to advancing the human rights of women and children.  It was inspired by an 1857 protest in New York City by garment workers who were decrying appalling work conditions and low wages.  Over the years, this has been a day to celebrate advances for women.

But sometimes it seems as if there's very little to celebrate.*

Women and children are still trafficked for sex not only around the world but in the US as well. Children are homeless lacking a safe home or basic necessities.  Single mothers struggle to make ends meet, all the while facing a system that either shames them for needing assistance or allows them to fall through the cracks.

Today, I want to acknowledge women that lament the sadness of the not-yet.

That mourn with the women and children who aren't yet safe or free from abuse and pain.

I want to celebrate women who love and serve.  Who hope for future abundance.  Who struggle and juggle the demands of daily life to love as Christ does. Who hope for the someday and work for the right-now.

They are:

My family women, my sisters, life-giving mothers and creators. They give out song and laughter. They are deeply committed to the church with all its joy and baggage.

They are foster mothers, wives and students. They are single mothers or single.

They are church leaders, ministers, neighbors and friends. They are businesswomen and homemakers.

They are teachers, deep thinkers and book lovers who invest in intentional community and hospitality.

They volunteer and serve the marginalized.  They live in inner cities and open their homes to children who don't have a safe place.

They give their heart to friends in many African countries. They live in Thailand, Texas, Russia, the Midwest, Canada, Scotland, Colorado, and Italy. They share the gospel, homeschool, educate, and parent children while managing the challenges and joys of autism, health concerns and numerous surgeries.

They are creative and loving, wise and kind.

They grow their own food and cook, work full-time, mend and darn and knit like fiends.  They know everything about gardening.

They are many: amazing grandmothers, aunts, friends. They are highly educated. They didn't go to college. They are women whose writing and work inspire.

They are women who've quietly and faithfully sailed through the pain of years in community. Who have stayed because of a desperate but abiding hope.

Each of them has left her mark on the world, showing God's grace, provision and goodness.

I want to celebrate what these women have done to love people in this broken world.

I want to thank them.

*Read Jocelyn's essay at renew and sustain about her journey of finding hope in the "small" efforts to address the hurts of the world. She is also a woman to be celebrated!