Yesterday I blogged over at Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience. I thought you might enjoy the post. I hope you feel as loved as you are.
She was beautiful.
She was bright.
And she was mad at God.
I sat across the table picking at a salad and trying to digest Jan’s words. Her startlingly teal eyes were tinted with frustration at God, primarily because of how she perceived He felt about women.
“I don’t understand God. It seems like He is against women. He’s set us up to fail. Even our bodies are weaker, and that just invites men to abuse us.”
“Today, there’s so much abuse toward women,” she continued.
“Where’s God in all that? There are so many inequalities and injustices between how men are treated and how women are treated. What kind of God does that?
I think the bottom line is that God just doesn’t like women.”
Jan knew her Bible. She grew up in the church, had loving Christian parents, and accepted Christ when she was eight-years-old.
But Jan was brave…brave enough to voice the questions that many women ponder…musings that many of our daughters fear.
So we opened the Bible and delved in. But before we did, I set the stage.
I reminded Jan of what the culture was like for women when Jesus walked the earth. Not so different than it is for our many of our sisters all around the world.
By the time Jesus entered the world on that starry night in Bethlehem, His first cry echoed the heart-cries of women who had been misused and abused for centuries.
By the time Jesus took his first steps onto the dusty ground of Galilee, women
- Were not allowed to speak to men in public.
- Were seen as unreliable and not allowed to testify in court.
- Were not allowed to mingle with or eat with men at social gatherings.
- Were not allowed to sit under a Rabbi’s teaching to learn.
- Were kept on a separate level in Solomon’s Temple and behind a partition in the local synagogues.
- Were not counted as people, but were considered as property.
With no rights.
Women lived in the shadows of society…rarely seen and seldom heard.
But Jesus came to change all that. Simply put, He rocked the house.
Every time Jesus interacted with a woman in the gospels—the God-made-man broke the man-made-rules of His culture to honor women, to elevate women, to call them out of the shadows to play leading roles in the gospel story.
Jesus restored women and their rightful place of dignity as one-half of a whole, as co-heirs and co-workers with their male counterparts.
His radical counter-cultural attitude toward women flew in the face of a culture that considered women “less than” in all regards. Jesus was a radical reformer who showed the world just what God thinks about women.
- He ignored cultural taboos and associated freely and openly with women. He spoke with women in broad daylight, even though the disciples disapproved.
- Jesus welcomed the worshipful anointing of the woman with the sinful past, even though the religious leader thought it scandalous.
- Jesus called the woman with the crippled back forward into the men’s area of the temple, even though the synagogue ruler thought it inappropriate.
- Rabi Jesus welcomed Mary of Bethany to sit as His feet to learn, even though women were forbidden to do so.
- Jesus reveled His true identity for the first time, that He was the Messiah, to a woman.
- Jesus’ longest recorded conversation was with a woman.
- Jesus entrusted the most important message in all of human history—that He had risen from the dead—to a woman. And then He told her to “go and tell.”
Jesus noticed the unnoticeable silent sufferers who moved about as little gray shadows…and He still does.
When it came to women…Jesus risked His reputation to save theirs.
To save yours.
To save mine
And in one sweeping gloriously wrenching moment, He called women center stage to play leading roles in the gospel story…and He still does.
From Mary of Nazareth to Mary of Magdalena, God used women to accomplish His divine purposes. Brave women stepped forward.
Courageous women spoke up. Committed women joined hands.
Not only did He accept them as they were, He challenged them to become more.
Jesus took the fearful and forgotten and transformed them into the faithful and forever remembered. “I tell you the truth,” He said, “wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Jan and I closed The Book.
We took a deep breath.
It was all right there in black and white and some in red.
Grace upon Grace. Heaped high.
We both felt loved.
Worth fighting for.
Thank you for this. It is wonderful BUT what have I done wrong because the last line has NOT been true for me. This helped me identify THAT is where I’m stuck. I grew up in the church but with a physically abusive father (only to his daughters) and an emotionally immature mother. I was married to a horrible combination of the two for 20 years. After supporting him through getting his bachelors degree, then seminary and after multiple affairs he filed for divorce and moved in with a woman. Somehow during the divorce he managed to get the police records of his assualts on me expunged (I’ve been told that can’t happen); the house which was under my VA certificate got foreclosed; the vehicle I used to transport our four children to school was repossessed; he somehow managed to deny me any spousal support or portion of military retirement; and so many other injustices. All that to say, I sought the Lord throughout the marriage and never felt released to leave but when he told me he filed for divorce I heard the Lord say “let the unbeliever (even though he was a pastor) leave”. I trusted the Lord would fight for me BUT I lost every single “battle” he engaged me in even losing custody of one child he had not had contact with for two years. He has gone on to making six figures; remarried and built a $400,000 house; meanwhile I may be evicted soon because I can’t afford my $800 rent even though I work 6 days a week (commission only). Yes I am angry even to the point of some bitterness but after so many years of being faithful (perfect…NO) to my vows and walk with Christ, I don’t know how to reconcile what seems to me to be complete betrayal by not only an ex husband but even worse my Lord and my God. Why would he bring me into this world only to be abused from birth (a whole other story!) up to this point in my life?!? I loved Jesus as a small child and acknowledged Him as Lord as a very young adult. Admittedly He has walked with me through all this or I would not have survived but it often seemed like He stood by and watched while horrible things happened to me. How do I make any sense of that? Sorry for the novel and I do welcome any response especially truth in love. Thanks
Yes, It sounds like me story too….I was angry at God and I ran…How dare he? I had served him all my life, I was the model mother and wife, Christian lady everyone adores despite all my childhood trauma, wham! divorce, no income, lost kids, lost everything! But one day I head HIS voice loud and clear as I drove to work. I had asked Him the same question Why did you do this to me? I don’t get it, I don’t want it and also Lord please give it back!!! On this day HE said to me in an audible voice that filled the inside of my car “I didn’t do this to you, I did it FOR YOU, I took you out of an abusive marriage because I DO see and I care. I took you out for bigger and better things. I have a bigger plan in life for you.”
As soon as I realized what that meant, everything made sense. He has been with me since birth, He has seen everything I have gone through, all the misery and pain and he has spared me from worse things than what I had to endure. HE HAS BEEN FAITHFUL!
Now, every time bitterness shows up, I begin to thank Him for all the good things HE has done including taking me out of that bad relationship. He makes beautiful things out of our ashes.
I am now a married to a Pastor and we serve in a thriving church. My life is not perfect but it will never be, not on this earth. My story has helped many women and I now lead an amazing women’s ministry. None of that would have ever happened if I had not chosen to change my sadness for joy and dancing.
I encourage you to do the same. Don’t listen to the enemy’s lies. Start thanking God for what you have and don’t look back at your past. Look at your future, God can use your story to encourage others and build His kingdom big time! I wish I could give you a hug. Love you!
I had the same situation as yours but from my father and a neighbor boy at a very young age. I thought the same. Why God have you forsaken me? That’s how I felt. I finally had to learn how to forgive bc it was hurting me not anyone else. I can’t fathom yiu losing what you have. You must’ve had one sorry lawyer. I would hire one pro Bono to take your case. I think there may be a way to get those decisions as far as your money situation overturned. Contact your local food bank, community shelter and the DSS. You qualify for public assistance with children. You need it!
Blessed: It is in NO way your fault. Your man decided to let you down and that just proves that he is not really much of a man. Please understand. This is coming from a man who has had his own struggles. I have spent nights crying out to God asking him why he does not understand what I am going through, but it was ultimately for the interest of my girls (wife and daughter). It doesn’t make me a hero. It makes me a man who is completely committed to my girls. Your man decided to disregard that responsibility. That is not on you. That is on him being a weak man. Or at least a man who was not willing to cry out to God for the help he needed. I am very much not trying to place myself above anyone. I have just been through the valley where I have wept. Asking God why I had to go through what I was going through and why I could not provide my girls what they had been used to. I have not received a solid answer, but God has given us what we need for every day and I will always give my girls what I can to my expense. You deserve the same.
Flowers: Your story is truly heartbreaking, but you do not need to feel like God abandoned you or that you did something wrong. The man you choose to live your life with let you down. HE is the the one that failed. NOT God and NOT you. You should have been treated better. He did not treat you the way he vowed to treat you.. That is HIS fault. Trust me. Even as a man, there are times that I cry out to God. Wondering why I am going through what I am, but it is always for the best interest of my sweet girls (my wife and daughter). We are selected by God and our wives to support and protect our families. And if a man is what he is chosen to be, his sole intent is to take care of those he promised to love. If he doesn’t do that.. It is on him. NOT you. It is unfortunate that the women are left to pick up the pieces and try to move on But IT IS NOT anybodies fault but the man that chose to default on his promise.
I know that this isn’t an answer, but don’t give up. I have a similar story growing up, verbally abusive alcoholic parents, not one, but two! Physically and emotionally abusive brother, marriage where I lost 3 children and was cheated on, but somehow I managed to move on, remarry and have 2 children. I never hated God or thought he forgot me. I just always thought he had better or more important things to handle because I seemed to be handling things. It wasn’t until recently, age 60, that I realized He was the reason I handled things. He was there showing me the way. I’ve just recently joined a women’s Bible study group, and it is all falling into place for me. Hang in there and it will fall into place for you too.
This story reminds me of saying that’ suffering leads to strength’
I was asking questions like where is God? Has he forgotten me? And so on.
Then i took time to pray and ask God to give me insight ad understating.
From there, i come to realize that; had it were not His presence and love, i should
have not gone through all my challenges as woman. And he also opened my eyes
to see his many blessings in my life. Like, though my husband could not do many
things as i expected from him; but God gave me grace by giving me good job/better pay
and strength to run my family, help my children to learn to be patient during hard times and
wait on God who is all knowing and planner (Jer.29:11), has purpose and destiny for each
and everyone of us including (we) women. Again, i was reminded of great women of the
Bible, like Deborah, Esther and many others, which in-turn confirmed my trust and hope in
God and to be courageous and strong, keeping trusting him with each new assignment
he is giving me in my life’s time. After all, depending on God, is depending on his protection,
provision, defender, and faithfulness. Therefore, as woman we need only to fear him and ask
for wisdom since with God everything is possible.
Your story is not specific to a woman. I have spent many nights almost screaming out to God. “Why are you not helping me”. “Why do you not hear me”? It is a long story, but to have your income cut in less than half and try to explain that to the best part of your life (wife and daughter0 is completely emasculating. In the end (ongoing) it has taught my daughter how to live by her means and not an unlimited budget. My wife has been the better part of me and holds me at night when i am struggling to sleep. All that is to say.. Don’t sell yourself short. Woman are much stringer than men inn so many ways. If the man you choose decide he was better without you. He was likely wrong, but you can carry on. God WILL be there..
Husband left for his 12 year old student. No income. Lived in front house caring for our 2 children. Girlfriend came in to use the washer and dryer when ever she wanted. Kicked out. He would give me the kids over 50% of the time. Even though he was a teacher he would bring them back, no dinner, no homework done, and past 12 midnight. He ended up getting custody because I had depression. His parents would take care of them. My attorney filed the wrong paperwork so I couldn’t get them back. Got remarried. Couldn’t get pregnant. Finally did 3 times and lost them all.
I don’t ask why. I know I have plenty of sin in my life. I try to remember to give thanks that I had 2 and other things, but I still feel forgotten.
Oh, Ladies, I hear you and I feel you. I could go on and on about the abusive I have suffered. I could tell about my broken childhood, broken marriage, broken life and “invisible” disabilities. But, I won’t. I don’t live there anymore. I only live for the day, in the strength God gives me to do so. IT IS HARD! Everyday is a struggle; but I look to the good in it all. I have to. The PTSD would drown me daily if I let it. Instead, I talk to God all day long. Doesn’t matter where I am or who I’m with, if I feel out of sorts or joyful or whatever, I share it with the Lord.
One day, I woke up and realized I hadn’t had a good day in a long time. It was in the midst of a terrible wrought with PTSD and Lupus flair up when I just stopped and prayed. I don’t know how long I spoke with Him; but I poured my heart and soul out to Him. I yelled, I railed, I blamed, I cried, I praised and I drained myself of it all, pouring it on His strong shoulders. I was exhausted. BUT, I was also a bit lighter. So, I found myself in prayer more often and lighter still, just by sharing my heartaches and joys. Then, I started reading my bible daily. I looked at those broken people God uses to bring about victories. I can identify with them. Now, I await His victory for me. His plan, His time, His way. I am but an instrument of God, to use as He may, to share my story to glorify Him.
It was all I could do to get better, not bitter. I hope God blesses each of you and I am praying for you all. (((HUGS)))