I have a strong dislike for journaling. Recently, however, I have felt the words in my heart banging around and pressing against the edges begging to be released; to fly free; to find their homes in the hearts of others. This is a strange feeling for me. For the first time, I really believe I have something to say. Something that needs to be said. Something that has been birthed in me. I am ready to remove the shackles I have placed on myself and untie the weights I have placed on my words to keep them from flying away like so many untethered balloons.
Why the title Word of a Woman? Throughout history the word (or testimony) of a woman has been suspect at best. A couple of examples if you will:
- In ancient Jewish law the testimony of a woman was inadmissible in court.
- The Talmud, in the third chapter of Sanhedrin, delineates the rules governing who may provide written or oral testimony. A valid witness in a Jewish Beit Din must be an adult (see Bar Mitzvah) free man, not a woman or a slave, and not be related to any of the other witnesses or judges. The witness must be an honest person who can be trusted not to lie. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testimony_in_Jewish_law)
- In Sharia law a woman’s testimony is counted as half as valuable as a man’s testimony because women are “human beings who are governed by their emotions”. (http://www.islamic-sharia.org/general/on-the-testimony-of-women-2.html)
- (before you feel too smug my fellow Americans) Although women were granted the right to vote in 1920, they were excluded from serving on juries either by being encouraged to opt out or being required to opt in by writing a letter saying you wanted to be considered for duty. This was in fact the practice in some states until as late as 1975!
In steps Jesus. He totally blows this male dominated thinking out of the water. On the most important day in human history, the day of his resurrection, he chose TWO WOMEN to be his first witnesses. This was earth shattering and mind blowing for the times in which they lived. Society, history and tradition said the Word of a Woman meant nothing. Jesus said it meant something. By choosing them he said the Word of a Woman had value, it could be trusted, it was (gasp) as good as a man’s. This is good news for men as well as for women. For millennia women have been marginalized and a full half of the voices in the world discounted. This is NOT what God intended for humanity when he made us male and female reflecting his full glory TOGETHER. In the words of Paul in Galations 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
I come from an Evangelical background. I am a firm follower of Christ. I know today that Jesus made me in the image of God and that what I have to say is just as valuable as what my husband has to say, not more, not less. But, somewhere along the line I learned what was expected of me. Somewhere I learned how to filter myself. I know when and where it is acceptable for me to speak freely. I know when what I say may cause a ruckus, simply because of my gender. Not just at church but in every situation social or business related, how to be what is expected of me as a proper lady. It is a fine line and a struggle to walk it, to know how to be strong and stand up for yourself and not be perceived as bitchy, to have your own opinion and not be perceived as domineering. Today I have decided to be comfortable being labeled by some as “one of those women” to keep your wife away from. I don’t seek out this title, but I am no longer afraid of it. I will become what Jesus would have me to become. I am his witness. He values my testimony and finally I am starting to as well.
So here we are, Word of a Woman. Perhaps it seems like an odd name. It does to me. But I hope that by letting it fly, as it were, my words will inspire the voices of other women and men to be released and to fly free.