The Christmas story is so much more than just Baby Jesus in a manger. Of course that’s what we focus on and is definitely the climax of the story, but so many details surrounding the birth of Jesus have intricate storylines with His fingerprints visible from every angle.
To me, the two most fascinating and beautiful storylines focus on the two least-liked and least-respected people groups during this time period in history. Women, and Shepherds. I’ll focus on women in this post, and Shepherds in Part 2. 💕
During the time that Mary and Joseph were living, women were more like possessions.
Like not even counted in the census.😐
Which makes it even more spectacular that Jesus valued and cared so deeply for women.
Women who felt insignificant, used and abused, tossed aside.
They were definitely not fashionistas, divas, or selfie queens. They were not the finest Jewish women. In fact, some were pretty shady.
They had no wealth, status, inheritance, or social security.
They didn’t have an identity, and likely fear and insecurity were their greatest companions.
Unfortunately, those are often my closest companions as well. 2020 is going to be different though. 👌🏼
In fact, He valued them so much, that five of them were included in the direct family line of Jesus. Five women had an integral part of bringing baby Jesus into the world.♥️
The coming of Christ did not come through a line of affluent and perfect people. It came through family feuds, affairs, adultery, and numerous skeletons in closets. 💀
So in genealogies that wouldn’t get caught dead including a single female name, Jesus included FIVE.
Tamar~unidentified origin~in desperation posed as a prostitute~used and unwanted💔
Rahab~a prostitute by trade~a Canaanite (enemy of Israel)~lived on the outskirts of her city and looked down upon by her own people💔
Bathsheba~captured and raped~becomes a pregnant widow~loses her newborn son💔
Ruth~a poverty-stricken widow💔
Mary~well, you know her story.💖
A simple and ordinary teenager, facing an unplanned pregnancy.💞
Surprising? These chics definitely don’t seem like they met the status quo required to be in the direct family tree of Jesus.
But Jesus demonstrates only the highest regard for women.💜
I think if we hung out with Jesus today, we would discover that he is always rooting for the underdog. Always including, never excluding. Going out of his way to speak to the person on the fringe of the crowd, while everyone else sticks to their cliques.
I’d much rather be excluded for who I include, than included for who I exclude.
It’s evident that these women had some serious baggage. But Jesus wasn’t at all caught off guard, surprised or intimidated by it. He specializes in carrying baggage.
And how is it that over 2000 years ago-Jesus not only included women in his kingdom work~he esteemed them. He valued their thoughts and opinions, and DID NOT treat them like society did around him. In fact, Jesus’s approach to women has been described as ‘revolutionary’ for his era. That clearly shows me that He in no way agreed with the laws of the culture.
So why do we still have churches and people groups in this country that treat women like second-class citizens?
It honestly astounds me that in the year 2020, we still have an embarrassingly large percentage of men who still abuse and look down on women. And dare I say that in the ‘Christian’ world it seems to still be coming from male leaders of the church. 😕Men who disguise themselves with sacred language and expensive suits..and their own fear. But the control is slipping away from them, and whenever we think we are losing control, FEAR becomes our closest companion.💔
But I’m not worried, because I don’t think the future of the church looks like them. But they still grasp and desperately try to hold onto power that is slipping away. But when that ‘power’ is built on a foundation of broken systems and injustices, it can’t last. The ground is too shaky. That’s why I believe their day has come and is now going, and they’re reacting in fear. Suits and ties and misinterpreted scripture can only disguise you for so long.
How I wish we’d read our whole Bible instead of just bits and pieces.
I think if the Apostle Paul knew that a few lines he wrote in a letter to ONE particular church in a particular context had been twisted and as a result SILENCED women for generations, he would be heartbroken.💔 And probably furious that no one took the time to understand what he was actually saying and who he was actually talking to.
For example…to the woman who thinks she can’t even pray out loud in her Sunday school class…(true story)..you’ve been greatly deceived. 😢 Go and claim your worth and value and denounce the lies you’ve been told by the ‘powers’ that be.
That’s just one tiny example of where we STILL are in this culture in the year 2020.
So in a society that seems as if women are power hungry, I really don’t think that’s always the issue. It’s also not necessarily an appeal for equality or position. It’s a request to be taken seriously, for people to recognize the unique calling of women. To be heard, valued, and noticed.
Astute and capable, we want to lend our intellect, willingness, and passion to the cause of Christ. And to do it with a feminine perspective.💗
Rewind back to the 5….despite their mess-ups~look at what else stood out about these women.
Tamar-although she took matters into her own hands, she was trying to ensure that she had a future. Wronged by her father-in-law, she was actually looking out for his best interest as well, to ensure him a child who would carry on his name.❤️
Rahab-she provides financially for her parents and siblings, and is quite willing and capable of hiding Israelite spies who came to attack and defeat the city of Jericho. Now that’s one bold woman.💪🏽
Bathsheba-became a mother to a King… by successfully conspiring with a prophet to block the succession of a deceitful son, she won the throne for her son Solomon, and thus became an influential ‘Queen Mother’.🙌🏽
Ruth-although a widow, which brings its own insecure status for a woman when left without a husband, has nothing but the highest compliments spoken of her. Words of praise are used to describe her~esteeming her as an earnest follower, and a woman of upstanding character and virtue.💖
Mary-last but not least, she was the only person who lived during the entire lifespan of Jesus. She was there for the birth of her son, and also there for the death of her Savior.✝️
Really, I greatly admire these bold women of the Bible. To stand out in a culture that overwhelmingly marginalized and looked down on women. I want to be like them when I grow up. 😃.
I am also grateful for the women we’ve seen or heard about in our lifetime….before us, alongside of us, and coming up behind us who dare to take God at Their (Father, Son, Spirit) word, who believe with their whole heart that we are also made in the image of God, that submission is not just about a woman to a man, but is a mutual respect for both men and women to each other.
Your worth is NOT defined by what anyone thinks of you. You only need the approval of one person. And you already have it. 💝And those 5…God chose them to beautifully illustrate His point that He is fully capable to make something beautiful out of our messes.
And If you allow Him in the mess with you, he’ll climb right on in without batting an eye. He sees you dressed in his righteousness, He sees the finished product, and He adores you. The amount of time it takes you to get there doesn’t deter him, because time is irrelevant to him.
LOVE keeps no record of wrong.
Your slate has been wiped clean. He doesn’t remember your list or my list of sins. They’re as far as the East is from the West. That’s a long way.😍(Psalm 103)
So Don’t hide your gifts, duck your head, or quiet your voice, and stop waiting for someone else to say that you count, that you matter, that you have worth, that you have a voice, a place, and a purpose that only you and the Holy Spirit can fulfill.💜
Be you. Don’t waste anymore time trying to be someone else. I’ve had to break it to myself and I’ll break it to you-You make a really crummy someone else. 😨But you make a really perfect you. ♥️God doesn’t need more of that girl. He needs more of YOU, and what only you can bring to the table. If you keep trying to mimic someone else’s gifts and talents, you will never discover what your UNIQUE and AUTHENTIC talents and gifts are. You may be successful for a while, but you’ll end up feeling phony and fake.
You and I also don’t need anyone else’s permission to state our opinion. And if they won’t listen in the church, we need to get the word out somehow. I know I write about risky topics to some, but I have not been called to a sit-down or go-home life. I’ve been given a message that I intend to share in whatever way I can. I can’t be silent for fear of what someone else may think of me.
As I share this journey, my sincere hope is that I can shed some light and speak some TRUTH in someone’s life. To be the next stepping stone on your journey like others were for me.💖 And my journey has challenged EVERY fiber of who I am, growing up in the white evangelical Bible Belt my entire life. The unraveling process has been soooooo long, which is why I now feel like I’m living on borrowed time. ⏰
And please, let me hear from you! Even if you don’t agree, that’s ok! It gets lonely writing about things people are afraid to talk about but that need to be said. If something I’ve said rings true for you, tell me. If it confirms something you’ve already been wondering about, I’d love to hear about it. I know there are many who read silently that I will never know, but I get it. I’ve been there too. If you don’t want to make it public, you can always send me a private message with any thoughts, comments, or questions you may have.♥️
And if you think I’ve gone off the deep end, that’s ok too! As long as you respectfully tell me about it. 😄
But~ I’d rather be misunderstood for being REAL than admired for being FAKE any day of the week.😮
I don’t know all the answers. But I do know one thing for sure:
And if something I’ve believed all my life or something I come across in scripture doesn’t support or confirm that, I’m missing something and need to go deeper and do some research.
I’m thankful I’ve made some great friends I would’ve never met had I not started this journey. I love how God is in the details of all of our stories.💚
Here’s to a new you in 2020! 🎊 You have what it takes, you’re the girl for the job. ♥️Find the courage to step out of the box of legalism and religious captivity. Leave fear and insecurity on the curb.✌🏽Find your identity in the only person who matters. Claim your worth, value, and significance and go leave your mark in 2020. We’ll be cheering you on..♥️👏🏽🙌🏽♥️