It’s been about a month since my return home from Israel. “Life”started back full force, practically the moment I got back, and I find myself missing the carefree nature I adopted on the trip. *Sigh* Those were the days.
Nevertheless, time has begun to cement what I experienced in my head into my heart. All the room that I left empty of expectation has been filled with feelings, emotions, and connection to the holy sites we visited and the Holy One who gave them holiness. Like I said before, I tried my best to rid myself of expectation. You can find out more about that here.
In the eight days I was in Israel, I saw lots of places. I saw many historically significant sites representing thousands and thousands of years of biblical narrative. We saw a gate as old as Abraham, Mount Carmel, the old city of David, the remains of the temple, numerous city excavations, and much more. These places were amazing on their own, but for me their significance lay in the story they told- the story of God redeeming creation and making a way for me to experience the joy of His presence.
You may have noticed that the word “feminist” is in the title of this blog. If you know me very well, this may surprise you, because I’ve never strongly identified as a feminist. It’s not that I’m misogynistic or anti-women’s rights, because of course I am a woman. I suppose I just never really concerned myself too much with the issue before. But, something in me finally made a connection while I was in Israel.
In the great story of creation that we experienced between Dan and Beersheeba, women lived in the shadow of their male counterparts. They were dependent on the protection and wealth of men, always a few steps behind, unable to read the word of God, and denied the ability to worship God as their husbands did. Unheard by their husbands and fathers, but never forgotten by God.
When Jesus came, the world changed. He lived and died to redeem the whole world, and when the veil was torn, God’s presence was not limited to men alone. The power of what Jesus did on the cross was not limited to Jews, or Greeks, or men, or women. Jesus saw me, a woman full of sin and shame, and chose to give his life for me so that I may experience His presence. He is so good.
I never truly had an appreciation for my freedom of worship and unlimited access to the Holy Spirit until I witnessed the exclusion of women from that same freedom among other major religions. I am so thankful that as a single, Christian woman I can have a personal, full, rich, deep relationship with Jesus Christ apart from my father or my husband. And, if the God of the universe has seen fit to give me full access to Him, why should I think that he wouldn’t empower me to serve in any role for his kingdom? No one is even qualified to be a Christian. What reason do I have to feel like I am unqualified to do amazing work for God’s kingdom just because I am a woman?
I’ve always known this, but I’ve not always remembered. I’m so thankful that I came away from this trip empowered as a woman of God. I don’t need to wait to get married to serve God in big ways. He died on the cross for me, got up from the tomb for me, and wants to use me right where I am. Hopefully it doesn’t take a trip across the globe for you to understand this. I pray that the weight of God’s grace and glory would rest on you personally, empowering you to be the person God is calling you to be today.
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29