A Reflection On Women's History Month
Women’s History Month, established in 1987, celebrates the many great achievements women throughout history have accomplished. This month, we notably mention figures such as Susan B. Anthony, one of the first advocates for women’s suffrage, as well as figures such as Eleanor Roosevelt, who helped transform the role of the first lady, and Kamala Harris, the first female vice president. We celebrate Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, as well as Amelia Earhart, the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic. The list goes on and on as we think of women who set the stage for us. While it is not wrong to celebrate what these women have done, as Christians, we should not strive for earthly glory, but to give all the glory to God. As 2 Corinthians 10: 17 reads, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” This month, we should celebrate women who exemplify Christ-like characteristics, including Ruth, Esther, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, as well as women like Corrie Ten Boom and Florence Nightingale. These women are not known for the roles they played in politics, neither are they remembered for having set new records, nor for obtaining success by worldly standards; rather, they are known for the ways they lived, for they allowed God to work in them in order to bring glory to Christ.
In the Bible, Ruth was a woman of faith, who stayed with her mother-in-law, determined not to leave her after her sons died. The book of Ruth displays loyalty, but even more than that, it shows how wondrously God works; Ruth was a foreigner and a widow, poor and unprotected. By all earthly standards, Ruth seemed unsuccessful, as she had to resort to begging for leftover barley that had gone unharvested. However, by the end of the Book of Ruth she was redeemed by Boaz, who she married. The article, “The Global Message of Ruth,” tells us that, “because Ruth has taken refuge under the wings of the Lord, Boaz takes her under his wing, redeeming her. . . . Boaz embodies the Lord’s redemption of Ruth in his own redemption of her.” We should celebrate biblical figures such as Ruth, who was used by God to bring about the birth of the Messiah. Ruth was loyal and faithful, and God rewarded her; she did nothing out of the ordinary, but God used her in miraculous ways.
Another biblical figure worth mentioning is Esther. She was chosen to become King Ahasuerus’ wife because of her beauty. However, her beauty was what defined her, nor was it the fact that she became queen. Rather, what set Esther apart was her bravery and faith in the face of danger. The king’s right-hand man, Haman, sought to destroy the Jews, but Esther was determined to save her people, for she also was Jewish. The king did not know she was Jewish, and she could have chosen to keep quiet to preserve her own life. Instead, she acted selflessly to defend the Jewish people; through Esther, God provided deliverance to His chosen people, just as Esther 4: 14 says, “And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” Esther is a woman we should admire as we wrap-up Women’s History Month because she exemplifies what it means to be a godly woman, as her story points us to God’s sovereignty and covenant faithfulness. Rather than using her position in court as self-benefitting or self-glorifying, Esther uses her position to do the Will of God.
A godly woman from a more modern context worthy of discussing during Women’s History Month is Corrie ten Boom. Her story should be celebrated, as she was a woman of great faith who helped hide Jews during the Holocaust. Her family and those they were hiding were found and taken to concentration camps, but she survived and recorded her story in the book The Hiding Place, named for Psalm 119: 114 which reads, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.” Among many other things, Corrie ten Boom shared the Gospel while imprisoned by the Germans; despite undergoing the worst circumstances, she found peace in the Lord. We should admire Corrie ten Boom for her greatness of faith, and should strive to rest in God as she did.
So as this month comes to a close, let’s recognize godly women who humbled themselves to the Lord. For them, it was not about “breaking glass ceilings,” it was about humbly allowing God to work through them. Ruth went on to bear a son, Obed, who became the grandfather of King David; God used Ruth to continue the line of Jesus (Ruth 4: 17). Esther’s story demonstrates that God is at work, and that everything has a purpose. Finally, Corrie ten Boom’s story demonstrates the only permanent thing is the peace found in the Father, and that this peace should be shared with everyone. There are many other godly women worthy of mentioning, perhaps even in your own life. I hope they inspire us to boast in the goodness of God.