Giving Thanks For Women of Faith
Strength, fortitude, intelligence, bravery, talent, kindness and faith. These are just a sample of the qualities of the women of faith I have been blessed to know and to be nurtured and challenged by. This Mother’s Day, like many of us during this time, I will have to settle for a zoom and a virtual hug with some of the women of faith in my life. Perhaps your mother, grandmother, wife, aunt, sister, a teacher, neighbor, or friend is/was a woman of faith for you?
To prepare for this devotion I went through scripture to read up on some of the Women of the Bible. So, if I asked you to list the women in the Bible how many could you list? What do you know about them? Unfortunately, it might not be too long. Until not that long ago, there was a sad scarcity of curriculum or biblical studies lifting up these important women. There are also a number of important women in the Bible who inspire, not only because of how they lived but also because of their rock-solid faith, even in some of the toughest of circumstances.
Too often, women’s stories have taken second place to the interests and needs of male Biblical writers and leaders in Christian churches, but this didn’t mean their stories weren’t important. The women in the Bible were fearless when it came to facing hard situations. They are confident in who they are and what they believe, and in their example of fearlessness, they encourage others to be courageous and make a difference.
Perhaps you listed Sarah? She was Abraham’s wife, and she bore a child late in life, because she believed God to be faithful to the promises God made.
Maybe you listed Ruth? She was a Moabite woman who showed loyalty to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and her God. Her character and faith in God brought her many blessings, including being listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
You could have listed Hannah, who desperately prayed for a son and promised that she would dedicate his life to God. When God came through, she kept her word: She left her son Samuel to be raised in the temple. Hannah’s faithfulness never faltered.
Deborah might have made your list. She is the only female judge mentioned in the Bible. Deborah is known for being a compassionate leader (of which there weren’t many in Biblical times).
One can find Queen Esther who showed great courage by telling the Persian king about a plan to assassinate him, and later, a plan to have all the Jews in Persia killed. With the power of prayer and bravery, she saved her people.
Where on your list was the prophetess Miriam? She was Moses’ older sister, and she helped save him as a baby. Their mother left him in a basket to protect him from being killed by Pharaoh, and when Pharaoh’s daughter found him and took pity on him, Miriam offered up their mother to nurse him so they could stay together.
Did you remember Lydia? Lydia was one of the first converts to Christianity. She is described as a worshiper of God and a businesswoman with a family. God opened her heart, and she and her entire household were baptized. She then opened her house to Paul and his companions, offering hospitality to the missionaries.
Would I find Phoebe on your list? Phoebe was a deacon who served with the elders of the church. She supported Paul and many others in the work of the Lord.
Scripture records a number of other women who had faith, for example, Naomi, Jael, Mary Magdalene, Anna, Priscilla, Eunice and Lois. I know, I didn’t include Mary Mother of Jesus. Truly I figured that was a “gimme.”
The following are shared characteristics in their stories:
- A woman of faith has a relationship with God.
- A woman of faith has a belief in God’s words.
- A woman of faith has hope in the future.
It’s important to remember and learn from these faithful women. By studying these stories of faithful women mentioned in the Bible, we can learn what it takes to become such a woman.
At Holy Trinity Lutheran, we have our kids pass out flowers to
our women of faith. ALL AGES!!
At the close of that wonderful ritual we say the litany below. I encourage you to spend some time on Sunday, or any day really, remembering and thanking the important women of faith in your life.
A BLESSING FOR ALL WOMEN WHO NURTURE
L: Gracious God, in love you have given us the gift of mothers and those women who nurture.
All: Grant to each of them your power and grace.
L: Strengthen them in their loving with tenderness and understanding, with compassion and joy.
All: Endow them with wisdom and knowledge so that they might teach all children how to live and love;
L: How to seek and pursue that which is right and true;
All: How to turn away from all that is hurtful and wrong.
L: Deepen their own faith so that they might instill in all a love for you that will sustain and keep them their whole life long.
All: We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.