Hey family! It is Women’s History in case you didn’t know and if you’re not a woman…you probably didn’t know. I have some favorite women in history who have done some amazing things and/or are survivors. They are the unsung heroes of this “gender war” so I wanted to salute them. Some stories will make you smile, some not so much but either way you may be able to see yourself in some of these sheroes.
Leah–The Homely Wife
If you’ve spent some time in the church, you know the story of Jacob and Rachel. Jacob loved Rachel and he wanted her so bad that he worked, for free, for 14 years just so he could have sex with her. Of course that would mean consummation so they would be married. For real, I don’t know about working that long but do what you gotta do Jacob. The original deal was actually 7 years, but Rachel’s dad had a trick up his sleeve: Jacob had to marry the older sister Leah first. She had a lazy eye so you know Jacob wasn’t bout that life. In his haste to get it on, Jacob accidentally consummated with Leah and so they were married. See while we talk about Rachel and the only child she was able to give birth to, Joseph, Leah gave birth to Israel. Her husband despised her mainly because he was forced to marry her and all Leah ever wanted was to be appreciated. She thought all of her sons would give her joy, but alas, no such luck. Leah woke one morning after giving birth to Judah and said “I’m not even worried about this man anymore. As long as I have God, I’ll be alright.” Her faith led to the birth of Jesus. How you like me now!!?? Leah said that 🙂
Tamar–She Said No
Tamar, one of the daughters of David, is only mentioned in one of the most horrific incidents. Men have been raping women and treating them like property for some time. Even being the king’s daughter, there was no justice. But not only should she be recognized as a woman of honor, her pain should not go unmentioned. Her brother, Amnon, chose not to do right by her even though she begged and pleaded to his logic. Amnon full of rage and uncontrollable desire decided to take what did not belong to him. Even after this tragedy, Tamar bravely offered to be his wife as to not live the life of a tarnished woman. Oh the patriarchy! Amnon and his mental illness turned down her offer. Tamar is a testament to all that have suffered sexual assault and rape. Strength and courage are not sufficient to describe what it may take to continue living after such an incident.
Khadijah–The Pure One
In any conversation I’ve had with a Muslim, they always mention Aisha, the second wife of Muhammad. Let me see if you can connect the dots ;). For this reason I believed that Aisha was the favored wife and most loved. However, when I did more research on Islam, I discovered she wasn’t the most favored…just the youngest. Khadijah defined independence and confidence. After being a widow twice, she decided to focus on her profitable business and raise her kids. Then Muhammad stepped on the scene. He was a man of honesty and integrity plus he helped Khadijah’s business grow. She noticed and rightfully asked for his hand in marriage. Yes, that is correct…she proposed. You can read more of the story for yourself but she handled herself in the marriage and as a business owner…multi everything! She is forever known as the Mother of Islam. She certainly picked the right man too.
She is the first woman actually recorded saying “Who gon check me, boo?!” *side eye*. The only female judge of the Israelites and people had no problem bowing down to her commands. When she said jump, they did. The Israelites were an unruly bunch (that’s what it saaayyys) so they were in need of some guidance. She is remembered for defeating Sisera, a powerful enemy of the Israelites. She told Barak that the Lord wanted him to go down to Mount Tabor to wage battle against Sisera. He said he wasn’t going without her. I think every woman dreams of being that person to their family and community. If we aren’t with it, they aren’t doing it. Deborah was revered so much they wrote a song about her after she died at the tender age of 75. Strong woman of character.
Look, anything you want to know about getting in good with the family and seizing the man of your dreams, Ruth can teach you. People normally talk about her choosing to stay with her dead husband’s mother and this was a sign of her faith. Personally, I think she was just savvy. A newly single woman wandering these desert streets…I don’t see any good coming from that. Her mother-in-law taught her well when it came to getting her Boaz and she followed her instructions well. Ruth had her flirting game on point in that field. She was not shy although I do think she was a woman coming into her own. Now I know she seems very different from these independent women I have mentioned, but there is nothing wrong with submission especially to a man who commands that respect. Basically Boaz made it clear he would take care of her and made sure not a single man would even think to do anything to her. A man who will protect and honor her? Yeah, Ruth knew what she was doing. When she snuck in bed with him though…man, listen. The key is EVERY man doesn’t warrant such respect or submission…this ain’t for the fearful and insecure.
Nana Akua Kyerewaa Opokuwaa
It isn’t often that traditional African religions are mentioned in religious discussions. The rituals and practices of these religions however still exist within the black community. It looks different but our worship of God is still similar. Nana Akua is an Okomfo in the Akan tradition from Ghana. I recently started reading her book about the basics of Akan religion and the spirit of a people that live a life completely connected to God is palpable. She is one of the first Okomfo to introduce Akan to African Americans. I’ve gone to Akom (church) a few times and one of the things I liked the most was that there was no preaching. There was no one person telling you how to connect with God or what God says; everyone was listening to the drums and following the spirit on their own accord. I like a good sermon as much as anybody, but there are times when the stillness and focus on God are so necessary in church.
In the tradition of all these women Ase, Insha’Allah, and Amen! Happy Women’s History Month!