Romans 16:12 “Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord. Greet my dear friend Persis, another woman who has worked very hard in the Lord.”
We have come a long way from the thoughts for a women’s place being in the kitchen only. Well at least for the majority of people in the developed world. As women, we can be anything we want to be today. We can work outside the home or we can work in the home and raise our children. We are no longer constrained by someone’s ideas of what jobs we should hold. Jesus and His disciples had women as part of their ministry teams and understood their roles could also be outside the home. I picked to be a career women and was blessed to be able to get a college degree. In fact, I was the first in my family to get a degree. That fact made it extra special. I also admire women who make the choice to be a stay home mom. Sometimes I think I picked the easier route compared to a stay home mom.
My mom did not have as many options as I did growing up. As a young girl in Northern Ireland, my mom’s family did not have enough money for a college education for any of their children. Since she would not be going on to college, mom finished school in the 8th grade. Her mother, my grandmother, then set out to find her an apprenticeship. So at the tender age of 14, my mom would go into Belfast City center to work as a seamstress apprentice each and every day. Mom continued working until she found out she was expecting her first child. She became a stay home mom at that point in her life. Mom enjoyed a good life and I do not think she had any regrets.
Many women in the rest of the developing world as not nearly as lucky as my mom or myself. In our mission work, we have learned about the struggles of women. In many countries, women are property. Such women are owned by their husbands and the courts give them no legal rights. We first learned about such women’s struggles during our work in Kenya. A Kenyan women must have her husband’s written permission to have a bank account. Most Kenyan men would not allow their wives to have an account so they do not ever get one. We also learned that if a husband dies, any brothers he might have are entitled to inherit the brother’s widow. The widow gets no say in the matter and she becomes property of the surviving brother now. The brother can do anything he wants with her. In other situations with widows, we learned that if the husband dies but there are no brothers, the family of the deceased man will come and throw the widow out of the home and take over the home because she has no legal claim to it. It is so hard for us in the west to begin to imagine such a way of life.
The rights of women are not just an issue in Africa. We see similar problems in Nepal. If a women is married with children and her husband dies, she has many impossible decisions to make. If she would remarry, her new husband would not accept her children and she would have to abandon them to the streets. Our orphanage has gotten several children because of these type of situations. The other big issues for girls in Nepal is that their family might sell them off to a brothel or into an arrange marriage to a very old man for the monetary gains. Either way, that young girl, sometimes as young as 10, will now have a horrible life that is unimaginable to us.
I share these stories not to sadden you. I share them in hope that it will help all of us to understand how blessed we are to live in a developed nation. I also hope that it will encourage you to pray for women in other countries. God has called me to work with orphans but so many times I struggle with all the issues we see with women in these countries. My heart aches for what they must endure. I feel helpless. But I serve a God that can do all things. Jesus tells us that we’re 2 or 3 people come together in prayer, Jesus will be there too. If we all commit to pray for women around the world, God can and will help these women. Please join me in remembering them before our Lord.
May the Lord Bless you and keep.
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”