The Strength of A Woman
Many of us were privileged this week to witness history being made, as America’s first woman Vice President was sworn in, and the eloquent poetry of a strong young woman rang out over the mall in our nation’s capital. In light of this exciting time in the world, when we are seeing women break centuries-old barriers, and hearing the voices of young women no longer stifled or silenced – I began to reflect on the impact women have had on our work at Lydia House. Yes, our work is focused on the empowerment and liberation of women and girls; but were it not for the overwhelming and impressive support of other women, our work would not even be possible.
Almost 90% of our support base is made up of women and women-owned businesses and non-profits. I am most moved by this because women who support us tell me they see themselves in the girls we are trying to serve. They remember when they were young girls with dreams and hopes; and many of them remember painfully how difficult it was for them to overcome the prejudice, exclusion, and ignorance that threatened those dreams. Their contribution to Lydia House represents for them the redemption of these frustrations.
If the world could become a place where women and girls have the power to be heard and to succeed, it will be a victory for us all, no matter our past experiences.
Last year, I had the privilege of befriending a wonderfully brave Liberian-American lady. She moved here during difficult times in Liberia and is a mother and grandmother now. She told me that when she first looked through our website, she felt that she was “reliving” her childhood as a young girl in Liberia.
She said to me: “I can relate to everything written about those girls, because I was once like them: hungry, in poverty, ignorant, and helpless. I can testify to walking home more than 4 hours when school was out, or studying under the moonlight at night to do homework. Just as the Lord came out for me and extended mercy, He will do the same through Lydia House. While I revisited my childhood, I also revisited the hands of God being at work over my circumstances. In the end I overcame! God will become the Overcomer by His abundant mercy toward this rising star for the kingdom of God to reproduce future godly leaders on that continent.”
This week, I received a small donation in the mail from her. With it was this note:
“Our Liberian parable goes this way: ‘The tortoise wants to box, but the arms are short.’ In a similar way, can you accept this penny in your offering as a widow’s mite?”
What an incredible testimony to the work of God in her life, and to her own commitment to see a new generation of young women in Liberia raised up – and given the opportunities she did not have!
Even though most of us did not grow up in Liberia or in this type of environment, we all feel connected to the work of empowering these young women because we know what it is to have dreams that seem impossible. Despite the difficulties of our current times, we can never forget those who need our support – even if it is just enough to allow them to stand on their own. We may be blessed enough to see our own disappointments and challenges redeemed through the empowerment of those coming after us, if only we can help clear the way for them. With the power of God to overcome, and with each other for support, our arms will never be too short to do the work before us.