The Words of Women

words of women

“The church is crippled when we don’t listen to such a critical part of God’s body.”

Not long ago, a publisher asked me to contribute to a Bible study series tentatively titled God Hears Her. I thought, If God hears women, then that would certainly compel men to listen to and read more about the testimonies, wisdom and truth that comes from the mouths of women

Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Throughout the world, women are continually marginalized, denied education, violently assaulted, verbally and emotionally abused, stripped of wealth and forced into marriages. Prevailing patriarchy is the norm that keeps the voices of women silent in corporate boardrooms, academic classrooms and, unfortunately, even the church. But our just and loving God is not ignorant of these schemes. God hears women. 

Listen Well.

When the barren Hannah begged for a child at the altar, God heard and answered her prayer. When the enslaved woman, Hagar, cried out, God heard her and provided for her child. When Mary pondered the messianic prophecy in her heart, God heard her internal wrestling. Lest we think God’s communion with women is restricted to their child-rearing, when Mary’s son was fully formed and operated in his Messianic calling, his disciples were astonished that he listened to the heart and spoke with a Samaritan woman. 

Jesus is a lover and friend of women. If there is any hope for our collective proclamation as the body of Christ, it must include the words of women. For both the prophet Joel (Joel 2:28–29) and the apostle Peter (Acts 2:17) proclaim that God’s own Spirit would be poured out in the last days, and the prophetic word would include the tongues of women.  

Leaders Are Readers.

As the end of the first quarter of the year draws near, allow me to offer a spiritual challenge. I am inviting you to get in step with God, who listens to and receives the prophetic words of women. 

I love reading. In recent years, I have challenged myself to read more broadly. Concerning my faith, this stretching has included intentionally seeking out Indigenous and Hispanic  authors, preachers, justice advocates and theologians. I do this because I need them. I have read lots of theology through a white and male-dominated lens. I have learned from Asian American Christians, and I grew up surrounded by Black people who attended Black churches in the South. Therefore, I have some context for those people groups and their communities.

“The church is crippled when we don’t listen to such a critical part of God’s body.”

From Outreach Magazine  6 Characteristics of Disciple-Making Churches

My Indigenous and Hispanic sisters and brothers are made in God’s image, and they are a part of the body too. That’s why I have sought them out, for without them we cannot collectively be the universal church of all tribes, languages, nations and people groups. In the same way, the church is crippled when we do not listen to such a critical part of God’s body, his women. 

As an act of humility and spiritual formation, I invite you to consider reading more writings of and hearing more voices from women this year. Seek out their Bible studies, books and podcasts; read their articles and essays. Like Jeremiah (9:17–19), listen to their prayers and cries of lament. Read and listen to women of different tribes, languages, nations and people groups. What might God birth in you as a result of this practice?    

Read more from Natasha Sistrunk Robinson »