a shout out

March 8th is International Women’s Day! You may not have known that. It is not a high-profile holiday here in the US, maybe it is where you live.

You may not have planned any extra activities or special menu items for the day. If you forgot to invite your family and friends over for the celebration, that’s OK. I thought we could celebrate here!

shouting-for-joy

Since living almost 20 years in Latin America, I know that you do not need an official reason to have a party. It can always be fiesta time! When I read that March 8th is International Women’s Day, I immediately began to have a party in my heart as I reflected on the amazing women who have been on my life journey with me.

I began thinking about family first… My brave Mom who is battling cancer and just lost her husband but continues on loving me and others. My sisters who have each fought their own personal battles through the years, but are growing and learning and giving sacrificially to others. My daughters who make me so proud as they become thoughtful, generous, sensitive, creative, strong, caring women.

shout Newsbie

I could never list all the special women who have been friends, coaches, mentors, and inspirational examples for me, but as their faces flashed through my mind, I remember life-changing conversations and experiences together, and my soul feels refreshed and ready for any challenge life may bring.

Friends also came to mind… friends from all stages of life and all parts of the globe. How they have brought laughter, adventure, comfort and challenge to my world! We have talked for hours, worked side by side on eternally valued projects, and cried and hugged through pain. I am a better person because of their investment in my life.

Jimmy Jack Kane / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

I thought, too, of the women I have never met, but I have read about them or read their books or blogs. Women leaders and those who have suffered great tragedies. Women who advocate for women to find their place in powerful divine alliance with men for good and change and hope in our world.

And speaking of men, I cannot forget to mention the ones who have believed in me, sponsored me, and always ensured that I found the stairs to the unique platform God designed for me. My incredible husband, Steve, is the first one on this list.

I have written about some of these special people through the years, but I can never do them all justice. Their influence is engraved in my mind, heart, and soul. So this week, I am taking advantage of International Women’s Day to give a shout out to these special ones. I am so grateful for paths that crossed and lives that intersected.

Will you join my fiesta? Who would you like to honor on this International Women’s Day? Name your special people in the comments… I’d love to celebrate with you!

a teenage advocate

Today the world is praying for a teenage advocate. Malala Yousafzai became famous a few years ago when, as an 11-year-old girl, she wrote a diary/blog about her battle to attend school in Taliban controlled Pakistan. She wrote under a pseudonym at first for safety, but became internationally known a few years later when the Taliban fell from power, and she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011. Just two days ago, she was shot in the head by fanatics who do not agree that girls have a right to education and a right to speak out about injustice.

This is a heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, infuriating wrong in our world today. I have not personally experienced anything like this kind of persecution for being a woman, but this is not one isolated case. There is way too much of this degradation, abuse, limitation, and violence against women and girls in our world today. I cannot ignore it.

Neither can I ignore or tolerate the “lesser” injustices of unfair treatment, off-color jokes, disrespect or lack of opportunities for women that I do encounter on a regular basis. I believe that those attitudes and actions reflect an incomplete understanding of the urgent and severe situation for women in the world. Rather than “laugh it off” or excuse it as unintended, culturally accepted, or not-so-bad, I believe that each of these situations is an important opportunity to educate, mobilize, and empower a society to correct the wrong and the sin in our world.

Malala needs our prayers today. We all need God’s help to do what is right. We need to encourage each other in our God-given value and our God-given purpose on the earth for good. May we join together, men and women, to protect our children from harm, educate and develop the talents and gifts He has given us, and work together to fulfill His good purposes in our world today.

What can you do as an advocate today?