It’s easy to stand with people when what they’re doing/talking about makes people feel good or affirms what is a popular belief/tradition. But, it’s much harder to find people willing to stand with you when what you’re doing is shaking the boat, casting light into darkness, and talking out what the world has labeled as shameful or should be kept secret (abuse, the sex industry (porn, stripping, prostitution, etc) pornography, sex outside of marriage, miscarriages, bad choices, sin, jail time, addictions, etc).
I have lost quite a few friends this past year, people I thought I could count on have “distanced” themselves so people don’t think they agree with me about women’s issues, abuse, and women in ministry…it has been hard, it has been heartbreaking, it has been emotional. But, someone told me recently that things are going to get better for so many people because the “justice generation” is rising up.
I am proud to be part of this group – the “Justice Generation”. I am proud to be one who fights, speaks out, and stands with the abused, the marginalized, the oppressed. I am proud to help abused women find their voices, a safe place to share. I am proud to be trusted with so many women’s stories. I am proud to be half Hispanic and be a voice for women of color – even though I tend to listen more than talk because I was not raised in the Hispanic culture. I am proud to run a ministry that advocates for the freedom of women, that shares information that will bring freedom and life to men and women stuck under patriarchal churches/marriages (yes, patriarchy hurts men, not just women). I am not proud of the abuse I endured in my past but I sure as heck am going to use it for God’s glory. I don’t want to waste years of abuse by being silent or acting like it didn’t happen. I am proud to be one who feels God’s compassion and mercy and uses it to advocate for “the least of these”. I am proud to be part of the “justice generation”. I am proud to walk with some incredible men and women speaking out, raising awareness, and working to make the world a more safe place for every person (regardless of race, gender, sexuality, social status, etc).
Today, I am choosing to be brave, to speak out, and continue listening to others’ stories. I choose to empathize with the hurting, to listen to women stuck in abuse, to encourage women in their calls to be pastors, leaders, business owners, stay at home moms, missionaries, etc. I choose to share my story and let God use it to bring freedom to men and women. I choose to listen and learn so I can better serve people. I choose to continue following Holy Spirit’s guidance as I walk this out. It is hard. It is emotionally draining some days. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. But, it is also the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I have never felt more secure in who God has called me to be and do.
Ezer Rising was created as a place for people to come and share, learn, be challenged, raise awareness, discuss, and find hope. It was created to be a place to discuss some of the things we don’t hear talked about in church settings. It was created to encourage women to find their voices, to show them that God values them as much as His sons. It was created to help people understand that just because you don’t see abuse/oppression/injustice or know anyone going through it doesn’t mean these things aren’t happening to thousands of women across the country and around the world. I will not accept the excuse, “well, compared to women in Africa/Pakistan, American women have it good and we should just be grateful”. What?! American women should just settle for less than the best because other women have it worse? No. To read more about why I hate that phrase click here.
I believe in God’s daughters. I believe in equality for all people. I believe in the power of God to break chains of bondage and bring freedom to women, marriages, victims of abuse and oppression, to create a home for the marginalized. I am so passionate about this and I believe God is too. You don’t have to be! You get to be passionate about what God has called you to – and I will celebrate that with you! I am created for this – to breathe hope, identity, life, joy, and encouragement into worn out, abused, oppressed women. I am proud to be part of this Christians for Justice movement. We cry out for justice for the unborn, wear tape across our mouths, and stand on court steps…why shouldn’t we do the same for victims of abuse, patriarchy, church abuse, silenced women, etc?
Today, I choose to be brave. I choose to follow Christ’s example of affirming women, challenging religious/cultural mindsets about women, and bringing hope and freedom to people.