Happy International Women’s Day! And Happy Women’s History Month! To celebrate, let’s check out Hannah Duggan’s post, “5 Women Who Changed The Game.” I’ve been using her book, Just Us Girls: A Bible Study on Being God’s Girl in Middle School this year for daily devotions with Z. From the post:
Friends, Women’s History Month is upon us…and y’know what that means…*cracks knuckles* …I’m gonna write about inspiring women are until I can’t talk words.
Time would fail me to speak of Charlotte Brontë and Jane Austen who brought the female experience to the pages of literature; of Corrie Ten Boom and Etta Shiber and Maria Ziefle, who defiantly faced the Nazis; of Sojourner Truth and Harriett Tubman, who escaped slavery and spent the remainder of their lives fighting for abolition and women’s suffrage.
So today, I will simply introduce you to five women, who changed the
game in realms of creativity, mission, leadership, justice, and courage.
“From star to star
the mental optics rove,
Measure the skies,
and range the realms above.
There in one view
we grasp the mighty whole,
Or with new worlds
amaze th’ unbounded soul.”― Phillis Wheatley,On Imagination, 1773
I was eight-years-old, when I found Phillis Wheatley’s picture in my history book. As a young writer myself, I was instantly obsessed.
Phillis Wheatley was trafficked from her native Senegal/Gambia at the age of seven and sold into slavery in Boston, MA in 1760. Even from a young age, it was clear that this girl was brilliant.
Phillis’ poems were snapshots of the War for Independence, the First Great Awakening, and her own experience as an enslaved person in a nation who claimed to be hell-bent on freedom. Wheatley’s poetry uniquely observes the ability of God to repurpose suffering for her good and glory, while not giving slavery an inch:
“…for in every human Breast, God has implanted a Principle, which we call Love of freedom; it is impatient of Oppression, and pants for Deliverance; and by the Leave of our modern Egyptians I will assert that the same Principle lives in us.”Letter to Samuel Occom, 1774
Phillis became a free woman in 1775, but died in illness and poverty just nine years later, at the age of 31. Having suffered the effects of racism and injustice in her life and her death, Phillis’s voice haunts and guides American history, as one of its earliest artists.
Reverend Li Tim-Oi
“God, would you like to send me?”― Rev. Florence Li Tim Oi, 1931
There were many emotions surrounding the birth of girls in 1907 China (ranging from disappointment to infanticide). But when Li Tim-Oi was born, her father called her “Much Beloved.”
Li Tim-Oi enrolled to study theology in Canton and was ordained as a deacon in 1941. With China in the throes of World War II, Tim-Oi was trapped in occupied territory. Here, there was no priest to pastor the congregations. For 3 years, Li Tim-Oi lead the people without the title. January 25, 1944, her bishop, R O Hall, asked her to meet him in Free China, where he ordained her, “a priest in the church of God.”
In 1946, following the war, controversy arose surrounding Li Tim-Oi’s ministry and title. Uninterested in religious politics, she surrendered her priest license and got back to work. She served in persecuted Maoist China for 30 years, praying in secret. One of her fondest projects was a maternity home where she ensured that newborn girls would receive a chance at life.
In 1984, 40 years after her bishop recognized her calling, Li Tim-Oi was officially recognized as a priest in the Anglican denomination. Li Tim-Oi challenged the ideas of female calling, spiritual gifts, and priesthood simply by being obedient to Jesus. Today, the Li Tim-Oi foundation continues to train women in theology and practical ministry throughout the world.
Read the whole post here.
- If you have Amazon Prime, you can borrow some of Hannah Duggan’s books for no extra charge or buy others at a discount.
- Learn about the history of International Women’s Day.
- One hundred ten years ago- in March 1913- women marched en masse on Washington, D.C. This included Black women, who had to fight against sexism AND racism: