“Truth is, Women are the Unsung Heroes of This World.”
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, I reflect on the role women have played in my own spiritual formation. By and large, women have been the agents of grace in my life teaching me how to live, grow, stand tall, pray, take God at his Word, worship, praise, and, perhaps most importantly, laugh out loud.
Moses, who led the children of Israel out of Egypt was also influenced by women. In fact, the Exodus story began with two women rescuers: the Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah. When Pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill all the Hebrew boys, they refused. They rejected the murderous plan of the empire because they feared God more than the king (Exodus 1:15-21).
It was a significant risk to defy Pharaoh, and by doing so, these women saved vulnerable lives while looking death, danger, and darkness in the face. That was the first time women saved Moses’ life.
Next, Pharaoh ordered that all the Hebrew infant boys be thrown into the Nile while the girls would be spared (Exodus 1:22). The Nile River was a symbol of life to the Egyptians, but it offered a grave reminder to the Hebrews that their boys had no right to live. This genocide plot caused Moses’ mother to spring into action to save her son’s life.
Then Pharaoh’s daughter rescued Moses when she drew him out of the water. When she opened the basket, she immediately noticed that it was a Hebrew baby—but she did not mention that he was a boy.
Perhaps before Pharaoh’s daughter even saw the baby’s gender, Miriam jumped in to ask, “Should I go and find one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” she asked.
“Yes, do!” the princess replied. So the girl went and called the baby’s mother. “Take this baby and nurse him for me,” the princess told the baby’s mother. “I will pay you for your help.” So the woman took her baby home and nursed him (Exodus 2:7-9)
So baby Moses’ life was thrice saved from death: by the wisdom and courage of the midwives, by his mother’s plan, and by Pharaoh’s daughter’s compassion.
Without the leadership and obedience of the women in his life, God’s plan for Moses would have been aborted. God’s grace was consistently revealed in Moses’ life through the presence of wise, faithful, and risk-taking women.When I think about my own life and how I have become a leader, it is impossible to separate my story from the women who have shaped me. Like Moses, my life has been saved by the sacrifices, contributions, and faithful obedience of women.
But the strong female influences in my early life were not due to the absence of faithful black men in my community. There were simply more women in my biological family. This is how women have consistently showed up to save my life, and I don’t know where I would be without them.
And women are the unsung heroes of Moses’ story. These women were leaders who served as God’s grace and protection for Moses to ensure that he would rise as a leader among his people to fulfil the purpose God had for his life.
God’s saving grace to all of us is often revealed through the bosoms, the hands, the teaching, the correction, the unconditional love, the sacrifices, the laughter, the truth telling and the risks of faithful women.
We must not forget to regularly acknowledge their leadership and thank God for them.
*For further reflection, listen to Exodus 1.
- Exodus 1
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Adapted from “A Sojourner’s Truth” by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson. Copyright (c) 2018 by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson.