To me feminism is not simply a struggle to end male chauvinism or a movement to ensure that women will have equal rights with men; it is a commitment to eradicating the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture on various levels–sex, race, and class, to name a few–and a commitment to reorganizing U.S. society so that the self-development of people can take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion, and material desires.1
As children of God, we are tasked with going out and making disciples for God—to equip, to encourage, to empower believers and nonbelievers alike. As egalitarian Christians, that also means we are dedicated to “eradicating the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture,” as bell hooks put it.
Now, how we are to go about this task is unique to each individual. As Black women, we are called to MISSION wherever we are—in the home, on the job, in the church, in the community. We are called to Motivate, to Inspire, to Set the pace, to provide Safe spaces, to lead and live with Integrity, and to always be Optimistic and Nurturing.
Jeremiah 1:8–10 tells us, “‘Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the LORD. Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, ‘I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.’”
God is letting us know that we never have to be afraid when we are about our Father’s business. He has put his words in our mouths. God’s words are love and truth. God’s words encourage and motivate.
Black women are called to Motivate by going out and spreading the good news. We tell others to be bold and courageous. We tell others to stand on the Word of the Lord and not fear because the Spirit God gave is of power, love, and a sound mind. You have the mind of Christ. A mind that is strong and balanced, forward thinking and focused on God. Black women motivate through love. Black women motivate through courage. Black women motivate through right actions. Black women motivate through strength. Black women motivate through prayer. Black women motivate through the Word of God.
Matthew 5:14–16 tells us, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Black women were designed to Inspire by being someone’s light in their dark places. God says that you are the light of the world on a hill that cannot be hidden. So come out of hiding! Come out of those shy places. Come out of those I don’t speak well places. Come out of those they don’t want to hear what I have to say moments.
God made Black women to shine, to be up front and stand out, to make others believe that they are light, to let others know that they are meant to shine brightly, and to never allow men to dim the light God placed inside of them.
Black woman, you are that spark that someone needs to jumpstart their life to live, their heart to love, their minds to envision, their brains to think, their hands to war, their fingers to fight, their feet to run, and their arms to embrace. You are meant to inspire.
Set the Pace
Isaiah 40:29 tells us, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”
Black woman, in all situations you Set the pace. Everyone follows your lead, and it starts from the moment you give birth—birth to a child, birth to a marriage, birth to a business, company, or organization, birth to a book, birth to your home, and your family.
Desmond Tutu said, “If we are going to see real development in the world then our best investment is WOMEN!” When you are healthy and whole, all around you is healthy and whole. When you are strong, all around you is fearless. When you have a vision, all around you takes flight. When you pray, your whole house is saved.
Provide Safe Spaces
The saying goes, “Behind every good man is a great woman.” I’d like to change that saying to, “Behind every good person, is a great woman.” You are an encourager, and you are strength. When you speak life into that man, that child, or to another sister, that individual feels like they can conquer the world and fear nothing.
Black woman of God, don’t fret, God has also placed people in your midst that will encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing—family, friends, coworkers, even enemies. God has provided those who will encourage you daily, which, inevitably, gives you strength. Aside from all of the people God provides, he has given you the ultimate Encourager, the ultimate Strengthener, the ultimate Comforter. God has given you the Holy Spirit that lives within you.
How does God call Black women to lead and live with Integrity? Listen as we go line by line through Proverbs 31:25–31:
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come” (v. 25). God has imparted strength to you, and you don’t worry about tomorrow because you know that God has already taken care of it.
“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue” (v. 26). God has placed his words in your mouth. What comes out only edifies.
“She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (v. 27). You don’t sit and allow dust to settle on your feet because you know temptations will come. Being dedicated to God requires diligence and focus.
“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (vv. 28–30). You love the Lord your God because he first loved you. God hears your cries and answers your prayers, and you are assured that his Word never returns to him void.
“Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate” (v. 31). Black woman of God, you lead and live with integrity because you are honest, you have strong moral principles, you have moral uprightness, and you are whole and undivided.
Isaiah 40:31 tells us that “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
God gives Black women the map to Optimism: hope in God, and your strength will be renewed, you will soar, you will run, and you will not faint. Do you know the definition of optimistic? It means hopeful and confident about the future.
Our Father in Heaven is telling you that because you have him, at no point in your life on earth will you fall prey to pessimism. Anytime you feel weakened in your body, in your mind, in your spirit, focus on the Lord, the One who is your hope.
Galatians 6:1–2 says this, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
Black woman, you are called to Nurture the spirit and the soul with the Word of God and the love of Christ. Ron Libby defines nurture as, “The activity of caring for others and nourishing them in the life of faith.”
Nelson Mandela said, “Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression… Our endeavors must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child.” Black woman, liberation and emancipation mean you are to care for and encourage the growth and development of others. You are the caretaker of someone’s soul, someone’s faith walk, and someone’s maturity and growth in Christ. Scripture also admonishes to make sure and nurture yourself, being careful not to be tempted to the wrong things. You must nurture yourself and others through the Word of God and the love of God.
Black woman, God calls you to MISSION because he dwells within you. You are a living well, able to pour out to God’s people all that they need. You are a living well, able to pour out love even to those who may seem to be unlovable. You are a living well, able to uplift, encourage, and push someone to greatness because you were created to Motivate, Inspire, Set the pace, provide Safe spaces, live and lead with Integrity, and always be Optimistic and Nurturing.
Black woman, that’s your MISSION.
Photo by DISRUPTIVO on Unsplash.
- bell hooks, Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism (London: Pluto Press, 1982), 194–195.
Who Is Pulling Your Strings? Wisdom for Women Clergy and Leaders
Defy the Status Quo With Me: A Letter from Your Fellow Nonconformist