I have a deep respect and love for the women in the bible. Every time I read over their stories, whether it is Ruth or Hagar, Mary the Mother of God or Mary Magdalene I see parts of them in my own faith journey.
When I feel like I’m an outsider, I think about Ruth. I think about her determination and her whole hearted trust in God to provide for her and Naomi. I think about Hagar when I feel excluded by other women, I think about when she was expelled into the desert and God protected her and her son.
I think about Mary Magdalene when I cast my thoughts back to my own past, how she became so close to Jesus because of who she is and not let her past define her or hinder her relationship with Jesus. Her own humble love for Jesus is a wonderful thing to witness through the Gospels, how I wish we could see a version of her own Gospel!
I think about Mary, the Mother of God, when I am challenged as a mother. Her steadfast faith through her annunciation and the knowledge of what horror was to come with the crucifixion of her dear Son. Her resilience, her mother’s resilience keeps my patience strong when I am overcome and overrun by my children.
Sharing in the joy of the resurrection today highlights to me the power of women, not only in the bible but those who minister today. Jesus entrusted his first appearance from the tomb to Mary and she was the one to tell the men of the Good News. Mary, a true strong female evangelist, Mary the mother of God another strong tangible witness to the Lord, the woman who grew our saviour.
I find comfort from the biblical women especially when I feel lost and confused, hurt or troubled. On Holy Saturday I sat at the tomb with the women, I found everything challenging. The children were arguing, my endless cold was causing a huge headache and I felt exhausted. As I felt low an image flashed into my mind of what life used to be like when my parents were still together. I would have gone round to their house, my Mum and I would have cooked dinner, my Dad and my husband would be watching some sort of sports and watching the children as they ran around the garden.
Those days are long gone and I had an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. I felt cut off, confused, angry, upset and I realised I felt these things on a day where the disciples would be facing a similar situation after the death of Jesus.
I started to think about the women sitting opposite the tomb watching as the great stone was rolled over the entrance. Were they thinking about the joy they shared with Jesus as he lay lifeless in that tomb. Were they confused and angry about what had happened, and did they feel like they didn’t know what to do next?
Yesterday I sat with them in front of the tomb, and I waited for a space to come where there wasn’t any sadness. We know that Jesus rose again and the women had that hope in their hearts, I imagined they clung onto every word that he had said to them. I found peace reflecting on their faith and slowly I left the grief I felt for the family life I once knew disappear.
Seeing the transformation of life provided by our risen Lord is amazing and witnessing the biblical women’s transformations is such a powerful testimony that leaps from the pages.
I have seen the risen Lord, and he takes me by the hand with my Christian sisters for us to tell the world of his good news. He strengthens our faith when we feel like we are exhausted, he resurrects our lives from the pit, he sits with us where we are, he writes in the sand when people threaten to judge us.
I have seen the Lord, and he is risen today, Alleluia Alleluia.