Women Of Faith
Joan of Arc
The tyrant dies and his rule ends, the martyr dies and his rule begins.
I saw a post not long ago on Facebook from a female acquaintance who was encountering objection within her own family unit about her decision to preach God’s word. Now admittedly, her family were staunch Pentecostalists. However, I still found myself flabbergasted, to say the least, that there is still this type of bias discrimination to be found in this, the 21st century. Now perhaps I would have been less surprised if this woman lived in the Middle East where women are viewed as second class citizens to this day. But then I began to remember something else. Not long ago, a man was criticizing me for a stand I made in a very controversial situation, even going so far as to tell me that I should have consulted with him or my husband first, as they most certainly would have known best what I should be saying and doing. Now anyone that has read my posts here for the last year and a half knows perfectly well that I answer only to me and my own moral compass for what I say and do, nor have I ever deferred to any male for choosing the path I will follow as relates to my faith and how I express it. My husband is well aware of this. As a matter of fact, that is something he especially admires about my character. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as I am.
Throughout history women have been martyred for refusing to renounce, indeed choosing to espouse, their Christian beliefs. Feliciitatis, a Roman woman was beheaded with the same sword that slew her 3 youngest sons. Blandina was placed on a board with others as food for wild animals but her prayers prevented her death. Tortured publicly a second time, she finally died by sword. Denisa was beheaded at 16. Cecilia was scalded and then beheaded. Felicitas and Perpetua were stripped and put in with a wild bull before being beheaded. And, of course, one of the most famous female Christian martyrs, Joan of Arc, was burned at the stake after actually being found innocent during a trial. She cited martyred Saints Catharine and Margaret as her inspiration for her mission. Even in the last 30 years, Christian women have been, and continued to be, martyred for their faith. Remember the four Roman Catholic nuns, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, Ita Ford and Dorothy Kazel, who journeyed to war-torn El Salvador to help the poor and who, in March 1980, were kidnapped, raped and murdered by a Salvadoran Death Squad? Another modern-day Missionary, Gracia Burnham who, with her husband, was kidnapped in the Philippines, was made to suffer horrendous indignities at the hands of her Muslim abductors, and while she did not die, her husband did during attempts to free them on June 7th, 2002.
History is rife with stories of women who have held fast to their faith and who have dared to not just share His word with others but who openly and aggressively share and minister in His name. And as long as we, the people who inhabit such a very tiny piece of this universe, continue in refusing to recognize not just the value of other faiths but the value of all who express those beliefs as well, men and women will continue to suffer for the faith they hold, both within and without. And so to my friend who was made to feel as if her God filled heart was somehow unworthy because she was female, I say, you go girl! Preach! Praise Him with every fiber of your being! Because your reward for doing this will be great, even if it does not happen in this life but instead, happens in the next!
Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, Ita Ford and Dorothy Kazel
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
Romans 8: 31-35 ESV
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