At Today's Christian Woman, we work hard to fulfill our mission of helping women attain to the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). We do this by creating articles that help us learn from and with each other how to love God and live out his unique calling and purpose for our life, even in the grit of everyday life. This is one way we help empower women.
And yet, what does it really mean to be empowered? With so much chatter over the years about "girl power" (or should I say, "Grrrl Power"?), it's easy to dismiss the notion of empowering women as a mere cheer from the stands—"Rah rah, go girls!"—or an agenda that seeks to promote girls over boys.
But it's so much more than that.
The fact that we strive to empower women may suggest that women in some way are not powerful. But that isn't true. Women are powerful in profound ways. I saw this most clearly when I went to Africa and met women in Kenya who were determined to bring clean water to their village. They worked on a plan for 10 years before they actually began to see the fruits of their labor. Now that water flows freely in their community, these women dream about finding ways to bring water to their friends and family in neighboring villages.
Closer to home, I see empowered women every day at work, in my community, at my church, and in my family. I see an empowered woman in my neighbor, the single mom who reinvented her life after her husband walked out and left her to raise a daughter on her own. I see an empowered woman in the widow down the block who found her way back to joy after many years of grieving her husband's passing. I see an empowered woman in my 50something sister who decided to return to school to finish her bachelor's degree and go on for her master's so that she could change careers. Wherever women are discovering and utilizing their unique gifts and courageously living the life God has called them to live, even when faced with challenging life circumstances, these are empowered women.
We all know them when we see them.
Running our race
Popular blogger Jen Hatmaker writes about running the race each of us is meant to run. The world never benefits when we shrink back, play small, or give up using our gifts just because we don't receive a paystub for them. Whether you're a school teacher, a stay-at-home mom, or a high-powered professional, each of us has a particular journey.
It's easy to think of being an empowered woman as something flashy or larger than life. In this issue, TCW regular contributor Kelli B. Trujillo recalibrates our assumptions and helps us see how most of us are "Empowered to Be . . . Normal." In 1 Thessalonians 4:11–12, Kelli points out that Paul doesn't urge the people to "go out there and do something radical, exciting, amazing, admirable, gutsy, powerful, and impressive for God! Instead he admonished them: 'Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live.'" It's our normal, everyday work, Kelli says, our daily tasks, our use of our talents and abilities, our effort that brings glory to God.
Suzanne Burden, Carla Sunberg, and Jamie Wright take a look at how God's intention for women originated with his creation of Eve. In creating a "suitable helper" for Adam, Eve became the embodiment of what it means to be an empowered woman. We quickly learn that even strong women are susceptible to sin, but Eve in her original design was God's perfect plan for women. In "Merely a Helper?" our three authors help us revisit Eve in the garden and reclaim the image of God we share with her.
Finally, Sissy Goff, a child and adolescent counselor, offers invaluable insights in "Raising Courageous Daughters." She specifically gives four tips for helping girls find their voice . . . and their confidence.
We hope you find the articles in this issue "empowering." We long to help every woman live out her unique calling in the strength of God: "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" (Ephesians 2:10).
Marian V. Liautaud