new days are dawning: international women's day 2018

I am sitting here in my living room watching the sun come up in beautiful Arvada, Colorado.  The skies here are so pretty. After over 20 years of living in Denver I still have so many days where the sunrises and sunsets make me say out loud, “God, that is beautiful.”

I am reflecting on International Women’s Day today–March 8th–the day where we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. I have heard rumblings over the years of “Why should women have a day?”, “Where’s Men’s Day?”, “I”m tired of those angry feminists.”  It used to bug me. Now I just laugh.

Seriously, that’s your response?

Throughout history the world has been bent against women. For the most part, patriarchy has pervaded most every system. Generation upon generation upon generations of women have been finding ways to work toward making all-that-wrong right in so many beautiful, brave, creative, and vulnerable ways.

The odds against us are strong, yet the rising, the resilience, the no-we-will-not-go-back-because-too-much-is-at-stake-for-all-of-us, is stronger.

It is beautiful to see, sunrises all over the place that signal not just another day but the ongoing dawning of a new era in history. 

Women and girls all over the world using their voice and gifts and talents and passions in ways that are truly changing the world.

Women in the church beginning to finally leave systems and have utterly and completely failed them and plant new trees that bear the fruit of equality and freedom and are a healthy reflection of the kingdom of God in their communities.

Women and girls accessing education that puts them at tables they deserve to sit at and with resources they will use wisely in all kinds of empowering ways.

Women sharing their honest, brutal, and pervasive stories of sexism, abuse, and discrimination at the hands of male leaders and discovering they are in a sea of #metoos that can thankfully never be turned back.

Women leading, advocating, transforming, rebuilding, healing, restoring, creating, re-imagining, moving, shaking, disrupting the status quo that desperately needs disrupting.

Women setting themselves free, working to shed the bonds of “I’m too much” or “I’m not enoughs” that choke off life and possibility.

This morning, the thing that comes to mind when I think of all the women I know in real life and through stories from around the world is “God, it is so beautiful.”

But while it’s my sincere hope for our future, we’re not yet in a place where equality and freedom are normal like the rising and setting of the sun. 

We’ve come a long way but we have a long, long way to go, too.

This is where we need each other more than ever.

Equality isn’t just good for women; it’s good for everyone–men, women, non-binary. 

And equality is a verb.

I have much respect for my soul brothers in real life and around the world who get this; men who are no longer in denial about the inequality of women and are willing to do whatever they can to shift power, make space at tables, invite, respect, be quiet and listen, advocate for change, support, encourage, empower other women. Men who weep with us and rejoice with us. Men who know that the time for inequality and discrimination is up and are wiling to stand alongside us to cultivate a new way of moving together in the world.

I love the movement that the LGBQT+ community has embodied in the struggle for equality; the courage, the strength, the perseverance despite so many obstacles. They are some of our best teachers.

And my heart bursts with pride at the brave women and girls that I know who are embodying a different way of moving in the world despite so many obstacles. Using their voice, standing their ground, making a new way, forging a new path, cultivating healing, getting educated, helping others get educated, empowering everyone in their path, creating organizations and movements and groups and possibilities for change, rocking the boat, inclusion, rising out of the ashes of painful stories, fostering inclusion, embodying resilience.

Seriously, women rock.

I proudly celebrate International Women’s Day from Colorado today.

New days are dawning.

May we all–men and women together–continue to advocate for the liberation of all women.

May we refuse to settle.

May we each make real and much-needed sacrifices to support at least one girl or woman to move forward to something good and new.

May we follow women’s leadership to take us to new places we need to go.

May we bravely continue to educate, agitate, advocate.

May we celebrate every little bit of movement that’s made.

May we build each other up and cheer each other on.

May we remember that our freedom is all tied up together, and none of us are free unless we are all free.

May new days keep dawning, where we look around at what’s happening with women and girls in our lives and say “God, that is so beautiful.”

With you, Kathy

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ps: I’ve got a post up this week at SheLoves Magazine that fits with this day as well–Backs Straight, Heads Lifted. Here’s to more of that!

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

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