rising together again & again

Today is International Women’s Day 2019. I didn’t have time to write something new but I made some tweaks to this one from a few years ago.

We rise together.

Today I’m always reminded how grateful I am for the strong, amazing, beautiful, vulnerable, wise, compassionate, humble, tenacious, resilient, courageous women I know. I’m also thankful for the men in my life who value women in tangible ways, give away power, cultivate equality and honor women in ways that restore dignity and health to the world.

We do need each other.

Women are strong. Women are resilient. Women are brave. Women have been nurturing hope, cultivating community, tending to children, binding up wounds, blazing trails, changing minds, pioneering new adventures, breaking glass ceilings, falling down and getting back up since the beginning of time.

So many have gone before us.

The paths they forged for equal rights have made our road less bumpy. The example they set for possibilities for change have inspired us. Their courage broke down walls and opened seats in the front of the bus.

Today, I thank those mothers of justice and mercy and freedom who birthed something new, generation after generation, always believing in what could be and making sacrifices on others’ behalf to help us move forward.

And now here we are in 2019. Women have come a long way thanks to those who have gone before us, but we also have a long way to go.

There are many who will come after us who need our leadership and hope.

The women who will come after us need us to rise against inequality and injustice and division and hate. They need us to ensure the progress we have made in our world is not stripped away in a crazy concoction of politics, privilege and power and the backlash that happens when patriarchy feels threatened.

I live in the United States, and we are in a very troubled time in our history. White male power still runs our government and the most vulnerable—women, children, people of color, the disabled, refugees and immigrants—are deeply at risk. There’s a move to dismantle rights that were hard won. Yet, because women continue to rise despite the obstacles, 2018 produced the highest number of females in US congress in history and hopefully the tilt will continue to grow.

In the words of the late Maya Angelou (watch this video!), “but still, like dust, we’ll rise.”

For 2019 International Women’s Day, here’s what I hope and pray we continue to do this year: Keep rising.

We rise because we must remember those who have gone before us, those who sacrificed themselves for our freedom. We must honor their work with our resistance and resilience.

We rise because our children and grandchildren and young people need us to rise on their behalf to ensure their dignity and value is preserved.

We rise because we are called to vulnerability and courage and strength, to nurture life and cultivate healing and shalom as people of Hope, made in God’s image, called to incarnation in a dark and divided world.

We rise because we know deep in our hearts that the kingdom of God won’t just drop out of the sky, but we are part of creating it.

We rise because we must not let evil, oppression, hate, discrimination, division, and war win.

We rise because the stereotypes of what women should be like, act like, look like has damaged far too many souls, and they need to be smashed.

We rise because Jesus told us, “Whatever you do to the least of these you do to me.”

We rise because the fire in our bellies and the stirring in our hearts won’t let us go to sleep while the world breaks.

We rise because the work of those before us cannot be for nothing and because those who come after us need us to do something.

We rise because we must.

We rise because our systems need healing and wholeness.

We rise because we are better together.

I feel honored and privileged to rise and stand alongside you—in spirit, through the internet, or in real life—to honor those who have gone before us and sacrifice what I can to advocate on behalf of those who will come after us.

May the next generation remember us as women who continued to rise.

Happy International Women’s Day, friends.

Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

Let’s keep rising. 

“Still like dust, we rise.”

~ Maya Angelou

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life, online, and outside. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a hub for healing community, social action, and creative collaboration in North Denver, co-directs #communityheals, a non-profit organization dedicated to making spaces for transformation accessible for all, and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

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