LET’S HEAR IT FOR BLACK WOMEN
The whole world recently celebrated International Women’s Day and, with this in mind, I felt it important to pay homage to women of Caribbean and African descent, of which I am one.
Considering the obstacles that Black women face in British society, it should be viewed as a miracle that so many overcome them in order to pursue their goals and achieve success.
Examples of these inspiring women include: Patricia Scotland (Baroness Scotland), the first Black woman to be appointed as Attorney General of the UK; Angela Sarkis, CBE, who made history when she became the first Black CEO of international charity, the YMCA, and Doreen Lawrence, OBE (Baroness Lawrence), who fought tirelessly for justice for her murdered son, Stephen Lawrence, and changed the law in the process.
What people aren’t always aware of is the role that faith plays in the lives of Black women. The majority of Black female achievers, including the women named above, are believers in Jehovah God.
The message of the Gospel is more than just good news for Black women. It is spiritual food from Heaven that has fed and sustained their souls through hard times, and has given them the strength needed to be overcomers, particularly living in a society that is not known for celebrating Black women’s uniqueness.
Key biblical teachings that have resonated with women of colour is the fact that all humanity – whatever its shade, class or gender – has been made in the image of God; that God is a God of justice and sides with the underdog, and that He loves humanity beyond measure – so much so, He sent His Son to die for people’s sins. They have also been inspired and rejuvenated by the new life direction that can be found by accepting God’s amazing gift of salvation.
The desire within Black women to achieve and serve has extended to the Church, where they give much of their time, finance and skill to ensure that it plays an effective role in people’s lives. Many church ministries would not exist were it not for its female volunteers. And many people would not have received the prayers, support and assistance they needed, were it not for the input of Christian women.
The message inherent in the Gospel has been good news for Black women, and what’s wonderful about this is that the Gospel is good news for anyone in society, who feels undermined, unrecognised, unappreciated, overlooked and unvalued. Knowing that one is made in the image of God and loved by Him – and believing this fact – is really all one needs to overcome the world to become all that He has designed you to be.
Let’s hear it for Black women.
LIFE IS A RACE YOU CAN WIN
If you watch the news and surf like the net as often as I do, you might have come across this amazing true life story of Kenyan athlete, Hyvon Ngetich. She was in the winning position of a marathon race but, as she neared the finishing line, her body failed her and she fell to her knees in sheer exhaustion. Hyvon was so determined to finish the race that she crawled to the finish line on her knees – cheered on by the crowd.
This moving, real-life sports drama provides a metaphor for life. Sometimes, as we push towards our goal, we can get stopped in our tracks for a whole variety of reasons, but we shouldn’t allow such setbacks to stop us from reaching our goal, especially if it is still within our grasp. There is a immense gratification in achieving our goals. We’ll not only experience a great feeling of satisfaction, but we’ll inspire others, particularly if we achieve against the odds. The organiser of the marathon was so moved by Hyvon Ngetich’s efforts to finish the race, he awarded her the same amount of prize money as the runner who came in second.
If you are running the Christian race of life and feel like giving up, don’t. Be encouraged by the voice of the Holy Spirit telling you to hang in there; study the Bible; surround yourself with positive people, and summon the last ounce of spiritual strength you have to keep pushing forward. Be mindful there is a reward in doing so: you’ll have a testimony of God’s sustaining power to share with others and, more importantly, you’ll stand before your heavenly Father and hear the words: ‘Well done, My good and faithful servant’.
A PROUD AND SIGNIFICAN MOMENT
If you turn to the Keep The Faith news pages, you’ll see the story about the publication of the first ever Black Church manifesto. This is truly a proud and significant moment in the history of the Black church here in the UK, and highlights the new level of maturity and unity that abounds in the Black Church movement of the 21st century.
There is a strong realisation amongst today’s Black Church leaders that their role is not just to preach the Gospel, but also to provide leadership beyond their congregations, and to encourage their members to be involved in creating a just and equitable society.
I, for one, hope that Black Church leaders won’t just stop at uniting together to produce a manifesto, but that they will seek to work together on other major issues that are of great concern to the constituencies they serve.