Fearless: A celebration of faith, courage and bravery

Published 10:05 am Friday, March 16, 2018

By Chanel Bingham

Special to the Advertiser

Last week I shared of the impact my grandmother had on me and the legacy she left to her children and grandchildren. From generation to generation, God has raised up ordinary women to be a voice and champion for truth and justice. In Biblical times, we see many women who were called upon to be leaders and create change in their society. We look to Esther, who was appointed to save the people of her nation. We also look to the story of the the five daughters of Zelophehad. In a day in age where women were prohibited from petitioning male leadership, these five fearless women made their plea known before Moses and the whole assembly of Israel. Their faith and bravery were honored, and the Lord granted them the inheritance of their father (you can read their remarkable story in Numbers 27.)

Throughout his ministry, Jesus was an advocate for women, treating them with dignity and respect. Sheila Graham writes, “Jesus’ honor and respect was…extended to all women—an attitude largely unexpected and unknown in his culture and time. Jesus, unlike the men of his generation and culture, taught that women were equal to men in the sight of God. Women could receive God’s forgiveness and grace. Women, as well as men, could be among Christ’s personal followers. Women could be full participants in the kingdom of God…. These were revolutionary ideas. Many of his contemporaries, including his disciples, were shocked.” In fact, the Bible tells us it was Mary Magdalene who was first commissioned to share the news of Jesus’ resurrection.

From Joan of Arc, Irena Sendler and Corrie ten Boom to Mother Teresa, Mary Slessor and Alabama’s own Rosa Parks, we see throughout history a heritage of amazing women being obedient to their calling and, in turn, evoking positive change in the world.

I’m so thankful for the courageous women pioneers who paved the way for many of the freedoms we have today. I celebrate the brave, Christian women who took a stand against the norms of their society to achieve the liberation of slaves, share the truth of the Gospel, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, protect innocent children against the atrocity of abuse, fight against injustice and secure our right to vote.

In honor of National Women’s History Month, I reached out to women in our community to ask what this time of celebration and remembrance means to them. Their answers are below.

“Women’s History Month is a reminder to me of how God can use us to accomplish many things in this world when we keep our focus on Him. As a mother of two girls, I want to be the best example I can and instill Proverbs 31:25-26: ‘She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.’” Amanda Giles, LPTA, Co-owner Cornerstone Fitness and Wellness

“Women’s History Month is a reminder of the commonalities that we share. We each will encounter happiness, adversity, disappointment and success along the way. It is important that we uplift others and encourage them on their journey.” Rosalyn Dixon, assistant principal, Chilton County High School

“It’s a reminder of how far we’ve come. It’s a time to celebrate all of our achievements and keep moving forward. To speak up and change the world.” Jerricho Smitherman, dental assistant, Dr. Hall and Dr. Roy Dentistry

“National Women’s History Month allows us to reflect on the history that was changed by brave women. These changes give women today the ability to reach their future goals in life.” Terri Childress, Loan Closing Manager, AVP

“Many female characters in the Bible were trailblazers for larger freedom of action and thought. Having two daughters of my own, celebrating women can teach us lessons in courage, inspire us in times of difficulty, and encourage us to remain faithful to God’s calling on our lives.” Laura Ward, assistant principal, Clanton Middle School

“We celebrate and remember the influences of women both past and present. We are reminded to lift one another up and give others reassurance, as we remember that we were created special by God.” Monica Cook, cosmetologist, Sheer Perfection

“We need to celebrate those that came before and appreciate their battles and strength that have opened the world for us. Now, young girls’ dreams are boundless, and success is realistically within their grasp. We also need to encourage our daughters to continue toward excellence and to be role models for generations to come.” Angela Batchelor, RN, MSN, CNS

“This time of remembrance allows us an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of female pioneers of the past and serves as encouragement and inspiration for both present and future generations.” Jean Nelson, first female mayor of Thorsby.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10