HISTORY MAKERS: CELEBRATING NOTABLE WOMEN IN HISTORY
(From the History Makers column in Power For Today Magazine, September 2011, Copyright 2011 Apostolic Fellowship International Ministries. All rights reserved.)
(Judges 4-5)The Mother of Israel, Deborah arose in a day when the nation of Israel was more or less in ruins. We learn from the Word of God that Israel had no roads, travelers took to windy paths, and village life ceased – until Deborah arose. Deborah is the only female judge mentioned in the Old Testament, which means Deborah was the leader of her people in full. She commanded the armies, settled disputes, made laws and regulations, and governed the nation of Israel. This means the people of Israel looked to her for guidance and with great respect. We learn as we study the passages that there was no disrespect to Deborah because she was a woman; quite the opposite, in fact. It was Barak who refused to follow her command without her presence to lead the armies and go on before them.
Deborah was also a prophetess according to the record we have of her. This must have been quite useful when it came to leading the people. It is obvious she served as not just a political leader, but a truly spiritual guide – literally, a mother in Israel!
Deborah breaks stereotypes society has established for women. Think women can’t be in the military? Serve as judges? What about questions about women serving as president or heads of state? Deborah dispels the notion that women can’t be competent. We learn from Deborah the grace and power in a strong woman. We also can see that even though a man may not have the primary call – as was the case with Deborah’s husband, Lappidoth – that women should not step down or accept a lesser position. The message of Deborah is for women to rise up and take the position God has for them, no matter how intimidating it may seem to others.
Quotable quote: “Village life in Israel ceased, ceased until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel. “ (Judges 6:7, NIV)
HISTORY MAKERS: CELEBRATING NOTABLE WOMEN IN HISTORY
(From the History Makers column in Power For Today Magazine, January 2010, Copyright 2010 Apostolic Fellowship International Ministries. All rights reserved.)
KATHARINA VON BORA LUTHER
(1499-1552)Imagine going from living a life in a convent to becoming the wife of the first and most famous reformer in history! That is one of the magnificent aspects of the life of Katharina von Bora Luther, a woman who became the first lady of the reformation – and set the tone for what Protestant family life should be like.
Born in Kobenhagen, Germany in 1499, Katharina lived in a family of impoverished Saxon nobles with three brothers and a sister. At the age of five, her mother died, and her father quickly remarried, thus sending Katharina to a Benedictine Cloister in Brehna. In 1508, she was moved to Marienthron, a Cisterian convent of Nimbschen where her maternal aunt was mother superior. Katharina took her vows as a nun on October 8, 1515 – when she was but 16 years old.
Over time, Katharina grew tired of life in the convent and contacted the infamous Martin Luther for help to escape. Along with a few other nuns, they fled the convent, thanks to Martin Luther’s arrangements. Within two years, Luther had secured marriages, employment, or homes for all the women – except Katharina. She made the personal declaration that she would either marry Luther or one of his associates – and no one else! Martin Luther married Katharina von Bora on June 13, 1525; and were given a former Augustinian monastery at Wittenberg as a gift from the Elector of Saxony. She was 26, he was 42.
Katharina was an amazing administrator and businesswoman of the estate; she administered and managed the holdings of the monastery, bred and sold cattle, and ran a brewery to help cover the expense of the family students present there to study with Martin Luther. Martin himself referred to her as “My lord Katie” and “the boss of Zulsdorf” with great affection. This great woman also was mother of six children and adopted parent of four orphan children, including her own nephew.
After Martin Luther died, Katharina was left in a difficult situation, and spent the remainder of her life moving from place to place, relying on the fortunes of others to survive. She died December 20, 1552 at the age of 53, and was buried at Torgau.
Katharina von Bora Luther reminds us to be open to God’s paths in our lives. We may wind up far from where we start, but we are never far from God as we follow His will. She also shows us the great power in serving as active participants in our marriages; we are not called to be silent partners, simply dragged here and there, but are to be active participants with our husbands; to be productive in our lives in every area; to be efficient in business and finance; and to be gracious managers of our homes and families. God does not call us to take a back seat; no! He calls us to be participants at life, to speak up and be counted, and follow Him, even if it deviates from our plans.
Quotable quote: “I will stick to Christ as a burr sticks to cloth.”
In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, I encourage ALL of you to download the most recent edition of Power For Today Magazine at http://powerfortoday.magcloud.com/ and the most recent edition of A Great Host Magazine at http://righteouspenpublications.magcloud.com/. I know I wouldn’t be here without the constant intercession, love, and support of my mother in the natural and the many spiritual mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, co-workers, and encouragers along the way. I thank ALL of you for being strong women of God, an encouragement, and a blessing!
From: Power For Today Magazine, Vol. 10, No. 3, March 2011. (c) 2011 Apostolic Fellowship International Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved.
Every one of us has been touched by a woman – or in most cases, several women – who have worked and shaped who we are today. This is especially true for Christians. Testimony after testimony abounds about how someone’s mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, friend, Sunday school teacher, preacher, wife, friend, or other woman is the reason they are in the faith today. Between prayer, intercession, influence, teaching, and inspiration, there are probably many women who have helped to make us who we are in this life.
I come from a long line of women who were very strong because they had to be. The women in my family dealt with generations of poverty, spousal abuse, the sting of immigration and bigotry, alcoholism, and the eternal balance between work and family. It’s an amazing thing to realize how strong the women in my family truly were. They worked hard for their families and for their lives. In them, I recognize something powerful about my heritage: that strength is a part of my life, too. Even though nobody may ever know who they are in terms of record books, they were history makers. They worked hard and in their constant work, they left a legacy.
History has put its best foot forward to represent its men. History has given more relevance to fathers than mothers, especially in the area of the faith. In a long look at history, we come to discover many of the sterling images we see of historical men were falsified or puffed up. Every time I encounter yet another reality coming forth about a historical man, I think about the women of history. For thousands of years we see women struggling with the limitations placed upon them in this world and within their societies. If we genuinely look at their histories, experiences, testimonies – or sometimes the lack thereof – we find a powerful revelation in these women: they are the women who have made us. If Joan of Arc had never led the army, if Mary had never returned from the tomb to tell the male apostles of the resurrected Christ, if Maria Woodworth Etter had never traveled coast-to-coast multiple times in her life…I wouldn’t be here today, working in church leadership and proclamation as an apostle.
Who are the women in your life who have helped to make you? Both relatives and historical women advocated, worked, played, petition, and interceded so we could be where and who we are today. Our “cloud of witnesses” as spoken of in Hebrews 12:1 is closer than we ever imagined, especially as we step back and pay tribute to those women: living, deceased, family, friends, church family, historical women, and yes, even…our mothers in the faith.