Hi guys! This month, I thought it would be interesting to get views from a few ladies on what it means to be an African Christian woman. Each christian has a unique journey but I’d like to believe the African woman has interesting obstacles and stepping stones during her journey that must be shared.
I start with my take on what this journey entails, you will find a lot of differences and similarities between my blog entry and those of my sisters in Christ Sonia, Melisa and Bridget…If you are African and you are christian you will want to read this!
She is an African woman. She is a Christian African woman. This woman’s path is intricate and her journey complex. At times, she takes pride in her appearance; dark skin and rather peculiar but unique hair strands. Other times, she succumbs to the pressures of Western ideals which have been perpetuated so as to envelope the whole world as the “new normal”. Her journey as a Christian is a conundrum to say the least! Juxtapose Christianity and cultural beliefs, you get a soupy mixture that is harsh on the palate and hard to swallow. Her culture is multifaceted and hard to understand, yet understand it she must. Her culture and society as a whole place so much pressure on the woman, to live up, to show up, to face up! This culture has moulded a female figurine which ticks certain boxes as she grows older. Aged 15 – able to cook check!…25 – married check!…30 – children check..40 check!…If she gets to 40 with even just one box unchecked, stares and whispers abound! There are cultural expectations that must be met. Her Christian beliefs however tell her that God pilots everything and ticks each box in the right season as life unfolds. Even so, she struggles with the cultural and Christian ingredients that are forcibly mixed and though inferior, must somehow still excite the palate. The African woman has innumerable battles she has fought. She has won some and lost some. She is a work in progress. She is strong, she is witty, she is weak and she is vulnerable. Trying to understand her in her totality would be an exercise in futility. She is bound and she is free! She has struggles but she is victorious!!
Being a Christian African woman in 2017 means that you are finally seriously pursuing an intimate relationship with Jesus, and seeking to live life the way He tells you while still having to struggle with cultural norms placed upon you by virtue of being African and a woman. It means searching relentlessly to understand who God says you are and not what the black African culture or the Western culture has dictated to you for thousands of years. It means choosing to remain feminine and loving yet assured despite the temptation to assert yourself and get what you want forcefully because of all the injustice you and your maternal ancestors have endured for decades. It means an internal battle to remain loving, selfless and compassionate without losing yourself in the process or becoming a doormat. It means returning to God’s definition of woman as He originally intended.
Being a christian african woman in 2017 means learning to trust God and allowing God to build my character. I have always thought I have it all together, I like to be in control and try to calculate how things will turn out- It gets frustrating when things don’t work out the way I want them too. this year has shown me that I have flaws and they are not pretty and I have to work on them. It’s been a painful yet growing experience. 2017 has shown me that I have to learn who to let God be on control and learn to trust him. I am not sure what that really entails but I’m a work in progress.
I thought and rethought of the words to write regarding being a Christian woman without sounding like I am glossing over the real journey of being a woman in the Lord, in fact just being a Christian . What does it mean to be a Christian woman in 2017? To answer this question I need to start by saying to be a Christian you need to fully realise that you cannot do it in and of yourself, but that you need Christ to be your compass. Realising that you are fallen and you need a saviour and that in the absence of grace your life, in fact your very existence is meaningless. In 2017, well as each year unfolds you realise how easy it is to write off the world as one that is perishing and the biggest temptation is to compromise. Being bombarded daily with the opinions of a world that tries to convince you that your pursuit of a Saviour is no different from people who believe in the ‘spaghetti monster’ to be a deity makes it immensely difficult to share your faith because the world for some reason has convinced us that it matters what everyone else thinks. We try our hardest to tip-toe around many issues because ‘heaven forbid’ if we ruffle some feathers or say anything that might make it seem as though we are intolerant. In my personal journey I have often found myself asking God, ‘Can’t I just mind my own business, love you and serve you in this upsetting the world?’ Perhaps, this might make people question my standing but I find being a Christian woman, while my faith is a personal choice, confessing it publicly is not such an issue but sharing my beliefs is a difficult task that I often find myself shying from speaking out and later when I get home I am filled with regret realising that the word of God actually says do not worry about the adversity you will experience remembering that the world hated Him first. It is in those moments that you realise God, never gave a second thought to giving Christ His son as a ransom for you and I and so I say to myself, then why do I and why should I?
Each woman’s story is different YET there are similar threads woven into each of them. I hope you found this insightful. Do you relate with some of these stories? Do you have struggles and victories? Gleam of Dawn would like to hear from you as we continue on the quest to find out who we really are and where we are going as African sisters! Have hope. Be inspired. Share the Light!