July 19, 2021
I have watched Alice In Wonderland numerous times because I am a grandmother to 7 girls and 3 boys. One of my favorite and imaginable lines is, “O Alice, I think you have lost your muchness, you were much, muchier.” Through the years, my muchness has been challenged and with each challenge, I am reminded of the following words: we all choose to know what we want to know about injustices in this world. These words have stayed with me as I believe them to be true. There were periods in my life where I was unaware of global injustice toward women. How about you? If you were to rate your "muchness" on a scale from one to ten #1 Not knowing much about Global Women and #10 knowing much about Global Women, how would you rate? Have you lost your muchness as a builder of God’s Kingdom? Do you believe your muchness matters? Have you ever been told you were too much? I have and each time I am told I am too much, I consider it a compliment! When you are told you are too much it usually means someone is offended yet listening.
Travel with me through time and allow yourself to focus on the women whose shoulders you stand on and pause to honor the excruciatingly hard work these women endured in order to accomplish achievements. I hope it’s too much!
The women of my recent past, 600 years, originated from Austria, Denmark, and Czechoslovakia. These women migrated to hunt for food, fought border wars, cultivated the earth, and sculpted their homes with mud and sticks. Their “muchness” caused them to survive! History describes these women as savages, gypsies, and restless tribals. I describe them as stunning. These women endured the Black Death (bubonic plague), which swallowed up one-third of their population in the 14th century. In the 15th century, Martin Luther’s call for church reform divided the European states along religious lines as the Protestant Reformation took hold. In 1525, political, religious, and social tensions led to violence called the Peasants’ War killing 100,000. The Thirty Years War (30 years!) from 1618-1648 left one-third of that population dead and the survivors sick and starving. By 1856, my great, great, great grandmothers were all worn down by war and economic hardship so, they risked a treacherous 84-day voyage in search of freedom, land, and a new life. They all entered America through Castle Garden. Rosaleje migrated from Austria. Anna migrated from Denmark. Antonette migrated from Czechoslovakia. All three of these international great, great, great grandmothers were consumed with hunger, thirst, and disease.
In 1900, my great, great grandmothers, Elsie, Mary, and Grace migrated to Tennessee, North Dakota, and Arizona. These 3 sturdy women suffered deeply the losses of babies, children, and other family members to scarlet fever, cholera, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and diphtheria. In 1918, the H1N1 flu killed between 50 to 100 million people. My great, great grandmothers lived to see the 19th amendment added to the U.S. Constitution in 1920 and got to vote!
History doesn't seem so distant as poverty, hunger, disease, gender equality, immigration, and violence still linger. On March 8, of every year, we at Mission World observe International Women’s Day. We usually plan a women’s empowerment conference in north Haiti, but this year Covid19 has squelched our plans and halted our travel.
Let's go back to the beginning where I asked you to rate your muchness. If you haven't rated yourself yet please do it now. Write your number here ___ #1 Not much and #10 very much (Let's check-in same time next year to see if our rating has improved.) I am rating myself a 6 but my goal is to be an 8! If you desire to increase your "muchness", becoming informed is necessary. Look at the first six of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: No More Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health & Wellbeing, Quality Education, Gender Equality, and Clean Water and Sanitation. Now here’s the data: 786 million people lack clean water. 2 billion people lack access to sanitation. Every 2 minutes a child dies from a water-related disease. The third leading cause of child death is diarrhea. 137 women are killed by a member of their family every day. Globally, 35 percent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner. Less than 40% of the women who experience violence seek help of any sort. As people of God seeking first the Kingdom of God here on earth, we need to be too much! We need much more intentionality toward reaching these goals because it requires all of us!
Poverty is broken relationships with God, with self, with others, and with creation. When a woman works to mend her view of herself with the truth of who she is in Christ, she is fighting poverty. When a woman is given education and training, she can work to provide food for her children. When a woman is taught about the importance of hygiene and how to get clean water, her family becomes healthier, and she teaches another generation to do the same. When a woman holds in her heart who she is in Christ, she becomes a new creature and that changes everything. These goals are accomplished by giving people access to tools so they can solve their own dilemmas.
International Women’s Day is about all of us because the earth is the Lord’s and everyone in it! I believe the UN SDGs are achievable and in sync with building the Kingdom of God here on earth. Every morning many global women are eating injustice for breakfast. I challenge you to be hungry and thirsty for justice daily. Justice for global women of the world.
Let’s Be Too Much as we work to build the Kingdom of God!