Can Women Make Themselves?

I am surrounded by amazing women.
Ladies who live their lives courageously and follow their dreams with a wild heart.
Women who don’t give up when crisis hits them and walk through the valleys with dignity until they come out stronger on the other side.
Friends who open up and entrust me with their pain, their secrets, their dreams.
Wonderful men and women who walk this path alongside me and speak truth when I need to hear it the most.
My grandmother became a widow in her 50s and had to manage an entire farm on her own. If you need to know anything about tough life and love, she’s your girl.

My mother who would always say, ‘Women make themselves’, and challenged me to speak my mind and not limit myself in what I could do, may it be to set up a shelf or travel around the globe.

Women can do a lot of wonderful things, but we can’t do it all. 

We live in the 21st century, but sometimes I wonder if our minds are stuck somewhere in the Middle Ages. In our self proclaimed ‘postmodern society’, where equality and tolerance stand above it all, we still experience that women are not treated equally as men, let alone as human beings.
Women who are told from an early age on, ‘You can’t do this, you’re just a girl.’
Women who should have a career and still be the perfect mom at home.
Women who do the same work for less money.
Women who are stared at and judged for the way they look.
Women who are sold into enslaved prostitution so that others can satisfy their perverted needs.
Women who are beaten because they don’t obey their husbands.
Women who are seen as ‘little helpers’ and do all the work while others don’t lift a finger. Women who are supposed to function because men are supposed to enjoy themselves. Women who are expected to be everything and yet appreciated for nothing.
Women who are shamed into becoming something they don’t want to be because they’re too afraid to be themselves.

We have lamented this misery.
We have protested and been looked down upon with a complacent smile.
We have been promised better things, a quota in every work place.

But that’s not what we want.
That’s not what we need.
Unless our minds – and that includes men AND women – change, all policies are empty words. We together are the only ones who can bring about real transformation.


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

In Search of Something Else

I’ve lived in my neighborhood for almost two years now.
I know my way around, I know the grocery stores and where to get good coffee.
I have found a few ‘favorites’ already.

But in the last few weeks I have pushed myself to explore a bit more where I live. Discover new places, new secrets, new treasures.
Just this morning, on my way home from the farmer’s market, I took a turn I hadn’t taken before and ended up in a beautiful little side alley with old houses and colourful summer flowers.

There’s always more and I want to live my life exploring and discovering everything this world has to offer.

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When life pushes me around and clouds my vision, I want to search for beauty in the mundane.
When they say, ‘people will never change’, I want to look closer, listen in and challenge others to be the best they can be.
When a story seems to have ended, I want to see how the narrative continues.
When my view of God is limited by what people have told me, I want to explore new ways to seek and find him.
When they say, ‘refugees deserve to drown in the Mediterranean’, I want to raise my voice for those who are silenced.
When they say, ‘Let’s close our borders and shut out doors’, I want to open my hands and heart to those who come with nothing.
When I experience fear, mistrust and hatred all around me, I want to speak up louder, love more fiercely, live even braver. 

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There are many ways to live this life.
May our ways always be marked by love.


Writing for Five Minute Friday today.

 

For Those Who Are Weak

“I’ve seen video content of a child that’s the same age as mine being raped by an American man that was a sex tourist in Cambodia.

“And this child was so conditioned by her environment that she thought she was engaging in play.” Continue reading “For Those Who Are Weak”

The Terrible Difference of Now

Now.
Now we are in the final days before Christmas. Our houses are filled with candle light and the smell of Christmas cookies. We are rushing through the department stores in search of the perfect presents and let’s hope we don’t forget anyone. We spend hours planning the Christmas meal. After a long and busy year we just long for a few quiet days with family, rest and peace.
This is our now. Continue reading “The Terrible Difference of Now”

[Five Minute Friday] Yes

Yesterday a picture went viral. 
A police officer carrying the dead body of little boy out of the Mediterrenean sea in Turkey. The boy had tried to flee across the sea and had drowned in a boat that’s been way too small and way too old for such a precious load.
This is not the first incident, it’s just the peek of inhumanity in a series of terrible events going on in Europe at the moment. People trying to enter our countries, and all they hear is NO.
NO to a place to stay.
NO to something to eat.
NO to transport.
NO to a job.
NO to them as people, as human beings who have something to offer to this world and community.
The daily news of burned down refugee homes, aggressive demonstrations and the most horrible posts on social media make it hard to believe in a bright future, in something better to come.
There’s just NO and uncertainty.

But in all that darkness, in the midst of desperation, there’s a YES.
A YES that resounds from the beginning of time when it was first spoken.
The YES that the One God uttered and then made people.
YES to create fragile, tempted, vulnerable, often horrible, hurting human beings.
YES to beloved children who make a lot of mistakes and are more lost than they would ever know, yet are also more saved than they will ever dare to hope.

His YES starts ringing like a whisper in our hearts, gaining strength until it fills our entire being.
He said YES to us. And His YES can give us the courage, faith, and strength to say YES to others.
YES to welcoming people into our countries.
YES to opening our doors to them.
YES to listening to their stories, holding their hands when they’re shaking with fear.
YES to giving away food, housing, any kind of support.
YES to mirroring Jesus in places of despair and uncertainty. 
Let there be YES and a bit more hope in this broken, broken world.

If you’re as disgusted and compelled as me by the happenings in Europe at the moment, please check out more resources. And pray, if that’s all you can do.

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Writing for Five Minute Friday today. 

 

[Five Minute Friday] Visit

Teaching isn’t always easy. 
Passing on content you’re not really interested yourself can be challenge.
Speaking about things you’re really passionate about can be a real struggle.
I enter the room and 25 more or less interested students look at me. 
Expectantly, hoping I don’t do grammar with them.
No, no grammar today.
A question instead: How many slaves work for you? 
Blank faces.
Surprise.
Question marks.
A joke about mom doing their laundry quickly dies when I ask them to do research.
They get onto the computers, visit the first websites. 
They read stories about child labor in Bangladesh to produce clothes the students are wearing everyday.
They look at pictures of Chinese production lines and people working day and night so that people over here can get a new phone every year. 
They encounter the term human trafficking for the first time and are shocked that prostitution and organized crime exists right in front of their eyes.
Ninth grader cockyness turns into surprise, horror, shock. 
I can hear quiet murmurs, people exchanging facts and questions.
Slavery is real. 
It happens right in front of you. 

In this globalized world this is our burden. 
Today is “Shine a Light on Slavery” day. 
The 27th of February – speaking up for the more than 27 million people in slavery. 
And I hope that my students don’t just visit these websites. 
That they don’t stop at talking about it. 
That their shock and surprise turn into action. 
And that I may join them.
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As always I am linking up with Kate Motaung and other fabulous writers. 
If you want to know more about this topic, start with Slavery Footprint.

[Five Minute Friday] Messenger

What makes a messenger powerful?
Is it the words he uses – only if they fit together perfectly, only if his arguments are logically and powerful will he convince his audience to believe his message?
Is it his personality – only with great confidence and empathy for others will he get his point across?
Does a message have to be spoken in order to be heard?
More and more, I am beginning to learn that the most powerful messenger is the one who doesn’t say anything at all. 
Who doesn’t climb tables to raise his voice. 
Who doesn’t have to be on stage in order to be heard. 
Who doesn’t preach and complain about all the things that are wrong in this world. 
Instead of speaking, he ACTS. 
He doesn’t come up with any logical arguments – he simply acts out whatever he has come to believe. 
He doesn’t worry about his personality – he practices confidence and bravery in the face of challenges and turmoils. 
He doesn’t complain about this world – he shows love and empathy to people in need and makes their world a little brighter.
He doesn’t preach of injustice – he stands up to make the world a little better. 
One thing, one person at a time.
 
He doesn’t SPEAK the message. 
He IS the message. 
And I believe it will be clearly heard. 
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Today I am linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and fellow writers over at Five Minute Friday!