Once in a while, there is a movie that stirs you. For me, Wonder Woman did just that. As the credits rolled and the crowds poured out of the theater, my eyes adjusted to the sunlight and my mind turned over the lessons of the life of a female superhero. I’ve continued to think on the story of the compassionate heroine and all the words I would want to speak to my future daughter and every young girl I come across.
We will want to tell you are safe, that there is nothing with which you should concern yourself. We will want to tell you this because we will desperately want it to be true. And in a sense it is true. You need not fear. And yet, we must clarify. You are both safe and unsafe. And, while we wish it were not so, there is much with which you should concern yourself.
Safe and unsafe. Let me explain. As long as you keep to the path that is yours to walk, you need not fear. There will be trouble, but if you keep to your path, the trouble has already been overcome (John 16:33). As you face it, you will find this to be true. You will encounter pain. People you love will wound you. People you do not know will wound you. They won’t understand your heart and that will feel like the deepest cut. Remember, victory has already been promised (1 Corithians 15:57).
There is another lie wrapped up in this statement of safety. It is the lie that threatens to keep you controlled. The world often doesn’t know what to do with a woman who knows herself. They don’t know what to do with a woman who is willing to take on the injustices she sees. They will want you to be small, unthreathening, agreeable. Even those who love you will be afraid of your strength at times. When we try to keep you small, we are wrong. You may need to remind us. You may need to silence us. You may have to forge ahead without our approval if we are not able to overcome our own fear. Like Deborah, Ruth, Rahab, Mary, and others, you are a woman of valor. Do not let the fears of others diminish your courage.
People will not always deserve your help. You help anyways, because it isn’t about deserving. It is about loving as your Father loves. Here, on our little island, we may mistakenly teach you that love is about ideolgy. If you speak love, then you have loved. That is not true. Love is more than words. It is more than agreeing with what should be. Love requires action. It requires sacrifice. You have the tools to love well. It is up to you to use them (1 John 3:16-18).
There will be days you feel overwhelmed by all the pain, all the needs. You will walk through the battlegrounds of this world on your way to what you were certain was the mission, and you will see wounded on every side. You will see the fearful, the hungry, the broken. You will want to help them all and this may cause you to feel paralyzed and helpless. You will have to decide: do you turn your eyes back to the mission you set out on or do you stop to help? And if you stop to help, who do you help when everyone is hurting? Which wounds can you help heal? To which soul can you bring hope? You will not be able to stop all the pain, but you can choose to try (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).
And no matter what, remember, you do not do it alone. Look for the people of love. There are others who will stand with you. Their strengths will be different than your own, not less than or more than, but different. And you need them. You will learn from them, and they from you. You cannot do it alone (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
There is much with which you should be concerned. As long as there is injustice, there is work to be done. You have been equipped for the work. You are called to be a hope-bearer, carrying truth and love to a hurting world. We will want to protect you from the pain, but if we succeed in protecting you, we will also have kept you from life, from learning to truly love, from growing into the woman you are meant to be. So, I’m writing this down now, because when the day comes for you to step into your calling, I will likely not want you to go. I will worry. And yet, I will be overcome with pride, watching you link arms with others, for the cause of others, in the name of love. You are no ordinary woman. You are a wonder.