In South Africa, August is officially designated Women's Month in commemoration of an event that took place on 9 August, 1956. On that day, 20,000 women of all races marched to the centre of the then apartheid government in Pretoria in protest against an amendment to the 'pass laws' which sought to control the movement of women of colour across the country. They left a petition of 14,000 signatures at the door to the Prime Minister's office and then stood for thirty minutes in silent protest before singing a protest song written especially for that event.
The first National Women's Day was celebrated in 1995 and since then the whole month has been set aside as a celebration of women's achievements and accomplishments throughout society.
For myself, I wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate and honour some of the women who've helped shaped my life over the years, whether it be through their friendship, their encouragement or their mentoring. Just as life in South Africa is what it is today thanks to the bravery and camaraderie of those pioneers, so I am a product of the combined inputs of some amazing women (there are men who've contributed to my growth of course, but as this is Women's Month I've not included them here!). How best to do this?
I decided I would like to share these women with my friends, telling the world just how wonderful they are. I invited the ones who came to mind to send me a picture of themselves and then, again in the spirit of celebrating amazing women, to tell me about their favourite woman of the Bible and what about that woman has inspired them. I am then posting each photo and response, together with a little story about the role my friend has played for me personally across my social media platforms each day throughout the month of August.
A Habit of Honour
“Show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals.”
So said Sir William Gladstone, Prime Minister of England during the 1800's. We put our hearts on display when we care for and honour those who have gone before us, whether they be dead or still very much alive. In Romans 12:10, Paul writes 'Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor' (ESV). The Passion Translation says 'Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another'. In his first letter, Peter exhorts the people to 'Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God.' 1 Peter 2:17.
Love and honour go hand in hand - we love when we honour, and we honour when we love. It is interesting to note that Peter also adds in there 'fear God'. As I draw closer to God, I see how He has gifted me with treasures, precious women and men who leave His mark in my life. God is jealous for those He loves (Zech. 8:2, Joel 2:18) and demands that I treat them as they deserve, with care and high regard.
May I strive to outdo myself when honouring others, to elevate and celebrate all those who have been placed around me. I pray this would become a regular practice, a disciplined habit not just for one chosen month of the year but continually. I trust that you too would be challenged to honour those in your life!