The idea came in the middle of a Sunday School class — BC — before COVID. We were reading through Genesis 11 when I suddenly stopped.
Here was the tale about a young boy, Lot, who was taken from his mother and transported to another location.
For reasons we are not told, Terah (father of Abram) decided to move from Ur of the Chaldeans toward Canaan. Perhaps he wanted to escape the idolatry of his community or maybe he felt restless and needed a change. His son, Haran, had died. Maybe Terah needed to leave the land that represented so much grief. Yet he chose to take only Abram and his wife, Sarai, plus his grandson, Lot.
But what of Lot’s mother, Haran’s wife? Nowhere is she mentioned. Her absence with this small band of travelers feels stark. What would convince this mother to let her son traipse off into a foreign land with his grandfather, uncle and aunt?
The answer lies in the story of another invisible woman, Lot’s mother, who we will call Rhondu (Excerpt from The Invisible Women of Genesis).
The untold story of this woman haunted me, so I began research. But nothing was told about Rhondu, no reasons behind her abandonment.
Then I began to find other women who were behind the scenes. Women who played important roles in the story yet were not honored — often not even named.
The patriarchal structure of scripture and the cultural significance of males buried these women under layers of historical fact.
Yet I know for certain that God loved these women and planted them in particular places and times to move His story forward.
And I know for certain that women are an equally important part of sharing God’s love with the world today.
Yet many are still invisible.
So I wrote a book, The Invisible Women of Genesis. But I wanted even more justice and wondered how to begin the conversation to make sure women are seen. I came up with a few ideas:
> Be more alert and aware of the role of women in today’s world. Male pastors get the attention standing behind the pulpit, but it was probably a female assistant who typed his sermon in readable form. How many other jobs within the church institution are performed by unseen women?
> When I address letters, I no longer use Mr & Mrs with only his name. I use both names: John & Mary Smith. Sometimes I feel radical enough to write her name first: Mary & John Smith.
> Listen to the stories of the invisible women around us: the she-ro who stays up late to launder clothes and prepare tomorrow’s meals, the she-ro who prays for the prodigal child who ignores her, the she-ro who never found the perfect mate and is left out of multiple gatherings, the she-ro who is denied human rights and education, the single mom she-ro, and countless others.
To all the invisible women, God says, “I see you. I have tattooed your name on the palm of my hand. I will never forget you. Someday I will clothe you with a royal robe, place a crown on your head and usher you into my kingdom. You are never invisible to me. You are my bride, my beloved, my beauty.”
©2021 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
For more stories about invisible women, check out The Invisible Women of Genesis – available on Amazon and Kindle.
The mother of Jesus certainly has been put on the back burner. Talk about the grief and shame that she went through in order to carry and birth Jesus. During Jesus time on earth it was the women who were in the background helping and serving. Today women are still pushed into being what the culture is demanding. Women wanting to be men and men wanting to be women. Thanks for writing the story of the hidden women of Genesis.
Thank you for your encouragement. Yes indeed – Mary the mother of Jesus is often hidden, especially as the new church was emerging. What was her role then? I appreciate your comment. Let’s make sure all women know they are seen by the One who loves them most.
This is a FABULOUS reminder of GODS LOVE for us.
Thank you so much
Thank you, Debra. I appreciate your encouragement.
Hi RJ, I love that you see what isn’t said in the Bible, the ‘invisible’ stories of women. Great post!! Amy
Thanks, Amy – appreciate it!
I love this! As usual, RJ, you ooze grace and integrity while lighting up treasures so long left in darkness. Well done, my friend.
Thanks, Wina. I appreciate the encouragement.