Surely, I am not alone when I say that as a woman, I have felt invisible in my contribution to the world.
I remember the days of being a full-time Mom, part-time student and part-time employee well. At one point I had three small children and was nursing two of them, was working two part-time jobs and going to school part-time. We owned a small townhouse and my husband worked nearly full-time, about a 30 hour work week, and he was going to school full-time while receiving the G.I. Bill. Between the G.I Bill and his income, he was the one primarily supporting us, although my part-time income was necessary to keep us afloat.
I was the one carrying the brunt of the labor at home, which is not uncommon for women. There are multiple studies out there that demonstrate that even when women work outside of the home, they still carry the bulk of the work inside the home as well. (Pew Research Group, Economic and Social Research Council) This was exhausting. I was up all night long with two little ones who were nursing around the clock. As a nursing mom, my body was on constant demand, and since my husband could not, practically, help me breastfeed, he consistently got to sleep. Then I got up in the morning, got my oldest off to school and handled my own online classes and the housework. When my husband was home, I worked. At night, I worked. On the weekends, I worked. I cooked every night, I did the baths and the bedtime routine and I kept the whole well oiled machine moving and shaking.
And it never failed. Some well-meaning person would always come along and affirm my dear, wonderful, hard-working husband. “I don’t know how you do it! How do you balance work, school, and your family? You’re such a good man. Such a great provider…Cassi, you’re so lucky to have a husband that works so hard to take care of you like this!”
Y’all. It’s not that I wasn’t thankful. I WAS. I still AM very thankful for how hardworking this man of mine has always been. I have such gratitude that he has always made sure that our bills were paid and we had food to eat. Really, I am.
But I was SO. TIRED.
I was burning the candle at both ends.
And it felt like all anyone saw was him, and his hard work, and I was just a recipient of his benevolence. Meanwhile, I was in the trenches, doing some really hard stuff and I didn’t feel seen. Or heard. Or validated. I just felt REALLY, REALLY Tired. Not to toot my own horn here, but he was getting all of this validation and I felt like an unsung hero. I wondered sometimes what would happen if I just disappeared for a week or two. A month. I bet if I vanished for a month and the whole well oiled machine just fell apart completely they’d SEE me then!
Have you ever been there, Friend?
You do the things. You work SO HARD. You keep everything moving in just the right way and nobody sees you. They don’t say, “Thanks for wiping my butt, Mom!” or “Thanks for producing Milk and providing me with the sustenance to STAY ALIVE with your body even though it is a direct drain on you to do so….”. Nope. Nothing. The world just rushes right past you.
When I read Moses’ story this time around, I realized how many women were really unsung heroes, making it possible for the Israelite people to be set free. I noticed these little references to women who did BIG THINGS. Without their courageous acts, we wouldn’t have the BIG story of Moses demanding, “Let my people GO!”
It started in Exodus 1, with Shiphrah and Puah, the Hebrew midwives. Pharaoh demanded that they kill all of the baby boys. All of them. However, these faithful women feared God more than they feared Pharaoh, so they disobeyed him. They were the first, out of every person in this historical drama, to have the courage and tenacity to stand up to Pharaoh. That was no small thing. Doing so could have had dire consequences.
These two women truly were the catalysts for the Exodus. Without their faithfulness and commitment to God first and foremost, as well as the courage that was necessary to execute an act of civil disobedience, there would have been no Moses. No baby boys at all. No basket in the river, no plagues, no “Let my people go” and no parting of the Red Sea. When you fear God more than man, progress persists. Scripture devotes about a paragraph to them, but that does not reduce their importance in God’s Big Rescue Plan. They don’t get the accolades, but they are critically important!
Because of them, the people became strong. So strong, that Pharaoh had to give a new order- “Drown all of the baby boys in the Nile.” (Exodus 1:22)
Then, another brave woman entered the story...Moses’ biological Mother, Jochebed. Not only did she give birth to a baby boy, but she managed to hide him for three months while Pharaoh was having all of the baby boys drowned.
Have you ever tried to hide an infant? I bet it’s as hard as it sounds.
When she realized she could not hide him anymore, she played the system a bit. Sure, she put him in the Nile, but first she made a basket for him, tucked him safely inside it and placed the basket in the reeds along the bank of the river.
And here is where Unsung Hero #4 entered the story. Little Miriam, Moses’ sister, was tasked with the important job of keeping watch over her baby brother until someone found him. Can you imagine? Most sources I found placed her age between 5-10 years old at this time. She was just a little girl, but she was given a big job.
Sometimes I feel like my calling is too big for me. I’m comforted when I remember little Miriam, who was just a child when God called and empowered her to do this BIG job for His Kingdom. When He calls you, He also equips you.
Miriam didn’t just stand back and watch, though. When Unsung Hero #5, Pharaoh’s daughter, showed up, Miriam interacted with her! What a courageous little girl, to approach the daughter of Pharaoh and boldly suggest that a Hebrew woman (their mother) nurse the baby for her?!
And then there’s Pharaoh’s Daughter. I’m going to call her Tia, because I have come across multiple different variations of her name. (Bithiah, Batyah, Termutis, Thermuthis…)
What an example of using your privilege for good. Tia knew that these baby boys were being drowned and she took pity on Moses. She was probably very aware of Pharaoh’s resentment toward the Israelite people. I’m sure this adoption wasn’t exactly well-received. Imagine the daughter of a white-supremacist adopting an African American baby. What she did was right. It was also very brave. She used her power, her influence and her resources to save the one she could save. She couldn’t save them all.
My heart aches when I think of the number of Israelite babies that were drowned in the Nile. The number of parents who were forced into the unthinkable rips at my soul. The grief, the despair…I cannot even imagine. It makes me think of things like one child policies and the lies the abortion industry (and our culture) tell today to convince women that abortion is the only real option they have in certain situations. The Israelite parents were in impossible situations. Tia couldn’t save them all.
She had some power. She had some influence. She had some authority. Not enough to stop the violence, the persecution and the oppression… but enough to save one.
It probably cost her. I can’t imagine that decision was sunshine and roses. But she recognized in that moment that she had access and privileges the Israelite women did not have. She utilized those privileges, not to make herself bigger, not to draw attention to herself, and not to get MORE, but for good. She took what she had been given and she shared it. She saved Moses’ life that day, and because of that act of selflessness, an entire nation was set free.
Oppression was cut short. Stopped in it’s tracks.
Have you ever felt that helpless?
Who am I, anyway? This issue, this thing is too big for me. I am just one person.
How can I end slavery? Oppression? Racism? Misogyny? Abortion?
It’s all just so big.
You can’t. YOU don’t have to.
You just have to be obedient, in the moment. Take advantage of the opportunities that God has placed in front of you. Be willing to make yourself uncomfortable. Be inconvenienced. Sacrifice your privilege for the cause. You’re a piece of the puzzle. When perfectly placed, the picture emerges.
Tia did, and she changed the course of an entire nation’s history. It wasn’t even her nation.
These five women were unsung heroes. They pushed the men and drove the course of events, shaping history. They gave God room to move.
I want to encourage you today, Friend. Be obedient. Keep doing the hard work. Keep moving and shaking and oiling the machine. You may not get the accolades and the celebration. Your obedience may cause friction with people around you. It may be uncomfortable, exhausting and it may stretch you beyond what you believed you were capable of doing.
Remember though, you are part of God’s Big Rescue Story.
Every time you say yes, every time you sacrifice of yourself for someone with less than you, and every time you choose God over man, you are investing in the Kingdom.
Be a Hebrew midwife, standing against the powerful, loud voices in the room. Be a Jochebed or a Miriam, courageously doing what is right. Be a Tia, sacrificing your own privilege to further the Kingdom of God.
You’ve got this, because God’s got you.
Lord, thank you for always having me. Thank for perfectly placing me to be useful to you and your Kingdom, even when I feel invisible to everyone else. Help me remember that I matter, that my contribution matters, and that all of the affirmation and accolades in the world are nothing compared to being a piece in the puzzle that IS your Big Rescue Plan. Use me, Lord. Lead me to the assignments that you have set aside for me. Remind me that I am Yours, and that when I am doing Your Work, in Your name, then things like slavery, oppression, and even genocide can be thwarted. Help me remember that I don’t have to change the world, I just have to be obedient in the tasks you have assigned to me. You will use them. Use, them, Lord. Change this broken world, and touch those that are still trapped, in some way, by the sinfulness of this world. It’s in Jesus’ Holy name I pray. Amen.