True womanhood and human progress
Recognizing that all of God’s children, female and male, are forever capable, whole, and worthy is a powerful basis for our prayers in support of women’s rights in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Around the globe we have seen the extension of women’s rights, increased access to education, and the lessening of discrimination toward women. But as current events show, many fields still remain ripe for the healing of problems related to gender stereotypes and biases. For lasting progress that benefits all, the world needs what divine Truth, God, alone brings to light: a deeper understanding of the nature of God as infinite Spirit and of each individual’s inherent worth and ability as God’s child.
The Apostle Paul said, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2). As Paul himself experienced, such transformation often involves a struggle. But consecrated prayer and the willingness to understand and yield to Truth transforms thought, enabling us to exchange the material concept of identity for the spiritual and only true concept, in which we understand true womanhood – and manhood – as the pure reflection of Spirit, the one Father-Mother God.
When those mental breakthroughs come, we realize that woman has never lost any love, justice, or worth. Nothing can rob her of the eternal and spiritual qualities that constitute her real individuality. She is forever complete, wise, and strong in God’s eyes.
Though I consider myself a fairly confident person, when my husband of nearly 30 years suddenly passed away, at times I felt blindsided by some of the challenges of managing on my own. Faced with many uncertainties, including how I would sell a family business, I found that it wasn’t enough to know intellectually that I was capable of coping. Human reasoning could not release me from recurring feelings of inadequacy, grief, and limitation. I needed to develop a broader, clearer view of myself as not a female mortal at all, but rather an already complete, wholly good and capable, immortal image of Spirit, the source of every good quality.
Over the course of about three years, I prayed and studied the Bible and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science. That strengthened my trust in God’s presence and power, and I learned additional precious spiritual lessons. As I took on all the tasks my husband had previously handled, as well as pursuing my career, I discovered more evidence of my native, God-given qualities of courage, perception, resolve, and decisiveness.
Through many little victories along the way, I began to see more clearly how men and women share equally in the ability to reflect God’s government and wisdom. It doesn’t derive at all from gender or from human will, but from the spiritual understanding of our oneness with God. Solutions to problems came through spiritual growth and understanding.
In my prayers, I was reaching forward mentally to discern more of the unlimited capacities and possibilities of my true being as God’s spiritual idea. This broader understanding I knew was the result of the Christ, Truth, coming to my thought in a fuller sense, revealing that gentleness, spiritual acumen, assurance, competence – these qualities of true identity – go beyond physicality for their expression. True womanhood, as well as manhood, reflects the entirety of God’s perfect and immortal nature.
Over 100 years ago, Mrs. Eddy wrote, “This is woman’s hour, with all its sweet amenities and its moral and religious reforms” (“No and Yes,” p. 45). This certainly applies to her role as the discoverer of Christian Science. She overcame incredible obstacles to accomplish all that she did.
But I have come to feel that her phrase “this is woman’s hour” speaks specifically to the spiritual concept of womanhood embodied in the teachings of Christian Science – a beatific purity of thought leading humanity up and out of matter-based beliefs and uncharitable biases. It is a view that all real being is in and of Spirit – that health, harmony, security, strength, wisdom, and ability are spiritual, derived from God, and native to everyone as God’s reflection.
Though we rejoice in every step of progress for women, greater fruits will come about for everyone as we strive to understand and better demonstrate the spiritual fact that the true identity of each woman and man, as God’s spiritual creation, has forever been whole, complete, and blessed. All of God’s immortal, beloved children possess amazing capacities for good because they reflect the wondrous fullness of divine Spirit.
Adapted from an article published in the March 5, 2018, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.