International Women’s Day & Lent: The Connection We Never Saw Coming

Well, it’s that time of year again. International Women’s Day. 

Friday, March 8. Mark your calendars. And how interesting, that this year, Ash Wednesday and International Women’s Day fall just two days apart

Yep – IWD falls on the first Friday during Lent

I don’t know if there are two things that could be more glaringly contradictory. 

Photo: Google

But how incredible is the timing.

I mean, leave it to God to really remind us of the true meaning of equality. 

Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent. The most holy season of our faith. Forty days of penance, fasting and abstinence where we humble our hearts in preparation for Jesus’ Passion, death and resurrection. 

It’s the absolute most beautiful time, where we get to reflect on our place in the world. Where we embrace humility, and remember that we are to live our lives in response to the most incredible gift ever given: Jesus’ life on the Cross. 

And Ash Wednesday, we come together in humility and receive ashes on our foreheads as the outward sign of our need for a Savior. 

“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” –That’s what the priest says as he draws the cross on your forehead.

*Bam.* Leave it to Jesus to really just lay down the law. 

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. 

If there was ever a “truth bomb” about equality, there it is. 

Ash Wednesday – the day where the body of believers — male, female, children, priests, lay persons, old, young, rich, poor, from all over the world — wear an outward sign of ashes on their foreheads in humility to show that we are all broken and in need of a Savior.

We are all equal. 

No one can save themselves. No one is higher or better or VIP – we all are dust, and to dust we shall return.

God showed us a beautiful picture of true equality. 

How hollow, and shallow and out of place, then – just two days later – does this International Women’s Day feel? 

Photo: Starr

A day that, in recent years, has become about shitting on men (excuse my French), and about combative feminism: with images and slogans about p-$$–‘s and vaginas in some sort of sick battle cry. 

I don’t like it. It makes me feel icky. 

Photo: Independent.co.uk

Women have a beautiful dignity and feminine genius, all our own. Why do we need to sink to a level of crude and vulgar slogans and desperate aggression? 

Jesus, himself, in His ministry, was so pro-woman. First and foremost, God chose Mary, a teenage girl, to bring salvation into the world. Women were at the foot of the Cross. Women were the first to realize His resurrection. He fought for, defended, included, and respected women through every aspect of His ministry. 

He cultivated and cherished our feminine geniusThe inner most, intrinsic parts of us that make us beautifully female: our receptive nature, the miracle of our life-producing bodies, our relational nature, our ability to be tender and gentle and strong and resilient all at the same time. These traits are expressed and lived out in unique and individual ways, in whatever vocation we choose — be it as a kick butt business woman, a teacher, a coach, a doctor, a mother, a religious sister, the President of the USA – as women, we bring our feminine genius to whatever path God  sets before us. And it allows us to fulfill our calling in a way that only a woman can. 

And most importantly, our genius complements the qualities of a godly man. 

God knew what He was doing when He created us male, and female.

And He knew what He was doing when He calls us all to humility on Ash Wednesday – reminding us of our equality as broken sinners, in desperate need of Jesus. 

Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return. 

This Friday, on International Women’s Day, you won’t hear me hootin’ and hollerin’ and carrying a sign about Grabbing P—-’s. 

I will be quietly thanking God, not only for the gift of my feminine genius, but for reminding His children that they are all one and the same: equal as dust, and in desperate need of a Savior. 

It turns out that a smudge on the forehead is the greatest sign of feminism there could be. 

Will you be observing Ash Wednesday? How do you prepare for Lent?

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112 thoughts on “International Women’s Day & Lent: The Connection We Never Saw Coming

  1. While we are not Catholic but Pentecostal we also fast during the lent season. It truly is a way to prepare hearts for Easter morning. Xoxo G

  2. Maybe it’s just me, but my male reading of Proverbs 31 has always had more in common with the modern American woman than the “in the kitchen” helpless stereotype that the world thinks we Christians hold. “Considers a field and buys it”…”her arms are strong”…”can laugh at the days to come”…couldn’t this stuff fit on the placards?

    I agree on some matters with feminism, but sometimes they seem more interested in shocking the religious than anything else.

    Great post, C, as always.

    1. Thanks Brandon – i think you’re right, there’s a lot of shock value going on. Really appreciate hearing your perspective! Hugs and love xox

  3. Sadly we live in a world were woman across the globe are treated like second class citizens. Many feel the need to shout and carry signs because they feel that is the only way they will be heard. I can’t blame them. God intended for men to be created equal but men/mankind have a different take on it. Women get paid less. We rarely hold positions in power. Most men would rather see us than hear us. We are harassed, kidnapped, beaten, and so many other awful things. Most of the time those things are overlooked and that is why women shout and carry those signs. It doesn’t bother me. The way we are treated bothers me!

    1. Hi Lane, thank you so much for this powerful perspective. I pray that they feel heard. Because you’re right – God made us equals 💛 Hugs and love xox

  4. Another beautiful post sister Caralyn. True feminism is about knowing and proclaiming the equality both men and women have as God’s prized creation. It’s about promoting Godly manhood and womanhood. Though I’m not Catholic, I plan on doing a spiritual fast to focus on purity for Lent!

    1. Hi Emily, aw thank you so much 🙂 I do agree! God’s prized creations. That’s awesome 🙂 hope you have a beautiful and moving Lent! Hugs and love xox

  5. One of my favorite comedians is Carlos Mencia. His whole brand is race humor, but it’s with an eye toward being able to joke WITH each other over our differences and building unity as a nation in the process. I could do without his profanity, but I like the intent.

    Everyone who keeps trying to force political correctness only feeds division. If we are all tip-toeing around in fear of lawsuits and ridicule, we’ll never have open communication to build unity.

    International Women’s Day is about division. Mine vs. yours when it should be OURS. OUR reproductive organs, OUR minds, etc. Because when a man and woman unite in marriage, they indeed become one flesh. A biblical marriage is all about US working as one toward one goal; God pleasing lives in a God-fearing family.

    Everything is…dust in the wind.

    1. Hey Jeffrey, I think you’re so right – division. It really is so sad. And not only division but hostility. A culture of one-upping, and winners and losers, and dominating and it just leaves one feeling alone. And walking on eggshells for sure. I love that so much — marriage unites. It mirrors Christ and His church. I cannot wait to one day get to partake in such a beautiful covenant. Thanks for stopping by and adding your two cents!! 🙂 hugs to you and Julie! xox

      1. Why, oh, why did Adam and Eve forfeit Eden?? I can only imagine plenty of food for all, no competition for anything, and walks with God in the garden. *sigh*

  6. Amen to that.
    There are so many heroines of the faith in the Bible and in modern times, from Ruth the Moabitess, grandmother of King David to Mary, Mary Madgalene, Salome, the mother and grandmother of Timothy,… to Monica, the mother of St. Augustine… Susanna Wesley, and Christian aid workers Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry who ministered in Afghanistan.

    You’re right – God our Heavenly Father certainly knew what he was doing when he gave both men and women dignity and worth. And that such dignity is expressed so beautifully and different from the way men do it. Viva la difference!

    🙂

    1. Thank you friend. Yes! The Bible is just bursting with stories and examples of strong women. Amen to that! Hugs and love xox

  7. I think your expression of humility and the value and power of being feminine is beautiful. I am not Catholic so I don’t know exactly what Lent is about very in a very in depth way. Though YOU see and embrace a woman’s power there are countless others, men and even some women who do not share that sentiment. Asking nicely and politely as women have for years has proven ineffective. Perhaps rather than blaming/ shaming those that are requesting or demanding to be treated equally you ask/demand your male religious leaders, who are surely adept at interpreting the words/ meaning of the Bible to facilitate the necessary change in the ways that women are treated unequally. That is not what a “godly” man should do, right? If we all are going to return to dust than at least while I am here I’d like to paid and treated just like all those others made of dust who just happen to have a different set of tools in the nether region. Who are you or I to judge the actions of women and men drawing attention to Women’s Day? How do we know if they are any less valuable than any of your saints and martyrs?

    1. Thank you so much for this powerful perspective. I pray that they feel heard and respected. And just to be clear: I don’t believe they are any less valuable at all! That was the point of my post – that we are all equal, and have God-given traits that make us each unique in our own way that is perfectly expressed. I apologize if that message was not made clear. I appreciate you stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  8. Hi Caralyn, Thank you for another powerful post. Especially about the Lenten season. I
    Being a nondenominational Christian, I am in total agreement that we are all equal through Christ.
    I am also a survivor of severe abuses, going back to my childhood and continuing with domestic violence over forty years ago. The greatest healing in my life came when I had a deep personal conversion on March 10, 1983.
    I was raised Catholic and left the church over theological differences. But, mostly the way my Catholic adoptive family ignored the abuses that I endured. So, I also understand how so many victims of sexual abuse within the Catholic faith can feel angry, betrayed and abandoned.
    For me, personally, my healing process truly began when I thought about the abuses and degradation that Jesus suffered for my salvation and healing. Who more than Jesus could understand the pain and degradation of repeated beatings and other abuses. Even the physical pain that we endure through illness.
    Yes, women need to be treated with dignity. We need to be loved, cherished and respected. But, attempting to achieve these goals through anger and a hatred of male anatomy, or anything else male is not the answer.

    1. Thank you friend. Gosh, I am so sorry that you went through that. My heart breaks to think that you were not protected and respected in the way you so deserve. I am so moved by how you processed your healing. Wow. I am cheering and giving you a standing ovation. I couldn’t agree with you more!! Thank you for having the courage to share your story. Big big hugs xox

  9. When you think about it, the females who live for International Women’s Day follow the same mindset that Eve had when she bit Eden’s forbidden fruit: she decided she didn’t need a higher power than herself. And we know how that turned out.

    No one, male or female, avoids answering to that higher power when the time comes. Let us pray for the ladies –and gentlemen– who have not yet seen the Light, that they may find it while time allows. Hugs and love from chilly Kentucky– Mike

    1. Thank you Mike for sharing your thoughts on this. I would have to agree: we will all have to stand before God and account for all our actions. I will join you in that important prayer! Hugs and love xox

  10. That phrase used to scare me. “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust”. I am ME. Not dust. I remember attending my great grandmothers funeral as a child. She was cremated, and they buried her in an urn that looked, from a distance, like an oatmeal carton that had the branding ripped off. That wasn’t my great grandmother! I remember tending the fireplace at home. Watching the logs burn, and how quickly they were reduced to ash, imagining myself among the flames quickly losing any sense of self, my dust to be lost and indistinguishable among the ash of everything else. How would my family know which ashes were me and which were the logs?

    It is only since understanding Catholic theology and, indeed, since becoming Catholic that I have understood the great hope in those words. Our earthly bodies are temporary, but we have the great hope in the Resurrection; the perfection of our material selves in perfect unity with our spirits and in perfect Adoration of Christ, King of all Creation.

    These women preaching vulgarities and lewdness and materialism: they define themselves by their parts. Christs words are best: “They have received their consolation”.

    We Catholics define ourselves not by our parts, but by the one thing that is inseparable from us: by our everlasting souls.

    Thank you for this.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing that powerful experience. Amen – we really do have that incredible hope in the Resurrection! That was such a healing thought process for my healing from anorexia: realizing that I am a soul, occupied by an earthly body. But I am a soul. A temple to the Holy Spirit. Thanks so much for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  11. Funny, just this morning I reminded my husband that this week is Ash Wednesday, and also that it’s Women’s History Month. I didn’t think of it like you did here, but I’m so glad you wrote this and have given me something to think about! I always love to hear your perspective and appreciate your insight. Take care! Jenny xox

    1. Thanks so much Jenny! Yeah Lent really snuck up on us this year! So glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you friend. I appreciate you taking the time to read. Hugs and love xox

  12. Carolyn
    I doubt many of we women expressing ourselves so freely in our blogs would be able to do so without the struggles of many brave women, especially feminists who paved the way for us.

    1. I completely agree – and I am grateful for those women. We have so many blessings because of them. Hugs and love xox

      1. There are still many women who are still denied the right to an education, let alone the right to express themselves freely.. In their day those who fought for the rights we have now, would no doubt have drawn the ire of many. Whilst we may not agree with every view expressed, we should still I believe celebrate the freedoms we enjoy, because of the sacrifices others have made.

  13. Wow! In Russia, International Women’s Day is honorable & sweet, it’s like Mother’s Day. I am sorry that Americans have perverted it. … These kind of people aren’t feminists, they are professional haters. … Let me wish you Happy International Women’s Day, in all the best ways. It’s nice to be a woman! … You are a window into America for me, sadly the view isn’t always nice.

    1. Aww that sounds so lovely. Yeah I wish ours was! And same to you, friend! It is such a blessing to be a woman! And Lets celebrate that everyday!! Hugs and love xox

  14. Maybe we as Christians can take back International Women’s Day and claim it for Christ. Kudos goes out to you and my fellow sisters in Christ who are honorable women. Blessings to you. – Kevin –

  15. Is it the lack of conviction, or depth of understanding to know our place? Life is made of opposites. That’s how the spirit orchaestrates the momentum of life. People are too impulsive, and quick to react. Not enough calm response. This is always a struggle.

    1. Thanks David for this perspective. It’s like the woodworking staple: measure twice, cut once. I appreciate the food for thought. Hugs and love xox

  16. Thanks for your post. I think sometimes we struggle see the point the feminist movement are trying to make. To be honest, there are a lot of things we enjoy today that were fought for. People didn’t just pray alone. I agree with the fact that some have taken feminism to mean a battle against men and an opportunity to approve nudity. I am totally against that. But I still believe that if we are able to drown the noise around it, many of their points are valid. I am someone who have witnessed and experienced sexual discrimination right from an early age. So I can’t help but acknowledge the pain around it. I shared a post regarding this here. https://graceoverpain.com/2018/04/03/christianity-and-feminism/

    1. Hi Efua, that is a really great point. The lives we enjoy today are as a result of those brave women from the past. That’s a powerful perspective. Thank you. I look forward to reading your story. Hugs and love xox

  17. God made humans in His image – male *and* female! Thank God for that!

    Today, Fat Tuesday, is also Pączki Day for those of Polish descent. It is a day to remember what we might be giving up during Lent. This year, I am privileged to preach on Ash Wednesday (live streamed at the St. Matthew Hawthorn Woods Face Book page). I will receive my ashes at the beginning of the service. I’m also going to “keep the fast” (but haven’t made a final determination what that will actually entail).

    1. Thanks Ed! That’s terrific that you’re going to be preaching! If I’m by my computer I’ll definitely give it a listen on Facebook! Will be praying for you! Hugs and love xox

  18. Loved every word of this post! 💕 Sister summarized the whole topic in a simple smart manner! If we just go back to our books things would have been much easier! Thank you so much 🌷💕

  19. I pray that you and all God’s people have a spiritually profitable Lent. Thank you for pointing out the great equality in the Ash Wednesday message. It shows the emptiness of both privilege/majority and of identity/minority politics – those are obsessions with things that are annulled by death. May many see the emptiness and turn to Christ, who is life, and in whom all social, gender and ethnic distinctions are erased for a new creation.

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 I hope you have a beautiful Lenten season! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thanks Dennis. Yeah, I totally agree. These so much beauty to celebrate about women and how much good we provide society. Why do we have to bring those things into it?! Hugs and love xox

  20. Great post. It is refreshing to see a Christian woman’s perspective on feminism. I still cannot figure out how feminists went from “think of me as a person, not as that body part” to wearing those stupid hats.
    Lent has become possibly my favorite season on the church calendar. By starting with the reminder that to dust we shall return, it challenges us to look at all the things we cling to in this world and ask ourselves, in the sight of God, “Are the things I value really worth it?” And that’s not just feminism, but all the “isms” we cling to.

    1. Thank you Michael. Yeah, I’m not anti feminism or anti woman at all! Quite the contrary – women and men are reflections of God and reveal different attributes of His heart. I wish we could celebrate that on Friday, and use the day to honor really amazing women on our lives, rather than use it to push agendas. Amen! What a powerful way to look at things. A spiritual Marie Condo if you will! Haha Hugs and love xox

  21. This. Well said. Like I said in my comment to your last post, I think humility is missing from much of the progressive feminist movements these days, even the ones who claim to be doing God’s work.

    I’m going to try to spend time in Scripture and prayer at least five days a week during Lent. I’ve been aiming for four, but two or three has been more realistic given everything I’m dealing with right now. 🙁 Please feel free to check on me and hold me to it.

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 I think you’re so right about that – we need humility and lots of it! That’s a beautiful thing to take on for Lent. I’ll be praying for you! hugs xo

  22. Icky is right! I’ve always thought of myself as quite feminist – agreeing with the idea that women are strong and capable, equal though different from men. But lately “feminism” has devolved into something just NASTY! As if being a lady makes you somehow less human. Bleh
    Perhaps this is God’s timing – Ash Wednesday to remind us of who we really are, right before a celebration of who we shouldn’t be
    Good thoughts, Caralyn! Thanks!

    1. Icky for sure, thank so much for sharing your thoughts on this. I so agree – there is so much to celebrate about women, why do we have to get nasty? Amen – God’s timing is always on purpose and always perfect! hugs xo

  23. Thanks for once again speaking up about controversial topics! Today’s feminism isn’t but another form of marxism. It used to be the poor vs the rich; now it’s women vs men. It’s just another evil attack to the family: husband, wife and children, the image of the Trinity on earth. Felinity > feminism!

    1. Thank you Paola! 🙂 I really appreciate your kind words. You’re so right – it’s become a “vs.” thing – a battle. a competition. and it makes me so sad! God created men and women to work together. To compliment one another. The goal of a spouse is to help get the other to heaven. Where did that go??? So glad you stopped by. big hugs xo

  24. Love your point of view and words here! I am proud to be your kind of feminist <3
    Thank you, again, for your blunt, but authentic thoughts. You are wise beyond your years 🙂

    1. Hi Mindy! Thank you so much for your support and encouragement! Yes!! THere’s so much to celebrate about womanhood – why must we belittle and degrade men in the process? It just makes me sad. Because, there truly is so much to celebrate, and be grateful for. Anywho – so glad you stopped by! hugs xox

  25. I like the way you gracefully handled a difficult topic. You have a gift of being authentic and vulnerable while tackling head on some of the evils of our day.
    I pray that the Lord encourages you and strengthens your Spirit today and throughout this season of lent.

    1. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I will definitely be keeping you in my prayers during Lent as well! hugs xo

      1. Right when you sent some friends were speaking words of encouragement over my wife and I. They mentioned how they could see and sense that we were spiritual father and mother for younger friends. If there’s any way we can encourage you. Let us know. We will for sure pray!

      2. Oh wow that is amazing. Thank you!! Yes! Please pray for God’s will to be done in my life! How can I pray for you?! 💛

      3. You can pray for continued healing for my wife, and I as we live life without our daughter being here earth with. She moved to heaven two years ago. Our daughter also struggled a lot with depression and mental health issues the last 3 years of her life, which is partly I think what’s drawn me to your story. Thanks again!

      4. Thank you for sharing that. Gosh, I’m just so sorry that you and your wife are walking that difficult road. Praying hard. Big hugs xox

    1. Thank you so much Matthew, that really means a lot. Truly – I am humbled by your generous words. Hugs xox

    1. Thanks so much Laura Beth!! Yes!! I agree! Hope you have a great afternoon! Hugs and love xox

  26. Well written from a perspective of love. I unfortunately agree with some of the sentiment expressed in the comments that many believe that the only way to be heard is through theatrics such as pink hats and vulgarity. And then there are the anarchists who just want to disrupt for no other reason than to disrupt. Thank you as well for visiting my blog as well. It’s always nice when I see you have stopped by (through likes).

    1. Thank you so much William, i really appreciate your support. Lots of food for thought for sure! Hugs and love xox

  27. Dude, this is so spot on. As a former atheist and feminist I might have been standing right alongside one of them. But as a new child of God, I understand that we were created as we are meant be: strong, beautiful, loving daughters of Christ that have so much to give in this world. Why sully that by limiting ourselves to crass societal norms instead of breaking the mold and reaching those in need of the Savior?

    1. Thank you so much Erika. I really appreciate you sharing your story. Amen! Let’s shine His light!! Hugs and love xox

  28. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing about ash Wednesday. We are indeed dust and to dust we shall all return. IWD is terrible. I admire your version of womanhood. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It is the true view of a woman. God bless.

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