Every war in history has pushed women into taking the lead at home. As the men marched off to fight, the women fought their own battles on the home front. Not only did they continue their duties taking care of the house, children and elderly, but they had to assume the roles that were traditionally taken care of by men. When the war was over and the men returned home, it was hard, if not impossible, for these women to relinquish the reins and go back to their former life. Many men, who were shell shocked, became docile, resentful or simply just walked away. The shift in roles have caused many of domestic conflicts over the centuries. However, I want to point out that women have played important and powerful roles while balancing relationships throughout history.

When it comes to scripture, many times the attributes of the bad-girls of ole’ have been used to discourage, condemn and constrain us when female traits are described; Eve’s bad judgment and terrible recommendation, Delilah’s betrayal and manipulations, Jezebel’s power-hungry, greedy, immoral and viciousness as well as the lustful, lying ways of the most famous “Cougar,” Potiphar’s wife. There are certainly still women today who have those hidden traits and who slither their way around a man’s heart. HOWEVER, I wish to point out the unsung heroines of God’s Word whose characteristics are alive and well in today’s modern women. You don’t have to be loud, forward, butch or cold to be taken seriously, nor do you have to act dumb, whisper a Marilyn Monroe dialect, dress like a stripper or pucker your lips like a porn star to be attractive. In fact, those things are a turn off to most. We women of all ages can find the balance between work, home and play, career, family and fun, while still being alluring. Yes, we can wear our high heels and be taken seriously.

Maria Shriver said, “Like most American women, I wear many different hats - mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend. I am constantly inspired by the stories, ideas and courage of the women I meet and I am reminded every single day how women are architects of change.For the first time in our nation’s history, women now represent half of all workers and are becoming the primary breadwinners in more families than ever before. These two facts have far reaching consequences to government, business, faith communities, women and even men.”

The first female architects of change are found in the Bible. There are many examples of strong, female, leaders with great character. We can learn a lot from their examples, while seeing a bit of ourselves in them as well.

Let’s start with Zipporah. This woman is not often spoken about. She was Moses’ wife. It is often pointed out how Moses came to her rescue and fought off aggressive shepherds, defended her and then relieved her from her work, but let me point out how Zipporah’s actions saved Moses’ life. Mose was so busy worrying about the task before him, speaking to Pharaoh, that he forgot his basic and most important covenant with God, the leadership of his own family. Zipporah, a daughter of a priest, a woman who knew God, quickly took it upon herself to circumcise their son. Something Moses forgot. Moses was suppose to have done this himself as father and head of household, but he lost focus. Zippporah stepped into his roll and calmed God’s anger at her husband and insured her children's blessings.

As single mothers or helpmates, sometimes that means we have to pick up the spiritual ball and fulfill our duties to God. It just might save your family, marriage or mate. Lord help the man who is joined to a woman who is void of faith in the Lord. He will be like a feather in the wind, blown up and down, left to right. God bless the Zipporahs!

24 At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. 26 So the Lord let him alone. - Exodus 4: 24-26

I salute all today’s mothers, married or single, who step up and lead their children in the ways of the Lord. Those who do not forget the importance of leading their children to Christ, fulfilling covenants, giving thanks over each meal, getting their children up and in church on Sundays, sharing God’s word within their homes, steering their children to do the right thing. All the Zipporahs who keep God’s wrath off the father of their children by honoring God, know that God WILL bless YOU for your diligence. 

To the Deborahs, and there are many of us, I salute you. Professional women who lead their communities, state and nation are multiplying. There are many of us out there who, in spite of being surrounded by those who tell us why something can’t be done, we find a way to do it! The women who have the LEAD OR GET OUT OF THE WAY mentality. Brave women who put their faith into action are the true pillars of society.

The great Amelia Earhart once said, “Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; the process is its own reward. Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And if they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.”

Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their disputes decided. She sent for Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali and said to him, “The Lord, the God of Israel, commands you: ‘Go, take with you ten thousand men of Naphtali and Zebulun and lead them up to Mount Tabor. I will lead Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River and give him into your hands.’” Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.” “Certainly I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Lord will deliver Sisera into the hands of a woman.” - Judges 4:4-9

Samson’s mother, also known as Manoah’s wife, is an example and encouragement to the many women today who feel like they are known only as someone’s mother or someone’s wife. To those who may feel unimportant, remember, God sees you and knows your name. The angel of the Lord did not reveal himself and share God’s will and blessings to Manoah. The unnamed angel spoke to his wife, who was also unnamed. In fact, God sent His angel to speak to HER, leaving Manoah in the dark and having to turn to his wife for guidance. Manoah was such a weak man of faith that his wife had to reassure him of their future blessings and security.It is obvious that Samson’s mother was the spiritual leader of their household. Hip, hip hurray, to all the unsung shadows! God uses the least and the overlooked to do mighty things. (Hark, do I hear Gary Morris singing "Wind Beneath My Wings?" ) 

6 Then the woman went to her husband and told him, “A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn’t ask him where he came from, and he didn’t tell me his name. 7 But he said to me, ‘You will become pregnant and have a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from the womb until the day of his death.’” 8 Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.” 9 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her. 10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, “He’s here! The man who appeared to me the other day!” 11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, “Are you the man who talked to my wife?” “I am,” he said. 12 So Manoah asked him, “When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule that governs the boy’s life and work?” 13 The angel of the Lord answered, “Your wife must do all that I have told her. 14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her.” 15 Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you.” 16 The angel of the Lord replied, “Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the Lord.) 17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?” 18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.” 19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground. 21 When the angel of the Lord did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord. 22 “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”23 But his wife answered, “If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this.”24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, 

- Judges 13: 6-24

Sadly there are more than just a few who can relate to ABIGAILAbigail was married to a rich, greedy, arrogant, fool who was the life of his own party. A man who thought he was too cool for school. Nabal patted himself on the back for his own success and denied God’s hand in his life. He surrounded himself with fools.

20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. 

- Proverbs 13: 20

Nabal ridiculed David in front of his posse of like-minded idiots. He was unappreciative and greedy. While he tried to make a fool of David, Nabal turned out to be the fool. When it came to giving back a portion for the protection and blessings he received, the wealthy heathen was not having it. This is the type of man who doesn't think twice about the cost of throwing a big drunk with his friends but grumbles at the thought of giving anything to the church.  I’m certain there are more than just a few women out there who have questioned if they should go against their husband’s wishes to tithe. Let me hear a “help me Jesus” if you are married to someone who begrudges tithing and acts like an imbecile over it.  Abigail’s actions shouted to me the answer. You see, Abbie made the mistake of being unequally yoked. ("He looked good in that goat coat when he was wooing me. I forgot to watch his actions to see if he was a true man of God, when he pulled up to my tent with that caravan of camels.”) But there she was, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Although Moses had already written the divorce decree, it was not available to her at that time. Abigail was in no position to get away from the beast. Instead of taking advantage of an immediate, sure-fire way to rid herself of this big, dumb ox by allowing David and his men to whack him, she prayed and waited upon the Lord. This woman of God did the right thing. She gathered an offering and calmed the great warrior down. Being a wise man, David listened. Abigail kept them both in God’s favor. NOW THAT IS A VALUABLE WOMAN TO HAVE AROUND. Too bad Nabal didn’t realize it. Abbie’s mama didn’t raise no fool.

My mother has always said, “A good woman can bring out the best in a man and an evil woman can encourage the worse.”

God took care of things and both David and Abigail were blessed. God is a chain breaker! He freed her from that old lead ball and chain. Her greatest love was ahead of her. Her greatest days were yet to come!

To all the Abigails out there. Fear God more than you fear a brut. Do what God says over all things, be patient, wait upon the Lord and HE will guide your steps and take care of you and the situation. God blesses those who endures until it is HIS timing to change the situation.

18 Abigail acted quickly. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys. 19 Then she told her servants, “Go on ahead; I’ll follow you.” But she did not tell her husband Nabal. 20 As she came riding her donkey into a mountain ravine, there were David and his men descending toward her, and she met them. 21 David had just said, “It’s been useless—all my watching over this fellow’s property in the wilderness so that nothing of his was missing. He has paid me back evil for good. 22 May God deal with David, be it ever so severely, if by morning I leave alive one male of all who belong to him!” 23 When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. 24 She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. 25 Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. 26 And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. 27 And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you. 28 “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29 Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30 When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31 my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.” 32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33 May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from blood shed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34 Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.”

- 1 Samuel 25: 18-34

To the Ruths of this World, forge ahead knowing that God has a Boaz waiting for you. There are so many of us who long for a second partner. Who travel to foreign place as a single woman in search of a new life. We labor alone, picking up what others have discarded, trying to make a living and a meal out of it. We build callouses on our hands and on our hearts waiting and wondering. Do know that knights on white horses still exist, men who have sandpaper to rub away the hurts and make our rough places soft again. Godly men recognize women of worth. They will speak blessings and not curses over your life.  A REAL man protects, heals, provides and is FAITHFUL!!

God has not forgotten about the single woman. God navigates the paths of his chosen. A Boaz is not just any handsome, wealthy man. Boaz was a wise man who waited for a hard-working, wise, beautiful, God-fearing, woman. Stay the course. Your greatest love is ahead of you. Your greatest days are in front of you. God will repay, restore and reward.

12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” 13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.” 14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.” When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. 16 Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”

- Ruth 2: 12-15

We are living in the days of Esther!  A strong, brave, female leader does not have to wear pantsuits, ditch the heels and lose her Feminine side. In fact, Esther was pampered and prepared with a year’s worth of beauty treatments and had her very own male stylist. I LOVE IT! Sign me up! Ladies, don’t you ever let someone make you feel bad about getting a little tuck, lift, whitening or perk. Take the time for yourself. Get your nails done, your hair coiffed, and a new dress. You are worth it! But don’t forget your best asset… the bravery which comes from the love and admiration of the Lord. To all my fellow Esthers out there, who know how to cook and who are smart enough to realize the power in knowing how to throw a good dinner party, I sing... “YOU’VE GOT THE POWER!”  I’m certain that Esther would have subscribed to Persian Living Magazine and had a standing appointment at the Palace salon. Talk about a well-rounded woman, fit for a king!  A God fearing, good-looking, sexy woman, who knows how to cook, throw a great dinner party and who is not afraid to lay things on the table, be open, honest and blunt.  Now that is a woman I can admire!!!

14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” - Esther 4:14

It is time for us to take back our femininity and lead, ladies! We can do it!

We can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens us! - Philippians 4:13



Persian Meatball Recipe With Lime-Whipped Yogurt

serves 6-8 with couscous

Some Notes

The small size of these meatballs gives you more control and less of a chance to overcook them. Remember, they’ll continue to cook once they’re out of the pan. They should be juicy but not raw inside. Test one. Some will cook faster than others. Take them out of the pan as they’re done and place on a plate. 

You can also add about 8-10 finely diced sundried tomatoes or dried apricots to the meatballs for extra moisture and flavor. 

Ingredients

• 2 lbs of ground turkey or ground chicken

• 1 medium red or white onion, grated

• 2 garlic cloves minced. I use a microplane or a garlic press.

• 1-2 tiny green or red Thai peppers, minced (optional). A small minced jalapeno pepper, a dash of sriracha or some ground red pepper or chili pepper flakes will work too.

• A generous handful of fresh mint or basil, chopped. Any herb of your choice will likely work including dill and parsley.

• 2 limes, zest one of them and reserve the zest

• 8-10 finely diced sun dried tomatoes or dried apricots (optional)  

• 2 eggs

• 2 teaspoons of dried oregano

• 2/3 cup of plain bread crumbs

• 1/3 cup of pine nuts (optional but good)

• Drizzle of honey

• Olive oil for cooking

• Sea salt  to taste

• To Serve: lime wedges and lime-whipped yogurt or plain Greek yogurt

Instructions For The Meatballs

Using the small holes of a box grater, grate the onion directly into a large bowl. Add the ground turkey or ground chicken, the eggs, the breadcrumbs, the minced garlic, chili peppers (if using), diced sun drieds or apricots (if using)  fresh mint,  pine nuts  (if using), drizzle of honey, dried oregano and salt to taste. Mix to combine all the ingredients. Wet your hands with cold water and form the mixture into small balls the size of large marbles or walnuts.

Heat a large nonstick pan on medium high heat with some olive oil. Drop the meatballs in the pan and saute until they’re golden brown on all sides and cooked through. Do not overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches if you have to. Be careful not to burn them as the honey will help to caramelize the outside of the meatballs, helping them brown and crisp. You can cover the pan occasionally to cook them. But, keep a close eye on them and remove the cover when almost done. They cook rather quickly. Try not to overcook or they’ll become dry. Remove them from the pan as they’re done cooking. Serve with lime wedges and lime-whipped yogurt. Enjoy!

Instructions To make the lime-whipped yogurt:  Take two cups of Greek yogurt and mix it with the lime zest, adding a pinch of salt.  You can also add a drizzle of honey to the yogurt to sweeten it a bit. Whip it with a fork until combined. Serve the meatballs with the lime whipped yogurt for dipping and fresh lime wedges on the side. Enjoy!