Rise Up, Woman, Rise Up

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Cara Meredith -Rise Up Woman3

Michelle Obama said it this past summer: When they go low, we go high. Heads nodded and hands clapped and tears rolled down the cheeks of many, as we stood in solidarity.

“Lena,” one of the moms on ABC’s The Fosters, said it this way: Sometimes the best way to fight back, is to rise above. Her foster daughter took her words to heart—ignoring the taunts and jeers and general mean-spiritedness of her peers, and walked to the front of the stage.

And Isaiah breathed this truth to the country of Judah: You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Because when the peace of the Holy descends in heart and mind and soul, a general rising-up occurs.

Collectively and individually, first with the heart of one and then within the hearts of many, we rise above our circumstances. We add sugar and water to the box of lemons we’ve been handed, drinking down copious amounts of life-giving lemonade.

We keep showing up, even when it hurts. We fight back, even when we wonder whether it’s making a difference. And we love–wholeheartedly, selflessly, wordlessly, as women only in a united front can do–as if our lives depend on it.

For our lives do depend on this general rising.

Our hearts do depend on showing up.

Our souls do depend on leaning into the hard things and leaning into each other–then waking up in the morning to do it all over again.

So, sister, what is it for you?

Maybe it begins by seeing–and I want you to know I see you today.

I see you at the park, with a baby screaming into your chest and a toddler pounding fists and legs in the sand box. I see that this is your world, at least for this hour, and I see that it’s hard.

I see the deep breaths you take–the way your chest heaves in and out, slowly, precisely–and I hear the way you choose to speak calmly to the little ones beside you.

I see how hard it is to choose the upper road, to choose not to react when I’m sure all you want to do is scream and get your way, too.

So let me say five words to you: Rise up, woman, rise up.  

And I see you beside the coffee urn at church. I see the way your hands hold the paper, how the steam warms your chin, your cheeks, your nose.

I don’t know your story, but I have a feeling that life hasn’t been the easiest for you.

Your eyes focus downward, like it’s hard to make eye contact with the person in front of you. It looks like you could use a new winter coat, and when I see the shopping cart parked outside of the sanctuary doors, I wonder if you have a home to call your own.

If I’m honest I admit I don’t always know how to react, to you and to those around me who seem to lack in food and shelter: Do I invite you to my house for dinner? Do I stand in silence with you right now, so you know you’re not alone? Do I bring a new coat for you next week?

Sister, as I figure out what to do on my end, I extend a blessing of rising up to you. And, as you brave the elements and enter the cold and hope to God you survive another night, I pray that Life and Joy and Warmth will find you.

So let me say five words to you: Rise up, woman, rise up.

I see you as you stand in line at the grocery store, your child asleep in the bed of the shopping cart. His little mouth yawns and yours yawns in return, mimicking the cherubim that must be your kin.

I see the lines under your eyes. I see you count your money and look at the cashier as she tells you the total amount, as your eyes scan the plastic bags in front of you.

I see you reach into your bag and return a box of tea to the woman who rings you up.

I see your selflessness.

I see how you place your child first.

I wonder if it’s just the two of you out there in this world–if you’re a single mom who works all day to provide for her son. I think about how we’re alike and different, about how work is an option and not a necessity for me.

I see and I acknowledge and I honor the sacrifices you make every day.

So let me say five words to you: Rise up, woman, rise up.

Whatever you do, whoever you are, I honor you.

You are not alone–and we, your sisters, stand with you as you rise, again and again and again.

Might you go high when they go low.

Might you enter the fight by rising above.

Might you be kept in perfect peace.

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Cara Meredith
Cara is a writer, speaker and musician from the greater San Francisco Bay Area. She is chipping away at her first book when not searching for the world’s greatest chips and guacamole. She loves people, food, reading, the great outdoors and her family. She and the HBH (Hot Black Husband), try to dance nightly and live life to the fullest with their two young sons.
Cara Meredith
Cara Meredith

Latest posts by Cara Meredith (see all)

Cara Meredith
  • Cara, thank you for your voice — here, there, and everywhere — and for your Truth-based encouragement to hearts.

  • Helene Burns

    Every word is a beautiful invitation and every word is a gift. I pray that your thoughts here today spread like wildfire because every woman needs to know that they can rise up Sister, rise up… and we’ll be standing right beside them.

    What a treasure this is Cara. Thank you. xo

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Helene – that means a lot!

  • Dagmar Morgan

    Amazingly inspired!

  • In our hurts and on our hard days, I think one thing we all long for is for someone to see the pain and the struggle. You see it in others–what a gift!

  • marlene

    In tears of thanksgiving…I only just got to read this tonight. But God is so good….because today… No words for what this day has been or what bruises it left.

    Thank you for being my word from God today.
    Never more needed.