I am Woman


“Our journey to our own freedom has just begun. It is an exciting time to be alive, and God is on the move.”
“But whoever treasures freedom like the swallow has learned to fly.”
—Donna, Donna

The words dropped from my mouth in such a way that even I was astounded by the Holy Spirit power with which they fell. The harpist went on to play the chorus. I picked up the words again. The verse about the calf, about the wagon, about the farmer and then finally about the swallow. “Donna, Donna,” the little Yiddish song that fell about the room like a trumpet.

August 9 is Women’s Day in South Africa, and on that day, I was invited to perform my poetry piece, I am Woman. Along with this I was invited by a harpist to recite the words to this little Yiddish song while she played the choruses. I was nervous. I have always had this thing about speaking in front of others, and yet I know I have to start speaking out. My heart burns and I have to open my mouth with God inspired words. I have to speak.

The women’s day event formed part of a week-long human trafficking art exhibition which travels around South Africa, creating awareness and raising funds for victims and survivors. August 9th, however, was a day to celebrate, a day to bless our womanhood. A day to stand and declare who we are as women, as victims, as survivors. I rejoiced in the women who brought what they had to the table. The singers, the dancers, the testimony from a trafficked victim, the art works, the poetry. The harpist who strummed “As the Deer Pants for the Water,” while I wept.

I took it all in, but I was nervous. So nervous, in fact, that I could barely move my neck. But the words burned inside of me as I sat, holding a crown in my hand and my sheet of paper with my poem on it. I had asked to go last, but the three-hour wait seemed like days.

Finally I stood up. Whenever I stand and speak from my heart about my experiences as a woman, whenever I stand and see the brokenness on the faces of the women around me, I cry. I have made peace with these tears; I can finally let them fall—they are part of the God-given grace in me. After the words, I pushed the crown on to my head and told the audience to stand up and hold inside their hearts and hands the words said to them about their womanhood. The words that hurt, the words that stung, the words that abused and used them.

I watched tears fall across the room. I saw the pain on some faces, panic on others, while downright “what is she on about” was written all over others. But I did not care. We were declaring God’s truth. We stood, and the words of “I am Woman” rolled out in to the heavenlies.

Once I was finished, I was exhausted. A little old lady came weeping over to me, and through her shaking she said,“Thank you.” Added to this, women came chatting—clamouring—about how they have always felt as women. How the Church made them feel, how they sacrificed and gave up their God-given calls to pursue a rather submissive theology of their womanhood. But the chains are breaking, and I saw the chains fall about the feet of many. Our journey to our own freedom has just begun. It is an exciting time to be alive, and God is on the move.

He is restoring to us the boldness of our heritage, the boldness of the call, the boldness to declare “I am woman” and to finally understand what that means. It is not merely a statement; it is a heavenly declaration.

We will no longer bow, we will no longer be victims, we will no longer live in ashes. Rather, we will cherish freedom—liberty in our deepest selves—and we shall declare: “I am here and I am unafraid.” For whoever cherishes freedom has, like the swallow, learned to fly! I am holding out my hands to the women worldwide and I am asking, “Will you take my hand? I am ready to fly—are you?”

I am Woman, by Aliyah Jacobs

I am Woman
I choose to be undefined. Undefeated but despised.
Rejected. Dismembered. Disgraced. Maltreated.
But I am Woman—unafraid to be seen.
I am me—a woman and everything that means.
Unafraid. Hand-made. Warrior. Ruler. Poet. Queen.
Boldly powerful. With a need to be seen.

This is Woman—take a look and see
Object. Subject. Beaten. Silenced.
But still undefeated: Queen.

I am Woman!
Possessing a powerful form.
Victorious. Impassioned.
Courageous. Spirited. Formidable

She is Woman and all that means!
Captain. Healer. Fighter. A Freer.
Impassioned. Emblazoned. Powerful. Whole.

I am woman, a spark inflamed,
crowned with glory—that is all of me.
She is woman. poet. ruler. Warrior. Queen.


Image Credit: Don LaVange