March 8, 2024

Make Me a Woman to Celebrate

A poem for International Women’s Day

by Cynthia Zimmerman

O Lord, great respecter of women
Yet no respecter of persons  
Who highly favored a virgin  
But judges all impartially  

Make me a woman You celebrate

May all my praise be rendered
Because I fear the Lord 
May all my healing be tendered
Because my faith has made me whole 
May all my sins be forgiven, unhindered 
Because I knelt to thank You with perfumed hair 
After the stone
Remained unthrown,
And I was known 
By a merciful God 

Lord, You see every woman
I carry around in my bones 
Hagar, the slave 
The widow, poor 
The barren, weeping 
The whore, the wholesome, the haggard—

You speak to every woman 
That I have ever been 
Orphan, reaching for a father
Twelve years sick, touching Your cloak 
Eighteen years, bent over
Harlot, hardened, hurried 
Mother, daughter, friend 

Your voice sings through the ages,
“Woman, be loosed
Woman, be healed
Woman, your faith has made you whole 

Dear woman, I am He 
I am He 
He, the Healer 
Chin up, 
I am the Lifter of your head 
Why do you look for Me among the dead? 
I am risen just as I said”

And You, Lord, have always been the ultimate suffrage
To our suffering
The freedom from oppression and pain
The source of our victory, the ultimate gain

You have been manna to the hungry
Oil of gladness to those who mourn
And to the woman racked with demons
Deliverance to a life reborn 

On this day that celebrates women
Let me only emulate You
Who loves the fruitful, the barren,
And who makes us ever new

Let me sing among the women-saints,
Those who have gone before
The power of Jesus’ wonderful name
My voice raised endlessly, ever and evermore

O Lord, great respecter of women
Yet no respecter of persons
Make me a woman You celebrate

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