“My bride price included euros,” she says proudly.
Covered head to toe in clothing that hides her body, face, and hair, she stands stoutly, head held high. Speaking to the other women, she tells the story of how she came to marry her Boko-Haram-husband. 15 years old, she is expecting a child, soon.
The other women chime in about their own husbands. “I love my husband,” a thirteen year old swoons. Another speaks about how steadfastly her husband pursued her, after she willingly joined Boko Haram. Their speech is full of infatuation, bragging, and pride; the conversation stops and the women disband when it is time for muslim prayer.
Shocking or not, these are the lives of some of the many women who are apart of Boko Haram. As this article unearths, the women of Boko Haram are not always abducted young women, begging to leave. Whether stolen from their families, or recruited by other Boko Haram women, many of these women have found value in Boko Haram—especially in their husbands, who are also members of Boko Haram (and are sometimes coerced or abducted, as well). And as restrictive as sharia law is, these women sometimes experience a positive change in class status—something that can quickly go to the head. With status, a relative level of comfort, and the daily brainwashing of Boko Haram, these women quickly succumb to the belief that the role they play—as wives, fighters, and even suicide bombers—completely define them, giving them meaning.
And of course it would. Any religion can give a person some sense of purpose and worth; but, heartbreakingly, these women find the core of their worth based upon something that is a lie. Sadly, this is what has happened since the beginning—since Eve listened to the fatal whispers of the serpent (Genesis 3).
“‘You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”
(Genesis 3:4-5, NIV)
Since the beginning, satan has whispered lies into the ears of women, worldwide. “You will not die; instead, you will find more meaning and value outside of one, true God.” What has come of this? Women believing that their identity lies in their performance—that is, how alluring, how sexy, how intelligent, or how hard-working they are. Really, that list of characteristics could go on forever, and it is always changing. It all comes down to this: in the heart of a woman, satan has planted the lie that they must perform well (not just sexually, but in any arena) in order to be truly Loved and esteemed.
This lie is surely planted in the hearts of both sexes; but in women, there are many common ways this lie is seen throughout humanity. The saddest part? This lie always leaves a person, a woman, with the exact opposite of all they hoped for, all they dreamed. They are not truly known; they are used; and they are left alone, more hungry than ever for a Love that they may begin to believe doesn’t exist.
This is not the perfect plan Jesus (God) had in mind when He created the first woman. His thoughts toward women can be seen all throughout the Bible, but especially as He creates the first woman, in Genesis 2.
“And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.’
The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’
Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said,
‘This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called “woman,”
for she was taken out of man.’”
(Genesis 2:16-23, NIV)
Women, have you ever read this passage and thought, “Wow. It seems like women were created only to please a man. How chauvinistic.”? If so, I want to bring a few things to your attention:
- I may be met with opposition to this point, but it must be said: If you believe that the Bible is God’s actual Word, and that it cannot just be symbolic of some truth, then even if women were only created to please a man, it would be true. God is not wrong even if what His Word says is unpopular.
But, I would like to expand upon what Genesis 2 is saying—and get to the bottom of what it truly reveals about how God sees women. Genesis 2:18 says, “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’” Looking at this verse in Hebrew, the word “Helper” is also used in Psalm 89:191:
“Once you spoke in a vision, to your faithful people you said: ‘I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have raised up a young man from among the people.’”
(Psalm 89:19, NIV)
In Psalm 89:19, the phrase “bestowed strength” is the portion of the verse that uses this word, “Helper” (“ezer” in Hebrew)1. Why does this matter? Because it sheds light on just what kind of “Help” Eve was to Adam.
What is a warrior without strength, bestowed by God? A defeated person! Strength is CRUCIAL for a warrior; and so it is with women to men. God looked at Adam, all alone, and realized that a woman was crucial to Adam’s existence. Women are not second-class citizens to God; they are a crucial part of mankind, offering their own unique, God-given nature and gifts for the betterment of humanity!
Women are not valuable based upon how sexy they are, or on how well they fulfill the various desires of the world around them. Women are valuable because they, too, are made in the Image of God, reflecting Him and glorifying Him in a way men could never do.
Women are not the same as men; but, they do not have to be to be equal to men. In the eyes of God, women are precious, worth ransoming from sin and dying for.
You see, Jesus Christ paid a bride price for us, men and women alike, that no one would ever be willing to pay—ransoming us from slavery to sin, and paying the ultimate price of death on a cross to marry us to Himself (1 Peter 1:18-19). It is a price worth far more than anything on this earth, and it lasts forever, completely transforming the one who is bought. A bride price worth far more than euros.
You are valuable to God—much more valuable then you could have ever believed. Not because of anything you are, but because of who He is.
Learn more about this God, who died to be the Savior of your story, the Lover of your soul, and the Lord of your Life, here.
Please pray for (grab the Prayer Sheet, here)…
- Women in general. We try to find our value in a plethora of things—pray that each and every woman would come to know that Jesus Christ is the One she has been waiting for.
- Identity to be found in CHRIST. Instead of trying to “find ourselves” and our identities outside of God, may each person, and specifically women, find their true identity in Christ—and rest from trying to find their identity in anything else.
- Muslim women. Pray that these women would come to know Jesus, and His Awesome Grace, Freedom, and Forgiveness.
- The Chibok Girls. Pray that these women come home, soon.
- The Dapchi Girls. That they are found and freed soon—hopefully sooner than it has taken to find and rescue the 163 Chibok girls who have been found, so far.
Thank you for your prayers! Part Two is on the way!