The True Worth of a Woman, Part I

“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. LIEReally, 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.

A “Helper”

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!



“Hephzibah”: Women in the Eyes of Christ

The Nigerian military’s gunshots sounded like salvation. Like the sunrise after a stormy night, The gunshots and news of a quickly advancing group of soldiers filled captives in the Boko Haram camp with a mixture of confusion and fear, but most of all, joy– as Boko Haram terrorists were quickly sapped of their power and, in turn, their captives were filled with the strength to move. These captives, mainly women with children (both born and “adopted” alike, as many are orphans), had what only could’ve been divine strength as they boarded packed rescue vehicles or carried their malnourished children, walking in the military’s tire tracks. Continue reading

“Married Off”: Holding onto an Unshakable Hope

The news is dire. According to this report, published on November 3rd, the Nigerian school girls who were abducted have been married off, and are now in their “marital homes.” Boko Haram’s leader, Abubukar Shekau, announced this in one of the terrorist group’s videos, and mocked any effort to try to find and free them.

What kind of response are we to have to this news? Are we to believe it? Are we to believe that the leader of the Boko Haram’s words are more trustworthy than the promises of God? This is indeed a tough place to be in– a place that says any and all hope is dashed, that all efforts to keep up morale are futile. Yet, in this time of extreme discouragement, waiting and hoping upon the Lord is still not a lost cause. As the Psalmist writes:

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.”
(Psalm 43:5, NIV)

This scripture speaks of holding onto hope. But how can one keep hoping and waiting upon the Lord in such discouraging circumstances? To keep up hope, one must place their hope in the one who is unchanging. Laying our belief on the rock of God’s Word instead of on the shifting sand of circumstance ensures that our hope will not waiver or be removed, as is relayed in the parable of the man who built his home on the rock:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25, NIV)

Because this man knew God’s Word and believed it to be true, he built his life on it, and his life’s hope, peace, love and joy were therefore unshakable. When we put our hopes into Christ’s words, we can also be unshakable in our hope.

“But AnnaLee,” you may ask, “How can you still believe they’ll be free if it’s been reported that the girls have already been married off?” Is it just wishful thinking?

I know how these promises sound. At this point, it may even seem insane. Yet, my hope for the release/escape of these girls is unbroken. God has promised it; therefore, He will come through on His promises.

From a purely rational standpoint, their escape or release is also not entirely impossible, either. In the case of this news actually being true (for we do not know the truth without question, as news concerning the girls has been so varied and ever-changing), one can still believe in their rescue because “with God, all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, NIV). When God promised the release of these girls all those months ago, never did He say that it would happen according to our time or in our ways. He did not promise that it’d be plastered on a headline or announced during the evening news. He did, however, promise that each and every girl would be saved, freed– and that their identities would not be formed by this tragedy, but by them belonging to Christ. Albeit it might be seriously difficult to believe, these girls can still be rescued or freed from their “marital homes,” and not all is lost. In light of these promises founded in God’s Word, my faith– our faith, truly– remains unshaken, and our hope untarnished.

Because when God says something, He means it. I now leave you with this encouraging benediction:

“Blessed [are they] who [have] believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to [them]!”
(Luke 1:45, NIV)

Please be praying for these girls, whether they be in their own “marital homes” or are still in camps. Pray that their faith in the Lord would only grow to be stronger, and that the Lord would use them in mighty ways to bring their captors and/or husbands to the saving knowledge of Christ as their Lord ans Savior.

Pray also for members of the Boko Haram (BH), that the Lord would continue to soften their hearts and minds as they keep these girls in captivity, and that the heart of Shekau would be radically changed by the Love of Christ.

Pray for the girls’ families, most of whom have lost hope of ever seeing their daughters, sisters, and friends again; pray that these heartbroken men and women would hold onto this unshakable hope as well.

Pray that these girls, no matter where they are, would be freed soon, and that if they are in their marital homes, their husbands would be so affected by our sisters’ witnesses that they would come to know Christ through their wives, and would set these beautiful women free.

Do not lose hope, brothers and sisters! The Lord is near, and His promises ring true. For all these reasons, we pray.

Dear readers, be blessed.

UPDATE: After reading this heartbreaking story, it has been pressed upon my heart that these young girls would be prayed for– not only for their release and salvation, but for their healing and restoration after having obtained months of sexual abuse. Please pray that, if given the chance, these girls would look to Christ, and would not harm or abort their children, if they do have them. Pray that these young women choose life for their children, and that their hearts would be open to the healing work Christ wants to do in and through them.

This pain is unbearable without Christ. Please pray that they’d look to Him for the restoration and healing they so need.

“Hephzibah”: In Search of True Identity

A pastor once told my Young Adult’s group something along the lines of the sentiment “You can only come to know who you truly are when you come to know who Christ truly is.” 

At the time, it was exactly what I needed to hear. I have seemingly always known Christ as my Lord and Savior, having been raised in the church, but I had made God out to be a God who was angry with me, a God who either was pleased because “I did good” or was displeased because I disobeyed or “didn’t do enough.” Due to this, I suffered from some seriously low self-esteem, OCD-like attitudes, and being overly critical of myself and others. Because I didn’t see God for who He’s shown Himself to be through His Word– that is, as the God who is quick to forgive, slow to anger, and abounding in grace and mercy, as stated in Exodus 34:6— I beat myself up for things that the Lord only wanted me to accept His grace and goodness in.

Needless to say, how a person views God affects every aspect of how they view themselves, other people, and the world around them. A distorted, non-biblical view of God can have huge consequences. Reading about the recent attack by female suicide bombers in Maiduguri, Nigeria, this could be no closer to the truth. On November 25th, 2014, 2 young women entered a busy marketplace in Maiduguri, screaming, and detonated their bombs, killing 30 people while injuring countless others. This attack is not an isolated incident; at least 2 other attacks of the same kind, involving female suicide bombers, have occurred since the 267 young girls from Chibok, Nigeria, were kidnapped in April. And with reports that three teenage girls from Colorado, USA tried traveling to Turkey to join ISIS, the concept of a self-identity in sight of God’s identity is an ever more pressing idea that needs to be brought to light.

What could make young, teenage girls want to join such horrific terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and ISIS? Many experts have stated that these groups portray themselves as a brotherhood fighting a holy war, creating a false sense of family; the idea of belonging to something greater can be, and has been, alluring for many young girls who feel like outcasts in their own communities. Looking for Truth, for love, for acceptance, and for identity, these young girls fall into the trap that the enemy uses frequently: trying to find belonging in the world outside of Christ. Because many of these young girls are Muslim to begin with, it can be all too easy for them join extremist groups that offer a completely fake version of the truth, love, and acceptance that they– and truly, all of us– are craving.

Jesus didn’t claim to only point to the way, the truth, or the life; He claimed to BE the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Only Jesus can offer us true identity in Him; how He sees us is THE most important thing in the universe. The apostle Paul declares this truth in Galatians:

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” 
Galatians 1:10, NIV

When Christ is the one whom we’re living for, we know who we are in Him, stated in 1 Peter: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9, NIV). As people, we can try to form our own identity, but there can never be a true sense of self, of being loved, and of acceptance from God until we accept Christ Jesus as our Personal Lord and Savior.

Because of this, my heart goes out to these young men and women being told by the enemy that ISIS and Boko Haram offer something only Christ can offer. It’s heart-wrenching to know that what all these people want can be simply found in Christ, but that He may be the last person and place they come to for it. It’s sickening to know that what they think is a hug is actually a punch in the gut, a slap in the face; that what many think will bring them life is the very thing that will bring them death. This applies to more than Muslim girls trying to join ISIS or the Boko Haram; this same concept applies to any and all people trying to find belonging outside of Christ.

When the Lord first put the Chibok girls upon my heart, He showed me through Isaiah 62:4 that He saw them as “Hephzibah”– the ones He delights in. Though we may forget their plight, He never will; though they may be shrouded in the darkness of black hijabs, forced to be married off, being harmed and injured in every evil way imaginable, they are not what they are going through, but are dearly loved by God. These men and women in the Boko Haram are just as loved as those in captivity. Coming to know Christ, these men and women can be transformed from hateful, death-filled supporters of Boko Haram and ISIS to beloved children of God, walking in Love, instead of the heartless, destructive paths they’ve been walking in (Ephesians 5:1-2). If only these young women knew Christ, they’d know that they are delighted in and very loved– not because of anything they’ve done, but because of what Christ did.

Pray with me today that the young women and girls who’ve voluntarily joined ISIS and Boko Haram (BH) would see ISIS and the BH for the evil, demonic power they really are. Pray that these people would come to see who God truly is, through the lens of Christ. Pray that they’d see the darkness separated from the light as they come to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
Pray for our sisters in captivity, that the Lord would use them to bring others to Him by the power of His Holy Spirit; pray also that the Lord would soften the hearts of the Boko Haram leaders, and would place in them hearts of flesh as they come to know His great love– for it’s His great kindness alone that brings others to repentance (Romans 2:4, NIV). Pray not only for the girls seeking ISIS and BH as a place of belonging, but pray for all of those who are searching for meaning and belonging outside of Christ. Ask the Lord to put people on your heart to pray for and reach out to, to show the love and acceptance of Christ to. The world is looking for identity, and it is only truly found in Jesus’ arms.

Because in Christ Jesus, we are all named Hephzibah: Delighted In. Let us rejoice in this today, praying that more and more all over the Earth would take on this identity as well.