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Maacah Mother of Tamar: Mother Lioness
Tear my clothes,
throw ash upon my head.
Today my daughter is dead.
Why do we bear daughters
only to watch them be consumed
by the fires of the lust of a man
eating them alive?
Today my daughter is dead,
alive but dead,
an empty shell,
a rejected husk,
a ghost condemned
for another's lust.
Why do we bear daughters
only to watch them be destroyed
by a world that blames the helpless
and lets evil win the day?
They say a snake corrupted Eve -
today, it speaks to Adam
for it lives between his legs.
Why do we bear daughters
only to watch them be devoured
by merciless greed,
then cast away shamed,
a broken reed?
I want to tear him apart,
I want to rip his throat,
I want to bite off his manhood,
show no mercy to this merciless brute
who had no mercy for her.
Why do we bear daughters
only to watch them be regarded as objects,
playthings to be used and cast aside?
Why do we bear sons
if this is what they become?
I want to devour him
and leave nothing left,
I want him destroyed
the way he destro
:icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 8 12
Wise Woman of Tekoa: Justice and Mercy
Justice must be served,
the guilty must be punished;
justice must prevail
through the hand of the King.
As a just ruler
you must deal out judgement,
appeasing the masses
that clamour for blood.
Wrongs can't be ignored,
evil can't be covered -
the guilty must be punished,
justice must be served.
But, Lord,
I am a Mother,
and you, Lord, are a Father.
Does not your father's heart
throb in you like mine?
Justice must be served
on my son who killed his brother;
the thirsty masses cry for blood.
I can't ignore his wrongs
that tear my heart asunder -
but vengeance will not heal me,
retribution won't atone my loss.
I have lost one son -
would you have me lose another?
Justice must be served,
but is this truly justice?
For, Lord,
I am a Mother,
and you, Lord, are a Father.
Does not your father's heart
throb in you like mine?
Justice must be served
on your son who killed his brother.
As a just ruler
you must deal out judgement.
But Lord,
you are a Father
and he is your son.
Close the eyes of the
:icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 5 12
Eowyn: The Cage
"What do you fear, lady?" He asked.
"A cage," she said. "To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire."

Too often have I heard of duty,
too often been told what a woman should do.
Too often have I heard of duty,
and duty has become my cage.
My duty to cheer as the men ride to war,
my duty to stay behind.
My duty to rule while they are away,
my duty to submit when they return.
My duty to fill empty bellies,
my duty to keep hearth and home,
my duty to marry a nobleman someday,
my duty to give him sons.
My duty to watch them ride away
to shed their blood on a foreign field,
my duty to suffer and wait.
My duty to mourn them when they fall,
my duty to praise their glory in song,
my duty to wile the nights away,
left behind, alone.
My duty never to question
where my life has gone.
Too often have I heard of duty,
and duty has become my cage.
Imprisoned behind the bars
of your expectations,
I do what I must,
:icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 5 0
Merab: What Could Have Been
Strange to think now
I could once have been yours,
that it could have been me
gracing your side.
What might life have been
if my father kept his promise?
What might life have been
if you had married me?
Strange to think now
that I ever wanted you,
that there was a time
when I'd see you and swoon,
when my heart would beat faster
each time you looked my way.
Such a silly girl,
young and in love,
protesting when they gave me
to another man.
Strange to think now
what I might have endured -
could I have endured it
the way she did?
Could I have stood by you
against my own father,
abandoning my family?
Could I have lied to protect you
from the people I loved?
Could I have endured
years of separation,
fearing for your life?
Could I have endured
being reunited with you,
when you no longer loved me
but had married many more?
Could I have endured
a life torn in two?
Strange to think now
I could once have been yours.
Strange to think now
that I ever wanted you.
Could I have endured it
the way she
:icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 7 9
Mother of Amnon: My Son, my Son
My son, my son,
what have you done?
My son, what have you become?
Have I taught you nothing?
Has my love meant nothing?
How can I still look at you
after this?
Where is my sweet, sensitive boy?
Where has he gone?
Who is this selfish, brutal man?
What have you done?
Have I taught you nothing?
Who are you now?
Don't you see
the pain you're causing me,
digging claws into my heart,
tearing it apart?
Don't you have a mother?
Don't you have sisters?
Did I not teach you
love and respect?
Where did you learn
this violence, this greed,
this cruelty?
Not from me.
I want to beat you bloody.
I wish you weren't mine.
I want to cast you out
far from my sight.
My son, my son,
what have you done?
How could you do this?
And yet
you are my son,
my sweet, sensitive boy -
somehow, somewhere
that child is still there.
How I wish he could come out,
set himself free
from the blindness of self,
the chains of lust and greed.
How I wish
your evil deeds could fall away
to uncover the true you
buried beneath
:icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 8 4
Matcha Cupcakes by deng-li-xin32 Matcha Cupcakes :icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 7 11
The Witch of Endor: Poor Child
You used to be the mighty King,
persecutor of the likes of me;
the scourge of all who practised my craft,
enemy of those not loyal to your god.
Your name alone meant dread to me -
today, do you bring death to me?
But now
your shell is cracked
and you seep through:
wounds and tears
from beneath the armour,
a broken man
underneath the mask.
I thought you were a mighty King -
but I all I see is a lost child
cowering frightened at my feet.
You believe yourself forsaken
by God and by men,
thrown aside and replaced
by a better man.
You believe yourself hated,
feel lost and alone -
my hunter is hunted
my persecutor brought low.
You have clung to your power;
you fought and you fought...
but not even the mighty
can stay the hand of God.
You used to be the mighty King,
persecutor of the likes of me.
Now here you are, a lost child,
cowering frightened at my feet.
Now I could gloat
to see my hunter hunted,
to see you brought low
by the god you disobeyed.
But all I see is a lost child
cowering frig
:icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 6 6
Ishbosheth's Porter: Was it me?
Was it me?
Was it my fault?
Because I left open the door?
Because I fell asleep?
Was it my failure
that let them slip in?
Was it my negligence
that killed my king?
I know, it was them
who wielded the knife.
I know, it was them
who committed the crime.
And yet it is I
weighed down by guilt.
And yet it is I
weighed down by shame.
What if
I had stayed awake?
What if
I had locked the door?
What if
I had been there to stop them,
to prevent their evil plan?
What if
I had not lain
huddled in a corner
fast asleep?
I know it is foolish,
but my mind twists and turns,
playing with "what ifs",
repeating the scene
in all the variations
of what might have been,
what could have been prevented
if not for me.
There is no punishment -
there is no reprieve.
I am alone,
imprisoned in this guilt
that makes no sense to feel.
Who can set me free
from these what ifs
screaming in my mind,
accusing me?
Was it my negligence
that killed my king?
Was it my fault?
Was it me?
:icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 10 8
Spanish Orange Cupcakes by deng-li-xin32 Spanish Orange Cupcakes :icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 1 0
Susanna: The God Who Questions Me
God used to be easier
when his views fit my own,
when he affirmed what I already believed,
when he moved within my stereotypes,
proved right what I already knew.
God used to be easier
when my enemies were his,
when he affirmed my prejudice,
when he approved of the boundaries
drawn up between "us" and "them".
God used to live
in this comfortable box
of the culture I knew
and the worldview I treasured,
among people I loved
who thought just like me.
But now
You have opened the box
and He runs wild and free,
challenging me
and who I thought He is.
This God questions my long-held beliefs,
challenges all I thought I knew,
tears down my prejudices
and won't let me be
the way I used to be.
Now God is teaching me
to touch those who once disgusted me,
to love those I looked down upon,
to open my heart to the ones I rejected,
to open my eyes to wounds I was blind to see,
to embrace those who once were repulsive to me.
For you touch the lepers,
you eat with sinners,
you mingle with rabble,
:icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 16 19
Vanilla-Chocolate Cupcakes by deng-li-xin32 Vanilla-Chocolate Cupcakes :icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 6 5
Abigail: Disobedient
I will disobey you,
my Husband -
I will ignore your command.
I will subvert your decision,
I will counter your wish.
I will disobey you,
my Husband -
and save us all.
How can I idly sit and watch
as your choice risks our destruction?
How can I stay silent and passive
in the face of such danger?
How can I submit
to the threat of war
when in my hands
lies the chance to make peace?
I will disobey you,
my Husband -
I will do what you refused:
I will share of our wealth
with these men who have asked us
before they take it by force.
I will disobey you,
my Husband -
and save us all.
I will not let my weapons rust,
my gifts of wit and diplomacy.
I will not bury God's gift of wisdom
beneath a false submissiveness
when I can use it now for peace,
to reconcile
and save us all.
God does not ask me
to submit without question
and obey you unconditionally.
God does not ask me
to sit silent at home
while all around me
the world crashes down.
God does not ask me
to quash my own will
:icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 14 21
Flag Cupcakes by deng-li-xin32 Flag Cupcakes :icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 15 6
Mother of James and John: Greatness
I thought you had come to bring success,
health, wealth and all the rest.
I thought you had come to fulfill all our dreams,
restore our nation to greatness,
grant prosperity.
I thought you chose my sons
to lift them into power,
helming your revolution with you,
mighty and glorious in your splendourous reign.
How disappointing
to be turned away.
But here at your cross
I understand.
I sought greatness, fulfillment and glory -
you taught the path of selflessness.
I wanted God to grant me my wishes -
you chose humble obedience.
I wanted power -
you carried the cross.
I wanted to win -
you freely chose loss.
I was serving myself,
while you served God
and served us all
through your self-denying love.
Here at your cross
I understand
that the first will be last
and the last will be first;
that greatest is she
who makes herself small -
for the Lord of all Lords
became servant to all.
Here at your cross
I understand,
as God is revealed
in godforsakenness,
as a weapon of torture
becomes your thro
:icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 7 7
The Poor Widow's Offering: Generous
Generous God,
you have given me
all that I need -
not very much,
but it is enough.
Open my eyes
to see all you've provided -
more than possessions,
a wealth more than wealth.
I want to give thanks
for the riches you've given:
the breath in my body,
enough food to eat,
my beautiful children,
the knowledge of You.
Mysterious God,
it is true
my cup was not always sweet,
and much bitterness
has stained my years.
And I've cried and complained,
not understood your ways -
except this:
you are love
and you understand my pain.
I have swallowed the dregs
of loss and poverty,
of loneliness
and a mother's worry.
Daily I struggle,
yet stubbornly believe,
though you lead me rocky ways,
that you care for me.
Bountiful God,
all I have is yours -
that's so easy to say,
yet so hard to do.
Give me the peace
to share generously -
just like You.
Let me live out the love
you have given to me,
with no fear of tomorrow,
with no fear of suffering.
Let me open my hand
knowing that yours
is always open to me.
:icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 8 8
Nympha: Make This House Your Own
"Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house." (Colossians 4:15)
O Lord our God
who has brought us together,
turned this hodge-podge mix of people
into a family -
take this house, we pray,
and make it your own.
May this be a place
that strangers call home;
an open door
to the far and the near,
the lost and the seeking,
sinners and righteous,
Gentile and Jew.
May this be the place
where we can show our true face:
be ourselves without fear,
confess and find forgiveness,
be radically accepted
into bottomless grace.
May this be the place
where we learn to love each other
as you have loved us,
where enemy becomes brother
and stranger becomes friend.
O Lord our God
who has brought us together,
take this house, we pray,
and make it your own.
Save us from the temptation
of making it a fortress,
fenced off from the world,
from which we defend
our values and beliefs.
Save us from the temptation
of shutting ourselves in
and keeping f
:icondeng-li-xin32:deng-li-xin32 6 8
:bulletgreen: Women of the Bible project:… :bulletgreen:

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I am leading a "family service" this Sunday, basically a church service for both adults and children. So I've been thinking about which "story" I should preach on (my idea is to tell the story with pictures to the kids first, and then do a short sermon that is somple enough for kids to understand too).

Anyway while choosing stories I started thinking back to what stories I remember hearing in Sunday school (or: in the diverse Sunday schools I went to, growing up as a missionary kid and switching countries and churches way too much). I realised all of a sudden: we almost only heard "boy stories" - e.g. David and Goliath, Joshua, Samson, Jonah.
What about the "girl stories"?

Now I know (I've been teaching Sunday school and religious education for a while now) that Sunday school curricula are a complex matter. We're not just "teaching stories", but trying to give an idea of the overall biblical narrative e.g. with the history of Israel and later the beginnings of the church. We are not just teaching "morals", but giving children biblical literacy. But especially with younger children we do teach stories, and "moral of the story"s, and biblical role models. E.g. last year a bloc in my 5th grade class was all about David.

I personally can't remember doing any "woman's story" in the Bible except Esther, maybe a bit of Ruth, Rahab on the edge of the Joshua story, Miriam with Moses. But mostly we learnt about male "heroes". Which on the one hand makes sense because the Bible, written for a mainly male audience in a patriarchal culture, generally does put more focus on the men. But on the other hand, the Bible is full of female heroes and examples as well - and we are teaching girls, not just boys, and women's stories are relevant to both girls and boys. And the stories of the women in the Bible have a right to be heard in their own right, and not just on the sidelines of a male-centred story.

When I started considering which women's stories I could tell e.g. in that family service, I realised some difficulties. Because of my project writing poems from the p.o.v. of women in the Bible I have a list of practically all of them. And going through it I realised that many of the Old Testament women's stories involve sex, violence, and sexual violence. Is this one reason why I heard so few stories from their point of view? Even those we do hear: Esther was pretty much forced to marry the king, Rahab was a prostitute. Ruth looks pretty innocent as long as you ignore the premarital sex bit (which most do). Dinah is raped, Tamar is raped, Sarah lets Abraham sleep with her slave, Leah and Rachel fight over their husband's affection...

As for violence: we have violent women like Jael (though I do think her story comes up sometimes?), then we have women suffering violence like Jephthah's daughter (which surprisingly appeared in one of my children's Bibles and I think that was a good inclusion).

And the other problem is that most women in the Bible are too strong. In the New Testament you have women apostles (Junia), deacons (Phoebe), prophetesses (Philipp's daughters) and church planters (Nympha). In the Old Testament you have women who outsmart the men (Tamar), disobey their husbands (Vashti, Esther, Abigail), and mostly get lauded for it. I love these stories, but maybe in certain churches they are too "dangerous"? If you want to teach gorls that they must always defer to boys and become submissive wives, maybe these stories will give them bad ideas. I never heard these stories in my baptist or brethren Sunday school (we did Acts when I was 8-9 and it was all only Peter and Paul). The Bible challenges traditional gender roles if you let it, and I suspect often, by leaving out the women, we have not let it challenge us.

When I first wrote out my list of women to write poems about, I reached only 45 (out of all my Sunday school knowledge, my father reading the Bible to us every night till I was 16, personal Bible reading and at that time 1 year of theology at uni). There are at least 200 though, and it's a pity we don't know them better. I think the fact that we often forget or overlook the women in the Bible contributes to their absence in the curriculum - and another generation misses out on a big chunk of the story.

I have noticed this with myself, by the way. 5th grade David, I did not include a session about e.g. Michal or Abigail or Bathsheba (well: rape and adultery for fifth-graders?!). 7th grade Acts, I did not talk about the women in the early church. Gospels we only did a crossword puzzle on Jesus' female disciples, that's it. And this Sunday I will preach on Zacchaeus - great story (I don't want to discount the men in the Bible, we can learn a lot from them) but why did I not choose Esther? (Honest answer: I have a message ready for Zacchaeus and Esther would take more work). So all of this, mind you, is self-critical, not just criticising my Sunday schools (I know how challenging teaching kids can be, and my Sunday school teachers all did a great job).

I think it's important to address this issue of "inclusivity"... because it matters what kind of role models we give girls, and that they find women they can identify with - and it is just as important for boys to learn that women's stories are relevant to them as well, to become aware of women's issues and see that women are just as important - as people and in God's plan - as men.

For me these thoughts and questions are a challenge to be more aware when I prepare classes and children's messages. Ever since the poetry project I am more aware of women in the Bible, but I have yet to transport that to my Sunday school teaching. I want to think about what messages I am giving about gender roles, womanhood, equality etc through the curriculum I choose and the stories I focus on. Fact is, when we teach children we always pick and choose and make a selection. We are not just "teaching the Bible" because we leave out details, skip some stories, make some more harmless, cut out the sex and gore.

Which is another question: I mentioned Jephthah's daughter who was sacrificed. I must have been 8 or 9 when I heard it. What stories are appropriate for what ages? Is it alright to "kiddify" violent stories like Noah or Joshua? Many of the Sunday school "boy heroes" are not that unproblematic. Take Samson, who had a violence problem and a women problem. Is this a good story to tell? Or does it depend how we tell it? But how can we tell these stories in an appropriate way for children and at the same time take seriously the original message? (Judges e.g. is very complex and I think the way I heard Samson's story in Sunday school was not appropriate to the original message it has in the Bible - because it was "kiddified", the prostitutes were cut out, a complex character was turned into a hero, and it was taken out of its context).

Anyway now I'm kind of considering switching ny doctorate topic to this... analysing Sunday school curricula or something.

What was your Sunday school experience? What women's stories did you hear about? What are "girl stories" in the Bible that we should hear more about?

I think we need to hear more stories like Shiphra and Puah, Naaman's slave girl, Philipp's daughters, the women at Jesus' crucifixion...



I am an ordained pastor in the Swiss reformed church, currently doing a doctorate in New Testament alongside part-time work in a parish. :) I love studying the Bible and sharing what God teaches me as I read and study~

I grew up in Taiwan as a missionary kid - my parents are still missionaries there. It has been my dream to go back and serve there as a missionary too - I'll see how God leads!

Ever since 2010 I have been working on the women of the Bible project: I'm writing a poem for (almost) every woman in the Bible. (Check it out here:…) This project has been an amazing experience and is teaching me a lot.


Ten Seconds Prayer for Taiwan:
Women of the Bible Poetry Project:

:icongreat-comission: :iconwomen-of-god:


But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. (Ephesians 3:8)


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TheWhiteLighter Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
If everyone thought the way that you do then we would have heaven here on Earth. You are a wonderful person.
Footnoting Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2017
I wish your poems had been available decades ago, they would have helped me in so many ways.  But I am glad to have found them now, when I am (hopefully) a bit more mature and can appreciate them the way they most certainly deserve to be appreciated.
(1 Reply)
SoftheartedRoyal2337 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2016
No problem! My personal favorite is the poem "Susanna: The God Who Questions Me" It hits pretty close to home and I really enjoyed it! Can't wait to read another poem!:D (Big Grin) :happybounce: 
(1 Reply)
Rogue-Ranger Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for following me, my sweet friend! :hug:
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Emberblue Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
You have quite the gift...for writing and for thought.  :love:
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