“Sssh, this is an adult conversation.” 

Anyone else grow up hearing those words? No? Just me? Well to be fair, I was a kid who wanted to know everything going on. 

How about this?

“Not right now, this conversation is not for you, can you wait over there?”

Still no?

Maybe, you heard the more “gentle” second guessing off;

“Are you sure that’s the right way to do that? Do you know what you are doing?”

Whether you heard it explicitly said or not, I can imagine that if you are a woman living in 2024 reading this, that there have been conversations you were not allowed into. There were rooms and platforms your feet could not grace. There were spaces where your authority or intellect were questioned because of your gender. (And if you’re anything like me) there were moments you wanted to scream “Listen to me, I know what I’m talking about!”

No? Still just me? 

If you had the chance to listen to our most recent episode on “Unknown Women of the Bible” you would have heard of the only recorded woman in Biblical Text to have built 3 cities; Sheerah. Sheerah was born into an emotionally charged home (for more context, I encourage you to watch or listen to the episode). She seems to have tackled life with audacity and tenacity in being a woman to plan and build, not 1, not 2 but 3 cities. 

My favourite part of Sheerah’s story is the naming of her cities. The first two times she completed a build, she might have been more timid or logical with her naming. She named them based on the space and location in which they were created, Lower and Upper Beth-Horon. But the third build, that’s the one she decided to put her name on. To emblaze her legacy on. However, not only did she put her name on it, she named it “Uzzen Sheerah” which translates to “Listen to Sheerah! I love the fierceness! 

The passage doesn’t explicitly tell us what prompted this naming, however, we can speculate that growing up in a patriarchal time and space, women building of cities would not have been something necessarily celebrated. I wonder how many times people tried to talk her out of the career she had chosen. Or how many times her employees questioned her schematics and her decisions? How many times a tradesperson came to the job site, looked past her and asked to see the man in charge? 

When I look at this story, I see a woman so incredibly confident in her identity. So incredibly confident in her God given authority, her creativity and her wisdom. Someone who was tenacious enough to go against mainstream culture, and build something new. 

I don’t know what your story is but maybe it is similar to mine? You were raised in spaces where your voice wasn’t always welcome. Or maybe you were told it was welcome, but never saw people who looked like you or thought like you, represented? Maybe you subconsciously began to question your own wisdom, creativity and identity. (Or maybe you’re saying “Tryphena, that’s a lot of “maybe’s happening here”). 

Can I encourage you, with something I very much needed today. 

You are created in the image of an amazing God. Your identity, creativity and wisdom, represent part of the heart of God.

Next time it feels easier to keep your mouth quiet, defer to the next person, the louder person, the more educated person. Can we remember Sheerah? A woman who was so confident in her worth and value that she literally and figuratively screamed it from the rooftops. 

This world is missing so much, without your voice, your thoughts, opinions and creations. Our world is missing out on seeing part of the heart of God when we don’t get to see and hear you!

May we have such confidence in our God given identity as to summon the audacity of a fed-up parent, screaming “listen” and allow our voice to be heard. On earth as it is in heaven.