Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wonder(ful) Women

by Marion Ueckermann

There’s no doubt that the most popular female comic superhero, Wonder Woman, is an icon. Clad in a skin tight hot pants version of the American flag, she flies through the skies at supersonic speeds, with super agility. She wields a truth serum in the form of a golden lasso, possesses superhuman strength and stamina, and engages in hand-to-hand combat with superior weapons.

God’s Word has a Wonder Woman too. You’ll find her in Proverbs 31.

Earlier this week, a friend gave me a duplicate book she had. The author, Elizabeth George, dedicates “Beautiful in God’s Eyes” to her mother-in-law, Lois George Onesti. She says of her husband’s mother: “Because of her faithful obedience, we have known God’s ideal—a woman beautiful in His eyes.” What a legacy!

I found it significant that I was given “Beautiful in God’s Eyes” on the very day I’d been gathering fodder for this ICFW blog. Considering my subject matter, the treasures of the Proverbs 31 woman seemed appropriate to include.

As I paged through my new book, pondering this unique woman, this wonder woman, I discovered the following. I found her to be a woman of character and value. She is loyal and good; thrifty, hardworking and enterprising. She’s a provider. She has vision. She has an eager attitude. She is confident. She’s diligent. She is merciful—extending a helping hand. The Proverbs 31 woman is well-prepared. She’s a craftswoman, a creative professional, a home maker par excellence. She wears a wardrobe of virtues. She knows how to control her tongue—she speaks life not death. She’s an excellent Home Executive, managing her household well. Behind every good man, there’s a Proverbs 31 woman. In a nutshell, she’s a blessing! She deserves to be crowned “Wonder Woman”. And how do you think she does it?—only through faith and a reverence for God.

August in South Africa has become synonymous with the celebration of women. Throughout the month issues pertaining to women are spotlighted in various publications; conferences are held countrywide. National Women’s Day has been commemorated annually in South Africa since 1994.

Although Women’s Day is celebrated internationally in March, August 9 marks a historic day in South African history when 20,000 women marched on the Union Buildings in Pretoria, protesting proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act of 1950. They demanded a repeal of the pass laws. Initially, the pass book or “dompas”—a document that severely restricted freedom of movement of black South Africans during apartheid—only had to be carried by black men. But in 1956, the government decided to extend this to black women.

I grew up in a small Transvaal town. I can still remember how police vans patrolled the empty streets at night. Any black person found on the streets after 10 p.m. was immediately arrested. As a child I didn’t understand—it’s just how life was.

On 9 August 1956, the protestors left petitions with more than 100,000 signatures at the Prime Minister’s office. Standing outside the Union Buildings, they sang a protest song: Wathint'Abafazi Wathint'imbokodo!

In the 54 years following, "You strike a woman, you strike a rock" came to represent women’s courage and strength.

A National Women's Day protest at the National University of Lesotho

Reading about these heroic women who were willing to stand up and be counted—to make a difference no matter the cost—got me thinking about stories of likeminded ladies in fiction.

Hypothetically speaking, if an International Women’s Day was celebrated for fictional characters, which heroine/s would you choose to remember? Why? For me, two characters immediately came to mind.

First, the infamous Scarlett O’Hara (Gone with The Wind). After the civil war swept away the genteel life she’d been accustomed to, Scarlett sets about to salvage her plantation home, Tara. The land is a source of strength for Scarlett and on returning to her beloved Tara, she grabs a handful of earth and utters her famous words: “As God is my witness, I’ll never go hungry again.” And she doesn’t. Throughout Gone with The Wind, when Scarlett sets her mind on something, she does it; she makes it happen. I just love that about her character.

Francine Rivers’ “Redeeming Love”, inspired by the book of Hosea, is a historical romance set in the 1850s California Gold Rush. After many personal struggles, Angel, an exclusive high-priced prostitute, finally determines to overcome her past. The story of Angel is sheer inspiration.

Do you know an inspiring woman? Rachel van Doorene, Editor of Women Inc. online magazine has extended an opportunity to celebrate the women you hold in high esteem. Go to http://www.womeninc.co.za/ and submit a paragraph or two with the person's name, how you interact with her and the reason you would rate her as a women of influence in your life. Women Inc. will collate these contributions into an article over the course of the month.

Now while you’re thinking about that, this wonder(ing) woman is going to don her writer’s cap (no, it looks nothing like a star spangled banner); pick up her golden pen, and extract some truths from her characters. The pen, after all, is mightier than the sword. But wait, I forgot, I actually put fingers to keyboard, not pen to paper. So, with unlimited access to magical weaponry—the magic of the mind—I’ll engage in hand-to-hand combat with my keyboard, for by the power of my imagination, there are heroines to create, super-villains to destroy.

MARION UECKERMANN’s writing passion was sparked in 2001 when she moved to Ireland with her husband and two sons. Since then Marion has been honing her skills and has published some devotional articles in Winners at Work as well as inspirational poetry online and in a poetry journal. She has written her first Christian Women’s novel (unpublished) and is currently completing the sequel. Marion now lives in Pretoria East, South Africa with her husband, sons and a crazy black ‘Scottie’. A member and moderator of the South African Christian Writers Group, Marion can be contacted via email on marionu(at)telkomsa(dot)net or through her website www.inkslinger.co.cc


  1. Good message for Women's Day, Marion. YEAH for all us Wonder(ful) Women!

  2. Thanks for the interesting blog, Marion.

    I would choose another of Francine Rivers' heroines- Leota of Leota's Garden. This 84 year old lady is desperately unhappy, but she doesn't give up, she knows where to turn- to God, who answers her prayers in an amazing way.