President’s Message on International Women’s Day

I have always loved the hymn “This little light of mine”. It is so simple – and catchy. Yet to me it is a powerful message that resonates with the purposes of YWCA Ireland and International Women’s Day 2016. In case you haven’t heard it…and so that you are humming it for the rest of the day too…here is one version of it:

God has made each one of us with unique talents, passions and gifts. God calls each one of us to serve Him and to be witness to his life and love wherever we may be. God’s unconditional love is for each of us. God has set a plan out for each of us. We each have a god given light to share with the world – we each are called to be salt and light.  Each of us. Not just some of us.

I have been fortunate to have many wonderful people who have blessed, and continue to bless, my life and for which I am truly thankful. People who inspire, challenge, and uphold me. Many of these people are Proverbs 31 women. Each of them is a remarkable woman who has impacted my life in a wide variety of significant ways, and who continue to do so.  What an inspiration they are. The trial-blazers. The peace makers. The encouragers. The care givers. The listeners. The advocates. The shoulders we lean on. The wise and honest. The inspirational. The counsellors. The women of God. My sisters in Christ. My world, and the world around them, would not be same without these women, without their god given love and light shining out.

I’m sure that each of you can think of women in your life who are Proverbs 31 women. I would encourage each of you to take some moments this International Women’s day to think of these women in your life. Pray for them. (YWCA Ireland is blessed to have lots of them!).

Think of the many remarkable women throughout history who have made an impact close to home or around the world.

Now imagine that the light of such women had been hidden away, by circumstances, by the attitudes of others, by not having a voice.

Think of  women today around the world in circumstances and situations which dull, diminish or destroy their light.

This cannot, and should not, be allowed to happen.  In our homes, our work places, our communities, our churches, our government, our country, or our world.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is the pledge for parity.  We are all equally blessed by God, all equally called and all equally equipped to serve him – just perhaps in different unique ways. The world needs to catch up and catch on to God’s perspective.

I am proud to have been a part of YWCA Ireland since 2009 and I am honoured to currently serve as the National President. The vision of YWCA Ireland is to empower women in Ireland to be engaged, connected, and transformed and to lead and affect change through Christ.

Simply put, our vision is to stand alongside women to let their light shine. And we have been doing this since 1876. This may be through leadership training, providing safe accommodation spaces, raising awareness of human rights issues affecting women, supporting individuals and initiatives and engaging with other YWCAs around the world.

On International Women’s Day, I encourage you to join with us in praying for women around the world to let their light shine out, to pray that God would make them bold and bright so that they would a beacon for Him.

We are to support and love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Not to tear each other down, to hold each other back or to in any way diminish, detract or disregard God’s purpose for each other. So we pray that God would reveal to us and inspire us to seize opportunities to stand alongside women to give them the strength, the courage and the hope to ignite and to reveal their light wherever they may be and that we would speak out against those who would seek to dim or put out their light.

To mark international Women’s Day, YWCA Ireland will be sharing a collection of blogs from some Proverbs 31 women. The blog posts can be viewed here. We hope that you will be encouraged, challenged and inspired by their voices and their bright shining lights. We would love to hear your responses and to hear your voices on our social media.

So this International Women’s Day, join with us in celebrating the women of world, in praying for women of the world and in bringing together the voices of the world in the pledge for parity. And wherever you find yourself, let your light shine.

Sarah Caughey is YWCA Ireland’s National President and serves on the trust corporation, national board and national executive. She has been part of YWCA Ireland since 2009, having been a previous recipient  of support from the Outreach Fund. Sarah lives on the Ards Peninsula with husband Colin and loves living beside the beach – though it can be pretty windy at times!  Her week days are spent working as a civil servant. At the weekends and evenings she enjoys reading cooking baking having a good yarn over coffee, crafty things and movies. Sarah is inspired and challenged by Proverbs 31. She is passionate about encouraging and inspiring young women leaders in Ireland. Sarah loves working with all aspects of the YWCA Ireland and cannot wait to see what the future holds for the association!

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