by Jo Saxton
Women have always been central to the life of the church. From the early hours of the first Easter, when women were charged to announce the resurrection of Jesus, to the state of the contemporary church, where women outnumber men in pews and positions of service. But as central as women have been, they've also found themselves regularly marginalized--and not only in the church but in the neighborhoods, cities and societies they inhabit. Sometimes they've had to endure the well-intended biases or benign neglect of the leaders of their communities; sometimes they've been sidelined by their own crises of confidence. Sometimes they've had to contend with both at once. Women who doubt their influence, who struggle to accept their distinct strengths and talents for what they are--gifts given through them to the world--suffer for it. The church, and really all of society, suffers with them. Jo Saxton invites women to discover (or rediscover) the gifts and talents that God has vested in us, and more important, the calling he has placed on each of us to seek first the kingdom of God where we are.