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(Photo: Reuters/Bryan Woolston)Hundreds of thousands march down Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women's March in Washington, D.C., January 21, 2017.

I couldn't put my finger on it at first. Why were social media posts of the women's march bothering me this year? I am a huge fan of women finding their voice and using it. I have long been a female communicator, speaking Sunday mornings on church platforms, unafraid of theology that seems to say otherwise. I have mentored women from many countries, been the only female on national boards, raised a half dozen daughters. I am a leader in a non-profit. I am pro-woman.

And yet... watching the social media of women marching, I found myself curious: Could we use a Saturday morning and the money it cost to travel or make a sign more effectively? I am wondering if Jesus would rather we just actually spend the time loving a woman, rather than making signs and marching for her? For all the energy we spend in defense of women, what if we spent the same amount of time creating opportunities, listening to, and investing in the lives of women around the world?

For those of you who do both: create opportunities, invest in your international counterparts, give single mother neighbors a helping hand, mentor young women in your community, donate dollars, vote in accordance with your principles, if you want to spend a few discretionary hours on a weekend chanting, I am with you!

But to the rest: words without actions don't create more than entertainment. History has always been made by women of substance, of action, not by the person with the most re-tweets, or even the loudest voice. In fact, history has most often been made by women who used no words at all. We have a long line of heroines from whom to draw inspiration. They have served in barrios, run for office, rose in the ranks; they have studied and exceed standards in the classroom and in the courtroom. These women make history. I am deciding to follow their example, and be loving, excellent, and brave where I live and serve. Words may or may not be needed, but the prayer is my actions speak louder than any slogan I could chant.

We live in a world desperate to see our faith in action, and marching can quickly seem like posturing when there isn't the hard work of service alongside. If we want to work on behalf of the poor, we need to love a real person in poverty. If we want to be pro-life, we need to invite pregnant minors to our tables. If we say our heart is breaking over the situation in the Middle East, who/where/when/how are we engaged in those efforts beyond talking about it? If we say we are for women, then let's roll up our sleeves and get involved in the lives of women who are silenced, or at risk, or are vulnerable in some capacity. Then our pictures won't be of women holding signs, they will be of cradling faces. Faces of women whom Jesus loves through us.

How do we know Jesus loved women? He didn't have to say it, he lived it. He invited them to learn alongside of everyone else. He trusted them with responsibilities. He gave them seats of honor. He spoke directly to them, he listened intently to them, healed them and commissioned them. His actions were more powerful than just words. Today when the Church acts like he did, we are graceful towards, and empowering of women; making space for them in every sphere. There is power in this legacy and it's ours for the taking. May we raise up a new generation of women who see this message imprinted on the lives of those around them: You have great worth.

Beth and her husband, Todd, live with their family in Cincinnati, Ohio where they serve as Co-Executive Directors of Back2Back Ministries. After graduating from Indiana University, the Guckenbergers moved to Monterrey, Mexico where they lived for 15 years. Between biological, foster, and adopted children, they have raised ten children.

Beth is the author of eight books including adult and children's titles. She travels and speaks regularly at conferences, youth gatherings and church services. Her style is based in story-telling and she draws from her vast field experience as a missionary, Bible teacher and parent for illustrations of biblical concepts.
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