|I praise You becauseI am fearfully|
and wonderfully made...(Ps. 139:14)
I was reminded the other day of yet another one, Henrietta Lacks! Oprah Winfrey will portray her in an upcoming HBO biopic, airing in April! Let me give you a heads up! This is a MUST SEE movie! It is based on a book by Rebecca Skloot, entitled, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, published in 2010.
I first became aware of Henrietta four years ago when I traveled with my granddaughter to NCAT (North Carolina A&T) for a college tour. A student adviser gave her a copy. Thought she ought to read it since she planned to study biomedical engineering. I read the entire book on our nine-hour trip back home! I literally could not put it down!
Henrietta Lacks was a ordinary black woman living in Baltimore who got sick and was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1950. She died a year later at the age of 31. John Hopkins, a world famous research hospital upon examining her cancerous tissue after her death was intrigued. Performing innumerable tests on her tissue they found like the Psalmist, that she was fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). They had never seen cell structures as unique as hers!
These cells became known as HeLa (HE for Henrietta and LA for Lacks). The studies and experiments done using these cells revolutionized medical research and was shared globally to scientists in many fields of medicine. They were critical to the production of the Salk Polio Vaccine. Polio was a horrific disease at the time. Thus, hundreds of medical patents have been established improving human life and the cells are still being used today! Sounds Great doesn't It? There's only one problem..They never told Henrietta's family they were doing it!!!
(Read more about this amazing woman at: http://www.biography.com/people/henrietta-lacks-21366671#synopsis
So what message can we derive from this woman's story? What can we tell our daughters and granddaughters? Let's start with this:
1. Every Woman's Body Has Value! You are a precious jewel in the eyes of God even to the very cells that comprise your innermost being! Your worth is immeasurable and therefore the price you put on it should be of such a high standard that you' will not defile it, contaminate it with strange flesh and should certainly not be used as a play thing for someone unwilling to pay God's price for it... a committed covenant relationship called marriage (I Corin. 6:19; Song of Songs 3:5)
2. Every Woman's Body Has Beauty! Stop allowing people who don't KNOW you, DEFINE you! Your specific body type, skin color, and hair texture is what makes you UNIQUELY YOU! (Henrietta's body, although ravished by disease retains a measure of beauty today because it is providing for others a better quality of life.) No one but the Lord has the right to ascribe a standard of beauty to you and He's already assured you that it is the inward beauty that counts not the outward (I Peter 3: 4; I Sam. 16:7) Most of what is called beautiful and alluring is based on profitability and popularity!
3. Every Woman's Body Deserves Respect! Does it surprise you that the general lack of respect and the objectification of women's bodies seems to be growing? Pornography and rape on campus is on the rise. Politicians think nothing of talking about grabbing women by their vaginas and equating our emotional wiring to menstrual bleeding! I can't imagine what this is doing to the minds of our little boys and girls growing up in this environment. This is not of God! Our bodies are a living sacrifice (His altar) acceptable and pleasing to God! (Rom. 12:1-2) It should be treated and honored with that same kind of respect! Let's start demanding that others do so!
So there you have it! The month of March is traditionally Women's History Month let's take a cue from those who Inspire and Aspire, then Conspire with one another to be all we can be in the Lord!
UNTIL NEXT TIME...
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