Sermon Illustrations on women


Peace vs. Ease

Most women feel as though they give, give, give all day long. We give to ministries, the neighbors, our jobs, and the local PTA. We fill the roles of taxi driver, chef, teacher, and lover. We run to the grocery store and through the carpool line when all we really want to run is a bubble bath. 

We feel called to give sacrificially of ourselves, but it is wearing us out. How do faithful women like Gracia stoke the internal fire to continuously serve? More importantly, how do they find peace amid such suffering and chaos? I think we often confuse peace with ease. Ease is comfort and convenience. Peace is a deep, settled soul unwavered by circumstance. Jesus never promised a life of ease, but He did say we would have supernatural peace when we trust Him.

Alisha Illian, Chasing Perfect: Peace and Purpose in the Exhausting Pursuit of Something Better, Harvest House, 2020.

Women Who Changed the World

American history books contain stories of women who changed society with their hard work and insistence on justice. The women of the suffrage movement clad in white, those active in the temperance movement, and those advocating for better housing and protections for children contributed to the formation of our nation.

I can name the abolitionist Harriet Tubman of the Underground Railroad; Jane Addams, who started the settlement house movement in America along with other social work initiatives; Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement; and Dolores Huerta of the United Farm Workers in California.

But I confess that these women, some of whom I studied during my school years, seemed to be extraordinary exceptions when it came to my own perception of women. No one told me that this kind of strength and determination was common to all women.

Kelley Nikondeha, Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom, Eerdmans, 2020.


Hidden Figures

Until recently, most Americans didn’t know that women were pivotal to the NASA space program as far back as the 1950s. Their names and accomplishments were lost to the common history we grew up studying. Aerospace exploits seemed the exclusive territory of men—the scientists, engineers, and astronauts. But the movie Hidden Figures brought these women’s names front and center.

We learned that Katherine Johnson made the critical calculations necessary for John Glenn to successfully land in Project Mercury. Her work as a mathematician would contribute to many more missions, including Apollo 11 and the space shuttle program. Dorothy Vaughan was also a mathematician, as well as the first black supervisor at NASA—one of the few women in that role.

She taught herself FORTRAN, a computing language, before she went on to teach her entire team how to program and was installed as the head of the programming division at NASA. Mary Jackson was a mathematician and an aerospace engineer with a long career at NASA. In addition to her computing skills, she served as the manager of both the Federal Women’s Program and the Affirmative Action Program at NASA to advocate for women in hiring and advancement within the organization.

She didn’t just make her own way in a man’s world; she made a way for other women to join her. These three brilliant African American women helped shape America’s aerospace program, yet we almost missed them in the landscape of male names. They weren’t invisible to their coworkers or their families.

Colleagues knew they were doing nearly impossible calculations, saving the day on more than one grand occasion, all the while advancing aerospace with their human computing skills. Someone at home knew they worked through lunch and late into the night. People knew they were making the crooked roads a little straighter for other women.

However, their stories weren’t told in the official annals of the Space Race. We didn’t see their faces in the sepia highlight reels of all those amazing launches and landings. This is how patriarchy works: a fixed focus on the accomplishments of men and the minimization or erasure of women’s contributions.

Kelley Nikondeha, Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom, Eerdmans, 2020.


The Women are the Key

A well-known fact in community development circles is that if you want to enter a community, you introduce yourself to the leader, most often a man. But if you want to learn how the community functions and tap into its life force, then make time to listen to the women.

The key to transformation is found among the women. When my husband, Claude, and I began our work in Burundi, I didn’t yet fully grasp this fundamental truth. In 2009, our fledgling development organization began work in the gentle green mountains of Matara, a rural commune about eleven miles from the capital city. Working with community leaders, we identified and invited thirty Batwa families to move to a new plot of land that would become theirs. On a hot June day, the men arrived from other provinces with little more than a single sack of essentials—all they owned, really. They surveyed the land and all the work that would need to be done to make it home and to bring about food security for their families sooner rather than later.

Kelley Nikondeha, Defiant: What the Women of Exodus Teach Us about Freedom, Eerdmans, 2020.

More Resources

Still Looking for Inspiration?

Related Themes

Click a topic below to explore more sermon illustrations! 


Human Nature





& Many More