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April 2019

When thinking about the situation of women, myself and others around me in my country and my region, I sit and ponder: What would constitute good news for us? What would be life-changing to hear? What would lift a burden from the weary and the heavy-hearted? What can lift shame and make someone stand bright-eyed and tall?

These questions are on my mind when making films or TV programmes, or even when talking to people who are struggling. What do we have to say? How can we help and be helped?

I ask myself: What would constitute good news for a woman who is trapped in an abusive marriage? What can possibly be good news for a woman facing a torrent of societal stigma because she is not married? What would be good news for a woman who works long hours each day to provide for her kids? What is good news for the girl who was never sent to school? What is good news for the woman who is tired of trying again?

I started with myself. “What do I wish someone would tell me today, here and now?” I immediately knew.

“It’s not too late.”
In my imagination these four words would come from a trusted and wise person, and they would tell me:

“Change is possible.”
“It’s not a lost cause.”
“God is able and He is by your side.”
“It’s not over.”

Every Easter, Christians celebrate the resurrection, a yearly affirmation of this good news: It’s not over when you think it is! Desperation, stagnation, and death don’t have the final word. There is resurrection. Life always wins. Whether in nature or in history, there is a tendency towards life and revival. Anyone can join that movement and walk in the direction of life too. It is good news that there can be a different ending to our stories, even if we think it’s over, or it’s too late. It is good news to affirm that God gives life, and any tradition or practice or teaching that is not life-giving to all human beings is not of God.

In Needle and New Thread, what is on my heart for this programme is to proclaim every week, “It is not too late!” It’s not too late to start learning, to start living, to object to abuse. It’s not too late to flourish, or ask questions, or dare to live differently from how you have been taught to live. It’s not too late to work at something you love, to fall in love and get married, to form meaningful relationships and community. It’s not too late to claim your dignity.

The ending of a story depends on where the storyteller stops speaking. We often feel that death, rejection, failure, confinement, abuse, and humiliation have the final word. Perhaps because that is where a storyteller ended their tale. We need a reminder that we need to keep going, and not end our stories there. Because if we keep at it, sometimes three days later, sometimes years and months later, there is resurrection. And that’s how good stories end.

May we be bearers, writers, witnesses, and proclaimers of good stories.

"If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!"

Maggie Morgan is an award-winning filmmaker from Egypt who explores and challenges the treatment of women in her country – and across the Middle East and North Africa – through her TV programmes. She currently produces Needle and New Thread, a live women’s show on SAT-7 ARABIC.