International Women’s Day. A day to honor women. Every day women do honorable things, but it is not for me to criticize. I will gladly take the opportunity of the day to reflect on, thank and honor the fire I witness in women all around me. I am so thankful and blessed for all the women who patiently and sometimes, not so patiently, influenced and shaped me into who I am today.
To the Women who raised me- Thank You.
I am thankful for the gift of faith given to me by my mother, the legacy of her own mother living it out in quiet servanthood. thankfulness fills me for women such as my aunts, my mother’s friends and “bible study ladies” and female speakers, teachers, and leaders that showed me what faith looked like in a pulpit or platform as well as what it looked like in a kitchen and around a quiet table. Thank you to the women who raised me. You opened my eyes to the wonder to life and you gave me the world.
To the Women who teach Thank You.
So many teachers in my life, passionate about their students’ learning, in a variety of topics. I had teachers patient with me when I talked in class or read my book under my desk rather than paying attention.
I am thankful for the teacher that stayed after school or over the lunch hour to help me grasp the math I struggled with. She truly went above and beyond to make sure I understood what did not come so naturally to me.
My gratitude, for passionate teachers in college and seminary, each in their field, is immense, as it taught me to pursue the passion lit inside my own soul.
To the Women who write- Thank You.
Books and blogs. Articles and Devotionals. I am so thankful for the hands of intelligent women who have done the hard work of putting words down on paper, bleeding their hearts out into text to be consumed by others. So many words that have shaped my life and the lives of so many friends- we would not be who we are today without those words.
To the Women who lead- Thank You.
Seeing women lead and teach and preach lit something deep in my soul back in high school, was fanned into a flame in college, and has since become a full fire of passion. It is this truth: if they can do that, then maybe I can too. And so can my friends and the students I lead. Thank you for leading and giving light to that truth- that the Holy Spirit has called women to teach and lead alongside men to bring the Kingdom of God more fully into our world.
To the Women who serve- Thank You.
I just honored the women on the stage and in the spotlight, but I know there is an army of women who aren’t there but make so much happen that goes unnoticed. Your work matters too. To the women living behind the scenes- Thank you. These are the ones who show the love of Christ with their hearts and their hands in a meal prepared, a washed dish, a tidied up space, a prayer lifted up or a quiet conversation and embrace. This is good and holy work, whether it is seen by human eyes or not.
To the Women who have hard conversations- Thank You
I have had friends and mentors that have been willing to challenge me in my faith, life, and emotional vulnerability. These women earned the right to speak truth into my life, even when it stung because they had done the hard relational work of building a foundation of love and trust.
Then, they took it one brave step further and were willing to risk a friendship to speak the truth to me even when I may not have wanted to hear it or may have (definitely) reacted poorly. But the gift of that risk to challenge has proved to be one of the most amazing tools of transformation God has used in my life. I pray we all have friends like this- that love unconditionally but are not afraid to give us a well-intentioned, much-needed kick in the rear end to set us back on a flourishing journey of growth.
To the Women who have been friends- Thank You.
It is not lost on me the blessing of faithful female friends I had in high school and college that nurtured and challenged my faith in God and helped me to feel comfortable in my own skin. I am so thankful for the friends who have rejoiced with me in my joys and grieved with me in times of deep sadness. Friends that have known and accepted me in all my junk and loved me well anyways, living in genuine Christian community with one another has been one of the greatest blessings that I thank God for every single day. Friendship is such a gift.