Updated: Jun 15, 2020
I felt it was imperative that I start my blog by acknowledging the female friendships and women who have made an impact in my life. But before I do, I also want to reiterate that my beloved husband Eddie has always been my best friend and partner in life, in every sense of the word. He knows that, and he doesn't need a blog post to reconfirm my commitment to him :)
When my mother died at 38, I didn't have a strong mother figure to take her place in my life. Therefore, I didn't have a lot of support or guidance as a young adult. I think the misconception was that I was old enough to do the right thing at 18 and I was probably too strong-headed (hence, unteachable). When I became a mother myself, my mother-in-law was instrumental in supporting me during those early years of my son's life. My son was only 3 months old when my husband deployed for 6 months and she lived with us in the UK, looking after us and praying over our family diligently everyday my husband was away. She was patient and loved me like one of her own (I have 6 sister-in-laws), I credit that to her fear of and love for God . She passed away at 83 years of age.
I was also blessed with a lot of female friendships though, for every season or decade. Some of whom are still in my life, and I respect highly. I was not much of a 'pack' girl. Being an introvert, I was more of a loner and I preferred 1-1 conversations and with close friends. I never really fit in, I felt my social skills were awkward and I preferred to listen rather than contribute. The friends who knew me, accepted me and didn't try to change me. In their presence, I am unapologetically me.
Now that I am, literally, taking a giant leap into the unknown and exposing my awkward social skills, I am reflecting on the friendships or women I have encountered on this journey of self discovery. Because I've realised that all the women and exchanges had in between, has really led me to this point in my life. I admire so many of them and I count myself fortunate to know them and share this journey with them. I hope that my journey also inspires them, in some small way.
On that note, women are always looking for inspiration. And there's an abundance of it, all around us. I've read so many autobiographies based on women's personal accounts of overcoming adversity and hardship to really beat the odds stacked against them. There was no super human talent or skill, just amazing tenacity and will power to conquer their worst nightmare or fear. I've witnessed it, in my own life and in the lives of many women I have met and whom I cherish. No matter what season they're in, women are incredibly resilient, and that is their super power.
But we still seek affirmation and validation from each other, more so than from our own spouses and families. In Melinda Gates' book called the Moment of Lift, she makes a profound statement that women need to feel empowered and women's groups have given them that, i.e. inner circles, sisterhoods, networks, cliques etc. Women often have to convince ourselves and each other that we deserve an equal partnership before we get one. We thrive on receiving reassurance and encouragement. And if that's what it takes, then so be it. But it shouldn't an excuse to hold back. There is no shortage of that going around, support, advice, patience, wisdom, prayers and love for the women we value and uphold in our lives. Don't ever forget that truth! Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one friend sharpens another. And if you're not getting that, then check your circle!
And in honouring those women who helped me to believe in myself and 'sharpened' me in the process - who interceded for me during my darkest moments in prayer, who inspired me in the way they lived their lives, who listened and respected me for what I represented, who were patient with me when I wasn't, who made me feel like I could just be myself, who imparted words of life and power into mine, who didn't judge or dismiss me so quickly - I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You know who you are.
"Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women" - Maya Angelou.