Today is International Women’s Day and as I sit and think about what that means to us, I have come to some conclusions. At this time in life I, look at who women are, what is so important about women and why were we created in the first place? I don’t pretend to have all the answers to these questions but I do have some thoughts that have been formed over my short life of nearly 65 years.

Of course, the woman who has had the biggest input into the woman I am today is my mother, Alice Shipway. She would have been 100 years old this year if she was still alive and I can still hear her voice and wisdom speaking to me most days in decisions I make and conversations I have. I am forever grateful for the woman my mother was. Mum was a strong woman. She was authentic and said what she thought and meant. She did her best to put others before herself and she loved her family fiercely. She was an astute business woman, brilliant, inquisitive about everything and believed in people. She also believed in herself and from that deep well did her best to cheer for others. She was totally devoted to her two biggest loves, Jesus and Daddy as she called our father.

I was brought up surrounded by strong women. My Mum had four sisters and they were all defined by strength. My grandmother, as you may be able to imagine, was a woman you wouldn’t dare mess with. Although small in build, these extraordinary women had big personalities that made up for any lack of height or weight.

It was fascinating at family gatherings, as you can imagine, there were many and varied opinions flying around and all were sure theirs was right. However, they all loved and valued each other and there was never any doubt about that.

They also knew how to enjoy each other and had a good laugh was every time they were together. As a young child, this taught me to value everyone and the opinions of others – even when I didn’t agree with them. This alone has been a very empowering lesson because as I’ve lived my life, I’ve never had to get all bound up when someone disagrees with me; I’ve learned to accept that and feel confident in my opinion while listening to others and sometimes learning that I have been or am wrong.

As women, we are all so different, we come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, personalities, giftings, dreams, values, beliefs, passions and desires. Some of us have been brought up in environments where we have understood our value. Then, there are some who have been consistently devalued. The truth is we, as women, are all precious and valuable. We are a necessity for every society to operate well. We, as women, bring a component to society that only we can bring. I can only believe that it would be a very dull, hard world without us in it.

Personally, I feel it’s important that we all stop stereotyping women and trying to come up with what makes women great women and see the greatness in every one of us.

Every single one of us women have greatness within, let it be recognised and appreciated no matter who we are. We were created to compliment the world and help creation be complete; we don’t need to take the world over. However, the world would be a mess without us. If we try to dominate we miss our whole purpose just like men do when they attempt to dominate, we are all to compliment each other.

It’s wonderful that we have a day like today to acknowledge our significance in society because it is priceless and very necessary but it isn’t all about us. In fact, it’s all about us all having the same value and significance – men, women and children because we are all made in the image of God and who could be more significant than that? The power that we as women have can not and never will be adequately measured or appreciated, but that’s OK.

We don’t have to prove our worth we just need to be confident knowing it ourselves and through this knowing, we can walk it out. As long as we are trying to prove our worth to others and if we attempt to convince others, we are exhausting ourselves and taking our focus of just simply walking it out. The old saying ” actions speak louder than words” is very true. As women let’s stop trying to convince everyone else of our worth. Rather, let’s be confident in who we are and let our actions speak for themselves. When we walk in this way, no one can dispute the cold hard evidence of a life lived well and when a woman lives her life well, it has very long lasting effects on everyone around her.

When we know who we are, and we are the best version of us that we can be, not competing, not trying to measure up and not attempting to be someone else, we will live life well. One of my favourite Proverbs is “She is clothed with strength and dignity.” I love this, and I believe this is possible for all women everywhere.

Now, I understand that this concept alone would take another entire blog to unpack. A significant component of understanding this is to know your worth, your strengths and your giftings and we need to not only celebrate them but also recognise others will be different to yours and celebrate them with them, be who you were born to be and encourage others to do the same for themselves.

Let’s stand up and be women who change the world by clothing ourselves in strength and dignity. As we dress in this way, let’s help little girls, teenagers and females dress the same way. As mothers, fathers and grandparents let’s celebrate women and all we
bring to this world while remembering what a sad place it would be without us but what a magnificent place it is with us.

Be blessed,

Susanna