Today is International Women's Day, and all around the world, people are celebrating the achievements made for and by women over the years. I was so thankful to take part in today by sharing the story of Nashville's own Jordan Duncan, and her work with FashionABLE and African Leadership to make a difference in the lives of African women with the Tennessean. If you haven't seen the story, go check it out!
I want to celebrate the women in my life too.
I'm thankful for my mother, the woman who made me woman. The mother of my physical and spiritual self.
For my sisters, the women who yelled when I stole their make-up, but cried with me when I first had my heart broken—the women I call when I don't know what to do with this recipe, or that friend, or that piece of furniture. The women I called and said, "I've met the guy I'm going to marry." The women who are mothers, and make me want to mother, too.
I'm thankful for the woman whose daughter was my first friend. With small hands and lives ahead, we clasped together, walked the yellow brick road, always knowing we both could be Dorothy and make it to Emerald City. But the journey is harrowing, full of song and laughter and tears and evil and good. We are friends, and we were friends, and we will be friends forever.
And for the women who were my teachers - the ones who challenged me, and taught me to read and write and push through things I didn't understand. The ones who let me cry in their classrooms because I felt alone, or homesick for a home I'd left behind.
And for the other girls who walked through some of the darkest valleys, and pimpliest days, and most confusion together while at West Point. The ones who walked up the up stairs, and down the down stairs, and wore pajamas on the last day of school. To the girls who wrote me notes, and read mine, too. To the girls who wrapped a locker, and told a secret. To the ones who practiced testifying against a man who nearly wrecked our lives. To the ones who helped me seek God. The women, who then longed desperately for love from each other, from our parents, from those boys down the street in Lee Area.
For the women I met in China. For the way they showed me love, though our lives are separated by waters and continents and time zones and an entire hemisphere. For the quiet presence of a mango on my desk during my loneliest days, far from home—and the sweet, soft hand of the Chinese roommate who placed it there. For the conversations in moonlight about Jesus. For the taste of sour chicken on my tongue, and the warmth of steaming soup rising to my face. For the sound of dumplings sizzling on a dorm room pot.
I consider the women who counseled me through heartbreak and four years of confusion and self-reflection while in Greenville. The women who rode buses with me across states to the base of the Rocky Mountains. The women who baked cookies and watched trashy TV, and cried when he told me he didn't love me. The women who told me truth and shared deep fears, and walked through exams and fountains, and miles and aisles with me. The ones who stood by my side in blue, while I wore white.
For the mother-in-law who accepted me, open arms into her family. Who treats me like a friend, not like an intruder.
For the woman who taught me to write, and told me not to be afraid of it. And who fills me with wine and fun on nights when things aren't perfect (which is most nights).
I have been served and cared for and prayed for by the women in Nashville. By women who walk with integrity, and do work they are passionate about, and set an example of loving husbands with intentional fervor. For teaching me about sex on a canvas, and gratitude, and purpose.
For these women.
And for the ones to come.