Today is International Women’s Day and my best friend posed the question: “Who is your female hero?”
It’s a good question. Who do we admire? Who inspires us? How many women along our path have given us hope, encouragement and strength on our journey?
I’ll be honest… my initial response was “you”. My best friend inspires me every single day. She has an amazing inner strength, a gracefulness and wisdom beyond her years. She is kind, firm, loving and compassionate. She doesn’t always see her value or her strength. She has the courage to fall apart when she needs to, to ask for help when it’s necessary, to stand up for herself and those she loves, she speaks truth in love even when it’s difficult.
There are many other women along the way that inspire me.
Della Reese has a hugely inspiring story. I admire her. If you get the chance, read her biography!
Jael, of the Bible, inspires me because she did what was right even though it must have been one of the hardest things she ever had to do.
My mother inspires me. She has lived a hard life. She has suffered and survived some of the worst things a person can experience. She has lost 2 of her 3 children. She has been married three times, experienced two abusive marriages, been divorced, widowed and now is living through the idea that the good man she is married to is seriously ill.
All women inspire me. I look around and I listen to the stories we share with each other and I think “Wow. We are amazing.”
Because my blog is primarily about domestic violence, I began contemplating the different types of women in domestic violence situations and how each is inspiring in their own way:
- There are women, like my mother, who are tossed aside by their abuser. They do not find the strength to leave the relationship before their abuser leaves them. She could not see the abuse while still living in it. She saw the damage after he was gone and she worked hard to find healing. She purposefully journeyed through the experiences until her soul was mended and she could move on to a healthy relationship.
- There are women, like another friend of mine, who was rescued from her abuser by the police. She needed someone to step in and save her because she was so trapped she could not see any other way out, he would not let her leave, at least not alive. She is amazing! She works tirelessly to help others, to redeem others and along the journey has found herself. Her words help others find healing.
- There are women, like myself and my best friend, who escaped, who walked away. We do not always escape completely the first time, in fact statistics show it takes an average of seven times to completely be able to leave an abusive relationship. We find the strength to leave the abuse, and often because it we see our children being harmed. We see the abuse, and we are able to find a support system to help us on our way. Still others find the strength to walk away even without a support system.
- There are women, like Lily, who plan to leave, whether or not they see the abuse, but are stopped by murder. There are too many who leave abuse this way. Not everyone who leaves an abusive relationship gets out alive. Many who stay until they are rescued or abandoned intuitively know that this would be their end if they tried to leave. Statistically, the moment of leaving is the most dangerous for a women living with domestic violence — no matter what type of abuse (physical, emotional, verbal, financial, spiritual or sexual) they are experiencing!
- There are women who, blessedly, never experience an abusive relationship. They recognize the red flags, they leave the relationship before they become too committed, before they are trapped. Or they choose men who simply are not abusive.
Women… we are amazing. We are stronger than we imagine we can be. We are beautiful beyond belief. We are capable of so much love, healing, joy, peace, kindness… and when we share those things with others, we inspire.
Keep inspiring those around you! Happy International Women’s Day.