Our History Is Our Strength

Our History Is Our Strength

March is National Women’s History Month and this year’s theme Weaving the Story of Women’s Lives is very intriguing to me.  As I perused the website of the National Women’s History Project (www.nwhp.org) I found these words “Our History Is Our Strength.” I thought, “Yes, that’s it!” Our stories speak to our history and our history is our strength!

Many women carry shame regarding their stories. Often women keep silent about their history and many suffer with feelings of unworthiness because of painful events of their past. Even when we have accomplishments for which we can be proud, some women are less likely to share for fear they will be perceived as aggressive, overbearing or even worse, being the target of another woman’s envy or jealousy.

Like most women, I too have things in my past for which I am not proud. There have been times in my life that I wished my circumstances were different or that things would have turned out better. Robert Clinton in his book, Connecting refers to these things as Sovereign Foundations. These are things in our lives for which we have no control over. For example, where we were born, to whom we were born, our race, ethnicity, gender and sometimes the events of our lives that characterize our history.

For example, growing up as a young girl in the city of Chicago, I suffered with low self-esteem because I was teased about being dark skinned. This week I received an email from an elementary school teacher in another state telling me that she follows me on social media and noticed that I seemed to be very comfortable in my own skin. She asked if I would be willing to speak with a young girl in her class who shared she wanted to kill herself because she did not like being dark skinned. When we spoke, I shared a little bit of my story and told her that I would be willing to speak with this student on the phone if she could arrange it with her parents. She then asked what it would take for her to bring me to her city to speak to the girls in her school about healthy self-esteem. I appreciate God for giving me the opportunity to share my story and help a young woman know she is “fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God (Psalm 139:14).

To weave anything requires the interlacing of threads of material composing a connected whole out of the elements and details of different cloths and patterns. When I think of weaving the stories of women’s lives I am made vividly aware of the differences women share. Yet, when brought together in a bond of unity women’s lives create a colorful tapestry of sisterhood and strength.

There are experiences that color our history and while we may have painful memories around those experiences we cannot change them. I often tell women, you are not what happened to you, but you can use what happened to you to empower others and propel you into greater stations of impact and significance. During this Women’s History Month reflect on your story, share elements of your story, celebrate the lives and the stories of other women and remember Our History Is Our Strength!

 

Dr. Toni

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