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Honoring the women who came before us

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

Resourcefulness and resilience. I’ve had the privilege of spending a lot of quality time with my granny, Charlene, recently. I’ve soaked up stories from her past that make me very proud to come from a line of resourceful and resilient women.

Pictured here is my granny riding a Guernsey heifer.

Yes, she’s riding a cow. Her dad didn’t have enough money to buy her a pony (money was used for draft horses, cattle, and the like that could help earn a profit to support the family). But, he told her if she could break any of their animals to ride, she could have it. She found a calf on the farm and broke it to ride using what she had at her disposal: a dog leash. She was resourceful, and years later still enjoyed riding Snipsy.

My great-great-Aunt Katie lost her husband to cancer at a young age. Through resilience, she ran a farm all on her own while raising her granddaughter whose mother (Katie’s daughter) died during childbirth. By being resourceful, Katie brought in extra income with her famous barn dances. She charged a cover fee, employed a local band and sold hamburgers. People from all over–including Kansas City–traveled to her small, south-central Missouri town for Saturday night barn dances.

We can learn so much about our lives today by looking to our past. It’s why interpreting today’s events and issues through a historical context is so important.

When I think about the women of our past who paved a way forward, earning influence and a voice for the women of today, these two words come to mind: resourcefulness and resilience. Historically, women have had to, as some would say, get ‘scrappy.’ They’ve found ways to leverage what they have to provide for their families and open doors for future generations. They were resourceful.

They were also resilient. Top of mind among many of today’s women is navigating work and childcare during a global pandemic where unexpected closures are frequent. It’s a challenge, to say the least, and I often worry about where our society is headed. But then I remember that each generation has experienced adversity. For each generation, trials have been different. During the Great Emigration of the mid-1800’s women cared for their children for months aboard covered wagons as they pursued more prosperous lives out west. During the 1930’s Dust Bowl and Great Depression, women didn’t know how they would put food on the table day-to-day, but they found a way.

Women have so many inherent characteristics that make us excellent nurturers, organizers, visionaries, and leaders. In fact, we were intentionally designed by God to be different from men. And while these differences can sometimes bring conflict, or lead people to perceive women in ways they shouldn’t, I’m sure we can all agree on one thing: Women are the future.

This post is dedicated to my grandma Charlene, who will soon find her home in Heaven.

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