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International Women’s Day – Sheroes

Self-Reliant Group Facilitator, Laura Walton, gives thanks for all the women who inspire and support us

We were blessed this week in Brews on Thursday as people shared who were the women in their lives who had inspired them. Women who served the poor in Calcutta and challenged authorities to do the same or who made a stand by sitting in a seat in a bus or who used poetry to talk about injustices women had endured. It was touching how many Mums and Grandmas also made it into the top spot. One shared how inspired she was by her 3 year old granddaughter. Loving, doting grandmothers shared their joy in their grandchildren, sharing their wisdom of lives lived despite set backs and disadvantage.

But not everyone has positive role models in the women in their family and so it’s important to hear about these stories of people we don’t know and see their profiles, read their biographies and watch their stories unfold. Maybe that’s when our own stories become much more powerful when we began them in a void, empty of encouraging and empowering words and actions loaded with love. Sometimes just growing up is tough and even more so these days with the huge pressures of social media. We have learnt that our children do not need to wait until they have grown up to make a mark on the world, they can start now. Whether it’s selling lemonade on the street to support Syrian refugees or having conversations with Donald Trump about the massive devastation already wreaked on the world through carbon emissions. We thank God that our children and teens are noticing what is going on in the world today, perhaps in a way that we didn’t. Not only noticing but recognizing that their own actions can collectively make a huge difference in the world and certainly make changes in their families. At some point we must have encouraged them ( alongside others) to see the bigger picture and given them the courage and confidence to do something for others.
And we can keep on doing that. Encouraging them, affirming them and noticing what they try and do.We can help them through their growing up challenge in this crazy world, to be courageous and confident and bring change. However big or small.

On International Women’s day we can applaud women who have challenged inequality and injustice. We can cheer those who have trailblazed and set their sights on being in positions which affect the greatest changes in nations. We can thumbs up those women who speak out and make themselves unpopular and those who risk their lives protesting in a crowd. And we can contemplate and silently praise those millions of women who struggled to keep their under 5s from dying from disease, or to keep their kids in shoes or enough food on the table to see you them through the day. We nod in agreement to those women who walked miles every day for water to bathe their kids and those who held down 3 jobs so that they could pay the rent. Then there are those big sisters who brushed their siblings’ hair and fetched their mum’s medication. We see you all.

You are our sheroes. We join our women’s voices together to call you out and say thank you for being our quiet inspiration of resilience and persistence. For never giving up when all seemed against you ever being able to put your feet up, we thank you. For putting people first and serving them until the last star had disappeared in the dawn light and it was time to start again. We see you. Thank you.

In the Bible the prophet Micah describes you and his words can help us all live lives our grandmas would be proud of.

 “And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8

Find out more about Self-Reliant Groups: http://www.church-poverty.org.uk/srg

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