“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”  –Psalm 46:5

As you get older, your birthday becomes less of an occasion for cake and presents, and more of an opportunity to reflect on what is really important in your life. (Though I am looking forward to some cake later today.)

Perhaps it is because my birthday falls during Women’s History Month. Or perhaps it’s because I think more and more about my role as a mother and the women who raised me. But there’s something about today that makes me feel like giving thanks to the generations of women who came before us.

The fact is that I am extremely fortunate. I live in the freest and most prosperous country in the world, at a level of comfort and safety that is unprecedented in human history. Women’s History Month has its roots in the early 20th century and the suffragette movement. Thanks to trailblazing women like Susan B. Anthony and Sojourner Truth (whose “Ain’t I a Woman” speech was a powerful moment for both the anti-slavery and women’s rights movement), I have opportunities that would have been mere fantasies a century ago.

Sadly, there are those who want to turn every observance into an opportunity for political division, and Women’s History Month is no exception. But I reject the idea that we need to make this about a political agenda. We should be using this time to celebrate real womanhood and what it means. 

Recently, I lost a dear friend of many years. She was a mom, and grandmother, a wife, a pastor, and an entrepreneur. To me, she was an unfailingly loyal and inspirational friend who was always ready to offer prayer and encouragement to others. She was only 61 when she passed, and I miss her terribly. Losing her so young made me think about how short life is and how important it is to do the will of our Father while we are here on earth.

I’m grateful for all I have and for what I have accomplished so far. I hold a Doctor of Education degree from Vanderbilt University. I’m also a ministry leader, a consultant, and an educator. I know what it means to be a woman in a position of authority, and I have no interest in trying to play a man’s role. It’s very important to me to be respected on my own merits and to exercise good leadership.

This is the world I want to pass on to our daughters and granddaughters. I don’t want them to be treated “specially.” I want them to be treated respectfully and given the opportunity to shine and make their own place in the world.

This should be something we can all agree on, regardless of our political beliefs. That’s why women should try to refrain from falling into political vitriol and division. In the end, we only end up hurting ourselves and our daughters.

Of course, all I can do is to try my best to lead by example and to ask you to join me in that effort. I hope that you will pray with me as I thank the Lord for another wonderful birthday and ask that He grant us wisdom, peace, and mercy in the coming year.