I left London for an 8 day pilgrimage with 11 young women. I returned with a beautiful sisterhood. Here’s what they have taught me in the lead up to International Women’s Day.
I knew the majority of the ladies on the trip. They were all vibrant, ambitious and outspoken; this made our late night chats full of opinions, revelations and LOTS of laughter. And our conversations can be summarised as follows:
Preparation requires Patience
It had been a long and emotional road to our pilgrimage. Planning had begun in February 2018 including the usual flight & hotel bookings, creating the itinerary… Later in the year, unexpected loss and moves abroad could have led to over a third dropping out of the trip. But all those affected stayed faithful to the course. I’m sure they’re as glad as I am that they did.
We can take note of “staying the course” and apply it in our relationships and careers. We plan, things don’t go to plan, we move. But what happens if we are patient and stay the course? What if we don’t win or lose? But even better we learn.
Taking relationships for example, there are times when we have to move. As young Christian women, of course men were a key topic! (Hey Boaz ??♀️) One of the things that stood out to me was when one of the young ladies said something along the lines of:
“My father treats me like gold… why should my partner be any different? My dad has shown me my worth.”
I would like to think all of us on the pilgrimage had come to know our worth overtime, how precious we are and in particular our relationship ABCs:
Now D is for Discernment and this definitely takes time to develop! Discernment helps us to know when to stay the course or do as Beyoncé: “tell him boy bye”.
The ABC(D)s also have their place in our careers. When enforcing the ABC(D)s, for example giving or receiving feedback, in our management of stakeholders and projects; we really do need to exercise patience as it prepares us for any challenges ahead.
The Pursuit of your purpose requires Practise
On our pilgrimage we visited Shiloh; a place in the bible where we hear Hannah’s story (read 1 Samuel, chapter 1). When reading the story of Hannah, I never (ever!) fail to eye-roll at this verse:
“Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?””
Sidenote: Whew ??♀️ Father God, please grant me the same patient spirit as Hannah in all things!
Despite what Hannah’s husband said and his other wife’s taunts that she wasn’t able to have children – Hannah didn’t give up. She wanted to be a mother and prayed fervently on it. So did the mother of one of the ladies on the pilgrimage.
Hannah felt a gap and to a certain extent, she was a go getter. She didn’t settle and got the son she prayed for (as did the mother of my now sister-in-Christ). Hannah nurtured her gift, her son Samuel, and dedicated him to God.
How do you nurture your gifts?
I do/have the following:
- On-the-job experience
- Online learning, classroom courses
- A coach and mentor
- And now a super sisterhood!
International Women’s Day goes beyond recognising gaps and gallops – from inequalities to inspirations and knowing what we will and won’t stand for. And for sure, this lasts longer than the 24 hours dedicated to it each year (and the last century!).
The women on this pilgrimage served as a reminder to myself, those I surround myself with and the women I look up to, that we are gold – more than Bruno Mars or Spandau Ballet could ever sing about! We genuinely try to bring our best self to inspire and lift up not only other women, but the woman that looks back at us in the mirror. It takes work, the 4Ps: Preparation, Patience, Pursuit (of your purpose) & Practise.
We are doing the work. That is empowering. That is sisterhood. We are gold ✨.