Remember that old Secret deodorant commercial? The tagline was “strong enough for a man, made for a woman.” At the time, it seemed fearless and edgy; now, it sounds ridiculous. Strength comes in many forms, whether you’re referring to mental or physical strength, but the days of seeing women as the ‘weaker sex’ are coming to a close. 

The women in my life have always been strong. My great grandmother raised two children on her own after losing one child and a husband within a week of each other as the Great Depression was coming to a close. My grandmother raised two children after losing a husband to a building fire. My mother stayed at home with my sister and me and showed us what Godly marriage looked like, then went back to college after we entered college.  My sister defied the odds and became a pilot in the Air Force, while also raising two girls. I’m blessed to have example after example of what women can do when they put their minds to it. 

In our annual Women’s Issue, we celebrate the women that have done real work–sometimes in an office; often not. We meet women that are breaking down walls (Benay Shannon, the only female distiller in Missouri), and building pathways (Kathy Gates of the Running Well Store). We meet a radiology practice focused on women’s health to the point of putting them in the driver’s seat (Imaging for Women). And we meet four inspiring women in our feature from all walks of life doing what they do best–loving and living to the fullest. 

Since having my daughters, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to be a woman and what lessons I’m passing on in my day to day life. I hope that they see me hustle but that they also see me rest and care for myself and others. As women, we have a lot of balls in the air at all times. Sometimes, we need to permit ourselves to take a break. 

So this month, find one of the ladies in your life and tell her how much you appreciate her. Tell her that you see her strength, even when she’s not flexing her muscles. Tell her that you understand the load that she carries and offer to share her burden in some small way. Express the love that she gives to you every day.