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Anatomy of a Strong Woman

Anatomy of a Strong Woman

What makes a strong woman is touted in academia and social media; it’s displayed daily on almost every television network. Today’s version of female strength is exemplified by some of the angriest ladies I have ever encountered. I’m not sure that much of anything would make these women happy. They tell us we should demand respect, our rights, and equality (but oftentimes with an air of superiority).

This is not to say that women cannot have a voice, that we are undeserving of respect, or that we are unequal. In fact, I believe we are equal, and that every woman’s voice is essential to the world. But if we are fighting for something of worth, let’s handle ourselves with dignity and treat the people around us with respect. It’s OK to use some grit, but let’s make sure it’s marked by grace. Because the ladies who carry a chip on their shoulder and make the same, angry demands simply don’t encourage or inspire, they just make me weary.

No, it’s not those women I find strong. In fact, if I planned a girls night out, they aren’t the ones I’d invite. If I could, along with some of my best girlfriends, I would choose two ladies who currently reside in heaven: my great grandmother, Ethel Bunger, and my husband’s grandmother, Minnie Brock. Now those were some strong ladies.

The way they lived provided me with two of the best examples of what a strong woman looks like. They possessed every trait needed, and put these traits on display without angst or effort on a daily basis, which ended in them earning the respect from all they encountered.

Their strength did not lie in working outside the home, inside the home, or by doing some of both. It did not come from breaking whatever ceiling they encountered. They didn’t give much thought to ceilings, they just took care of business. It was not a list of demands or rights that were met that gained them respect. It was their very makeup, nature, and priorities that made them strong.

I learned so much from these ladies who made me better. I’d like to share with you a few of their traits, all of which come together to create the anatomy of a strong woman:

  • Eyes that shed tears for those who are hurting.
  • A mind that possesses the knowledge of life, faith, and family.
  • Hands that work diligently to meet the needs of others.
  • Feet that run swiftly to the defense of those who need defending.
  • A voice that speaks up when injustice demands it.
  • A heart of courage to believe the best, even when all reason says she shouldn’t.
  • Arms that hold closely—offering unconditional love.
  • Laughter that provides hope to a heart in pain.
  • A tongue that never ceases to offer words of wisdom and encouragement.
  • A tenacious spirit that perseveres every day, even when she is spent.

These women of strength inspired me by every one of those acts. When they moved residence to the land that is eternal, there were many stories filled with laughter and tears from an untold number of people. There was such respect and honor in each sentence, in each teardrop. They didn’t demand it, they didn’t march for it; they earned it through the way they chose to live.

This is the woman who has joy, contentment, and purpose. This is a woman who does not have to prove her equality because those around her know she is so much more than equal.

This is the kind of woman I want to be. This is the woman you want to be.

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This is the woman that doesn’t bother listening to the noise from those loud and frustrated ladies. She knows exactly what it takes to possess the anatomy of a strong woman. She’s living a life of grit and grace.


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Darlene, President of The Grit and Grace Project, is crazy enough to jump in the deep end then realize she may not have a clue where she’s landed. She has spent her adult life juggling careers in the music business, been an author, a video producer, and also cared for her family ... some days drowning, other days believing she’s capable of synchronized swimming.

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