by Annette Bridges. ©2010. All rights reserved.

It’s hard to believe that I had almost forgotten that March was National Women’s History Month. It was, in fact, my husband who reminded me, after he heard a news story about a woman who had survived Indian captivity during the 19th century.

For years, American history curriculums have been void of women’s experiences, perspectives, accomplishments and contributions to our culture and society. It may be difficult to ever find and recognize all the women that make up our nation’s early history, since many of their stories were probably never documented, recorded or thought worthy enough to be saved.

Most of us hopefully know about those gutsy women whose bravery, courage and determination resulted in women having the right the vote. Women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul, to name only a few.

Many notable and ordinary women have blazed the trails women now walk. These were women who were visionaries, problem solvers and mentors. Some made headlines and some without loud fanfare, but all left their indelible mark in their homes, workplaces and communities.

And my women friends today need to remember that they, too, are part of making women’s history for future generations.

I think the women (and men, too, for that matter) who capture my greatest respect are those who do whatever it takes to overcome some impossible obstacle.

One of these women is Mary Baker Eddy. Larry Lipman, when serving as President of the National Press Club, said, “What do you do if you’re eighty-eight years old, you’ve already created a denomination, and the newspapers of the day start attacking you? Well, if you’re Mary Baker Eddy, you create your own newspaper, and you show them how it’s supposed to be done.” His speech was honoring The Christian Science Monitor, which Eddy founded in 1908 amid an era of rampant yellow journalism that dominated American newsrooms.

I find myself facing my own obstacle at this time in my life. I long to overcome whatever it is that is keeping me from understanding my purpose in this life. No, it’s nothing so earth-shattering or significant that it will make much of a difference to anyone else but me. But it feels like my world is at a turning point of some kind.

Since becoming an empty nester, I’ve struggled with feelings of regret and insignificance. I feel like there is more I’m supposed to do with my life, but I’m not sure exactly what that is. Many times I’ve pushed myself to try new things and explore ideas and possibilities never considered before. But still, the search continues.

As I write this column, I am only three days from doing something I’ve never done before and never imagined doing. All I can say is that I feel like it’s something I must do, even though I don’t fully understand why.

I was invited to travel to Italy with a couple of girl friends — without husbands.

I’m a mishmash of excitement and fear. I decided I could not allow my insecurities to stop me from making this trip, so here I am. Three days until departure and the packing has begun.

When I explained all of my uneasy feelings to my daughter, she responded with a quote she recalled reading somewhere, “It’s time to put your big girl panties on and deal with it!”

After doing a little research, I found these words published on countless things from t-shirts to magnets, from wine glasses to coffee mugs. I’m not sure who said it first. Regardless, I must admit it does rather sum up what I feel I must do about my pending trip and probably a few other quandaries as well.

I think it was Bette Davis who once said, “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.” Perhaps that sentiment sometimes sums up our life, ladies and gentlemen, but I have a feeling that we may decide that bumpy ride was well worth it.

My life story may not be published in the history books, but my story, just like your story, is important. We are each a gift from God, and our life and purpose is precious in His sight. Each of our lives makes a difference in this world of ours — whether we know that or not.

Whether our story is one of survival or of great strength and ability, we are making history, and someone will be benefited by our example.