As I read the title of today’s article, I was confused and taken a back. It certainly had a way of grabbing attention. The meaning became clearer as I read, and I realised that I could include myself in the scary category. This is definitely an area that needs more of my time and focus as it has just become easier to keep to myself. Enjoy today’s article and feel free to pass it along.
Have a wonderful week ladies. May you experience the power of God in your life to defeat enemies, build bridges, leave you in awe and make you feel loved.
Women Are Scary
by Melanie Dale
March 17, 2015
I was sitting in a roomful of women I barely knew, watching a video in which Bible teacher Beth Moore got down in someone’s face and declared, “I love women!”
Ooh, I thought to myself, I don’t think I love women. Women are scary, complicated creatures.
The very next moment, something inside me bubbled up and I prayed inside my head, “God, help me to love women.”
Nothing happened. I didn’t feel the earth shake or my insides quiver. I finished watching the video, picked up my daughter in the nursery, and moved on with my life.
Never did I suspect that God would answer that little prayer in such a big way. I’ve spent the last four years blogging about orphan care and our adoption journeys. As a sponsorship coordinator for Children’s HopeChest, I’ve traveled to Uganda several times where we partner with a group of widows in a small village to serve about three hundred orphans and vulnerable children. Loving the women in Uganda came naturally to me. Loving the women right here at home felt harder.
Looking back over the last couple of years, since praying that prayer, I’ve realized that God has completely rewired my heart. I find myself asking questions, listening to the hearts and hurts of the women around me, and offering bear hugs with abandonment. Where I wanted to run, I now leap to encourage. Where I felt defensive, I now celebrate our differences.
In the ’burbs where I do life, we live in an independent, isolated culture. As I’ve traveled to Uganda and witnessed material poverty in the village with which we’re partnered, I’ve discovered that my culture struggles with a different kind of poverty. We don’t lack food, clean water, or clothing, but we lack relationships. Whereas my friends in northern Uganda reside in small mud homes and live life together, outside, as a community, gathering at the borehole for water, working their gardens side by side, and looking out for each other’s children, we live in elaborate homes with multiple rooms and water that comes out of our own faucets. We drive our cars into garages and close the doors behind us, and we can go days and weeks without interacting with the neighbors unless we’re intentional about making friends.
And while I will continue to champion the orphans and widows whom I love, I’ve realized that it’s no less noble to reach out to the hurting moms and kids right in my own community. If we can learn how to develop real, soul-soothing relationships, there’s no stopping what we can do together for our kids, our families, and the world. But first we have to stop being scary and scared of each other.
I meet so many women who say they had few girlfriends growing up. They preferred to hang out with guys, because guys were less complicated and more fun. That was me. And apparently there were a lot of us who felt that way. Many girls were difficult and hurtful, and we just gave up, took our toys, and went home. We hid. Some of us are still hiding.
A “friend” in high school once said of me, “I’ve spent a year trying to get to know the real Melanie, and I’ve decided there’s just not that much to get to know.” Twenty years later, I still remember that. And someone else is probably still remembering something mean that I can’t take back.
Words hurt, and they are the weapons of choice for a lot of us women. We build relationships and hang out with other women and think we’re connected, only to have mean girls shatter us with clever words. Maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of a word bullet, or maybe you’ve been the shooter.
We leave high school, but if we aren’t careful, we never leave high school. We just grow up, acquire kids, and have even more things about which to bicker. From how you feed your baby to how you educate your first grader, we argue and scare the crap out of each other. Other women can be scary! We all have big opinions, and you never know what’s going to set us off. Why bother. It’s too awkward and complicated. Who has time for other women? Right? I’ve thought it.
My book Women Are Scary is an invitation to momlationships. Girls are tricky and weird. We’re too opinionated and insecure. We tear each other apart. And we need each other.
I witnessed the perfect illustration of female relationships as I waited for my kids in the pickup line at preschool. I watched as two three-year-old girls held hands and tried to walk in opposite directions. They yanked and yanked each other back and forth. They were very angry. They were bossy. They tried and tried to get the other one to go their way. Because their way was better. They knew. No matter how hard they yanked and yanked, they each had their own idea about the right way to do things. But in all the yanking and bossing, they never let go. They held hands tighter and tighter.
That’s a relationship with a girl. We hold hands. We don’t let go. Because we need each other. We yank and yank, but we don’t let go.
So this is a call to find your girls, grab hands, and don’t let go. We are better together.
Taken from Women Are Scary: The Totally Awkward Adventure of Finding Mom Friends by Melanie Dale, www.unexpected.org
Find the followup to this article here: Trolling for Moms