Exposing the Powerful Truth about Women and Conflict

What is it about women and conflict that destroys relationships? Through a massive perspective shift on relationships, I've found a new freedom in my life.

What is it about women and conflict that so easily destroys a friendship or builds division within a church or group? It’s taken a lot of spiritual growth for me to see conflict and women with a fresh perspective. Through this shift in my heart and attitude, I’ve found a new freedom in my daily life.

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I really long to be understood,  known, respected, and treasured by the women in my life. Having at least a handful close friends who really “get me” is really important.

While my feelings are valid, without a strong foundation in my identity in Christ, I was vulnerable to conflict in ways that were destroying my tender heart. Feeding into those conflicts by carrying hurt feelings, holding grudges, or even just allowing rejection to keep me from serving Christ is not how Christ implored us to behave.

John 17:21 (ESV) 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

Learning how to live in this kind of unity is hard, but I felt compelled to find a way to better handle the difficulties of conflicts between women, especially within the Church.

Because we can’t live in a perfect bubble in which all the women in our lives perfectly honor God in every interaction.

What is it about women and conflict that destroys relationships? Through a massive perspective shift on relationships, I've found a new freedom in my life.

One powerful truth about women and conflict is that we don’t always handle it well.

Women are relational beings. We seek harmony and closeness which makes us amazing mothers and friends, but the strong emotions that help us build relationships can run away with us and cloud our judgment if we don’t stay grounded in truth.

Often, we react from hurt, anger, or fears before we respond from a place of peace, especially if we feel criticized or hurt.

Don't react to conflict from hurt, respond from peace knowing your identity in Christ. Click To Tweet

Don’t react from hurt, respond from peace.

I had to start recognizing myself as a sinner, saved by God’s grace, adopted as a co-heir with Christ. In those truths, I’m reminded to demonstrate humility in my relationships because we are all lost sinners without Him. And I have a firm foundation in His great love for me, which sent His son to earth and kept Christ on the cross – for my sins.

Poor communication and a lack of grace can turn tiny slights into relationship destroying mountains when we don’t see each other person with the proper perspective. We assume we know what she thinks, or we give what she thinks too much weight.

Additionally, we don’t control our own thoughts.

Because, you’re probably wrong about what she thinks.

When we assume someone’s thoughts, we’re presuming we understand so much about them. People process everything through past experiences, emotions, personalities, and even their mood or inner dialogue at the moment.

Making correct assumptions that take into account all those things is nearly impossible in the closest of relationships – ask my husband.

And we’ll use really crumby evidence, like an irritated facial expression or poor wording in a message, to support our negative thoughts which are often based in our own insecurities.

What is it about women and conflict that destroys relationships? Through a massive perspective shift on relationships, I've found a new freedom in my life.

A few weeks ago at Bible study, I spent the evening with a group of women talking about how as sisters in Christ, we often feel judged and criticized within the Body.

We began to talk about how we felt in specific situations within our study. And the more open we were, the more we realized that what we were feeling wasn’t even close to what the other people had been thinking.

For example, a couple of years ago, I would worry my house wasn’t nice enough when people came over but never complimented my decor. Joanna Gaines, I am not. Then a friend told me that my spotless house made her feel like she could never invite me over. She looked around my house and felt totally inadequate.

When I did go to her house, I was shamed by her willingness to be less than perfect, her bravery to be honest with her mess.

Lies we assumed the other person was thinking had held us both captive and divided our budding friendship.

We learned that messy, real brokenness built more bridges than any pretense of perfection. 

This is what we do to ourselves and each other when we try to guess what someone else is thinking.

Honestly, what she thinks of you is none of your business. 

What she thinks is her responsibility. I have to do the best I can to represent who I am in Christ and let the rest go. I can’t control how people perceive my behavior. A tiny look could be completely misinterpreted. I can’t live my life afraid to make a face! I’d need a truckload of Botox! 

I am responsible for the condition of my own heart.

That is the powerful, freeing truth about women and conflict that finally let me stop worrying about what everyone else thinks.

I can only control myself. I can only take responsibility for myself and my actual actions.

Trying to control what everyone thinks will often backfire completely. A lot of my close family and friends are in different places with their beliefs than I am. I want nothing more than to be a witness to them for Christ.

However, trying to control every interaction and perception made me frantic. I was so tense that I unintentionally pushed away the very people I was doing my best to love.

I finally gave up and said this is the best me I have today, with the spiritual maturity I have at this moment. I should try to be kind and loving, but only God’s opinion matters at the end of the day.

If someone misinterprets who you are, keep reaching out, keep being genuine. Give opportunities to her so she’ll want to reevaluate who she thinks you are, but don’t let it get to you.

What is it about women and conflict that destroys relationships? Through a massive perspective shift on relationships, I've found a new freedom in my life.

One lesson I’ve learned the hard way is if someone doesn’t want to be close with me, let them go.

Another powerful truth is . . . sometimes, it’s not me.

The other person’s perspective on who you are is based on her biases and experiences.

Sometimes you have to leave someone’s heart up to God. The most genuine kindness is can be misinterpreted by someone without spiritual maturity whose heart isn’t right with God. And we can’t take responsibility for that. 

Right now, there is a woman I see often who seemingly goes out of her way to avoid saying hello or even making eye contact. But I’ve never had more than a ten minute conversation with her. Any perspective she has on me is superficial and likely faulty. 

And I honestly have no idea what she feels about me. She might think I don’t like her. She may feel I’ve judged her somehow. What I’ve had to do is really lay it at God’s feet. Instead of feeling hurt and rejected, I have begun to pray for her and for opportunities to love her.

Because what is my responsibility, is what I think of her.

My responsibility is not what she thinks of me, but what I think of her. Do I think judgmental, hurt feelings at her? Or do I give her the grace and benefit of the doubt I would want from her? 

My responsibility in conflict isn't what she thinks of me but what I allow myself to think of her. Click To Tweet

I can choose to control my thoughts about her. When I have a negative thought or feel rejected, I pray for her and our relationship.

Three things to think about her:

First, she is beloved of God, and He is chasing after her heart just as much as he ever chased after mine.

Secondly, God calls me to love her more than I love myself. Instead of focusing on how her behavior affects me, I choose to demonstrate love for her in every interaction.

Lastly, God knows the deepest most secret places of her heart. In those places, God knows who she will be, not just who she is, not just her facial expressions or what she even says. I cannot know that identity. I can’t even get close unless I’m close to her heart. So, I need to treat her based solely on my relationship with Christ.

Because, that is how Christian women deal with conflict.

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Wonderfully Made: My Amazing Miracle Birth Story

How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don't thank God for them.

How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don’t take time to thank God for them.

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Have you ever read the Old Testament and wondered how in the world the Jews could see so many miracles and keep turning away from God? 

I know I do.

Especially shocking is the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt after all the plagues and the angel of death passing over the Israelite homes. God leads them as pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. Despite witnessing God’s CLEAR, miraculous intervention, at the Red Sea, they cursed God and Moses for bringing them out of Egypt to die. 

 A few days after God parted the sea, they’re complaining about the lack of water and food. God provides water FROM ROCKS, then manna and quail. They still doubt and complain. They had God walking with them and still forgot the miracles He had done.

So how does this relate to my life?

Because sometimes I forget what a miracle it is that I’m even here. My miracle birth story is pretty amazing. I’m truly appalled sometimes at how often I forget what a miracle God wrought in my life from the very beginning.

Back in 1971, when a couple went to the hospital to have a baby, they didn’t know what they were going to have: boy or girl, one or two, healthy or not. And I was not.

How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don't thank God for them.

I was born with a fairly rare birth defect called gastroschisis, in which the abdominal wall does not form properly. All my abdominal organs were outside of my body. My abdominal muscles and skin did not close.

My dad says I came with assembly required.

My dad says I came with assembly required, but I really needed a miracle. I got several! Click To Tweet

While he jokes now, in 1971, babies with gastroschisis didn’t live. Only about 18% even survived initially.

But this is where the story gets good!

The best part of my miracle birth story started before my conception.

The doctor, obviously taken aback, was not sure what to do with this seriously damaged, tiny infant.  In this moment, God’s hand had been so evidently working things for my good years before I was born, because my mother’s obstetrician was the father of a young man my father had befriended in college.

Jeremiah 1:5 ESV / “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don't thank God for them.

As the doctor contemplated what to do, whether the kindest act was to let me die, he said he couldn’t bear to write his son that evening and tell him that he hadn’t done everything possible to save Bill’s daughter.

I love that God planted a relationship between my father and this young man years before I was even a possibility.

Once the doctor had a plan, things moved pretty quickly. They decided to transport me 30 miles to Children’s Memorial in Chicago.

Then, I almost died in the ambulance because I had ingested so much air. With exposed organs and without stomach muscles, I had no way to expel gas. My stomach expanded frighteningly.

However, the doctor had absentmindedly stuck the nasal bulb in his lab coat pocket. He said it was something he had never done before. He used it to save my life.

When we arrived, the emergency team couldn’t get an IV into my tiny body. My father’s army medic training kicked in. He told the nurses to use a cutdown. And they did it! I actually have three tiny scars from that procedure.

At this point, the nurses realized they didn’t recognize my father as a doctor. He laughingly recalls saying, “I’m not a doctor. I’m the kid’s father!” They promptly escorted him from the OR.

Again, God’s hand is in the details.

The number one expert in the world in gastroschisis was on call that day. He was able to close up my abdominal skin with one surgery and I lived pretty much consequence free until I was in college and developed some scar tissue that was causing issues.

I grew up hearing this story, but only as an adult did I realize how truly miraculous my birth really was and how many steps reflect God’s hand in all the details.

When my own daughter was in the NICU, her doctor was amazed that I lived and was so healthy.

My miracle birth story is a true testimony to how God works all things, even before our births. Click To Tweet

God wanted me here. 

Of course God plans all of our lives, but because of my miracle birth, I am more aware God has a plan and purpose for me.

How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don't thank God for them.

This story has really been on my mind this week, as today is my birthday, but also because my daughter’s memory verse reminded me to consider truly how wonderful my life has been, despite my body’s failings and the difficulties I have faced.

Psalm 139:14 ESV / I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

I just have to stop and praise God for saving me that day. My body isn’t perfect. I’ve had my share of challenges, but God has always used them for my good. And now I just bask in His patient grace, waiting so many years for me to recognize His presence in my life, to wake up to His miracles.

Which takes me back to Moses. God was also evident in Moses’ life from his birth. The Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him from the reed basket in the Nile, saving him from her father’s orders to eradicate all Israelite male infants. Raised Egyptian, Moses grew up in the Pharaoh’s palace, making him the perfect intercessory for the Israelites.

How does my miracle birth story relate to the ancient Israelites? Because we so easily forget the miracles in our lives if we don't thank God for them.

Yet, before Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, he spent 40 years in hiding for killing a vicious slave driver. Despite God’s miracles in his life, when God called him, he felt unqualified.

Due to Satan’s manipulation of those around me and my own resultant sins, I had turned away from God. I lived like hell off and on for 20 years.

But God never let me go.
I could see God in my life, but let the world distract me. I forgot my miracle birth really was miraculous, not just a great story.
Like Moses, who had a pretty incredible birth story, I needed reminding that God had a purpose bigger than my sins. Today, I celebrate being 46 and walking again in the light, as a precious child of God.

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How to know if you’re really Called to Homeschool

Do you feel called to homeschool? Maybe you think you might be or feel like you wish you could, but are questioning if God has called you to homeschool.

Do you feel called to homeschool? Maybe you think you might be or feel like you wish you could but are questioning if God really has called you to homeschool.

Maybe you’re picturing your sweet baby sitting all day in a hard desk instead of exploring the wonders of creation at the beach or reading together curled up on the couch, but you’re wondering if you missed this call?

Some homeschool moms talk about feeling called to homeschool.

But I always wondered what that call is supposed to sound like? Was I supposed to get some sort of message from God that homeschool is what I’m supposed to be doing?

Some homeschool moms talk about feeling called to homeschool. But I always wondered what that call is supposed to sound like?

I didn’t have a moment I heard God say, ‘and now, you shall homeschool.’ It was more of a gradual walking towards making this decision over time. 

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But hands down, It is one of the best decisions we have made.

At first, I felt it grew out of selfishness. I have this one baby, this one little girl that I waited to parent for SO LONG. Honestly, I didn’t want to send her away to school as soon as I got a chance to stay home with her.

Does the idea of sending your child to school give you a sense of unease?

It really did for me.

Other than just wanting to make up for the first few years when I worked and really enjoy raising my child, the only local preschool was full days. No way was my three-five year old going to spend 8 hours a day away from home.

God has given us this child to raise. By the time we would get home from work or school, we would only get a few precious hours before bedtime. Those hours would be full of homework and dinner. If she wants to play sports or spend time with friends, it would be even less.  

Can I really raise a child in two hours a day? Am I supposed to? Or am I called to homeschool?

Can I really raise a child in two hours a day? Am I supposed to??

No judging parents who’ve made different choices, but my daughter needed more of us those early years in her education. She was struggling with ADHD and intense emotions. Helping her walk through some of those things was crucial in her development, as was having lots of free time between lessons.

Homeschooling can usually be accomplished in few clock hours during the day. She sleeps until 8 or 9. We eat a leisurely breakfast and read together from the Bible or a history textbook.

School was 3-5 educational hours with lots of time to explore her interests. She had many hours for silent reading and many breaks for play and creativity. I had the flexibility assess her comprehension with a quiz or by asking her to draw a picture of life in ancient Egypt, or learn through travel & field trips.

Homeschool let her be little a little longer.

A recent Stanford study agrees that we’re sending kids to school way too early, missing time for play. A lot of cognitive development happens during play. Unstructured play even provides for the type of physical development which must occur before kids can sit still at desks all day.

Feeling like you might be called to homeschool? How can you know for certain? Click To Tweet

In the early 70s, my preschool was 2 or 3 half days a week at three and four years old. Kindergarten was half days. My elementary school days were 6.5 hours. We started at 9 and ended at 3:30. We also had 75 minutes for lunch and two recesses. I ate lunch at home with my mom and sisters.

School isn’t the same anymore.

Today, she would leave for the bus stop at 7:15 and get home by 3:30, having a thirty minute at-school lunch and one recess at the end of the school day. Having such a long day seemed to be unnecessarily structured for a kid who started teaching herself to read at 2 1/2 from Super Why!

Are you feeling like you can't send your child to spend 8 hours in a desk? Maybe you're being called to homeschool.

I also had unease about the quality of our local schools. All schools are imperfect, but our district zoned elementary school was very much struggling to provide recess, music, and art. I doubted the curriculum would be rigorous enough to challenge her even if the teachers were the most caring professionals.

And, I started examining the entire idea of sending her to school.

Shop DaySpring’s A Reason For Collection for fun, Scripture-based activity books for the kiddos.

What is your goal for your child’s education?

I want my daughter to grow up to be a productive member of society, learn to work well with others, but mostly, be a powerful woman of God. Was school really going to offer her the best chance of becoming those things, more than I could?

No teacher would care about her and her development more than I did. School teachers might have more resources and more training for the special needs of elementary students, but I knew God would guide me if this is what He wanted for us.

One of our biggest concerns was socialization, but what is socialization?

On one hand, it means learning to behave socially with others. Between co-op, play dates, an organized bible study homeschool class, church, and actually being in the world, my daughter got LOTS of chances to be social with all sorts of people. She visits the nursing home and is the hit with the ladies there. She makes friends in the waiting room at my doctor’s office. Being social isn’t an issue for her.

Socialization is one of the biggest concerns of being called to homeschool, but do we want our kids to learn manners or worldly values?

However, socialization doesn’t just mean socializing. It means the deliberate transfer of values and morals from adults to children. When I thought about it that way, whose values did I want her to have? God’s values are my highest priority. While I don’t do it perfectly, I know that she is seeing me learn and grow in Christ daily. Even through learning to teach her math . . . and my journey is teaching her to love Jesus and seek Him.

So, I prayed. I didn’t want to spend all day apart. Actually, I enjoy spending the days with her. So, Should we homeschool?

I didn’t have a clue how my husband would feel about it. We had agreed that I would go back to work when she started school.

I took it to God in prayer.

Have you taken the question to homeschool to God in prayer?

And my husband said, “I think we need to homeschool.”

WHAT?!?! I was expecting this to be a serious conversation, maybe even heated discussion. I was floored when he agreed with me.

If there was any moment I felt called to homeschool, it was this one. 

Are you willing to learn and grow as much as your child will?

If so, you’ll do just fine.

You love your child and will strive to provide the best education you can. Find mentors, talk to neighbors, join a co-op. From field trips to the beach or local museums, you’ll find so many amazing programs and supplemental materials available. It’s difficult to do poor job homeschooling if you feel strongly you’re being called to homeschool.

And if you answered these questions differently, that’s okay. God has a different calling for each of us. What’s important is that you’re listening to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit and paying attention when He opens doors for you.

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Is Christ in your Social Media Message?

Social media can be one of the darkest places in the world. But as Christians, we have a responsibility to be the light of Christ in our social media message.

Social media can be one of the darkest places in the world. People comment with cruel disregard for people on the other side of the screen. Yet, Christians have a responsibility to be the light of Christ in everything, including our social media message.

Twenty years ago, many of us couldn’t imagine social media existing much less consuming large portions of our lives. But, it has become how most people get news and interact with the global community on a daily basis. I don’t know the exact statistics, but most people check social media first thing each morning.

June 30, 2010 people celebrated the first World Social Media Day, which is around the time I joined the ranks of smart phone users and began to dip my toe into this new Facebook thing that was replacing MySpace. LOL

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And I’ve come to embrace it in many forms. I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and StumbleUpon, and a few more, but haven’t bitten the SnapChat bullet yet.

But one thing I try to do no matter which site I’m on is portray a consistent Christ-centered message.

Whether on my personal page or Heaven not Harvard accounts, nothing matters more to me than being as genuine a witness for my faith as I can be in every aspect of my social media use.

Keeping Christ at the center of our social media message is hard!

But social media is hard!

People are emboldened behind their keyboards to share every thought and emotion, often without much thought to how their words reflect on them as people or affect others.

Our social media message should be centered on a Kingdom-mindset and Christ focus. Click To Tweet

Honestly, I could write a book about Christian social media usage, but today, I want to focus on how we interact with our friends primarily.

Because it’s easy to see that social media is destructive and divisive within marriages and friendships. So we need to make sure we don’t miss the opportunity to be a light for Christ on social media among our friends.

Social media can be one of the darkest places in the world. But as Christians, we have a responsibility to be the light of Christ in our social media message.

So Why use social media at all?

As an Army wife, I live in a transient community. Social media allows us to stay in touch with people who have moved away and stay close through interacting with each other online.

Also, we live far from all our family. Social media allows us to feel more connected to family: cousins, aunts and grandparents, even those on the other side of the country or even world.

Even in the civilian sector, social media allows us to befriend and communicate with people around the globe. I’ve made real friendships with people in other states and walks of life and even on other continents.

BUT . . .

Our words have more weight than ever, and words without the benefit of tone of voice or facial expressions. Only our words must stand and reflect the heart we had when we posted an article or comment.

I write this not as one who has mastered my online words or social media message, but as one contending for righteousness in this arena.

Matthew 12:36 ESV / I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

It is not a stretch to assume that God will also hold us accountable for the words we type, as well.

Yesterday, I shared a post about service and the importance of focusing less on what I’m getting, more on how I’m loving others.

Focusing on how I love has also changed how I interact online.

Recently, a socially liberal, atheist friend and I were on opposite sides of an emotional issue in a Facebook thread. No matter how I explained my thoughts, he didn’t see it my way.

While tempting to use snarky wit to drive home my point, my goal in the conversation surpassed this one issue. Ultimately, my Kingdom-minded goal was to love my friend by demonstrating the love of Christ who lives in me.

At the end of the day, even this delicate and difficult topic was not as important as reaching my friend for Christ.

I prayed before reading each of his replies. Again, I prayed before replying. I typed replies and then prayed and revised.

In the end, I was able to address HIM not his position or his ideas, but reach out as a friend. “Hey, our friendship is more important than our agreement here.” Doing so reflected Christ more than convincing him of my Christian position on this issue ever would have.

I struggle with this issue everyday since I’m fairly political. And I do believe part of God’s calling in my life has been to righteously contend for His truths. However, I feel very strongly that I should err on the side of invitation and grace in how I interact on social media.

When I account for my words, I want to be able to say that everything I said was done in my very human attempt to be a light for Christ in one of the darkest places in the world – the internet.

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Beating Body Image Issues: Compared to Who?

Beating my body image issues meant getting real about having body image issues. I’ve spent my life believing my issues were with my body. I was so wrong!

Beating my body image issues meant getting real about having body image issues. I’ve spent much of my adult life believing that my issues were with my body.

If my body looked better, I wouldn’t have any issues, right? I was so wrong. I didn’t even realize I was working on the wrong AREA of my life!

(this site uses Affiliate links-purchases support our ministry through a small referral fee that never affects your cost.)

Of course, when I did lose weight, I noticed the stretch marks from the extra weight or the wrinkles in my face became more prominent. Every step toward my ideal body brought up new body image issues to worry about: varicose veins, chin hair, visible scars. I was never going to get there.

But that didn’t stop me from believing I was supposed to.

My body image issues were so ingrained I couldn’t separate my worth as a person from my imperfections.

I did things like walk for two hours everyday, skip meals, and start marathon running despite major joint pain because I felt compelled to reach this place of good enough physical perfection.

Beating my body image issues meant getting real about having body image issues. I’ve spent my life believing my issues were with my body. I was so wrong!
used with permission – Heather Creekmore 2017

Body image issues even spilled over into my nutrition. I skipped too many meals and didn’t eat nutritious food in proper proportions. I tried every diet and exercise plan, but none could change how I felt inside my own heart.

My body image issues were so ingrained I couldn't separate my worth from my imperfections. Click To Tweet

I’m ashamed of how body image has affected my life. I’ve cancelled plans or been too embarrassed to go places because I don’t have clothes to cover my problem areas. Because of my appearance, I’ve felt like a failure as a person.

I’ve cried so many tears wishing I could just be normal. The joke was on me! I am normal – like the 91% of women who also struggle with body image issues.

I’ve been on a journey to let go of my body image issues for the last few years, but Heather Creekmore’s book has helped free me in a way I didn’t expect.

At first, I didn’t want to read Compared to Who?.  I was so sure this was just another DIET book, full of the same old platitudes.

God only cares about your heart. It’s the inside that matters.

UGH! While those are true statements, they only help so much unless you deal with the real issue. Because deep down, while I know God loves me and values me for the inside, I want other people to think I’m wonderful too. There’s the real issue-Pride.

Despite my resistance, God was working on my body image issues and wasn’t going to leave me alone. I kept seeing this book everywhere.

Clearly, God wanted me to read this book.

When my copy arrived, I was hesitant but after a few pages, Heather’s humor and compassionate honesty captured my attention.

She confessed all thoughts I’ve secretly thought: every silent smug vanity, the catty comparisons, my shame when I didn’t match up, believing I just needed to have enough self-esteem to accept myself the way I am. So much of her story related to mine!

And I knew she understood. So when she asked me to rethink everything I’ve ever thought about vanity and body image, I was willing.

Compared to Who? offers us the heart of our body image issues and lets us quit comparing. Click To Tweet

What’s more, Compared to Who? showed me how I’ve been missing the heart issue of my body image issues.

I would recommend this book to anyone struggling with body image issues or vanity. Even though it mostly pertains to women, Heather speaks to the heart of the matter, our sinful flesh.

While I received a free copy from the author, the opinions are my own!

If you take what she says to heart, read the scriptures, and ask God to work in your heart, you will change. I am beating my body image issues, and freedom never felt so good.

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