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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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!

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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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Intentional Multitasking for Busy Moms

What is intentional multitasking? It's how I quit feeling stressed and crazy, started getting stuff done, and found more time for enjoying my child.

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What is intentional multitasking?

When I was at my wit’s end, I had to find a way to quit feeling like a spinning top.  Intentional multitasking helps me get more done with LESS stress and MORE time to be the homemaker and Christian woman I strive to be.

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Even during this season of disability, I’m still BUSY!  But, I got tired of feeling frazzled, stressed, and distracted! I don’t want to miss my daughter’s childhood.


Something had to change . . . how I tackled multitasking!

Tips for Intentional Multi-tasking

Have a daily WRITTEN to do list

One of my largest stressors is worrying about forgetting something. By having a written list (even just a note on my phone), I don’t forget anything and don’t have mental stress over forgetting something important.

Put the quality back into your quality time with Intentional Multitasking

When I remember something I need to do, I write it down. Instead of shifting away from the task I’m working on, I save it to my list. Then, I finish the priority task rather than let all my random thoughts distract me.

Combine activities, don’t split focus.

I can combine some activities, but some really need focused attention. I choose one task that needs most of my focus and combine it with some mindless mom task, like folding laundry.

They are PERFECT opportunities for intentional multitasking. I can chop vegetables while helping my daughter read a book (hint-if you plan meals well, you can chop/prep for a couple of different meals at once). I can vacuum while reviewing my mental to-do list or even use that time to pray for friends and family.

Intentional Multitasking? Put more quality back into your quality of life. Click To Tweet

Throw in a load of laundry while reading a book with the kids. Use toy clean up as a chance to do squats or stretch. Make it a game with worship music and you’re cleaning, praising, and spending quality time with the kids.

Right now I have a load of laundry going, my daughter is working on some math, and I’m finishing this post.

I can combine tasks, but never split focus. Giving my best attention to the most important part of this mom life.

I need most of my attention to proofread and write, but can take a minute here and there to check on my daughter’s progress and to switch laundry from washer to dryer.

Make Time for Quiet Time

Quiet time can be one of the first things we set aside when life gets busy, believing we’ll get to it later, but the day only gets busier.

Some of my quiet time is listening my daily Bible reading on the YouVersion App. I wouldn’t trade all my Bible reading for audio, but while washing dishes or fixing my hair, I can primarily focus on God’s word. And it’s pretty hard to be bitter about chores while listening about the Israelites complaining in the desert. 😉

 

Driving in the car, it’s easy to turn on the radio, but I have a few favorite preachers I find uplifting and convicting, so I listen to recent sermons instead, which helps pass long drives and is great way to hear in-depth teaching of God’s word when I don’t have MARY time in my MARTHA schedule.


Using social media is the death of productivity. It’s a rabbit hole that will suck hours of your life away. If I want to get things done, I have to close tabs on my laptop, silence my phone and turn it screen down.

In fact, multitasking with our devices decreases productivity and even our IQ!

I literally work ON social media, but I have to set strict limits on it during the day or I find myself spending all day reading important articles and viral posts and then I’m commenting on my friends’ statuses. Next thing I know, it’s dinner, and I’m still wearing pajamas.

But if you’re on –

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Know when NOT to multitask!

Trying to complete two tasks that require high levels of mental attention at the same time means doing them both poorly. It takes intentionality to know when I can’t multitask. Sometimes, I have to block everything out and finish something, especially something time-sensitive or important.

The Daniel Tiger-esque rhyme I created is “do one thing until it’s done, then you’ll have more time for fun!”

When I decided to stop making myself crazy doing a little bit of a lot of things and chose to do a couple of things with my best attention, I learned to use intentional multitasking to stay on task, to prioritize my to-do list, know when to multitask & not to.

Now, my daughter gets more undivided attention with lots of stories, hugs, and kisses. Unrushed quality time just feels longer!

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