By Kristin Bonham
Our Beautiful Blog series this month is all about the relationships we have with other women.
Mothers Daughters Sisters
Mothers-in-law Friends Co-workers
Many women either don’t have positive female relationships or have struggled and fought to develop them with good and bad outcomes. We hope you will be encouraged by our writer’s experiences and what God wants for our relationships with each other.
A great place to start our series is with the book, Women at War by Jan Greenwood. Jan begins by revealing there is a battle for our identity as women. Our enemy is strategizing against us and wants us to reject God’s design for us. Satan wants us to form agreements with his lies about us and other women and works to pit us against each other. He schemes to use our brokenness to hurt each other and the sad part is, we fall for it.
Jan talks about our first experience relating with another female… our mothers. She shares how she discovered patterns in her life as a young woman that stemmed from what she learned growing up. She offers hope in the way God brought her to healing and how she and her mom became generation changers for those coming after them.
I think about my own journey in trying to change habits and patterns in my life. The relationships I had growing up with friends were tough and I now see how hurtful we were to each other. As a young woman, I realized that we were no different and could be just as hurtful. Satan used my insecurities and past experiences to keep me from opening up and being real with anyone. I didn’t trust women and kept my heart guarded. I had been hurt in the past and would keep that from happening again!
I started a pattern of avoiding conflict and putting up walls. If my friends did something that hurt my feelings, I would tell myself all the reasons why they did it and just move on. I would NEVER say anything to them because surely I had done things that hurt their feelings so who am I to bring it up? The truth is that when we avoid the confrontation, no one has the opportunity to change. So, I did it… I told two of my closest friends that they had hurt my feelings. I was shaking and nervous and thinking I wanted to back out but I did it anyway. There was more understanding than judgment and forgiveness had a powerful way of bringing us together.
I learned how much I need these relationships in my life and how valuable good council and encouragement from a girlfriend is. I have been challenged to work on my blind spots and cheered on to be all God created me to be. I realized that avoiding the conflicts was making my relationships superficial and being honest and talking things through wasn’t easy but it was worth it.
When I know my true identity in Christ, I am able to look past the initial insecurities and walls and see that standing on the other side, is a woman who is just like me with her weapons in her hands waiting to see what I’m going to do… will I fight for her or against her? Am I going to be an enemy or a friend? I recognize that that I could be a leader in this fight FOR each other! But will I?
If you are reading this thinking, “You don’t know what happened to me… or you weren’t raised by my mom. Or it’s too late for me and my daughters”, I want to encourage you. I know that sometimes things don’t get resolved. The other person may not be ready to talk it through or if they are no longer living, the conversations cannot happen.
Our only hope is in Jesus. We can find freedom, change patterns, break cycles and forge new beginnings in our relationships because of Jesus. There may be some unresolved hurt or pain that only He can speak to. He wants to be our healer and the one who defines us. We have the choice to let Him in and allow other women into our lives to help us move toward freedom.
I recommend that every woman read Women at War. Jan’s book speaks truth that relates to any season of life. You will be encouraged to recognize the battles you have been fighting and let the Holy Spirit bring healing and hope to change the direction of your relationships.
Question: How can you be a better friend and fight for the relationships in your life?
Kristin Bonham is a pastor’s wife and the Women’s Ministry Director at Grace Family Church. She and Chris have been married for 25 years and have three children; Taylor, Abby and Casey. She loves the beach, New York City and traveling with Chris. She collects books and reads some of them. Her favorite part of the week is Sunday lunch with her family and friends around the table.