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When Wounds from Women Are Hard to Forgive

When Wounds from Women Are Hard to Forgive

Below is an excerpt from Craving Connection, a new book written by 30 different (in)courage writers. Kristen Strong, author of chapter nine is also the author of the book Girl Meets Change. She is the wife of a retired Air Force veteran, a mama and fresh air giver. She is a joy hunter-downer who writes of looking upward at Chasing Blue Skies. Originally an Oklahoma girl, she has since traveled far and wide with her military man. She and her husband David have 3 priority blessings, twin sons {age 16} and a daughter {age 12}. Kristen and her family enjoy their home under the wide-blue-skies of Colorado.

 

…Several years ago, I attended a meeting in my son’s fourth-grade classroom with his teacher and another fourth-grader’s mom. After opening the big swinging door of the classroom, I walked in and sat down in one of the short, plastic-backed chairs with metal legs, my knees up to my neck. I folded my hands on the table, anxious to begin the meeting. The other mom’s son had repeatedly bullied my son, and while my son tried to handle the situation on his own, it soon became obvious it required parent intervention. This was our opportunity to hash things out and come to an understanding, or so I thought.

Well, we ended up coming to an “understanding” all right, but not the kind I envisioned.

The other mom kicked off the meeting by making all kinds of assumptions and accusations about our family’s lifestyle. She informed me of her knowledge that my husband was in the military, so naturally if any child around here acted like a bully, it was mine. It soon became apparent she believed we ran our household boot camp style, spitting out brutal little bully children in the process.

She proceeded to attack the parenting skills of both my husband and me, not to mention the character of the majority of my family members. I did my best to apologize for any wrongdoing on our part, but when I tried to explain the situation from our vantage point, she mowed over my words like an industrial grass cutter. The conversation more than stung; it shocked and grieved me. Never in my life had my character (or my family’s character) been so grossly misrepresented by one woman….

…Sometimes, a big singular incident makes you wary of women. But more often, I think, it’s several smaller ones smacking into you. You find yourself picking those slights and slanders up one by one with your hand and stacking them like firebricks around your heart. With one brick you say, “This will teach me not to open up to friends.” And then with another you say, “Lonely is better than looking like a loser.”

I know this slow hiding of a hurting heart. But I also know the protection isolation offers always comes at a heavy price: a less-than life. Every time I’m tempted to move in that direction - and believe me I’ve been tempted - I sense the Lord speaking these words to my heart.

“Child, I have more in mind for you than that.”

I know this is true, but sometimes it’s just plain hard to do the work of keeping your heart open to friendships. So how do we stop allowing the wounds from some women to keep us away from joyous friendships with others? How do we begin the work of healing?

Instead of building a barrier with firebricks, perhaps we build bridges with forgiveness.

Instead of shielding our hearts by hiding them, we strengthen our hearts by framing them with forgiveness offered through the love of Christ.

I glance up at our family photo hanging above the piano, the one we took when James and Ethan were five and Faith was one. We were sitting on a picnic table in the great outdoors, our young selves surrounded by yellow and red maple leaves. That photo has survived four moves, two across an ocean. The dark mahogany wood frame has protected the picture and kept it in good condition.

But it hasn’t hidden it.

Forgiveness does this same work. It is the frame that shields your heart while keeping it visible…..

 

Want more? Grab Craving Connection today, or to learn more about the (in)courage/DaySpring connection, read our article: What is (in)courage? To see the full line of NEW friendship gifts from (in)courage, click here.

We forgive by doing the right thing before we feel the right thing.
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