RelateHER: Fighting Back Tears

Written By: Bonnie Pue

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We often associate tears with weakness. We don’t cry when we feel confident. We don’t cry when we feel exhilarated. We don’t even cry when we feel angry at injustice.

We cry when we feel weak. We cry when we feel powerless. We cry when we feel surprised. We cry when we feel vulnerable.

And something in us hates that. We learned when we were young that if we expressed our sadness freely, we could be an easy target for mockery. Our tears would be like a siren blaring, demanding unwanted attention, so, we learned to fight back tears.

I’ve spoken with so many women who boast, “I don’t know the last time I cried.” They speak of the methods they use to contain their emotions. Biting the inside of their mouth. Pinching underneath their thighs. Distracting themselves with Netflix. Anything to get their minds off of the inner turmoil.

Because tears are a sign of weakness.

But, what if we are weak?

What if, after all these years of screaming about the strengths of women, we’ve forgotten to allow women to also have moments to express their weakness?

Weakness is not the same thing as sin. Weakness is about recognizing the finite nature of humanity and the needs we all have. We have need of grace-filled relationships, rest, beauty, purpose, and physical sustenance. Can we admit to the things that God already knows about us? Weakness is about recognizing that we are not the Eternal One.

Psalms 103:13-15 says :

“Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”

The Bible also speaks about how the Lord completely validates our sadness; why do we refuse to do the same? Psalm 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.”

Now, certainly we must hold this truth in tension with the fact that God calls us to be brave, bold women who WIN. We can handle far more than we think possible and we cannot let fear reduce us. Psychologically, to cry is to open our hands and release the situation. It is to admit our frustration about that which we cannot change, and in doing so, we find that our mind is refreshed. In this humility of soul, we find the hope to rise again and the strength to face what has caused us despair.

We are determined to continue on in the journey of obedience, but we need to know that on that road, the Lord welcomes us to release the sorrows, frustrations and disappointments. He considers it worship when we present our hearts to Him.

We must learn to not fight the tears.


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RelateHER: Comparison Kills

Written By: Brenda Drost

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Comparison kills.  Comparison is a stealth thief and a ruthless killer. It sneaks up on us at the most unsuspecting times and robs us of our personal peace, our daily joy, and sometimes even our hopes and dreams.

We’ve all been there... we lay our head on the pillow at night and scroll through Instagram to see what our friends were up to today, and then boom. There it is. The perfect body, the beautiful selfie, the job promotion, the luxurious vacation, the engagement announcement... that thing you wish was yours. In an instant, an otherwise peaceful day ends with the bitter pangs of comparison.

Comparison brings along with it the shame and disappointment of a life we long for but will never live. It whispers to us that we are not enough, that there is something wrong or broken about us that will never be made right. It keeps us in a place of wounded defeat, and pounces every time we attempt to stretch ourselves and experience something beyond our comfort zone.

Even worse, comparison threatens to keep us from living out our hopes and dreams by convincing us that we don’t have what it takes to achieve it. But if God has put a dream in your heart, it’s for a specific purpose that he wants to fulfill in your life. If God has given you a dream it’s because you have everything it will take to achieve it and more. If God has given you a dream it’s because he is willing to equip and empower you to carry it through to completion.

All too often we allow the voice of comparison to rob us of new opportunities, promotions or connections that would move us towards our dreams because we are trapped by the negative narrative of fear, doubt and insecurity.

Comparison also longs to keep us isolated and incapable of working together effectively with other women. We need to dig down deep and expose the lies of comparison in our lives in order to move past the rhetoric in our own heads and move into the plans and purposes of God.

When it comes to chasing our God-sized dreams, there are three very specific ways that comparison can quickly get us off track.

Natural talent and ability. We look at other women who are more naturally gifted or talented than we are and we instinctively shy away from the opportunity to shine because we believe we are not as good as someone else. There will always be someone who is better at your craft but God isn’t interested in pure talent alone, but in those who are humble enough to learn and grow.

Resources. Sometimes we look at the resources others have and believe that because we don’t have the same amount of money, time or connections that we won’t be able to accomplish similar goals. We forget that our God has unlimited resources and he is capable of bringing the right things at the right time in order to encourage you and help you to walk step by step into your dream. But often we won’t see everything we need before we start, because the journey requires faith.

Experience. Life teaches us some of the greatest lessons and equips us to walk in the purposes God has called us to individually. We can never compare our journey to someone else’s when attempting to live out our God dreams. Your past does not need to limit your future.

Each one of us is unique in how we are wired to serve God and the very things that make you unique are of the greatest value to God. He can use you just as you are and right where you are to reach people who need to hear your story. You don’t need to be more or do more, you need only be open and willing to every opportunity that comes your way in humility and faith.

Galatians 5:26 MSG:

We will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

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RelateHER: Soul Cleaning

Written By: Marieke Jacobi

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The other day I voluntarily cleaned someone else’s refrigerator. Yes, it was someone that I like and I was truly happy to help her clean before her move to a new home. The interesting thing was that as I cleaned, I became wrapped up in the imagery of Jesus’ love for us.  As I scrubbed, I stopped to pray over this home, the new neighbours who would be moving in soon and the family who was moving out. It was both a satisfying and inspiring experience. How often can you say that about cleaning?

When I opened the fridge, it didn’t look too bad; some crumbs, some small caked-on spills and a few leaves from forgotten vegetables. Removing all of the contents, throwing out anything that had been neglected or gone bad over time, I started to clean.  As I did, I noticed more spaces that needed cleaning; the back walls, edges, hard-to-reach corners and underneath the glass shelves. Some of the drawers of the fridge and the attached freezer could be taken out and the filth removed under the pressure of the sink or the bathtub.  Some of it was very stuck and required extra force to remove. It took about 2 hours and a whole lot of elbow grease to make this fridge sparkle and shine. It’s amazing what a difference a good scrub made!

Isn’t this just like us? Slowly sin creeps in to the edges and corners of our lives, and when we take a look inside nothing seems out of sorts. No need to clean up, right? Just close the door again. But if we open up the door of our souls and let him, God does a good spring clean.

What happens when I hold that door open and dig deep? Remove all distractions, throw out the rotten influences and take a look at the empty, dirty shelves? Are they ready for new and healthy habits like mercy, humility, justice, compassion and grace? Not really.

Jesus scolds the Pharisees in Matt. 23: 25,26 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First, clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

So, what does spiritual elbow grease look like? Cleaning out my spiritual cup, my heart, my soul, my eyes, my mind and my body requires a deep trust in the Holy Spirit. His cleansing fire will burn out the impurities and leave me clean, ready for a renewed spirit. I know I could definitely use that good spring clean to remove my rotten pride, my wilting faith, my past-due doubt and my moldy selfish heart. He’ll trash my pride and humble me. Scrub my faith and make it new, replacing my doubt. Polish my heart to make it shine for Him ridding it of the stains of unforgiveness and jealousy.  “[She] who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up her soul to an idol…will receive blessing from the Lord.” Ps.24:4,5

“Oh [woman], put your hope in God alone for with the Lord is unfailing love and in Him is full redemption. He himself will redeem [you] from all [your] sins.” Ps. 130:7,8. The Lord lovingly redeems us every day, if we let him.

A good soul cleaning is painful and unpleasant but necessary. It requires humility, repentance, accountability and sacrifice but He promises that it will be good. “He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:27, 28

And so, like the dirty fridge let’s trust God as the fire and water of the Holy Spirit restores us and renews us.


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