Women are powerful. Eve demonstrated her strength as she carried a baby for the first time. She had no example to follow and no mother to hold her hand during the birth. I’ll even bet that Adam was in the dark as to his ability to give her what she needed during that first pregnancy. Eve was cast out of her perfect home into a life of pain, agony and despair. Yet Eve survived.
History books are flooded with stories of women like Eve. Women who fought wars, overthrew kingdoms, defeated enemies and battled for their homes.
Women like you and me.
The unfortunate reality is that so many women still struggle with their own ability to wage war for themselves. We oftentimes feel empowered when we wage war for others. We feel useful when we help someone else shine. We have not understood how to use our strength in a way that would create a ripple effect of change in the lives of those we touch.
We somehow have allowed ourselves to put one another down. We don’t stand together as we ought. Gossip and lies have taken the front seat in so many ways that many of us would much rather not have friends than be bothered with the reality of “female drama”.
Since our determination to connect with one another is vital to our progress, I’ve come up with a few tips to help you empower yourself and the women in your lives.
1. Take care of yourself first. Spend time alone with God every day. Be sure to record the memories of those everyday meetings in a journal or with a digital voice recorder. Once your time with God has been established, seek out activities that you enjoy. Experiment until you find what you like. Remember this is your time, no one else is invited!
2. Clearly define your goals. This works for a stay at home mom and for a working mom. You will never get anywhere if you don’t have a plan. Write them down or make a dream board. Do what is necessary for you to clearly see where you are going each day. Make sure that those around you understand where you are headed. This is a good way to determine whether or not they should be a part of your life. If your “girls” aren’t in your corner, move on.
3. Stay away from gossip. Gossiping has an ugly way of destroying people. I live by the following rules: 1. Determine someone’s character by how they treat me and my family. 2. I really don’t know the full story unless I’ve spoken to everyone involved. 3. It’s none of my business. 4. Treat another’s reputation the way I want them to treat mine. 5. Oh…and did I already say, “It’s none of my business!”
4. Accomplish Steps 1-3. Truthfully, you can’t really move on in empowering others to become their best if you can’t accomplish the first three steps. They are learning by watching you. Your life is an example for so many. Choose to take it seriously.
5. Accept all women. Don’t cling on to clicks. There are so many women who simply want to be accepted. So accept them. So many want to be loved. Love them. Love them as they are. Don’t judge. Don’t try to make them become you. Simply let them know, by your actions, that they are welcome in your huddle. None of us is perfect, no matter how nice our social media posts seem. None of us has it all together. You will be shocked, the woman that you’ve been rejecting will teach you a thing or two, so open up your heart and let her in.
6. Be brave enough to tell your truth. Your perspective is truly your view of this world. At the moment, that’s the only truth you know. It’s okay to open your mouth, even if you are wrong. I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth quite often, but I learned so much by not remaining silent. Talk ladies. Let those around you know how you feel and what you see. You will grow and so will the rest of us.
7. Make time for friends. If you are far away from friends, use video chat and phone calls. Do what you must to spend quality time with the women who really know you. If you can honestly say that you don’t have a friend, do some souls searching. The Bible tells us that a friend makes him/herself friendly. Go to events that cater to your place in life and force yourself to get to know people. It’s scary if you are an introvert like me, but it’s worth it in the end. It takes time to develop true friendships, so give it time. You actually have to give (notice the action in that verb) time to your friends. They won’t all possess the same rank in your heart, but each are necessary.
8. Become a part of something that is bigger than you. Don’t let yourself become self centered. Give to a cause or start one yourself. There is so much need in this world and I’m sure that if each of us gave something, we would see less suffering and poverty. If you are looking for a cause, check out our ministry in the Dominican Republic.
9. Forgive. We are free when we forgive. Unforgiveness is a heavy weight that simply holds us down. Let it go. Really. Forgiveness does not mean that you must allow those who hurt you back into your life, but you must stop binding them to your heart with bitterness. It’s not worth it. Let.them.go. I’ve had to forgive some doozies throughout life, but now I’m free. I’m empowered to use my wings and fly. When I held on to the hurt and thought about what they did over and over and over again, I couldn’t fly. My wings were clipped. I was bound to them and they were bound to me. Freedom is so worth the agonizing process of forgiveness. Be free and forgive right now.
10. If you are married, love your husband. The only scripture that I could find about loving your husband comes with a command for the older women to teach the younger women how to do this. It’s really hard to respect what you don’t love. Now don’t get theological about this please. I didn’t go to seminary. I’m just realizing that it takes lots of love for empowerment to flow. It would just be awful for us to love and to accept everyone else, then treat our husbands as second class citizens. So ladies, love him. Love him when he is weak. Love him when he fails. Love him when he isn’t lovely to you. Love him immensely. Love him with great intent. Those younger women are watching and it’s your job to teach them.
So let’s use our power correctly. Let’s overthrow the kingdoms of gossip and backbiting that tend to hold us down. Arise today ladies and strengthen the life of another. You can do it.