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February 16, 2017

The Ties That Bind Us Together As Women

“Don’t worry about being right, just worry about being kind.” – Tilly Therber, my grandmother It’s not the difficulty of my decisions that bothers me. As a woman, I can deal with the uncertainty, the fear and the doubt that...

“Don’t worry about being right, just worry about being kind.”
– Tilly Therber, my grandmother

It’s not the difficulty of my decisions that bothers me. As a woman, I can deal with the uncertainty, the fear and the doubt that accompany my choices. I can handle the weight of that responsibility.

What I’m struggling to accept is this: When I look around me, it appears that we women have allowed the decisions we’re faced with in our lives—intimate, vulnerable and personal decisions—to become what define us and what divide us.

And it’s something we’ve all been wounded by at one time or another.

It’s not always obvious of course. It’s the scowl on another woman’s face when she hears you are taking off work for a week-long vacation. It’s the tone in another woman’s voice when she asks where your baby’s hat is “in this weather.”

Yet it’s something that every one of us is guilty of.

It’s the faces we make and the tones we take. It’s the eye rolls and the passive-aggressive comments. It’s the disapproval and judgment that oozes out of every pore of our bodies. And really, why do we care?

Why do we care if another mother chooses natural childbirth or modern medicine?

Why do we feel so compelled to turn up our noses at how she spends her money or what she wears?

Why are we so appalled when a woman works full-time just weeks after giving birth or stays home full-time when her children are in school all day?

Why is another woman’s work life and personal life and family’s life and child’s life any of our freaking business?

But most of all, why are we so consumed with the things that divide us instead of the ties that bind us?

Often, the reason we’re so quick to judge other women with decisions different from our own is that we aren’t completely comfortable with our own choices.

The woman with a full-time office job looks down on the stay-at-home mom while battling her own guilt when she can’t attend every class party and field trip. The stay-at-home mom judges the woman working long hours while at the same time struggling with her own sense of identity and purpose.

We’re all starving for grace, and at the same time, withholding that same grace from each other. And friends, it’s doing damage.

It’s damaging our relationships and it’s destroying our trust. It’s fueling the fire of perfectionism and planting seeds of self-doubt. It’s tearing down and dividing us when God calls us to build each other up and be united.

And really, at our core, all the women I’ve ever met want the same things.

We want a purpose that we can be proud of.
We want a family that is healthy and happy.
We want a body that we can feel comfortable in.
We want a life that we love.

These are the ties that bind us together as women.

How different would our relationships be if we focused on that instead? How different would our conversations be if we focused on how all of the women around us are doing exactly what we are, the very best they can? Her methods may be her way and not my way, but that’s okay, because it’s her life.

I don’t know of a single woman in the world that needs another person telling her what she should be doing.

She doesn’t need more standards to meet; she needs support.

She doesn’t need more advice; she needs affirmation.

She doesn’t need more guidance; she needs grace.

Let’s save our well-meaning advice, suggestions and opinions and instead focus on loving the woman in front of us. Let’s deliberately dissolve the judgment between us and realize that each of us is on a uniquely and perfectly messy journey of our own.

When we focus on that, we can finally put our weapons down and sit next to a woman with a life entirely different from our own and appreciate everything she is and everything she offers without feeling envious or superior.

When we stop focusing on what divides us, we can champion each other in a way that allows the women in our lives to feel supported and accepted exactly as they are and we can feel the freedom to accept ourselves and our own choices as well.

We can finally rest in the paradox of finding comfort in our own uncomfortable choices.

. . . . .

I won’t judge you for dishes in your sink and shoes over your floor and laundry on your couch. I won’t judge you for choosing not to spend your one life weeding the garden or washing the windows or working on organizing the pantry. I won’t judge you for the size of your waist, the flatness, bigness, cut or color of your hair, the hipness or the matronliness of your clothes, and I won’t judge whether you work at a stove, a screen, a store, a steering wheel, a sink or a stage. I won’t judge you for where you are on your road, won’t belittle your offering, your creativity, your battle, your work.
Ann Voskamp

. . . . .

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Leave a Comment

  1. Dottie says:

    Thank you for encouraging women to give affirmation with words, or simply to come alongside of others. Our world is a challenge as it is. We will always do more than we should because God made us that way. But there is temperance. How important! Giving grace to the next lady who is closing her world off because of not “measuring up” in her own mind. My youngest came home from youth group last night telling me the pastor spoke on your worth. He said how important to hold to your worth in Christ not only through high school but through college as well. As an only parent of five, how true this is. If only I knew my “worth” back then. But then again, God is never late. I am thankful to have found my worth in Him in the midst of being newly widowed and children exiting. Affirmation, appreciation, most of all grace. Thank you again, Christy.

    1. cathy says:

      There’s a Christian song (don’t know the artist) “let all the people say amen whoa oh oh oh, and all the people said Amen” when i read your post i sang it “let all the women say amen whoa oh oh oh…”

  2. Karen says:

    I am amazed at the fact that I needed some focus tonight to speak to a group of women and you provided the missing piece of what I wanted to say. Thank you for outlining it so beautifully. You will be credited and this post shared. The talk is a personal testimony. Thank you.

  3. Leroy says:

    Overall, great post. Thanks!
    Even though the last quote kept saying it wasn’t judging, it felt like it was dissing stay-at-home moms. Maybe, if after the “garden” and “pantry” comments, it had “how many times you pick up dinner from the drive-thru”.
    I’m not judging (seriously) just looking for more balance.

    1. molly says:

      I think it’s very balanced… I think you’re assuming it only refers to stay at home Moms. I think in general women are very self conscious of having a mess or not the perfectly kept home and this is saying I won’t judge you regardless. Just another view 🙂

  4. Guinevere says:

    Thanks so much for the reminder that we are all pilgrims on this pilgrimage called “life.” I have struggled with pettiness, jealousy, and envy of other women most my life and sometimes more as a mother who thinks “other moms are much better than me.” I lost my best friend to cancer at the age of 25 and it was a huge wake up call, but this is a hard road to follow…to be more self assured, more focused on what I do and not what others do.

    The best thing I have learned is to take your mistakes and use them to help others…to show them that our mistakes do not define us but rather they help us grow and help us connect to others who are struggling.

    Thanks so much for your insight and wisdom, but mostly for having the courage to call the kettle black. Something we women are afraid to do.

  5. Kecia says:

    I loved reading this blog piece, it is very encouraging and inspirational for women to read. I look forward to more uplifting blogs from you. Keep up the great work.

  6. Angie says:

    I have a boss that needs to read this. I am new at this job and our offices are 80 miles apart. She hired me cause i am resourceful and a self starter. When I did what she hired me to do and I started getting attention from ‘higher ups’ she is now trying to tear me down. Making my day a living hell under paper work and busy work. We were to be co-facillators of a training and she picked the slides she wanted to do and gave me the ones that she did’nt want to do. The day of the training she ‘accidently’ left off my notes so i had wing it. She even told me to wear one of organization shirts and I thought she was doing the same but she showed up all dressed to kill. I have been in this company for 4 months and every road block she put up in front of me i have gone through or around, but it is exhausting. I think as women we need to support each other and not tear each other down.
    Love your blog. I really needed to read this today.

  7. Terry says:

    God doesn’t judge us, so why do we think we can judge each other ? I see this happening more and more, very sad. Thanks for the powerful words and now I shall print this off and put it on the wall.

  8. Tracey says:

    Yes, lifting each other up is really important, but so is lifting yourself up. I think the best way to truly be “non-judgmental” towards other people is to not impose your own insecurities into their eye rolls or vocal tones. It’s dangerous to assume that someone is judging me based only upon non-verbal cues, so I try really hard to ignore them. I don’t always succeed, but when I do, I remember that other people REALLY DON’T care as much about what I am doing or not doing ; they are living their own lives in their own heads and usually couldn’t give one flip about what I’m doing.

  9. Words of Wisdom for all women to live by! We should always look for the good before we look for the negative, life is too short, Thank you Christy for putting this into the words that mean so much to me!

  10. Cindy says:

    So very true. But, before you can do that for a others, you must also accept yourself for who you are. Feel confident in yourself and the decisions you make. Love the person you are. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t judge yourself!

  11. My heart beats with yours on this subject. Thanks for posting this call to support one another!

  12. Marcia says:

    Today, I needed these words. Lately, I have really struggled with being that woman. You reminded me how flawed that thinking is, how negative, non productive and most of all, not at all how God intends for us to be. Thank you for these words Christie, thank you from the bottom of my heart. God bless you in your motivation, for all of us that desperately need it! M

  13. Me says:

    Where is the room for collaboration and growth when we hold back our opinions? If I am doing something someone close to me thinks is “wrong” I absolutely want them to tell me. Their feedback gives me insight I might never have acquired on my own. Their way of doing things might be a way I’ve never considered! Acceptance and stagnation aren’t as far apart as you might think. Likewise, if I have strong feelings about something, I do not feel genuine if I hold back and act as if I am totally supportive of what I internally feel is a mistake. That’s not who I want to be.

  14. Michelle says:

    Love this! I just saved these verses the other day as I felt like it was something I needed to keep in mind…
    “Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?” ~James 4:11-12 NIV

  15. I love this article! So often we as women are far more apt to gossip, and tear each other down rather than team together, and build each other up. Here’s to binding together, and not letting the devil mess with us!

  16. Alexa says:

    Amen and bravo! This is something that has been weighing heavily on my heart lately.

  17. Martha says:

    Thank you for the great reminder… I am a full time manager at a business that I find I bring home the same managing techniques for my teen-age sons and husband who are not quite as thoughtful as they should be.. I am not so kind to them.. Can you address being more kind at home when you feel like you’re being taken advantage of and your family is not living up to their responsibilities?

  18. Madelyn Littles says:

    Amen! I’m so grateful that Rachel shared this blog in her recent vlog post. It’s a message I certainly needed to hear, and one that I think each and every woman should hear because we could ALL benefit from it. Thank you so much!

  19. Karen mcdaniel says:

    Oh my Christy , soooooo true, I have these women in my life who rather judge everything I do , instead of supporting me .aboustly love how you said that.thank You Friend

  20. Lynette says:

    YYYYYYEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!! Thank you for posting this Christy! I’m always subjected to have to listen to the so called “knowing” advice of family members who are not in my situation. When I describe it to them or try to express my feelings about it. I’m judged as being overly dramatic or exaggerating. Like you said in an earlier post; I am doing a good job. Why can’t they just accept the situation as it is or at least encourage me? Instead I get judged, judged, judged while they smerk and make their lousy comments.