Unite: When Women Unite

Snowy path

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—UNITE. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

UNITE

If you’ve read my blogs for very long, you know some of my struggles with rejection and the impact it’s had on my perspective . . . for most of my life.

I can look back now and see that those mean girls in my past were just trying to figure out who they were. Unfortunately they found me, a sensitive girl, to pick on and to take out their own struggles on.

As women, we grow up with these images that our bodies should look a certain way.

We should be doing life a certain way.

Our lives should follow some sort of invisible timeline and we should be at this point by this age.

But what the world also encourages with these messages is isolation.

We are afraid to be real, to share the struggles we’re having, the discontent with life, the vulnerabilities we try to hide each and every day.

The world tells us anything less than perfect is simply unacceptable. But what if . . .

we united as women,

we determined we will not let the world try to define us?

What if we looked for the essence God has placed in each of us, and we encouraged each other to live in this?

 

Women huggingWhat would happen?

What if, instead of isolation, we choose to embrace each other?

Those who are married reaching out to those who are single?

Those who have children sharing compassion with those who yearn for babies?

Those who seem to have it all reaching out to those who obviously don’t?

Because, really, everyone can put on a mask to make their lives look a certain way.

But when each of us can admit we really don’t have it all figured out . . .

. . . that we are barely holding onto our mess with a fingertip, then we can do something amazing.

We can pray earnestly for each other.

We can encourage each other and remind each other that we can make it through this particular mess. We can come alongside each other and hold each other up.

We will cling to God, and sometimes we’ll help our friends cling to God.

When we unite with the determination to be there for the women in our lives . . .

. . . when we step out with compassion rather than hiding behind insecurity, that’s when God’s power can really bring about change in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

Women Praying copy

When we unite with a common purpose—to point each other to Jesus, to be a safe place—that’s when we are drawn closer to the Lord and grow stronger  . . . together.

***

For the men reading this, please forgive the blatant “woman-focus” of this post. I know men have their own set of struggles they deal with. How do men unite?

What about you? When have you united with someone or a group of people for a common purpose? What has someone done to point you toward Jesus during a difficult time?

Click to tweet:

Everyone can put on a mask to make their lives look a certain way. (Click to tweet)

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday—Unite

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33 thoughts on “Unite: When Women Unite

    • Thankful for you, Tara. Thankful for your honest words on your blog and your encouragements on mine. May the Lord build you up and give you opportunities to build up the women in your life this weekend.

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  1. Always yes! It is sad how easily divided we are when we have so much in common – we are human, we need grace, we have Jesus! Linking arms with you!

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    • Carey, Yes! We can be so easily distracted and divided by the humanity of those around us, and by our own response to those who are either different or who hurt us in some way. We do have Jesus, and for that I’m so thankful. He’s the one who begins the unifying work in hearts. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by!

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    • Andrew, I know from my husband that men tend to be more isolated. It seems like, because of how you fellas are wired, “uniting” looks very different. I’m so glad you have the dogs, and that they have you. You are a uniting factor on many of the blogs you visit. I’m praying for you, friend.

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  2. I love this! Yes, we need to unite and stand together and encourage one another that we don’t need to hide but we can be accepted and loved as we are. Reaching out to others is so important- it’s easy to look and think they’ve got it together, but as you say, none of us has really.

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    • Yes, Carly. When we can accept others, especially those different from us, that uniting work begins. And it does begin by reaching out. Someone has to be first in this. And I think that is sometimes the scariest thing—initiating a connection with someone we may not be comfortable with. May we both become more intentional in looking beyond the surface and reaching out to others.

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  3. Beautiful beautiful words – I loved reading them.

    Encouragement to you from Ireland today – your blog is wonderful and I have enjoyed hanging out here. You are so special, the apple of his eye.

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  4. You got it just right, Jeanne. Your heart shows in every word and reaches out to ours too. Thankful to unite with you in the cyber world.

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  5. great words Jeanne! One thing I love about the FMF community. We can take off the masks and be real, and gritty and we are loved. In the 36 spot today.

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    • I agree, Christy. We don’t have to wear masks within our FMF community. I love our group. 🙂 And I’m truly thankful God has allowed me to get to know you a little better through FMF. I hope your weekend holds much joy!

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  6. Jeanne you are so wise. You’re posts are always so uplifting. I hope you are involved in a leadership role of some sort in your walk with Christ.

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  7. Thank you so much for your writings. You have expressed what I have experienced snd gone through also. Thanks for blessing me.

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    • Jeanette! Such a blessing to see you here. When we can unite with other women depth is added to our lives and into who we become. I’ve been on both sides of the equation…the one feeling isolated, and the one embraced by other women. There’s something healing when someone embraces us and shows us the love of Jesus, isn’t there? Hugs friend.

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  8. I have had a tough time with women friendships. I am quite different (from the stereotype) in that I’m not that emotionally expressive. When I need to cry or rage, I tend to take it to God. Have always been like that. This facet of my personality has caused many misunderstandings and conflicts in the past. Add to that the fact that in the last three-ish years I’ve been striving to avoid gossip and…well, when you’re not a crier and you don’t want to swap salacious stories, the number of friends dwindles.

    I want to put up barriers. I want to just avoid the whole thing. It’s incredibly difficult for me to put myself “out there” in real life. If every interaction could be conducted via email, I’d be fine!

    I’m going to have to sit and really think about how I can unite with the other women in my life. I’ve come to embrace who God made me to be lately. Not perfectly and not every day, but more. Perhaps if I let down those walls others will feel free to do the same.

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    • Marie, taking our tears and rage to God is the best place to take it. Sometimes women don’t know how to handle that well. 🙂 It’s a sad thing that women tend to gossip. Thankfully, not all women engage in this. I applaud you for choosing to live above that. Although, at times, it does cause a sense of isolation. “Friends” who gossip about others are probably gossiping about you behind your back too.

      I am going to pray that God brings one or two safe women across your path. When you find those kindred spirits it can unlock something beautiful in our lives.

      Embracing who God made us to be is an empowering thing. I wish I’d figured out how to do this earlier in my life.

      Thank you for your transparency. Women friendships are not easy, as you know. They take work, and a building of trust. I appreciate you!

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  9. Yes, Yes, Yes! This is so good, Jeanne! What if we would build each other up and pray for each other and do all we could to support and encourage? What a beautiful picture you’ve created! Thank you for spurring me on to be that kind of woman! So thankful for you and your words. Bless you, friend!

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    • Awww, thanks, Julie. Your posts always spur me on to be a clearer reflection of Jesus to the world around me too. Here’s to praying for and encouraging each other and other women in our lives. I always appreciate when you stop by!

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  10. Yes and Amen to the courageous call to action and the wisdom in this post! I love it all, especially these words: “What if we looked for the essence God has placed in each of us, and we encouraged each other to live in this?” Oh how I want to do this more and more. I’m also challenged by your words, Jeanne, because my particular set of circumstances make maintaining on-line friendship easier for me than keeping in close contact with an ever dwindling list of ‘real life’ friends. If I’m absent on-line due to bad days, then nothing needs to be cancelled and no-one is apt to become disappointed or miss me – unless it lasts a fair while.
    Maybe it’s partly because my former friends don’t recognise me as a writer/poet/blogger, or relate to me other than as a disabled person, a physically weak woman needing support they cannot give. Here I can be more real somehow; here I can find my spiritual kith and kin with no worrying about my non-appearance at church for several years. It’s kind of freeing. And I’m truly thankful to have connected with you! 🙂 x

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    • Joy, one of the beautiful things about being in the blogging world is that we get to meet people we’d never meet otherwise. And sometimes, though the written word, we’re able to express ourselves in ways we never could verbally. Our hearts tend to come out more. Perhaps it’s in part due to the anonymity of a screen, but I think God also gives us opportunities to stretch ourselves in learning to express our thoughts, feelings, words, wisdom. There seems to be a fine line between relying too much of the safety of anonymity behind a screen, but there’s also a special way for connecting with kindred spirits.

      I’m so, so thankful we’ve connected in the blogging world. You are a blessed encouragement, Joy!

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    • Yes, Lynn! Sometimes we need to call each other out, to exhort each other to believe the truth instead of lies that may be infesting themselves in our hearts. And those “should’s” . . . the enemy of truth. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. Jeanne, I love your honest and sensitive heart. Whenever someone shares what she’s struggling with I feel like hugging her. I believe everyone has a battle or two they’re trying to win. The war isn’t over until the King returns.
    Blessings & hugs ~ Wendy

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    • Wendy, please forgive me for not responding sooner. These past couple months have required me to take a blogging break, and I’ve been terrible about keeping up. Thank you for your virtual hug, my friend. Thank goodness we know the King WILL return, right?

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