Rebecca Wood shares a story about having a difficult conversation with a friend and growing stronger through it. Now you can find the Kindred Mom book, Strong, Brave, and Beautiful: Stories of Hope for Moms in the Weeds, wherever books are sold. Subscribe to the Kindred Mom newsletter and receive a preview of the book today! Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash
I sat at a table in our local coffee shop cradling a steamy mug. Within minutes, a friend plopped down on the chair directly in front of me.
“Hi there,” I said with a smile. “Good to see you.”
“Morning,” my friend replied in a more somber tone and with a downcast expression.
“What’s new?” I asked before handing her a mug.
“We need to talk,” she began and then unleashed the floodgates of her heart. She shared how my recent careless words wounded her spirit.
As she spoke, I felt my body tense and my stomach muscles clench. As one who goes to great lengths to avoid conflict and maintain tranquility, I wanted to run from the conversation. Or maybe place my fingers in my ears and sing “la la la” until all hard words were spoken. Or perhaps be teleported to virtually anywhere else in the world.
Situations like this have always been hard for me. I can easily crumble at the hint of discord. I can be swept away by my feelings as they fluctuate between despair and unease. In those awkward moments, I am keenly aware of the feeble foundation on which I rest my emotions and inner peace.
However, this time was different.
Slowly my muscles relaxed, and a sense of calm washed into my core.
“Tell me more,” I replied while leaning in closer.
As my friend’s words tumbled from her mouth, I maintained eye contact. I listened to her words while trying to retain a posture of humility and attentiveness.
After an affectionate and fruitful dialogue, we ended the conversation harmoniously. More importantly, we parted ways as even stronger friends.
I left our discussion bewildered by my reaction. The inner strength I displayed came seemingly out of nowhere. While I’ve handled discord in the past, I’ve never handled it well. In this exchange, I felt strangely equipped to handle a difficult situation and surprisingly armed with an unshakeable peace.
I questioned from where this fortitude arose. What changes did I make as of late that contributed to such a better response?
I had a good idea.
In fact, I had made a daily lifestyle change that was discernibly yielding big results.
For the last year, I’ve awakened early each day. I meander into our darkened kitchen, flip on the lights, and nestle into our kitchen table with my Bible.
Through daily assigned scripture readings from a 12-month reading plan I stumbled upon months ago, I have wound my way through the Bible in its entirety from Genesis to Revelation.
Some days, familiar passages remind me of my childhood Sunday school lessons. Other days, I plunge into relatively unknown scriptures that outline ancient laws, lineages, and customs. I have gained more knowledge while simultaneously wrestling with more questions.
I haven’t transformed into a Bible scholar. I can’t remember crucial facts, names, or timelines. However, I have developed a greater understanding of the character of God.
Through the pages of the Bible, I witnessed God’s continued faithfulness to His people and His promises. I learned about God’s plans for our lives—plans to prosper and succeed—and how they are best accomplished through His teachings. Over and over again, I observed God’s many attributes, namely His sovereignty, His mercy, His kindness, and His righteousness.
As I stored up God’s Word in my heart, I witnessed the outpouring into my life. I handed God my anxieties, fears, and desire for control. In return, He lavished me with the fruits of His spirit: greater patience, more joy, and better self-control. I tore down the foundation of my former life and rebuilt it on God’s promises.
Throughout this last year, I have discovered that tethering my heart and mind to God’s word has provided the stability I needed to weather the greatest storms, and even to engage in a hard conversation I might otherwise have run from.
Months after our difficult conversation, my friend and I returned to the same coffee shop. This time, our discussion flowed smoothly. We chatted about anything and everything. We dove into lighter topics and deeper talk from our shared memories to coffee preferences. I’m grateful that God protected our relationship and gave me the strength to truly listen to my friend and patch things back together.
Rebecca Wood lives in Zionsville, Indiana with her husband Chris, and four boys. She’s a freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous blogs and publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Runner’s World online, Her View From Home, and (in)courage. You can connect with Rebecca at RebeccaWoodWrites.com or find her on Instagram.