• Stephannie Bramlett

Have a Happy Heart

As a mom of three girls, I am pretty in-tune with the term “mean girls”. We all know they exist. I certainly have dealt with my fair share of them growing up. I'm preparing myself for the coming years as I raise my daughters. We will leave the innocence of elementary school and enter middle school. I remember the cliques, the jealousy, the pure ugliness of some mean girls at that age and even on in to high school. I am doing everything I can to equip them with strength and dignity as they enter this phase, and I am being diligent to stop any behaviors I see in them that could be dishonoring to their character.

First, let me explain my rule with my girls: Have a Happy Heart! Yes, I must say that up-teen times every week to my girls. I encourage them to have a happy heart because I know that true joy comes from Christ living in my heart and guiding it. When I see red flags like jealousy, rage, anger, ugliness, or severe competition in my girls, these words are my guiding phrase as a parent. This thought and state of mind is where I try to get before I handle conflicts. I like to think of this as my go-to mantra!

Thankfully, I can say that my adult life has been mostly free of the drama from mean women. I have chosen to be specific on who I let close, and I choose to surround myself with women that have a heart for honoring Jesus. Maybe it is because I care less about what others think of me. Maybe it is because I do my best to not assign expectations. Possibly, it is because I truly have been blessed with the best woman tribe around!

As adults, most of us have experienced some form of "mean women". When these encounters happen, I always question what I could have done differently in the situation. If I have done something to offend her, I consider what I could have done to prevent the negative situation. I am quick to apologize for any misunderstandings. When these times happen to me, it is a reminder for me how important it is for my heart to forgive. It is a great reminder to me that I am real. I am human. I make mistakes and am able to apologize when I wrong someone. It was a reminder to me that I should seek approval alone in my redeemer, my comforter, my savior.

God uses these times when we feel wronged to teach us through the tears of the situation. While, I'd like to hope all women have the same goals in mind, it is important to learn from these negative encounters. It is a reminder for me how hurtful women and other moms can be. It is a reminder for me to remember not everyone appreciates or wants my help. It is a reminder that not all moms can be considered a part of my “mom tribe”. It is a reminder that not all are willing to work together. Most of the women around me realize we are all scraping by and lean on each other for the times when we cannot carry the weight. Most, but not all. It is important to learn who your tribe is!

That all being said, I encourage all of the women reading this to remember we really are all on this journey together. Allow yourself and others some grace, apologize when you hurt someone, and work to build up the women around you. Let's promise to cut this culture of "mean girls". Let's raise a generation of girls that are inspired to lift those around them. When I get discouraged or wonder about how God is using me, I often think of the following quote by Andy Stanley: "Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." I pray that my girls will see the efforts and my heart for the women I hope to encourage. I pray that they are raised to empower themselves and those around them. The way I see it, this next generation of women should embrace life with a happy heart!

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