Miki Howard sang, "Experience is a good teacher, takes someone like me to know."
She understood the ups and downs of love and the need for a mindset upgrade. More than a mere bystander, her lyrics were life-tested and time-approved. Thus, she was a 'knower'. True statement: What is known in one season may need rejecting in the next.
It takes a mature 'knower' to admit when an original point of view is skewed. Maturity compels us to evaluate, eliminate, and realign our thoughts and values to ensure that life is being lived to its fullest potential. Times change; seasons shift. I thought I knew what was best for me until my plan went out the window. My vision recalibrated and my faith blossomed. As the landscape of my life changed, so did the narrative. With the transformation of me came an evolution of my needs.
It's a man's world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl.
The contentment of my younger years was found being nestled in a man's world. Both platonic and intimately, I LOVED the fellas! Quite honestly, I still do. My first ever best friend was a boy and even now entering my thirty-third year of life, some of my most valued friendships are with men. But a man cannot meet all of my relational needs.
The lesson of experience has taught me that men will listen to my words and present solutions, but women will listen intently to my life to discover and meet the needs of the inner me.
My paradigm has shifted. Once upon a time, my view was that girls could not be loyal to one another. From playground quarrels to middle school fallouts to high school blow ups, observation taught me that females, more often than not, were foes against which my heart should be guarded. Girls. Females. Anatomy vs. Actuality. Facts vs. Truth. Girls will be girls but, truthfully, women will be what the moment necessitates. It has been I – the very one convinced that my maid of honor would be a "man of honor" – who now cherishes the firsthand experience of having strong, faith-fueled women to rally around me.
What happened? Life happened.
In choosing to exchange my self-centered aspirations for a more purposeful plan, I have come to realize that control is not always in my grasp. I am still navigating the waters of having shifted from dreams of a career in dentistry to now creating life-giving content for women of faith. Women? Me? But I'm a guys' kind of girl! "Not so," says the One who created me for the task at hand. I am truly destined to help tear down the very lies that my early years reinforced. Not only can women be loyal friends to one another, we must befriend one another. We need each other.
A man cannot love you like a woman can because he cannot fully assess the heaviness of the load you bear.
That's no shade to the men I love or those whom you love – they have their place and we have ours. The nurturing needed to pull out the greatest pieces of you and me come from those who were divinely fashioned to function like you and me.
Loving women works because being loved by women pours life into our lives.
At times, it is the weight of the call to which I am summoned that causes my knees to buckle. Being pulled by this person and tugged by that person daily would have left me depleted if it had not been for the women (and the Lord, of course) who were on my side. As I pour into others, my tribe pours into me. As I build up others, they build me. If my flesh kicks in and I need to ride out, one or two in my crew are down for that too! We live, laugh, cry, and battle… together.
Eddie and Chris are constants in my corner, always willing to offer the male perspective. My dad, as he puts it, would kill a rock for me. Of that I have no doubt. However, it is ShaRonda that will ask the hard questions that force an introspective look at my heart.
Brittany is my listening ear and sounding board. Lindsey intercedes on my behalf. Ariel and Audrey walk with me daily. It was my grandmother who taught me to walk by faith rather than sight. Proudly, I declare I am her legacy. My mom has sown support time and time again, even when she didn't fully understand how things would unfold. For that I am forever grateful. Ms. Treva's calm, steady voice speaks peace into my every storm. I love these women with no hesitation, and they love me back.
I thought I had it all figured out only to conclude that my vision was clouded. My assessment was faulty. I had no idea how much I needed these ladies until I needed these ladies. I love my guys, but the 'knower' in me is fully persuaded that the love of these women continues to empower me to be the woman I am.
What will loving and being loved by women do for you?
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