Kristen Reyna – The Power of the Playground

monochrome photo of children playing on swing
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Over twenty years ago, I was at the playground with my three young kids when I met the woman who would eventually become my best friend. She walked out onto the playground and stood next to me and did what this introvert considered to be absolutely torturous. She made small talk. Gasp! She wanted to know me and was intentional about making a connection. She didn’t give up in the awkward silence. She pushed through because she saw value in knowing me. 

Until I met her I didn’t know anyone who was purposeful about making connections with anyone and definitely not creating friendship connections with other women. But somewhere along the way, my friend realized a secret. The secret is there is incredible power in having strong connections with other women. There is strength in knowing you have relationship with a woman who will have your back and support you. There is power in knowing you have someone who will cry with you, someone who will walk through the fire with you, someone who will fight for your children right alongside you. There is power in encouraging each other. 

Maybe it isn’t something you see every day, but if you’re looking for it, these women who create connections in order to strengthen other women, they’re out there. Maybe it’s a raw social media post or maybe it’s a blog post that creates a safe place to be authentic and vulnerable. Maybe it’s showing kindness to the momma who’s toddler is having a meltdown in the grocery store, but they’re out there. 

They are the backbone for women whose journey hasn’t quite taken them to “the strong” yet. You see “the strong” is an achievement. It’s something that grows when it’s exercised, when it’s flexed. When you’ve worked through the hard stuff, strong emerges. There are women out there who are champions for other women, who are cheering each other on, waiting at the finish line for their sisters to finish strong. There is power in this connection. There is power in our shared experiences and what makes us better. We are uniquely designed to love, to strengthen and to encourage. 

I challenge you to look for the woman who is busy encouraging other women. To look for the woman who slows her life enough to share it. And if you can’t find her, I encourage you to BE her. Be intentional like my friend on the playground that day. Work through the awkward silence in order to connect with someone right where they are. You don’t have to see eye to eye on every issue to stand behind someone in support. You don’t have to see eye to eye on every issue in order to give someone the love they need to make it to their next step. 

I have to be honest with you, this is messy. It’s hard and it’s confusing and it’s emotional but it’s what we were made to do for each other. The impact of strong women strengthening other women is unfathomable. My friend from the playground walked me through a debilitating illness that lasted for years.

Together we walked through a failed marriage, parenting failures, heartbreak, job loss, the death of our dads, church hurt, car accidents, and unspeakable trauma. But we’ve also celebrated each other’s victories. We stood at the finish line and yelled and screamed for each other time and time again. All because she walked out onto the playground that day. That’s all it takes to impact a life – to walk out onto the playground. That is the impact that one woman can have on another, which in turn can have on another and another…

Kristen Reyna, encourager
and columnist

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