When I see a woman

In light of the recent women’s retreat, I have had some issues on my mind. We spent a better part of the weekend learning about what kind of woman NOT to be. The immoral woman. The indiscreet woman. The irritating woman.

As the descriptions unfolded I heard the gasps around me. I heard the shocking cries about these terrible women. I could feel the JUDGMENT in the very large room, and the underlying hint of anger at their actions and corruptions.

Friends, it did not make me feel righteous. Truth is, I have been all three of those women in my lifetime. I’ve been in some of those places they described. I’m not proud of it. Not at all. But know this – because of that – I don’t see people the same way as others, at least most of the time anyway. I guess it makes me different (or maybe I’m not?). I know to me it hurts to shame women with opinions I have no right to behold. Maybe there is another story behind their actions, behind their clothes, behind their situation. Have you ever considered this?

My heart tells me to see these women differently. To Keep believing, keep hoping, and keep loving. As the famous Avatar movie would say, “I see you”. And this is how I choose to see women described as immoral, indiscreet, and irritating.

When I see a young woman dressed in a short skirt, a tight, low-cut t-shirt labeled “Too Hot to Care”. I don’t see a child I want to reprimand and explain proper attire to. I see a little girl who is crying out for direction. She has followed the wrong role models and has had no one protecting her morality. She wants attention. She is LONELY.

When I see a woman tightly wound with a chip on her shoulder. She snaps at the waitress. Her food is too cold, too hot, and all kinds of wrong. She glares at the man next to her while he shudders inwardly and tiptoes around her drama stage. I don’t see intolerance, and contention. I see a woman who is SCARED. She is scared to love. She is scared to be loved and pushes everyone away to protect herself.

When I see a woman flirting with a married man. She charms him. She knows exactly what to do and say. A wink, a smile, a lick of the lips. I don’t see a predator. I see an empty soul who has never known what it’s like to be truly loved. The darkness inside envelopes her. She is LOST.

When I see a woman who drinks excessively, smokes, and hangs around the bar pretending she is not crushing on the bartender. Nightly, she abuses her body. She is filling her life with unfulfillable things. She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know how to find herself. I want to take her hand and let her know, there is so much more to life. She seeks FULFILLMENT.

When I see a woman having sex with a different man every night. She can’t commit, nor does she want to. It’s just sex. It doesn’t mean anything. She is fine on her own. It’s better this way. I don’t see a heartless user. I see a woman who has never loved deeply. The love that lifts, turns, and softens. My heart breaks for what she is missing. I want to knock down the walls so she can FEEL.

When I see a woman with an abusive mate. She cowers, she begs, she pleads. She is a trooper at keeping the peace and doing what is expected. I don’t see her weak will. I see a woman who doesn’t know her worth. She doesn’t think she deserves anything better than what she has. She needs to know how precious she truly is. She has VALUE.

When I see a woman with perfect porcelain skin, eyes without wrinkles, and a firm, fit body. She wears designer clothes. She drives a Cadillac. She has everything she needs, and other women envy her, or worship her. Inside, her heart beats like mine, her blood flows through her veins. Her mind thinks and feels just like I do. She is NOT all put together. She is NOT perfect. She is tired. She has no true friends. She bears the upkeep on her back and it weighs two tons. She wishes to relax but her needs and subsistence drive her tirelessly. If only her life could stop. If only she could just let go, and be. She wants to DIE because that would be easier than her life. I want her to know there is vitality that is not attainable through any means, but is joy filled without any appointments. She needs serenity and ACCEPTANCE.

When I see a woman dirty and shuffling. She wears plastic bags on her feet. She carries all her worldly possessions in her handbag with one unbroken strap. She doesn’t have a place she calls home. She lives where her legs will take her and where a light burns bright for her. I don’t see a helpless bum. I see a woman with great grit and determination. She lives proudly in the worst of situations. She is a SURVIVOR.

When I see a young woman bucking the system. She is trouble – fighting, lying, hating. She never does the right thing. Always does the opposite of what is expected. She is conniving and manipulative. I consider the possibility of her turmoil is from abuse. A verbally abusive mother. A controlling Father. Maybe, an unsuspecting neighbor sexually abused her as a child and NO ONE KNOWS. She didn’t tell. She is ANGRY and violated. She wants to strike out at the world. I ACHE for her. Not only is she incredibly tormented but she bears the pain on her own. How twisted and buried it must be. That child is crying inside and needs to be comforted. She needs to know, it wasn’t her fault. She is BLAMELESS.

When I see a woman jealous and hateful. She gossips and gets great pleasure in demeaning her fellow sister. She despises the happiness of others and will think nothing of a cutting remark. I don’t see a bitch. I see a woman terribly unhappy. She is void of empathy. She is withering from lack of light. She is in DARKNESS.

When I see a woman standing on a street corner. She is Looking out from hard eyes, and tough skin. She sways when she walks but she can fight when she needs to, or run. She has been beaten bloody. She has been stoned out of her mind. She has been violated, and torn until she is scarred and broken. Her life is the streets. Waiting for that twenty she can shoot up her veins. I don’t see a hooker junkie. I see a child whose mother abandoned her at age two. I see a lost, frightened little girl, who cried out for her Daddy and received beatings instead. She got lost in the system. No one cared for her. No one raised her. No one loved her. Not then. Not now. Not ever. I see a life that could miraculously change. A change so dramatic when she stood up to tell her story every ear would hear and be astounded. I see someone who God could use. She is SOMEBODY.

When I see a woman all dressed in black. She has black nail polish and hair. She wears chains and nose rings. She has a neck tattoo just above her lace trimmed collar. She is quiet and broody. People tend to give her a wide berth and confused glances. I don’t see a mental case. I see an artistic creation locked inside, lacking the freedom to express her needs and desires. She is passionate, complex, and terribly misunderstood. I want to unlock her chains. I want her to know she can live as uniquely as God made her. She is FREE.

When I see a woman struck down by illness. She has battled fiercely and lost. She is worn out. She has seen every doctor, tried every prescription. She has been betrayed by her body, by her mind. She wishes for well-being but only ends up sicker and sadder. With each failed treatment, depression sets in. Pain ensues. It’s a downward spiral of despair. Her life stops as she is only able to do so much in her weakened state. She loses her family, her job, her will. I don’t see a hypochondriac. I see a woman desperate for faith. I see a woman who needs to know she can be supernaturally healed, if only she will believe it. She is WHOLE.

When I see a woman using foul language. She swears with the best of them, dropping F-bombs, like hydros, hitting targets left and right. I don’t see desecration. I see a woman who watched their week old infant son take his last breath in her arms. I see a woman who was good and proper her whole life, until she had to dig deep to find the strength to survive burying  her baby. Her anguish expelled on her lips in short fiery bursts. I would curse too. She MISSES her son. She will always miss him. She HURTS.

You don’t know what ANYONE is going through, or how they got to that point, or where they came from. You don’t know, nor may you ever know. One thing is for sure, there is SOME story. Maybe it’s not any of the above. Maybe it’s not even close. But what if you considered the possibility, and instead of judging, held them deeply with compassion.

Fill yourself up with all the love in your soul and beam it towards these women. SEE THEM. It’s easy to reject what we don’t understand. It’s so hard to embrace when we do.

I humbly ask you, LOVE them. Just love them anyway. That is true unfading beauty.

125 thoughts on “When I see a woman

  1. suzicate

    A deep, provacative post. BTW, I love Casting Crowns…get idea to include that video. And as always, Angelia, you never disaapoint…you give each of us much to think about.


    1. Suzi-Thank you. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to go to Church and ran away from the glares and condemnations. The first time I saw that Casting Crowns video I realized why. It really moved me. Then come to find out a year earlier my daughter had won a CD from a youth rally she went to with a friend. We had set it aside all that time. We were thrilled to find it. I have all their CDs now and love EVERY song.

      Incredible group!


  2. Oh, Angelia. You have said some very powerful things in this post. You do see people. You do truly love people. You have found the way past judgment, the way towards light. You are so heart-centered. I cannot say anything better than you have already. This is one of my all-time favorite posts. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.


  3. Holly

    i have no words for what i just read… just tears… may i please post this to my blog? my sister will be judged/has been judged by her actions…. this may help those who fail to look beyond what they want to believe to see what they are actually scared of acknowledging…


    1. Holly-Absolutely! Please do. We are called to Love. That was Jesus’s great commandment to us.

      I can tell you we get a lot of his commandments wrong and we will get that one wrong too, but as long as we keep trying our heart is in the right place.

      Jesus hung out with the worst of the worst. He friended those that others detested. I don’t know about you but that tells me something very important.


    1. Jean-More than one of those was me. And the last one was my sister. I have had first hand or very close relations with unlovable women as I have been unlovable as well. It is a mission of my heart to spread awareness. Thank you for the hugs!!


  4. Peggy Nolan

    Ang – this brought tears to my eyes. Powerfully written, beautifully stated, and needs greater attention – truly, this needs to be in every paper, every woman’s magazine, every women’s retreat, on Oprah.

    Much love to you,



    1. Peggy-Thank you. It means so much coming from you. I had a hard time writing and reading this through many tears. I have strong conviction to feel compassion for these women who desperately need it.

      I do hope awareness shines for all to see from their heart.



    1. Jaymie-Thanks Jaymie! I am one of those wavering voices, jelly legs, and shakey hand speakers. Yeah, public speaking -YIKES! I’ll stick to writing thankyouverymuch. LOL.

      I know what you mean though. I’ve heard many homeless women’s testaments and they are very moving.


    1. Just a Mom-Boy don’t I know it!!! I come from a small town and that was just the way of life. I try to keep fresh prespective but it’s easy to slip into old ways. And I certainly don’t want to sound like I’m pointing fingers at the women on the retreat. I just felt like I reacted differently to what was being said. That happens to me a lot. 🙂 I like the way you live!


  5. When you judge someone you do not know, you feel superior, you feel guilt about your own bad behavior, and it feels less if you judge someone else. If you are Truly Sincere and Honest, there is not emotion in you to judge. But, as we are all humans, we all have some quilt about ourselves and therefor we judge others. But it is so good to be aware of being judgemental. Thank you Angelia, for making us aware of this! 🙂


    1. Ellen-Thank you for your insightful comment. As they say when you point a finger at someone else, three fingers are pointing back at you. No one is perfect but a little love can go a long way.



  6. Bella Lucia Photography

    Beautiful post… You have me in tears! You are such a blessing to me and to everyone around you! Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. Keep up the amazing work! Blessings from your dear friend! ~ Kellene


  7. When one is drowning in quicksand, they grab at the first sign of hope. Some of us have survival techniques that could stand to be reviewed. You write from a passionate place. 🙂 Thanks!


    1. Luisa-Have you ever seen that commercial where the person is drowning and another person is standing on the dock watching? It says, “If your friend were drowning, wouldn’t you try to save them?”

      It was a drug commercial. Your comment reminded me of that. A hand reaching out goes a long way. Hope is beautiful.

      Thank you!


  8. Loved it Angelia! And you are absolutely right. We should NEVER stand in judgment of another one of our sister’s places in life. Each of us is placed in situations to learn. For some it takes longer than others. For a few, they never learn the lesson. But we all experience different things which ultimately makes us who we are. For that we should feel pride…never shame. Thank you for the beautiful post!


    1. Mindy-I agree. What happened in my life helped me understand many, many things I never would have (nor could have) before. Without those experiences I don’t think I would have had the same compassion as I do now.

      It goes along the line of being divorced and being raised and loved by step parents/grand parents. A handicap father, etc.

      All of it is learning processes and who knows the reason until we get to that a-ha moment.

      Thank you so much for your comment!


  9. one gets to have smart brains and many knowledge in handling stress, disappointment, and loss in life…
    it depends one’s previous experiences, as well…
    10Q for the feed,
    Thank U for the Friday Feed, 😉


  10. Angelia, I have know many of the women you have described and have even been some of them in times of my life. If it had not been for God I’m not sure I would be here…he gives me strength to get up and face each and everyday with a whole new out look on life and peace in my heart..I know I’m doing what he wants from me…thank you for sharing your thoughts …I loved the video clip..thank you again!


    1. Terri-I have too, Terri! It is a whole new life, a renewed life 🙂 Experiencing true joy, and having eyes opened to so many awesome things.

      Thank you for sharing that piece of you. It’s beautiful and I can see him in you.



  11. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”

    that’s one of my favorite quotes. you, my dear, are one amazing writer and woman. i feel like this is the way we should all strive to see all people everyday. it’s hard to do. but shame is overrated. focus less on what we “shouldn’t be” because its all subjective. bringing me to tears here at my desk. beautiful, passionate, fantastic post. ❤


    1. LeAnna-That’s a great quote and very true. It’s a great thing to recognize in others and also to know for ourselves, that our problems are small in comparison.

      You are a dear sweet soul. I am happy you are here. 🙂


  12. Wow, Angelia, that was incredibly beautiful. You are surely inspiring others with your words, as you’ve just inspired me. We forget compassion as we go through the motion in our everyday lives, but it is the most important thing to remember.

    Thanks for the reminder.


  13. Exactly!! I hate when people judge on appearance alone without getting to know the person. You can’t honestly ever understand a person until you know their story. Thank you for reminding us all to treat our fellow women better.



  14. Thank you for opening eyes to see beyond the apparent. Beautifully expressed and so very heart felt.

    ps: This video was filmed in Rome Georgia at Berry College….my middle daughter’s college.
    And the song is one of my very very favorites that speak to me loud and clear.



    1. Weezer-It was the first Christian song I ever connected with. That campus is BEAUTIFUL! Casting Crowns really does some songs that point to a lot of truth in how Christians can treat others. Like “If we are the body”, which is another favorite of mine.

      Thank you for your kind comment. Blessings and much love to you my friend.


  15. Hi Angelia .. I too don’t like the negativity that’s around, feel sorry for the people you describe – but I’ve come to realise that this is one of the things I should be grateful for – yes I’ve made mistakes through my life –

    and just feel for them as they haven’t for whatever reasons, up to this moment had the opportunity to realise that there’s more to life than where they are at.

    To dwell on their negativity does us, nor them, no favours – always try to find the positive .. don’t let them, nor us, be dragged back down – give them an opportunity to rise up.

    Interesting .. sad though – Hilary


    1. Hilary-I am grateful as well Hilary. If I hadn’t made mistakes, I wouldn’t be able to have the compassion that I do. It makes me who I am. They will find their way in their time, and when they are ready and it will be glorious.

      I try to live my life as if everything is a blessing – good and bad. Because it really is.

      Thank you for your wise comment.


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  17. Angelia,
    This is so completely beautiful and moving. And through it, your amazing soul shines through.

    And this is something I believe very strongly in – that who are we to judge anyway? Not having walked a mile (or a lifetime) in someone else’s footsteps, how can we truly know what has brought someone to where they are today.

    And yet…it happens all too often. People are different from “me”, and they don’t fit a standard that “I” expect. So…I judge??

    Through the eyes of compassion, you shine. Angelia, I am deeply touched by everything you have written here today.

    Peace and love,


    1. Lance-What a beautiful comment full of appreciation and heart for everyone. You have incredible compassion Lance not just for people but for everything.

      I appreciate you being here and reaching out to all.

      Much love and blessing to you, dear, dear Lance. 🙂


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  19. Angelia, this is one of the best and deepest posts I have read in a long-long time. Thank you very much for putting so much thought into it and creating such a wonderful reminder of how to love and appreciate every single person in this world (even if you cannot completely understand them.)
    You are an awesome writer, thank you again for this wonderful post!


    1. Anstasiya-Thank you being here and for your very sweet comment. My heart wrote this. My brain told me NO, it’s too controversial. I actually could NOT not write it if that makes sense?

      Ana, you are beautiful inside and out, I appreciate you!


    1. Alex-Most women don’t see themselves, and that is the problem. They don’t see their invaluable worth, their deep heart, and their immeasurable power of spirit.

      It’s my hope they will and others will too. I hope YOU view women differently now.


  20. I think everyone has been in those kind of situations fully or even just close to. And the women who judge and make comments I think are ashamed and trying to cover up their past and own “faults” you are SO right EVERYONE has a back story to explain why they are or do what they do and its not right and one day they will get it together but in the mean time we have no right to judge them who are we? perfecT?! I think not.

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest =D


  21. Suzy Finigan


    Wow. That’s just about all I can put in words. Wow.

    As everyone knows, you are an extraordinary writer with an extravagantly loving heart. I am privileged to know you…it’s an honor. Please continue to convict me…after reading this post, I am speechless…and ashamed. You’re like a flashlight beam on my heart, dear friend. I’m so glad God plopped you into my life.

    We have three things to do…: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. I Corinthians 13:13 (The Message)




    1. Suzy-You know how much I love you. Your heart is open and loving with desire to be the best you can be. God knows your hope. I know it too.

      There is no wrong here. I am not pointing my finger at anyone just wishing for more love and compassion. Remember those ladies at the homeless shelter, without abandon, they stood and accepted God’s gift of love just as they accepted everyone they met.

      Jesus truly loved the down and out, the broken, and the shunned. God even used a murderer to write the greatest love letter of all time – the one you referenced – 1 Corinthian Chapter 13.

      I never went to Church. I visited a few and felt so shunned and imperfect. I thought why bother? I’ll never fit in here. I’ll never be perfect enough.

      Now I know, I don’t have to be. I can’t be. I would be injustifying everything God did by sending his son to die if I thought I could be.

      All I have is my compassion and love. I will try to use that as best as I can, but I will fail. And that’s okay. Grace will bring me home.

      Love and blessings to you my sister. 🙂


  22. Angelia, You are the woman I aspire to be. Your ability to be absolutely nonjudgemental is inspiring. I TRY to be that way but sometimes allow my own insecurities to deprive me of my ability to see through the facade that women throw up every day as protection.

    My husband often tells me that he doesn’t understand how I can be friends with some that I have befriended because others see them as mean, bitchy, unworthy of being a friend. I like to think that I look around their outward appearance or actions to try to see the unadorned woman they are inside.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being brave enough to bare your soul and write this. KUDOS


    1. Peggy-Aww Peggy, Thank you! But truly I am not nonjudgmental at all. I have those days where my heart is hard and my head is unconcerned. I too struggle with seeing inside the person and through with my own insecurities and protections.

      When it comes down to it, we all live in fear.

      That’s why God’s mercy and grace is so amazing, ya know?

      I love that you befriend those. I do that too. I have found that some I have to let go and just pray for.

      You have a heart that glows and that is very special. I saw it all the way through this cyberland.

      I am blessed to get to know you and call you friend.

      Thanks for your comment. Hugs!


  23. When my four daughters were pre-teens and teens (they were 4 years apart) I knew when they were in pain because they would tend to cake too much make-up on their face. I would recognize this and fill their tanks with extra hugs, smiles and love.

    Last week I witnessed a young man get arrested for theft. I stood there and prayed for him wondering what kind of future he had and if anyone cared.

    Not knowing the answer to that I knew I cared, I knew I could love him in that moment. I stayed in the distance until he was taken away.

    Great job!

    Oh and when we allow our ego to get the best of us and pass judgement we only need to ask ourselves what we are projecting on to the other.


    1. Tess-I love your comment about your daughters. What child could not use extra hugs and love? I try to do that with my future stepdaughters. As a child of divorce I know the hurt and confusion of that. The mother of these girls was very upset by my affection to her children.

      It broke my heart. Every child needs love to survive this world, especially divorce. I held back around her out of respect but that is soo hard and seems unfair to them.

      The prayer you gave to that young man – precious and from the heart. You are so right. You cared and loved in that moment.

      Often I pray for all the hurting people in the world and the eyes of those that don’t see them, to be opened.

      Thanks Tess for being such a warm light in the world.


  24. That was beautifully put! I have an appreciation for this post. When my oldest daughter was in rebellion, unfortunately some members of our church met her with more of an attitude of disapproval and rebuke, than reaching out to help. It is easy to become focused on our own virtues and forget that “the greatest of these is charity/Love.”1cor.


    1. motpg-I read that post about your daughter. I felt like I was reading about ME as a teenager except I don’t think I ever apologized to my parents.

      We are called to reach out and cross bridges. Jesus crossed the bridge from heaven to earth for us. It’s the least we can do for others.

      Why is it so easy to forget the greatest commandment in the Church?

      I am glad she found acceptance. I hope she continues to grow and reach out because of it.

      Thank you so much for your comment.


    1. Suzen-Oh Suzen! Thank you so much for that. I see and hear you too – straight into my heart. Peggy has honored me and answered my prayers. What a blessing to see this message shared on other blogs. How humbling and incredible. Thank you for your comment.

      Hugs and love to you!


  25. caloriegirl

    You smell the rose and feel the thorn. Some people never even notice the rose in the first place…but one day they will, no one gets out of this life painlessly.


  26. You know, EVERYONE has been one of these girls at one point or another. If they haven’t been slutty, they’ve still been cranky or told a lewd joke. No one’s perfect, and anyone who gasps and shouts about it is being ridiculous. Everyone needs friends. Not to mention, if you know that a woman is sleeping with a different man every night, then you’re probably gossiping, ’cause most people don’t go around talking about how they laid 5 different guys this week. It’s usually private, even if it’s suspicious looking. And gossiping is also a sin.

    Thanks for this post. There is nothing htat bothers me more than hypocrites. I do my very best not to judge people or to jump to conclusions.

    Following you now from MBC. Come and see me too sometime!


    1. Brae-Thank you for the comment. I really just want to recognize that we really do miss so much in every day life. Judgment is one thing but lacking compassion is another. Even the hypocrites need compassion for their eyes to be opened to their ways.

      Thank you for coming by. I will definitely come see you. 🙂


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  28. This is absolutely one of the most moving pieces I’ve read in such a long time. To actually open your heart, allow your soul to reach to another and empathize…extends graciousness. love, and beauty to the women you acknowledge and to all of us who read these beautiful words. Love and Light bounce right off of your post–thank you for sharing such a heartfelt piece!
    At times in my life I’ve been one of these women, and those periods helped transform me into who I am today….so for that I am most thankful indeed.


    1. Joy-Exactly, the transformation that takes place to create such love. It couldn’t be done without. Thank you for a beautiful comment to me. Your words are like a reflection to this post. With all my soul I am so grateful you stopped by.

      My prayer was this post reach many and the message fill the hearts of those that needed it.

      It has surpassed my hope and I am stunned and humbled.


  29. What a heartfelt post, Angelia! Am sure we’ve been bits and pieces of those women at some point in our lives. And you are absolutely right: We have no right to judge, we only have to love.


  30. I too have been more than one of these women. Thank you for sharing this. It was so powerful and such a great reminder of how we shouldn’t judge others but we should feel compassion for them even when we can’t see the big picture.

    Great video to go along with your post as well.


  31. that post brought a tear to my eye, even tho i’m a Christian, totally smitten with Jesus, I still don’t go to church for that reason… the pain in my eyes scares people I think, and I can’t hide it… I prefer to speak to people online, where people can’t see into my soul… I think I will add you to my blog roll


  32. This is a really excellent post. Your compassionate nature and love shines through. I try. I consider myself tolerant. I see myself as understanding. But at the same time, I think we are all responsible for our actions. I don’t think that intolerance, unkindness or other impolite behavior should be simply excused because of history. We all have a history. We all have our scars. And yet, we all still need to be kind to each other.

    Understand it, I do. Empathize, I do that to. But to shine love in spite of anything? I don’t think I’m there yet.

    You are truly a wonderful human being.


  33. Wow. I am lost for words. I spent my working life seeking the story behind the behaviour (I was a psychologist). I spent a large portion of that time explaining the story to those around me. I think we instinctively judge others as it’s easy. Finding a story is hard. It doesn’t excuse the behaviour but it helps explain it and gives you a place to start dialogue. Beautifully written and lovely message.
    Michelle 🙂


    1. Michelle-Thank you so much. I’ve been at the bottom more times than I’d like to admit. Compassion is a trait I earned from it. Your words ring true. It’s so easy to ignore and dismiss, but so hard to look it in the eye.


  34. Yes, this is very powerful. I too have been some of those women. Sometimes we judge, too, because we feel inadequate somehow, and imagining that others are worse makes us feel better, even if for a fleeting moment. Thank you for writing this.


  35. I know there are 92 comments to this already, but I’m adding another one. Thank you so much for writing this. I have just sat here and cried along with you. You’ve done a tremendous job bringing out these truths. This is a fabulous blog.


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