Heather Whittaker Talks Women
Last Monday, I started my first ever interview series on women and “woman issues.” The first week’s thoughts came from Jena Nardella, founder of Blood Water Mission. And sounding off this week is the gorgeous and endearing Heather Whittaker, also known as Whittaker Woman.
Heather is the voice behind the popular blog, Whittaker Woman. For fun, here is a link to the first post she ever wrote, which is titled “Victory” because she was caving to her hubby’s insistence that she start a blog…as part of his Christmas present.
(Cue the Awwwwwwwwwws.)
The bonus is that Carlos’ present ended up being a gift to all of us.
Now, Heather is capturing our attention with stunning photo blogs of her children’s birthday parties, fun family announcements about moving plans (can Nashville fit any more great people?), her trips for Compassion International and … well, I can’t give away her whole bag of tricks. You can check out her blogging greatness on your own.
But suffice to say, you’re going to be glad to hear from Heather. She’s got that raw, down-to-earth sweetness that you can’t NOT fall in love with.
Sarah: Do you–in all your accomplishments–ever find jealousy or competitiveness sneaking in? How do you stabilize your thinking so you don’t act on these kinds of competitive thoughts?
Heather: Sure. But I usually fail and act. I Sin. Then crawl back into Grace, humbled. I don’t struggle with jealousy, but what does get me is when someone pushes that button that suggests I am not someone, or I cannot become something…
OH MAN. Watch out. Here I come.
I wish I could say I can stabilize my thinking, but I don’t. I work as hard as I can, accomplish whatever it was they said I could not and then get smashed with conviction. Beats me every time. Still working on this. :)
Now on the other hand, Jealousy. Not a problem. Why? I think because I have a good grasp that God’s gifts in my life are not going to be God’s gifts in your life. And vice versa. Even with others who show the same passions and talents that I have. Our stories are not the same. So I can’t compare. The romantic love story of one couple does not negate my romantic love story. They both are valid and beautiful.
Sarah: I love that about one person’s story not negating another person’s. And it’s great you’ve kicked jealousy to the curb. Who is a great female leader or writer that you look up to/read? And what grabs you about them?
Heather: I like this one. Beth Moore is on the top of my list. She is not afraid to disturb my thinking and challenge me, and I am attracted to her leadership! I want to have coffee with her and I want to love the WORD like her. Through her studies I have become a different follower of Jesus. She teaches SCRIPTURE!
And following in her footsteps is her daughter Melissa who has taught me that I am a thinker. I often discredited my thoughts because I did not thrive in the scholastic setting. I’d rather be painting a wall or reorganizing a closet over studying. However, Melissa has taught me that thinking and studying the faith is for everyone. The wall painter and all. And you know what… she is right. I question. I wonder. I want to learn. So within the last year I’d say Mellissa Fitzpatrick has been the great female leader who has grabbed me and challenged me.
Sarah: That’s amazing. Life changing. So you’ve got some good women to admire. Can you tell me about a time another woman reached out to you that helped you believe in the good potential of women-to-women friendships?
Heather: I have been blessed with FANTASTIC friends. I have traveled through many seasons and though not all my girlfriends have traveled with me from season to season, they have all been gifts from God during the chapters he wrote them into my life. I firmly believe in friendship and the need for a at least two close girl friends who know you just as much as you know yourself. That means you must get honest, raw and vulnerable. It means you carry them when they are weak and you live life with them.
One occasion that happened just recently was when I went to a friend for a need. It was a embarrassing need. One I wish I did not have to face. Asking for help is not my best suit. Yet I broke my pride and asked. It was a need that only a woman could ask another woman for. Something that a man would not understand.
And you know what? She went over and beyond what I had asked. It was the moment in a friendship that created a bond because I reached out and denied my pride and she reached out and helped.
Sarah: I like you saying everyone needs at least two dear friends of the same gender. You obviously have found a way to make woman-to-woman relationships work. Some people can’t find their way back from bad run-ins, grudges, gossip and so on. Have you learned anything in life (feel free to tell a story) that has helped you be more tolerant and keep trying with women?
Heather: As a good friend said: “You have to fight with what’s on the table.” You can’t fight with the past or else it will keep you in the past. If you want to get to the future you have to take what’s at hand and play with that.
I said earlier that I have fantastic friendships. I have had and I do. But they have not all been easy. Looking back ALL of my close friends have had some form of conflict that we have had to work out. When a friendship becomes disturbed and uncomfortable it allows you to either go in two directions. Run or grow. Those who I hold dear are those who I stuck with and worked through the hard uncomfortable times.
So when new friendships come along and conflict arises, I ride it out and hope for a stronger more grace filled friendship to be the outcome.[If you enjoyed this week’s interview, check out last week’s thoughts from Jena Nardella, founder of Blood Water Mission.]