About the Author

Holley Gerth is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, counselor, and life coach. Her newest release is The Powerful Purpose of Introverts: Why the World Needs You to Be You. She's also wife to Mark, Mom to Lovelle, and Nana to Eula and Clem.

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  1. Holley,
    I have shared some pretty personal things here at (in)courage. I feel like it is a safe place and that the women of (in)courage and the readers have always had my back with care, concern and prayers. Never have I shared something and then felt like I wish I hadn’t. Instead, it has built community and I have gotten to know some of my Christian cyber-sisters outside this more visible forum. Thank you though, for the reminder to stay away from all things that could be construed as gossip.
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. Ooooh, “when we tear down sisters as a form of entertainment.” Now that’s conviction right there. We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Or maybe I should just speak for myself. I’ve done it. I know I have. Thanks for the encouragement to remember how it feels and to resolve not to do it again. Love this post, Holley!

  3. Making each other feel safe. That sounds a lot like love to me and I wonder how we got so far from that. Thankful for you and a host of others leading the way to safety and love.

  4. Some recent business books have pointed out that while men who reach the executive ranks are competitive, they most often support one another and even mentor other men to succeed in their careers. Women don’t. The junior high lunch table is often alive and well among female executives, even though they have reached the top in education, responsibility, compensation and achievement. When does it end, ladies? Maybe by each one of us making a commitment to this Commitment of Words, and teaching our daughters to do the same…

  5. I have had this same topic on my heart. Today, my post is about the “war” of words. I witnessed a situation yesterday between two women that made me sad. It’s so easy to speak without thinking first and damage someone’s heart…
    I love the commitment of words picture! Great post!

  6. “Instead of women being known for talking behind each other’s backs, what if we were known for having each other’s backs?”

    Yessssssss…

    Thank you for sharing! I ALWAYS get insight and encouragement from (in)courage. 🙂

  7. THIS, THIS, THIS!!!!!!!!!!!

    THIS, is where we are missing it ladies. It’s not that we don’t go on enough mission trips, it’s not that we don’t memorize scripture and we’re Christian T shirts, it’s that we absolutely render our faith WORTHLESS because we can’t control our tongues. We justify ourselves because we’re “venting”, but there is really no excuse for the brutal attacks we make on each other, especially other women. I’m talking to myself. Gossip is a sin, and it’s hurtful, and it’s soul-destroying, and it’s a sin that we as women are all too comfortable with.
    This is what I’m passionate about, this right here.

  8. Awesome post! I am guilty of this and it is so hard to kill that old habit. In the world we live today, women will tear each other down until one finally gives up, we see it on social media, tv, etc and it truly is saddening. We need to lift one another up not bring each other down! We are women of faith, daughters of the Most High and we need to start acting like it. Love you all! God bless you all!

  9. Morning Holley I’m sipping on my coffee really enjoying this beautiful post. Thanks again and again for the encouragement and for sharing A Commitment Of Words for which I will be sharing out this morning to other women. Have a blessed day girlfriend!!!

  10. Oh wow…this struck me to the core. This does not just happen in schools it does happen with adult women! I know because I have done it. I wanted to be apart of the group and fit in. It was wrong. The Lord began to show me how it was so wrong a couple of years ago and my heart was broken because I knew that I was doing was not building up but tearing down. I finally had to leave those “friends”behind. I didn’t want to but they continued. The body should lift up and encourage not tear down and belittle. We must continue steadfast in prayer together! United!

  11. Wow, this brought me back to being that girl in the school cafeteria where no one wanted to sit with me, whispers went on behind my back and I kids jeered me for not being the coolest kid or wearing the most hip clothes. Oh how that hurt and wounded my young tender soul.

    Words hurt and they wound, and I know personally from having lived through a 20 year verbally, emotionally and mentally abusive marriage.
    Fortunately, God freed me from that and I am now starting to feel safe to say what I need to and not worry what others think.

    How wonderful to have a safe place to share our stories and our words!

  12. Thank you for not only sharing this post & being bold enough to do so, but for living this reality! Your life-example is one I greatly admire, Holley! You’re an amazing & Godly woman! Love you, friend! ♥

  13. Thank you so much. I needed this encouragement today. The wounds go deep and are so easily re-opened in situations where I share myself and feel slighted or unappreciated. I know I am not alone in feeling this way. Women, we do need to support and love each other. We need to take the gentler path and offer grace to each other. Let us stop our critical and dismissive behavior and words. God loves us all equally! There is no competition for God’s love!

  14. Greetings! God has been dealing with me on this very thing lately! It’s not easy to curb when one is hurt, frustrated or confused, but nothing is impossible with God! Praise Him! God continue to bless you richly!

  15. This is the best post ever! I am sure every women is guilty of this at some point in their own life…however life is tough enough as it is and we as women need to only support, encourage and build each other up. It is NOT a competition…each of us has our own unique strengths and each of us have our own areas where we can use other people’s assistance and guidance. It would be terrific if we ALL could take a pledge to commit to not ‘gossiping’ about others. Women need to ‘back’ each other. As God’s Word states…the battle is NOT with ‘flesh and blood’ but with the ‘lies’ of the ENEMY which is Lucifer who would like to take us all down. He comes to steal and destroy everything which is good, right, true and noble. I take this commitment!

  16. All I can say is Amen and Amen! I am so blessed to go to a church where the women build each other up instead of tearing each other down. I’m going to share this. It’s awesome!

  17. These are such life words, thank you Holley for sharing this. “We offer our words as a powerful weapon to fight for each other on the side of all that is good, right, and true.” Goodness, so powerful, so true. Love.

  18. “The only way to make our sisters feel truly, deeply, heart safe is to never talk critically about anyone. No gossip. No condemnation. No judgment. Not even disguised as a prayer request. Is this hard? Oh, honey. But it’s one of the greatest gifts we can offer to each other.”

    I have reached a point in my life that I know it’s one of the greatest gifts we can offer each other. It’s amazing how we feel once we’ve made it through middle school we’re “safe.” Then after high school we’re “safe.” And so on and so on… If nothing else, I think our lives are put under a microscope more often as adult women than when we were still young.

    Thank you, Holley, for your words. Always some of the most encouraging that I read.

    Blessings to you!

  19. Loved every word, Holley. So much so, I put a link to your post on my blog today. Our words have incredible power to build up or tear down. THANKS for encouraging us to always use our words for the good of others!

  20. YES!!! Holley, thank you so much for this post. I was the kid that was often teased in school. It took me a long time to realize that I am a beautiful child of God! I’m thankful for my friends who simply love me for me! And I am so very thankful for (In)Courage. This is a place where I feel safe and can share all of me; heart, soul and all!!

  21. I just adore you so and I know – either here or there… one day we will sit and visit face to face, heart to heart… and it will feel like we’ve been doing it forever because it feels like that already! Praying for you sweet friend and so thankful for the safe welcoming way about you that just invited us all right on in!

  22. Oh Holley. We’re you hiding at my job yesterday? As I listened to my co-workers laugh and go on about another co-worker, I thought to myself, “I wonder what wonderfully bad things they say about me?” My daily prayer for my work place is to be quiet yet friendly. Tough challenge to be sure. Thanks for this.

  23. Oh Holley! Yes please! Let’s start that movement and just keep it going on for a sweet forever. I love the hearts in this place.

  24. This is beautiful. We all need a place to feel safe! Thank you for finding the words to pull up the old feelings for so many of us…. and for finding the words help us build each other back up!

  25. This is sweet and true and beautiful and convicting and real.

    I admit to being very naive about this very topic until recently…not even thinking that if they talk about others that way, what’s to stop them from talking about me like that.

    I pray hard and long that I can be the kind of woman your commitment of words personifies, Holley.

    Thank you for this.
    <3

  26. Maybe I should print this and carry it with me…or a tattoo… But seriously, it’s something that I give a LOT of thought ( struggle much? ) to. Thank you for the words.

  27. Holley,

    Thank you for your encouraging words. I lived feeling “talked-about” throughout my childhood, especially with my family. I was ugly, I was too skinny, I had bad hair, I’d never be as pretty as my mother.

    Today, I still experience these feelings when I am with my family. I have learned that for some reason they are unable to accept me. I am different, I eat differently, I am a vegetarian, I choose my friends based on our interests not the color of their skin. The list of what they say about me could go on and on. There was a time when I tried to hide my differences, hoping to would impress them.

    Now I have learned to love who I am and love them. Today I love and have compassion for people who need to say hurtful words about others. I realize their hurtful words have more to do with the individuals fears or poor self image than about me.

  28. Hi, this is definately a topic that every women needs to become conscious about “the power of words”. When I was young in school I suffered greatly by the negative and critical words of others about me then I grew up and the same things happened in the work place so it never goes away it just evolves to other places and becomes less noticible because you become immune to it, everyone does it and its normal and when you dont your abnormal. Wow what a deception that is. Words are words no matter when and where you use them they have power to curse, bless and even ensnare. Im soo glad you posted this blog it has been so needed for a long time because I am soo guilty of this and it’s been a great struggle for me through the years. The enemy has used this to entice me and make me think its alright because Im speaking my mind or being truthful or even being real, when he sees its effective he has a party. God has made me aware of how vital it is that I beware of the words I use from now on. I have used my words unwisely over the years and am now reaping the harvest for bad seeds that were sown. I pray that God will continue to teach me His words, so that I speak His words and not mine. I choose to make the committment today. Thank you and God bless

  29. Dear Holley.
    Thank you for this. Until you’ve had someone say unfair and nasty things about you you’ll never know how much hurt that can cause. I pray that I will always remember to never say unkind things about anyone. God help me.
    God Bless.

  30. This touched my heart and soul! Honestly, I’ve done this and I have had it done to me! It’s so painful…. I don’t ever want to be that kind of person and friend ever again…. It wounds so deeply and you can’t take back the words spoken in secret or in front of each other. Thank you for this post….

  31. I agree with the post. There is another aspect of this. I worked for a long time in a very vindictive atmosphere. Much of it was aimed at me, but it was not founded in fact, just assumptions. But they did not say things to me, they said these things to each other. I have a friend who always wanted to tell me what they were saying about me especially when I was doing something nice for one of them (like making birthday cookies). I knew what was going on, but I did not want to hear specifics. So I finally had to tell my friend to please not let me know anything anyone said about me. That way I could still interact with them (even though in general I knew what was going on) in a positive way to show Christ love to these other women in the workplace. So letting someone know they are being talked about is not a good thing, it brings you and that person down.

  32. Such beautiful words. I will write them on my heart and do my very best because I fail at this sometimes.

    Just this year, not even a month ago I was the victim of a vicious verbal attack from another mom, and the meanness spread through the few friends I had in my small town, and I lost most of them. I was accused by a judgmental, yet influential woman, of being a terrible mom. She had the audacity to say I was making up my daughter’s illness (cystic fibrosis). She thought, if my child looks healthy on the outside, then she must not be sick.

    When I tried to defend myself it only made things worse, so I refuse to go on a long diatribe to explain to anyone what cystic fibrosis is about, and what it takes to keep a child with cystic fibrosis heathy. It wont do any good, and it only makes me look desperate.

    I do not know if I deserved it, but I don’t think so. I was instantly transported to my bad feelings as an outsider in school and I thought I was done with those terrible days. It has wounded me deeply, and I don’t know how to get over it.

    I am the caregiver to a child with a progressively degenerative disease who is also multiple disabled. Her care is intense, and I do not have a lot of time for games. After this terrible experience, I just retreated back into our home circle where I can focus on caring for my child and shut out the rest of the world.

    Because when I listened to all those self-help gurus that told me to reach out for friends, it turned out badly. When I reached out like all the self-help sites said I must do, I got bit. And I know I should not be bitter but I am.

    I refuse to ever listen to all those self-help articles that insist I reach out or suffer decline which they say is not good for my family.

    Well I tell you what was worse for my family. Getting treated the way I was treated and suffering a mini breakdown because of the cruelty of other moms.

    I almost did not recover from that. Thankfully my close family knows I am a good mom and I have a healthy child to prove it. I will never again subject myself to outside judgement again because they always get it wrong.

    Anywhoo. That is my story. I am not sure if it is good or bad. It is what it is.

    • Julie,

      Prayers for you and for the health of your child! May God give you the strength you need to care for him/her.

      I pray you find a circle of friends who know you well and treat you kindly. May God bring good, loving people into your life that you can share your life with.

      Blessings in Christ Sister!! 🙂

  33. I’ve been so very deeply hurt by other Believers lately… words and otherwise… stinging. I just cry and pray and move on. This ministry of mine has been a place where people are encouraged including me, but some I know have chosen to tear me down. It’s hard.
    I appreciate your call to love-action here, Holley. I do the same on my blog. It’s what my heart for Jesus wants.

  34. Holley,

    I have felt led to openly discuss problems and praises here. I know the women of In(Courage) have my back and would always encourage me. I try my best to encourage everyone here also! 🙂

    I want the world to see Jesus through me. That means loving everyone no matter what! It also entails as James put it…”Taming the tongue” a very hard thing to do!

    Blessings 🙂