Thick Skin. Tender Heart.

Over the past decade, I've been learning how to live in the tension and beauty of those two realities. I'm a really tough woman: stubborn, hard headed, opinionated, strong, determined. Yet I'm also fully tender: I cry a lot, feel other's pain deeply, am stung by other's harsh or critical words, and very emotional.

How do you have thick skin - the ability to let unimportant and damaging emotional hits bounce off of me,
yet have a tender heart - the ability to feel deeply and remain emotionally connected?

Our infertility and adoption has taken that tension to a whole new place! In some ways they are 2 ends of the spectrum - tough and tender. Because the intensity of the 2 emotional dichotomies is difficult to fully, always live in, I've also discovered another mode: numbness.

I don't often go there, but I think it's one of God's gifts to us. I don't think it's possible to constantly feel all that there is to feel is such deep pain intermingled with joy. It's just not humanly possible. So, I think God gifts us with that 3rd option of numbness. I'm grateful for it. It's restful, recalibrating, gracious, and refilling for the next dip on the roller coaster.

At the end of the day, I want to be a woman, wife, leader, AND mom who is both incredibly tough and tender. I see that all over the pages of Scripture in Jesus, and so I will continue to learn and grow in my strength and vulnerability, while occasionally opting for the reprieve of numbness.

How about you? How do you develop thick skin and a tender heart?

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April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.