Smiling Friends

Kimberly Washington

Christ follower. Wife. Mother. Evangelist. Teacher. Mentor. Purpose Pursuer and Pusher. Author.

From the time I was a child, I was interested in helping people. Our home was a haven for many women (and their children) who were victims of domestic violence and other unfortunate circumstances. It was nothing for my sister and I to come home from school to find a new visitor sitting at the kitchen table, pouring her heart out to our mom and us knowing that we’d be seeing this woman in our home for a while.


I am an emotional person who feels deeply for those who are suffering. I would cry at the thought of someone not having enough food to eat or a safe place to live. In elementary school, classmates began asking me for advice about how they should handle bullies, siblings and other “emergencies” that later proved to be inconsequential. I thoroughly enjoyed feeling like I was helping someone through a difficult time.

This part of my childhood is where I began to experience rejection. The cool kids thought I was lame for being “too nice.” I was also debilitatingly shy, withdrawn and petrified of any version of a spotlight. I retreated deeper within myself. I convinced myself that I was perfectly content being isolated and ignored. This delusion followed me. I forgot that I was actually an extrovert who craved social interaction. I adapted to the negativity. My spirit was broken, and I spiraled downward into places that I hid with forced smiles and laughter.


I know all too well the pain of trying to live up to societal standards of beauty, intelligence and career trajectory. I suffered from low self-esteem and poor body image which caused me to be a bonafide shrinking violet for much of my life. I experienced the intense pain of being ridiculed and ignored because of my “too proper” speech, personality and Christian beliefs and standards.

But God has delivered me and brought me so far! It’s my privilege and God-given purpose to help other girls and women to claim the identity God created them to embody. I enjoy the responsibility of sharing the lessons I’ve learned with others to help them avoid and or overcome challenges. There is no greater joy than seeing a young girl or woman walk into who God made her to be with full confidence and authority!