Girlfriends are such a necessary part of being in community. We need to seek out those who will encourage us and challenge us to grow and stretch.
Recently I had the privilege of spending 4 days with 18 young writers. Each is a part of the blog team for Club31Women☺
We laughed, cried, studied the word, shared deeply and had a blast together. We came away refreshed and probably not quite ready to go home to the responsibilities of children and real life!
Our time together reminded me again of how important it is to have girlfriends.
Friendship is an important Biblical principle. We were created for relationships. The Trinity is the ultimate example of relationships: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The scriptures are filled with stories of close friendships. Moses had Aaron and Hur; David had Jonathan; Paul had Silas and Barnabas, and Paul calls Timothy “my true son in the faith. “(1 Timothy 1:2). Jesus himself had the 12 disciples and of the these, he had 3 “best buds,” Peter, James, and John.
Proverbs 27:17 says,
“Iron sharpens iron so one man (or woman) sharpens another.”
God’s church is referred to as His body, not a group of individuals.
So from the beginning, we were created for community.
There are several reasons we need girlfriends:
Girlfriends take the pressure off our marriage.
Girls “get” each other in a way a man can’t. Too often we women look to our husband to meet needs that he was not created to meet. This is unfair. No one man can meet all of your needs. We must look first to God to meet our needs and then to some girlfriends to encourage us. However, be sure your closest friends are women who will push you to Christ and to your husband. It’s easy to hang out with gals who “bash” husbands.
I remember complaining to my prayer partner Ann about my husband, John. “He’s not…He doesn’t…” Ann listened to me. She empathized with me, but then looking me in the eye she said, “Susan, what are you doing to move closer to your husband?” She got me! That’s a good friend. Her ultimate concern is that I am growing in my relationship with Christ and growing closer to my husband.
Different types of girlfriends give us perspective.
Friends in your season of life:
If you are a mother of toddlers you are likely sleep-deprived, unappreciated, and often unproductive. If you are a mother of teens you probably have many fears. It’s a comfort to hang out with other women in your same season. They understand when you text and say, “I accomplished nothing today. I feel like such a failure.” Or “I’m worried about this child, please pray for me today.”
These friends assure us that we are not alone. They “get” our emotions, our fears. And if they are in the same season, they are likely experiencing some of the same things!
Friends who are ahead of you:
It’s vital to have a few older women in your life; women who have weathered many of the things you are in the midst of, or soon to experience. One of the biggest requests in our church is from young women asking for an older woman to “mentor” them. Being a mentor doesn’t mean you have it all together, you trust God with ease, or that you’ve “arrived.” We never do. Being a mentor merely means Walking Alongside. Listening, understanding, giving hope and perspective and always turning a friend towards the truths of scripture.
Friends who are different than you:
It’s easy to hang out with folks just like ourselves. However, if we want to see our vision of God grow, we need to hang out with women who are different than we are. And we need to expose our kids to different types of people. Spend time with people whose backgrounds socially, ethnically, professionally, educationally, and financially are different than yours. Invite one to “family lunch” after church. Make sure your kids are at the table. Ask your guests to share their faith story with you. Your lives and the lives of your kids will be enriched. and preteens and teens particularly need to hear faith stories from someone other than Mom or Dad.
Become a “Sandwich Woman.”
Friendships can be like a peanut butter sandwich. Each of us is the peanut butter. The piece of bread on top represents an older friend while the bottom piece of bread represents a younger friend. We need an older person to pour into us and we need to be pouring into someone younger than we are. If you are a “stay at home Mom” there may be a lonely teenager on your street. Perhaps you could befriend her. If you are an older woman there’s likely an overwhelmed young Mom in your neighborhood. Take her a meal or some flowers. Tell her she’s doing a good job. Ask her, “How can I pray for you?”
We are called to reach out, to initiate. It will feel awkward at first but anything that’s new is by nature awkward. However, God calls us to care for others. Ask God to lead you to a person He wants you to care for.
Back to our retreat!
As the oldest gal on our retreat, I received so many blessings. As a result, I was encouraged by these younger women’s hunger and reliance on God’s word. Their vulnerability and humility. Their care and love for their numerous children. The sensitivity they exhibited by reaching out to each other-some they did not know. Their hysterical laughter and silliness as well as their passions to excel in their callings to write. Their teachable hearts. And their friendships across generations. I was indeed most privileged to be amongst these girlfriends!
Susan Alexander Yates is a mom to five children (including a set of twins) and grandmother to 21 (including a set of quadruplets!). Susan and her husband John have been married 51 years. Susan has written 16 books and speaks on the subjects of marriage, parenting, faith, and women’s issues. Susan’s favorite time of the year is June when all her kids and grandkids are together for a week of “cousins and family camp” in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia.