I am a huge fan of friendships. HUGE FAN! God did not create us to be little islands living life on our own with “Jesus and Me” as our motto. When He saved us, He placed us into His family and we became part of the Bride of Christ…His church. The church is made up of many members who all work together to bring glory to God and do so by living out the one-anothers in each others’ lives. It’s a beautiful thing to see a church body functioning at optimal health. And it’s a beautiful thing to have friendships that span generations, spurring us on to Christ-likeness as they link arms with us and talk about God’s faithfulness in their lives, heralding the message of His glorious grace! Times with these precious ladies can make my heart feel like it’s grown wings and is soaring on His steadfast love to all generations!
Last week I wrote about ways we should interact with each other and looked at some specific groups of women. This time, I’d like to take another look at those same groups of women but share why we should intentionally pursue all of these types of friendships in our local church or Christian community. I use the words “intentionally pursue” because these relationships might take some extra effort to get started but will truly reap a sweet harvest!
- A “grandma” in the faith. This is a woman who can echo the words of David in Psalm 37:25 “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous abandoned or his children begging for bread.” She is a woman who can help you see beyond your immediate circumstances because she proclaims God’s power and strength not just through moments, but years and decades, enabling you to see the faithfulness of God that kept her and will also keep you. She shows us in both word and deed that even though her flesh and heart may be failing, the Lord is the strength of her heart and her portion forever (Psalm 73:26). She lives out Psalm 119:111 “I have your decrees as a heritage forever; indeed, they are the joy of my heart.” This is a joy you don’t want to miss out on!
- A “mother” in the faith. Just as you needed your physical mom to give you life and help you grow up, so too you need a spiritual mother to teach you words of life and help you grow up in Christ. Maybe you, like me, have the immeasurable blessing of a mom who has imparted words of life to your soul from the moment you were born. Oh, how I praise the Lord for the precious, godly mom He has given me. But whether you do or you don’t, this is another relationship worth forging. These women (as well as the grandmas) can teach us all how to better “love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s Word will not be slandered” (Titus 2:4-5). We need these ladies in our lives who will teach us the way of wisdom and guide us on straight paths so that our walking and running will not be hindered and we will not stumble (Proverbs 4:11-12). Not to mention that their practical help in areas like cooking, cleaning and child-rearing can be invaluable, if we would just ask!
- A “sister” in the faith. These would be the friendships with those that are relatively our own age or in the same season of life. Connecting moments often abound as we are doing similar things at the same time. It may be encouraging each other with how to get that one kid potty trained, what packing list to use as we send kids off to college, or discussing the best places to shop for “mother of the bride” wedding dresses. You are in the “middle of the muddle” together, so to speak. These friendships can yield the sweet fruit of the Spirit as we consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). They are often the relationships that remind us of Proverbs 18:24, “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” They just may be those kindred friendships that look a bit like Jonathan and David…. loving each other as your own soul (1 Samuel 18:1). These friendships often span a lifetime, and can be some of your dearest relationships this side of Heaven.
- A “daughter” or “little sister” in the faith. This is a gal that is younger than you…maybe by many years or maybe by just enough years to place you in different seasons of life. What a sweet opportunity we have to link arms with them and encourage them to “love the Lord your God and worship Him with all your heart and all your soul.” (Deut. 11:13) And we can do this with them in so many ways, at so many times…a coffee date, an invite to hang out at our house, making dinner together, a walk, and about a zillion other things that we can include them in as we go about our daily lives. As they watch and listen, may they learn from our lives that David’s words are true for us, as well: “Lord, you are my portion and my cup of blessing; you hold my future. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5-6)
Of course for some of you, aside from your “sister group”, these are the only women left for you to pursue purposeful relationships with. You are the “grandmas” I have been talking about. Would you please pursue us? Would you please seek us out and pour some of your extra time into us? We need you!
Developing relationships with those that are in our peer group is usually not that difficult, though the introvert might disagree with me. 😉 And usually peer relationships are the easiest to maintain because we run in similar circles. But I pray we do not stop there. May we go beyond what is comfortable and search out new relationships…specifically those relationships that span generations and will stretch us, grow us, comfort us, encourage us, teach us, and unearth treasures in Christ that we never knew existed! Grandmas, moms, sisters and daughters in the faith…all stepping Heavenward together!