I’ve always wanted a sister. God planned for me to be an only child, but oh, how I longed to have a built-in playmate and someone to share my secrets with during late nights when we were supposed to be sleeping instead.
I grew into adulthood not really knowing how to be in healthy relationships with other women. What happens when conflict arises? How do I set boundaries and, more importantly, how do I know I need to set them? How does God expect me to navigate relationships with female friends?
Mark Twain once stated, “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn no other way.”
Oh, sisters. I’ve carried the cat by the tail on many occasions in my relationships with other women. Even so, God has taught me how to pick up the proverbial cat through many hard situations with both gentleness and love. Sure, I still make relational mistakes, but I’ve experienced the fruit of true friendship and better understand its value. In fact, God has blessed me with a tight-knit group of friends who are not sisters by blood, but rather sisters of the heart.
God wants us to be in relationship with one another because He understands the power of community. He knows we can’t do this life thing alone and while I love my husband, there’s no doubt that my heart sisters “get” me in ways he may not.
Heart sisters encourage us to grow closer to God. When we grow closer to God, we experience a peace that truly does transcend all understanding.
My book, Heart Sisters: Being the Friend You Want to Have (subtitle not definite) will be released in the Spring of 2015 by Abingdon Press; however, today I’m sharing content exclusively for M.O.B. Society readers to encourage us to strive to be Godly women through the friendships in our lives.
Five Ways To Be A Heart Sister:
1. A heart sister walks through conflict in a way that honors God and keeps a humble heart. When hard stuff comes up, a good friend listens, doesn’t formulate her defense, and apologizes for any hurt she has caused. The discussion is healthy, not heated, and a higher value is placed on the relationship rather than “just being right.”
2. A heart sisters forgives, offers grace, and seeks and/or accepts reconciliation.It takes one person to forgive, but two people to reconcile. Forgiveness is not for the person who has hurt you – it’s for you, sweet sisters. If we don’t forgive, we risk being eaten away by anger, bitterness, and resentment. However, if someone refuses to forgive YOU, you don’t have to stand in their unforgiveness. Forgive yourself and pray for her forgiveness journey. A true heart sister offers up grace and will seek reconciliation no matter what.
3. A heart sister always points back to what is true. There are many lies swirling around out there. In fact, just the other day, I shared something I was thinking about myself with a friend and she said, point blank, “That’s just a lie your believing!” She then backed-up her declaration with scripture that further proved my thinking was off-base.
4. A heart sister recognizes the importance ofyour marriage and encourages you to grow as a wife.She doesn’t put your husband down or encourage you to be dissatisfied within your marriage. Marriage is challenging enough at times, right? We need friends who are positive influences in our marriages. (Disclaimer: It goes without saying this does not apply to women in abusive situations.)
5. A heart sister is candid – not honest. When someone is “just being honest with you,” it’s usually for their own benefit – to get something off their chest or to prove a point or in some cases, because they’re jealous. However, someone who is candid shares something hard for your benefit and not their own. They understand they’ve been entrusted with your heart and they take this responsibility very seriously.
They laugh with you and cry with you. They offer to take your kids when you have a doctor’s appointment or if you’re just having one of “those days.” They do things for you without expecting anything in return and love you for who you are right here, right now.
They’re your heart sisters and you couldn’t imagine life without them.
Dear Lord, please show me ways in which I can be an authentic and true heart sister to my friends. Help me to have a humble heart, seek forgiveness and reconciliation, offer grace, and be candid with the women you have blessed me with. Please help me to keep my heart open for the possibility of new friendships and give me the courage to “put myself out there” even when I’m scared or feel nervous about doing something outside of my comfort zone. Amen.