Saturday, May 12, 2012

The 3 Types of Friend Every Woman Should Be-- Part 2 of 3

This is #2 of a 3-part series on relationships. What I’m sharing is based on what I taught at a girls’ retreat at Indian Springs Baptist Church in Laurel, Mississippi two weeks ago. As I discussed friendship with the youth girls, I broke down the discussion into three parts. The first part, friendship with older women, you can find here.
Of the three types, friendship with older women is what makes me the most sentimental. I have benefited from this type of friendship in many ways and on every level. But this second type of friendship is what gets me the most fired up.
The second type of friendship present in the lives of women who love the Lord is friendship with younger women. I have two younger brothers. As much as I hoped my mother would give birth to a little sister for me, and as many times as I dressed up my brothers as girls (sorry, Hunter and Reed), I grew up without a sister. I believe, though, that God didn’t give me biological sisters because He knew I would adopt them later on. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a little sister to love on, maybe it’s because I didn’t have a big sister to love on me, but for whatever reason it’s one of the joys of my life to adopt younger girls as my family.
An example of this would be the college girls I’m blessed to know through the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at UCA here in Conway. I know some of them from having them in my home each week for discipleship group, and some I’ve gotten to know through hanging out on evenings and weekends. We meet for dinner, we watch movies and paint nails, we talk about boys and parents and school. I pray over them (in person and when they’re not around). I hug them. Sometimes they keep me up past my bedtime, and that is how they really know that I love them!
For the most part, you make friends with women who are older than you because you believe they can teach you something. However, making younger friends doesn’t mean that you think, “You know, I have arrived. I really think I can teach these girls how to be good Christians because, I mean, look at me! I’m awesome!” What it means is that you get involved in someone’s life because EVERY GIRL needs someone to look up to. “I’m not a good enough role model,” you say. False, I say. If you are a Jesus-loving woman who is walking with the Lord and striving to do His will for your life, you are qualified.
It’s scary to invest in a relationship like this. When you truly let a little sister into your life, you have to be real and make yourself vulnerable. Earlier this semester, I went through a really tough couple of weeks. My sweet freshmen girls came over for our weekly discipleship group and on the way out the door, the last two asked how I was doing. “I’m good,” I told them. Then I realized I had just told a bold-faced lie, so I remanded my statement: “Actually, that’s not true. I’m having a rough week.”  It’s easier to pretend that everything is fine. It’s less complicated. Being honest about life costs you something. But ladies PLEASE, for the love of our little sisters in Christ, swallow your pride and fear, and give it a shot. They need to see us deal with crises and annoying people and PMS just as much as they need to see us loving the Lord and talking about spiritual things. They are not asking us to be perfect. They just want us to be present.
Why should we have friendships like this in our lives? Because we’re commanded to in Titus 2.3-5. I talked about this in Wednesday’s post. But there are a couple more reasons. First, because it was done for us. This is my major motivator. If I don’t do for others what was done for me, then the investment of those godly women in my life is wasted. I know how much I benefited from my relationships with older Christian women. Because I know how much I needed someone in that role in my life, I am driven to try to fulfill that for others.
Second, because it was not done for us. We recognize that we could have benefited from having someone like this in our life, so we want to give someone else a better experience. When I was in the youth group there were some cool older girls, but none of them really reached out to us younger ones. When my peers and I became the older girls, we adopted the 7th and 8th graders like they were little sisters. We hung out with them, had sleepovers with them, and just generally made a big deal out of them. We knew what it was to do without, so we wanted to leave a different legacy with the younger girls so that they would someday do the same.
How do you find yourself a little sister? Look around your local church. There are women there who need the wisdom and insight you have to offer. I am 29 and don’t consider myself to be super wise. But to a 19-year-old, I know just enough more about the world than they do to be considered useful when they need help with laundry or life decisions. I say that to say to my peers and to girls younger than me—we aren’t off the hook. There’s always someone younger than you who could use your influence in her life. And as long as we’re present and loving, speaking the truth in a non-judgmental way, we will be welcome in their lives.
As Christians, we are commissioned to make disciples. As God’s women, we are commanded to teach those younger than us. The call is clear. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying it won’t be messy. But love is messy. Relationships mark us, for better or for worse. Let’s leave a mark of love on our younger sisters in Jesus’ name.


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