For the first guest post in my “Epic Across the Metro Move 2015” series, the lovely Erica from Saint Affairs is going to share some hard-fought wisdom for cultivating spiritual sisterhood. Erica is a wonderful writer and has personally motivated and inspired me in my own journey to embrace vulnerability in my writing. Make sure you stop by her beautiful blog, Saint Affairs, to read more gems like this, and this.
I am an only child. I was born to a teenage mother and absent father. I grew up in my grandparent’s home. My grandmother was often depressed and angry. I was her verbal dart board; her words pierced my flesh again and again throughout the years I spent in her home.
The holes of the wounds left me damaged, pocked and ugly. Insecure and unsure, my thin skin let every negative comment and unkind look from others seep into my heart.
Friendships were not easy for me. Through the years, I developed relationships with a handful of girls that I sort of trusted. I enjoyed their company, but I always kept them at a distance, waiting for them to realize how unlikable I was, waiting for them to wound me, too. Often, I struck first by being cold or mouthy, pushing them towards the path that I was so sure they would eventually take. The path that led away from me.
By the grace of God, a couple of these girls stuck with me and through them I added a few more friends to my circle. Most of these girls had grown up in Christian households and faith was a part of their life. I know God placed these girls in my life. He knew I needed them.
In my late teens and early twenties, I searched through God’s Word looking for love, acceptance, and comfort. I found Him there on the pages and began to understand His ways. He whispered to me, telling me that I was His and my friends were His and together we were family. We are bonded by our love for our Heavenly Father, and through that love we are sisters. Through this new understanding, I began to let my guard down and opened myself to deeper friendship, community, and family than I had ever known. I found my sisters!
They helped me to love God better, love my husband and children better, and love myself better.
Through the years, these girls and I have studied His Word, worshiped together, and attended Christian women retreats together. We have celebrated and supported one another through weddings, pregnancies, miscarriages, surgeries, and illness. Though we don’t see each other as often as we once did, we know that all we have to do is make a quick phone call, and help will be on the way!
Do you have a family of sisters in Christ?
Your spiritual sisters will make you comfortable and warm. Their home will be your home, a sanctuary when the pressures of the day are pressing in on you.
Your spiritual sisters will give you a safe place to land when you stumble under the weight that you carry. They will lighten your burden and give you a reason to smile through your pain.
Your spiritual sisters will fight for you. They will fill in your weak spots with words of love. They will build you up and make you stronger.
Your spiritual sisters will tell you the truth. They see your flaws, but they encourage you to grow, improve yourself and be transformed. Their truth-telling won’t be painful because they speak from a place of love, with a desire to see you fulfill all that God has planned for you.
Your spiritual sisters feed you with the Father’s Word. They know when you are neglecting yourself. They will take care of you even when you don’t care enough to do it yourself.
How has God blessed your friendships with other women? How has your faith deepened by building community with women, by letting them love you and by loving them back?
I was a wounded, lonely child. I could have continued along that path and perpetuated the pain and loneliness in my adult life. God’s grace and mercy healed me and showed me the beauty of friendship with women. But it wasn’t always easy, and I needed Him to show me the way.
Maybe you are still hurting and lonely. Maybe you haven’t found your spiritual sisters yet.
Pray for supportive women to enter your life. God’s plan will be revealed to you in His time. Lean on Him during your period of loneliness. But don’t just wait for girlfriends to show up at your door. I know it is hard to reach out to others when you are already hurting. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and ask the girl that you see at church every Sunday out for coffee or an afternoon walk. Allow her the opportunity to say yes. You never know, she may be lonely, too.
How can you be a better friend and sister in Christ to the women in your life?
Erica is a Catholic woman, wife, and homeschooling mom. She enjoys reading, writing, knitting, and running (not necessarily in that order). She writes about her life, all its sorrows and joys, at www.SaintAffairs.com.