The Importance of Sisterhood

I was very lucky to find a great friend early in life.  She is usually the first person I call when anything happens in my life.  Currently, we live on opposite sides of the country, she’s in California and I’m in Florida.  We met at church when we were about nine or ten years old.  We are the same age, our birthday’s are on the same day, different months (she’s in December, I’m in September), and we were born at the same hospital.  To say that we were meant to be is an understatement for us.  I only get to see her once a year but for us nothing has changed except a plane ride.

Over the years I’ve tried to form bonds with other girls/women but the friendships never seemed to connect well.  I think it’s mostly because of me though.  I’ve had some really bad friendships with some who claimed to be a friend but ended up doing or saying something that caused me to not trust them and to pull away.  I learned to keep my circle of friends very small.  Basically, it was just my friend Swayla and my sister.

Recently, I’ve come to understand that creating a sisterhood can be very important in a women’s life.  A sisterhood, community of women, can help to strengthen one other when a safe place can be created that allows women to openly and honestly share with one another.  Two weeks ago I was invited to a gathering at coworker’s house.  While she and I do talk periodically by phone, we don’t hang out or meet up regularly.  I am not one to attend too many get-togethers because I don’t want to open myself up to false friendships.  However, I wanted to support my coworker who was hosting because I find her to be very kind and genuine.

Surprisingly, I had a very nice time.  What stood out to me most that afternoon was the story my coworker told about a group of women she recently began working out with.  At a stressful point in her life, my coworker decided that she wanted to start working out to clear her mind and relieve stress.  After some research, she came across this group of women who met to work out together.  In this group, they not only support one another during work outs but have created a sisterhood to support one another inside and outside of the gym.  They support each others goals, hold one another accountable and regularly meet up to personally check in.

Through her story I learned three important aspect of building trusting, lasting friendships.

First, to find a friend, one must show themselves as a friend.

Second, connect with like-minded people.

Third, don’t be afraid to share your story because God didn’t intent for us to walk this journey alone.

As I have continued to read Craving Connection, I have learned what it means to be a friend and also how silence about my pain and struggles can sometimes push me into isolation and make me fearful of letting others in.  While I am not suggesting that you go out and blab your business to everyone in order to find friends but start small.  Look around the outer ring of your current circle of friends.  See if there is one or two women you could possible have a deeper connection with.  Invite them to lunch or coffee and hang out.  The more you are around them the more you may feel comfortable and this may help you to open up more.  Some friendships may simply be general and pleasant from a distance and that’s ok.  The overall goal is to not isolate yourself to the point where you are not reaching out or growing to your full potential.  Work on developing relationships that will stretch, support and encourage you.

 

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. – Maya Angelou

 

 

Truth and Friendship

I have had the same best friend for the past 34 years.  She and I have been together a very long time. We met each other in church one afternoon.  We were about nine years old at the time.  We didn’t get along very well at first but something about her grew on me and I guess something about me grew on her.  I began spending weekends at her house.  Weekends turned into extended holiday weekends.  Extended holiday weekends turned into week long vacations and those turned into staying entire summer breaks.  I can remember one summer being so excited to stay with her and her family that I didn’t even wait for my mother to get off work to drop me off.  I packed this big old blue suitcase then went and stood out at the bus stop.  We lived in San Francisco at the time and she lived on a hill. There were no cellphones back then so I couldn’t call her for help dragging that suitcase up that hill.  But as I rounded the corner to her house, there she was waiting in the window.  She ran down to help me drag the suitcase in the house.  It was the best summer ever!

Over the years our friendship has remained strong.  I talk to her almost everyday and I try to see her at least once a year since we live on opposite coasts. Although we’ve grown as women and changed in many ways our friendship, love and respect for one another has never diminished.  I think one of the reasons why our relationship works as well as it does is because no matter what is going on in our lives, 1) we are always there for each other and 2)  we make it a point to always tell each other the truth.  Sometimes that truth hurts because it’s not always what we want to hear but being a true friend means that sometimes you have to hurt the feelings of the one you love in order to help them grow into better people.

Personally, I am grateful to have her as a friend because when I’m wrong, she’s not afraid to tell me I’m wrong.  What I have come to know is that when she does put me in my place, it comes from her heart and love for me.  She doesn’t want me going around being blinded by my own rose colored glasses.  She knows just as well as I do that that isn’t going to help me to be the best me I can be.

So, let me just leave you with this, don’t co-sign on your friends’ foolishness.  If you know that what they’re saying, doing or how they’re acting is not in line with their authentic selves, tell them the truth but make sure that truth is coming from a place of love.   As long as you are co-signing their foolishness, they will continue to lie to themselves and live a life that is not purposeful at all.

Bringing out the best in ourselves and each other…:)

Be Open

I love my blog!  I don’t get to post to it as often as I like but I still love it!  Like everyone else in the world I work and have a family to take care of.  Finding a good, quiet thirty minutes to spend on my blog can be challenging, however, I have this crazy love and passion for writing.  I may not post to my blog everyday but I definitely write everyday.  I have to.  Writing is like breathing for me.  I have journals that date back to high school and it is really crazy to read and see just how much I have grown and changed as a woman.  One thing I think helps me to continue growing is my openness and willingness to try new things.  My dad had a saying, “Try it at least once.  If you don’t like it, don’t do it again but how will you ever know if you like or don’t like something if you don’t at least try it once?” My sister and I have lived by that for practically all of our lives.

Earlier this week, my life partner and I were having a discussion about how God uses even the simplest of things to speak to us.  He, my life partner, is not always as open as I am to trying new things.  He will sometimes but he doesn’t like being too far outside his comfort zone.  On Sunday, he happened to be flipping through the channels and came across the Joel Osteen program.  He had never watched the program before but something Mr. Osteen said just before he flipped the channel made him stop and listen.  He watched the entire program.  At the end, he and I talked at length about the message and how it resonated with him.  He talked about how he was glad he’d watched it because it gave him some clarity about somethings he’d been dealing with.  He also made a statement which I absolutely love, he said,  “even though I’m southern and enjoy a good hooping word every now and again it was nice to hear a good practical message that I can clearly understand and apply to my life.  It’s amazing how God can use different people to minster to you.”

I would definitely have to agree with that statement.  We never know when God will speak to us or who He will use to do it.  Yes, we have to be careful what we listen to and sometimes careful of the person delivering the message but I believe that this is one reason why it is so important to know God’s word for ourselves, so that we are able to discern God’s true word for our lives rather than simply someones loaded opinion of what we should or should not be doing.  From my dad, be open to trying new things at least once and from my love, be open to stepping out of your comfort zone… just a little.

Enjoy your day and thank you to all of the men and women who have served and are still serving in our armed forces.  Happy Veteran’s Day! 🙂

Letters to God

On January 9th, I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in a Women’s Devotional with two of my closest girlfriends.  This event has been scheduled in January for the past several years.  January 2014 was the first time I attended.  This was such a great devotional with a great group of women.  Some of the women I have known several years while others I met that night.  The purpose of this devotional is to share and learn about the struggles we face as women, to come together on this night to encourage one another and then write a letter to God about whatever is on our hearts.  The letters are sealed in an envelope to be opened the next year.

As I stated, 2014 was the first time I attended.  I wrote my letter after I got home that night, sealed it in an envelope and placed in the front pocket of my journal. When I arrived back from my Christmas vacation this January I sat down to write in my journal and my letter slipped out onto my lap.  I realized that it was January 2015 and time to pop that letter open!  Of course, I had no idea what I had written or prayed for but I was so excited to see just how much God had transformed my life in a year.  I called my girlfriend to find out what day the devotional was going to be held on and thankfully it was that coming Friday.

During the devotional, as I read my letter I had no idea that I had written some of the things on those pages.  What I came to realize was that even though many of us know and see God’s work in our daily lives like waking us up, having food to feed the kids and that moment when you know the car should have stopped but somehow you made it another two miles to the gas station.  Those moments are good but when you can write down your thoughts and feelings at a particular moment in time, then go back a year later and see just where God has brought you from…now that is a GREAT moment!  I can’t say that everything I prayed or asked for in my letter was answered the way I wanted them to be but most of them were worked out in a way that I can now see was a benefit to me.

Last night I had the opportunity to write my 2015 letter.  I am expecting even more wonderful things to happen and take shape in my life over the next eleven months.  Even though I can’t see it now, I know that God is working things out for the better.  I’ve shared this Letters to God mission with many of my coworkers and other friends.  Many of them have agreed to give it a try.  I think it will be an awesome experience for anyone who chooses to give it a try.

Blessings to you all…

P.S. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of God is Able by Priscilla Shirer.  The book chat for this book will begin February 1st 🙂