Editor’s note: Happy Mother’s Day to the moms and grandmas! We see you and are thankful for you!
What if this overarching statement could be said about us as women?
We’re there for each other.
I believe this is the kind of friend we were born to be. God created us for friendship, to engage in deep, meaningful relationships where we’re aware of each other’s pain, share our struggles, and engage with transparency. Not just the surface stuff.
This is where Ruth’s example helps me so much. I could read her whole story every day. It’s only four chapters long, so it’s totally doable in one sitting. (I wish I could just include it right here, but I’d exceed my word count.) Let me encourage you to read it for yourself.
In the beginning of her story, we discover Ruth living in a city called Moab with her husband and in-laws. Ten years later, her husband, brother-in-law, and father-in-law died. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, decided to return to her hometown, and Ruth joined her. They didn’t really have a plan or a support network, which was important for a widow. Ruth chose to follow Naomi knowing full well that she would be the one taking care of Naomi. That is a good friend.
Ruth’s declaration of her commitment to be there for Naomi is beautiful to me:
Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there I will be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me. — Ruth 1:16-17
She’s saying, “We are family, and there’s no way you’re getting rid of me, because I’m here, and I’m here to stay.”
Ruth got a job to provide for her mother-in-law. Later, she is described as being better to Naomi than seven sons (Ruth 4:15). She was there for her new mother.
What does it look like to be there for someone who is suffering? How do you walk with a friend through their pain? It can be so hard to know what to do, what to say, how to act, whether or not to be there. Let me encourage you to be there, to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit leading you. What helped me when Lenya went to Heaven was when people came in with a meal or to help with my kids. The friends who were there, who sat with me, who didn’t say anything profound, who told me they were praying for me — that made an impact on my grieving heart.
My friend Holly Furtick, who so graciously wrote the foreword for this book, was that kind of friend. But she didn’t know me. She felt the push to reach out to me. On December 24, 2012, four days after Lenya died, Holly texted me to introduce herself, and in her text she included, “My heart hurts for you guys right now. I don’t have any words of wisdom and comfort for you but I would like to text you scriptures that may bring encouragement here and there. I am praying for you and would love to help you in any way…”
For the next three years, Holly sent random texts to me, sharing God’s Word and encouraging me by saying she was praying for me and thinking of me. It’s a rare person who will be so consistent, but I’m thankful for how she was there for me, even through texting from far away. I’m not saying you should do exactly what she did for each of your friends; that wouldn’t be possible. But I am saying that you can ask God whom He wants you to be a friend to, and you can ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to what He would have you do.
Honestly, I could fill a book with all the beautiful friends who in some way brought God’s Word, love, and encouragement, and reminded me, “Hey, I’m here for you. I love you, and I’m praying for you.” A little love goes a long way.
I’m thankful for these women, and I’m thankful for Ruth’s example. I’m inspired to be the kind of friend I was born to be — one who reaches out, works hard, loves well, and lives beautifully.
Be a Catalyst
When we connect with one another with vulnerability, when we gather with the intent to lift each other up, to speak life, and to cheer each other on, something special happens. We empower one another to keep running, to keep growing, to keep blooming. We help unveil the truth that it’s possible to flourish beautifully right where God has us.
Throughout my life, I have been surrounded by various crews of women, and I’ve needed each one in each season. My very first small group was led by my junior high youth pastor and his wife and included a few students. This time was so life-changing for me because of how much my leaders cared for me and spoke truth and life and purpose into my little sixth-grade bud of a life. I have been in small groups with women of a variety of ages and in a variety of seasons. I am the woman I am today, struggles and all, because of the women who have been in my life. And I am so thankful.
The enemy hates it when women gather because he knows the implications of powerful women being in each other’s corners. He knows that we’re unstoppable when we’re united and when we love and serve God together. That’s why he does everything he can to try to keep us throwing jabs and punches at each other. Did you know that cats generally fight because of hormones, jealousy, or the need to protect their territory? That’s why we can be called catty; it’s harsh, but can be true! But it doesn’t have to be said of us. It can be easy to throw out a snarky comment or put someone down in a passive-aggressive way. It’s much harder to fight to be honorable, to believe the best about others and assume they’re not out to hurt us.
When women gather, clothed in humility and honor, speaking life and love, it’s a picture of Romans 12:9-11 in action:
Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another, and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask. Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous.
Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.
Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward Him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let Him fill you with excitement as you serve Him. (TPT)
Letting the inner movement of our hearts be to love one another would change the trajectory of our lives. We could leave a trail of sweetness causing the gathering of ladies to be full of strength and peace. I want to keep fighting to be that kind of woman — a catalyst.
The word catalyst means “something that causes activity between two or more persons” and “a person whose talk, enthusiasm or energy causes others to be more friendly, enthusiastic or energetic.” We are meant to be a catalyst to those around us, to live enthusiastically and energetically and in so doing enrich the atmosphere. Remember how I told you that God designed you for good and to bring good to the situations in your life? This is the catalyst you were born to be.
If we fight for our friendships, we can change our relationships and our lives.
The Bible says that the righteous are as bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1). You may not feel bold, but it is part of the flourishing picture that you are in Christ. You may not feel as though you’re the kind of friend you are meant to be, but you’re growing right now. Whether or not you see the change, God is working in you.
Leopards fascinate me. In the book Death in the Long Grass, I learned that “besides [her] incredible strength, the leopard moves at blinding speed from close quarters and is noted for her patience, calculating intelligence, hair-raising ferocity, and boldness wrapped in the best camouflage in nature beside a fashion model.” How inspiring is this cat? I love another phrase the book used: “velvet-sheathed murder.” In other words, leopards are tender and tough, sensitive and strong, compassionate and confident — just like the kind of woman you are meant to be.
A wounded leopard, however, is a dangerous animal. If it feels threatened, it will choose fight over flight. A ton of debris and bacteria build up under their curved nails, so even a small scratch from these cats could prove deadly.
I want to speak tenderly to you. Like the leopard, a wounded woman can be dangerous if she lets hurt, anger, pain, and frustration lead her relationships. But a wounded woman with a healthy soul, who is letting her Savior heal her, is a significant tool in God’s hands. Instead of clawing others with her words or actions, she can strengthen those around her and point them to Jesus, His Word, and His church.
Just because you might be stuck in a struggle doesn’t mean you’ll always be stuck with this struggle. God is with you, and He is all you need. He is your strength and your perfect Father, and He has surrounded you with women to support you, to struggle with you, and to pray with you. You are not alone.
If we fight for our friendships, we can change our relationships and our lives.
I believe that as you cling tightly to Jesus, and as you reach out and see the women who are there for you and the ones who need you, you will be the catalyst you were created to be. You will see life through the lens of true friendship with your Creator and with your fellow fight club. We are stronger together.
Excerpted with permission from The Fight to Flourish by Jennie Lusko, copyright Jennie Lusko.
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“Tender and tough, sensitive and strong, compassionate and confident.” Women, we are called to sister one another and love each other well. We are stronger together, stronger in the fight for the gospel, for our families, our children, our jobs, our passions, our dreams, and our missions! Let’s do this thing! Come share your heart with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily