My Mother, My Sister, My Friend
I love the way women friends have with each other. When I gather with a group of women friends, inevitably someone begins to rub someone else’s back. Hair gets played with. Merciful, tender, caressing, healing touches are given. Men don’t do this with each other. It is unique to women. When women gather, they ask meaningful questions. They want to know how you are. Recipe swapping is all well and good, gardening hints helpful, but women friends unabashedly dive into matters of the heart.
My mom mothered me. But she isn’t the only woman who has. My sisters certainly did. Some of my elementary school teachers did. My neighbours did. These days I receive it from the gentle, tender acts of kindness offered to me by the friends God has given me. The gift of friendship among women is a treasure not to be taken lightly.
Women friends become the face of God to one another — the face of grace, of delight, of mercy.
The capacity of a woman’s heart for meaningful relationships is vast. There is no way your husband or your children can ever provide the intimacy and relational satisfaction you need. A woman must have women friends.
It is here, in the realm of relationship, that women receive the most joy and the profoundest sorrows. The friendships of women inhabit a terrain of great mystery. Movies like Beaches or Fried Green Tomatoes or Steel Magnolias try to capture this. In these movies the friendships endure testing and trial; they deepen and they last. The men in the lives of these women may leave, but their girlfriends do not. Although often quoted in weddings, Ruth was speaking to a woman when she said,
Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. — Ruth 1:16
There is a fierce jealousy, a fiery devotion, and a great loyalty between women friends. Our friendships flow in the deep waters of the heart where God dwells and transformation takes place. It is here, in this holy place, that a woman can partner with God in impacting another and be impacted by another for lasting good. It is here that she can mother, nurture, encourage, and call forth Life.
Little girls have best friends. Grown women long for them. To have a woman friend is to relax into another soul and be welcomed in all that you are and all that you are not. To know that as a woman, you are not alone. Friendships between women provide a safe place to share in the experiences of life as a woman. Who but another woman can fully understand PAP smears and mammograms, PMS, the longing to bear a child, and living in a world that feels run by men? It is a great gift to know that you see as another sees, an immense pleasure to be understood, to enjoy the easy companionship of the one you can let your guard down with.
Friendship is a great gift. One to be prayed for and not taken for granted. If you do not have the kind of friendship you long for, ask God to bring it into your life, to give you eyes to recognize it when he does. When God gives a friend, he is entrusting us with the care of another’s heart. It is a chance to mother and to sister, to be a Life-giver, to help someone else become the woman she was created to be, to walk alongside her and call her deep heart forth.
Friendships need to be nurtured and guarded and fought for. We need to call one another without waiting to be called first. We need to ask how our friends are doing and really listen to their answers. Listen between the lines. We love our friends by pursuing them — calls, little presents, cards, invitations to play, to go for a walk, to go to a movie. We offer our hearts.
We need to pay attention to each other, really see one another. That truly is the greatest gift.
Whether or not you are a biological or adoptive mother, who in your life do you mother? Who are your female friends who mother you with attention, care, affection, and who see you? Are you longing for deeper friendships like I am, to enjoy that deep connection with other women that are so fulfilling? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you!