By Kim T.
This is a very touchy subject for many of us women. Who can we trust? Who can be our ride or die? How can we remain friends if we don’t agree? Can we be honest without offending each other? Can we embrace each other’s differences and still love each other unconditionally? Do we hold grudges with each other for stupid small petty stuff? Can we ever find a mentor that will lead us honestly, directly and without manipulation? Can we be envious positively without jealousy?
These are just a few questions that come to mind. That I want to share my perspective and personal experiences so that you can better understand how to establish the right sisterhood relationship.
I grew up in a single-parent home, where my mother was the only one who raised me. I am the youngest of 6 children. My mother made it clear that I was planned; however she said she didn’t want another girl. (Disclosure #1 – which messed up my perception of inclusion of a family.) Mind you my mother loved me dearly, took awesome care of me, and I learned a lot from her, including what NOT to do. Some things that she uttered and said to me, should not have been said, as it has rung in my heart and mind for years to come. Many times she compared me to my sister who was more submissive and more studious and calmer than I was, and therefore led me to having low self-esteem. (Disclosure #2 – She often called me stupid and I wouldn’t be as smart as my sister.) I grew up not having a bond with either my mother nor my three sisters, however because two were already older and out of the house, we weren’t able to bond. (Disclosure #3 – made me apprehensive on establishing female relationships.)
As I am older, it’s difficult for me to establish friendships or relationships with women. It’s never the person’s fault; it stems from all of what I endured in my adolescent years. Not knowing that the seeds that were unknowingly planted by my mother would harvest later in my latter years. My mother only knew what she was given, she’s still a great and awesome woman and I admire her strength and courage to be who she is today.
As a Pastor’s wife, I can discern and see a lot of the pain, discouragement and hurt that a lot of the women have endured. I believe my journey was purposed for such a time as this. See, when you evaluate your life and what you had to go through, you can later get the revelation of the purpose, and how to overcome it and help someone else who’s experienced what you have. God sent his only begotten son into this world to experience what mankind would experience, only for the purpose of saving souls so that He can say, I TRULY KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING THROUGH!
Here are a few suggestions on how to overcome your fears of establishing covenant, true, honest and loving sisterhood relationships.
1. Start off a friendship with boundaries. Be careful of words you use and how you communicate, so that the other can treat you the same. If that person does NOT reciprocate what you give her, then you cannot establish a covenant friendship that would last. Reciprocity is part of truly loving someone.
2. Can you listen to her complain about her life and offer support without trying to fix her life? Sometimes all we need is someone who can listen. Try to be aware of yourself that what you’re saying to her is not just complaining but that you’re encouraging and can offer to help find solutions. If all she does is complain and there’s no connection, that’s another sign that you cannot establish a covenant friendship. We all need balance, support and love in any relationship and always talking about your problems and not trying to solve them is a form of depression and a sign maybe that person may need professional help.
3. Can you not judge your sister, when she acts out or responds a certain way to you that may offend you? Matthew 7:1 – “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”
- You will need to first ask yourself, did I do something personally for her to respond that way? If the answer is no, do not let the offense affect your feelings. Ask yourself, what can this person be going through to respond that way; and ask God to reveal it to you so that you can be compassionate. God will reveal it so that you can love her unconditionally and help her.
- Second, approach her when she’s in a better mood and let her know of the offense, respectfully and lovingly. Matthew 18:15 – “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. Sometimes we can be offensive and not know it, because we are consumed with whatever life circumstance we are facing.
4. Try not to have conversations solely about your accomplishments because it comes off as comparing one to another. We often times can engage in conversations about what we do, or how we do it, or even where you’ve elevated in certain areas of your life which can come off as being better than the other.
Be careful that you’re not speaking of your accomplishments during a time the other is sharing her struggle, or while she’s still making her way to the top. Instead, “ASK” if you can offer help because you’ve been able to overcome, nothing more needs to be stated. Don’t assume the other person is sharing for your opinion or for your help.
5. Always, offer prayer. In the moment, not just say you’re praying but do it right then and there. “ASK” can I pray with you about that matter? Be sincere, if you’re not sure how to pray, “ASK” how can I pray? Discernment is wonderful, however respect is always the best approach. Words of encouragement are always nice, but Prayer Changes Things. Matthew 18:19 – “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
The passages of Matthew that I’ve shared are considered the books that reveal the ministry of Jesus. How can we do ministry if we don’t love our sisters, as God loves us. Ministry is not always on the pulpit, holding a microphone or in the limelight. Ministry is being able to love unconditionally, pray for one another without gain, and to be able be that light when seemingly everything around us looks dark. Sisters are meant for building each other up, not tearing each other down. Be encouraged and have hope that God has a covenant sister in mind to be by your side!