4 Steps to Cultivating Friendships with the Sisterhood
I’m not sure what was causing me to feel detached and disconnected from the Body of Christ, but I’ve felt this way for the majority of my walk with Jesus. Yet, when I read the scriptures I can’t help but scratch my head and think, “How do I get connected to the Body? To community? To other Christ-followers like what I read in the Bible?”
I quickly do a mental check list to make sure I’m doing my part.
- Faithfully attend church on a weekly basis. Check.
- Attend Bible studies. Check.
- Serve in numerous ministries. Check.
- Interact with other Christian women. Check.
All of the above should equate to feeling connected, right? Well, not for this gal. I feel like a detached arm thrown by the side of the road while the rest of the Body remains intact. I can’t help but wonder what is it that I’m doing wrong.
These aren’t new thoughts. I’ve carried these feelings for almost two decades now, but recently the Lord has been bringing them to the forefront of my mind.
Not too long ago I was thinking about how I felt so isolated in ministry and in life. And seeing how I write from time to time, solitude is a natural by-product of this pursuit. I know the enemy loves to isolate the Christian because that is when he can discourage us. But I had one problem. The ministry that the Lord called me to was in a sense, isolating. It’s just me, the computer screen, and the Holy Spirit. There is no in-real life interaction with the Body of Christ.
- No facial expressions.
- No laughter or tears.
- No hugs.
- Nothing but a comment from time to time that I read on my computer screen.
It’s been 5 years of this kind of service unto the Lord and the sense of loneliness still hasn’t escaped me. I haven’t gotten used to it at all. So, I prayed again like I’ve prayed over all these years and just minutes later I get a phone call from an old friend.
“I’ve been thinking about you,” she said. “The Lord has been putting you and your ministry on my heart.”
Tears welled up in my eyes when I heard her words. I was in disbelief of what the Lord had just done. Within minutes, my prayer had been answered. Now don’t go thinking that I’m some prayer warrior with an awesome war room, prayer closet, because that’s not the case. All I did was say a simple prayer.
After chatting with my friend, praying, and then spending a few days pondering all that the Lord was doing, I couldn’t help but think there may be other women who feel the same way I do…detached from the Body of Christ. And my heart broke for them because I understood their desire for deep relationships with other Christian women.
And then I heard the Lord’s gentle whisper…
Daughter, (that’s what He calls me) what are you going to do about this?
“Um, nothing Lord. Send someone else, I said. And by the way, I’m not sure that I’m really hearing Your voice. Oh, and here’s my list of excuses just in case it is You.”
- I’m too busy.
- I’m not healthy enough.
- People will reject me.
- No one will show up because they all have friends.
- And I don’t have a plan!
Yeah, I was running from God. 🙂
But my Lord’s gentle whispers were persistent…
Gather up some women in real life and get together with them.
And then I asked Him, “Are you really sure you’re calling me to do this? Don’t you have someone better in mind?”
Nope. You’re my gal, He said. You know what it feels like to be detached and lonely, which means you can relate to other women.
Walk with them. Draw them closer to Me and to others.
So, I stepped out of my emotional comfort zone that day and said yes to God as I sent out the invites. It’s been a couple of months now since this all went down and I’m amazed at what God is doing in the hearts of His daughters, especially this one!
Women I know, some I barely know, and some I don’t know at all are showing up because they too, want to get closer to Christ and the sisterhood. We’re designed for community and we’re not meant to walk the Christian life alone. Sure, there might be seasons we go through where it’s just us and the Lord. I’ve had many seasons like this. But, we need to reach out to others and go through life with them.
I love these verses in Ecclesiastes chapter 4. Usually I think of these verses in regards to marriage, but it applies to the sisterhood as well.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. Ecc. 4:9,10
Life becomes a little easier with a friend!
4 Steps to Cultivating Friendships with the Sisterhood
Ask God to shape you into a faithful friend and ask Him to bring a faithful friend into your life. The Lord knows what you need and His timing is always perfect.
2. Step out in faith (especially if you’ve been wounded).
Ask her to join you for coffee. If you have littles, try the park. Face the possible rejection head on. Yeah, she might say no to you, but she might say yes!
3. Be intentional to make time with your friend.
As my life gets fuller with responsibilities with my husband, my kids, the home, and ministry, cultivating friendships never seem to land on my to-do list! But with a little bit of intentionality and some planning you can make it work. When we’re motivated to do something, we’ll make time for it! Deep relationships take time, but in the end, they’re worth the effort.
4. Learn to be a good friend.
Be the kind of woman who seeks to know about your friend rather than her just knowing about you. Ask her questions about her and her family. How she came to know the Lord. What she’s passionate about. What’s her favorite dessert or coffee/tea drink. 🙂 (And then one day you can surprise her with it. It’s a simple, yet very thoughtful gesture.) When the Lord brings her to your mind, pray for her. Then take one more step and let her know just that. This little act will start to knit your hearts closer to one another and closer to Christ.
What holds you back from cultivating friendships with the sisterhood?
- Fear of rejection?
- No one will like you?
- Or they won’t understand you?
- Not enough time?
- You’ve been wounded in the past and you don’t want to open yourself up again?
I can say a resounding yes to all of the above.
But…I want to be a woman who walks in the Word and one who applies it to my life. I don’t want to be a mere hearer of it!
So I became a doer. I mustered up all the faith I could and stepped outside of my emotional comfort zone to connect with the sisterhood. And I can honestly tell you that the blessings from above have been as sweet as honey! And I want this for you, too. So, I’m cheering you on to be brave!
Walk in Wisdom:
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works. Hebrews 10:22
Live a poured out life for Christ,
Wow!!! You can’t imagine how much I needed this message/encouragement/push in the rear. Being the wife of a minister, it has been extremely hard for me to connect to other Christian women. Some just want to get close to find out all of your business. Some just want to be friends to be a part of “the circle” for others to see. And I’ve had some just want to get close to make moves on my husband! Yes! I’m hurt and lonely and confused. As much as I yearn for these friendships, I’m just so afraid to open up. BUT, this post reminds me that I am a part of THE Body…not an isolated member, hiding away.
Wow, Vickie, I can’t even imagine the pain and frustration you must go through. The good news is that God does. Use the pain that God has allowed in your life (along with His wisdom, insight, and grace) to propel you forward into God-fearing friendships. Pray for the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind a woman you can befriend. Sometimes we sit on the sidelines of life waiting for God to do something when He’s already told us to get in the game! Be the change you’d like to see in the sisterhood. That’s what I’ve done and it’s proven to be fruitful.
Christ-centered friendship and community has been a running theme in my life lately. I too have felt disconnected and alone. God gently reminded me that friendship is a two-way street. How can I expect to make friendship flourish if all I’m doing is whining about not having any. Gut check today! Thanks for this!
You are so correct about a friendship being a two way street, Keri! Thanks for the beautiful reminder.
Thank you for allowing God to use you to share this so very well, Jolene! This is EXACTLY what has been grieving my heart. I am inspired and newly encouraged by your words and am praying with renewed enthusiasm that I will connect with the sisterhood again soon!
I am grateful that God led me to your site and continues to use you as a mighty blessing in my life!
Hi Jolene…I have felt the same way for most of my Christian walk (44 years) …I thought it was just me, like what’s wrong with me? It is such a huge relief & encouragement to know that I am not alone! I’m excited to begin following the steps you gave. It’s been too difficult to speak about this issue with anyone & here you have exposed it to the world…thank you for being humble & courageous. Your Sister in Christ
Thank you, Jolene! Friendship and learning how to have better friendships and communication has been on my heart much lately. I liked your four points. Learning to be a better friend… I think it takes time.
Its nice to receive some Christian inspiration in my inbox and connect with a another Christian gal online. Thanks!
Becoming vulnerable and opening up to other women was a difficult hurdle for me to cross. Yet, it was the very tool God used to grow me up spiritually and ultimately save my marriage! Now, I won’t live without a community of women!
Excellent Article and LOVE LOVE LOVE God’s timing.
Thanks a lot Jolene , I really needed to hear such an article . It’s really a blessing to have sisters/friends to walk with you in Christ.
I too feel lonely and disconnected from the church. We’ve been at our church for 13 years and I don’t have a single girl friend that calls me to say hi. We live 30 minutes from our church, so I often wonder if that is why. But no one even really tries to talk beyond surface level conversation when I’m there. I’ve tried to invite them over for girls’ nights and it’s usually friends from different circles that come, if any come. It is very hard, because Satan uses this to say, “There must be something wrong with you.” I know God has me in this season for a reason, but I would love to see more connection between church sisters.
My name is Alicia and I am so grateful for you sharing about feeling out of place!? Sister Jolene, I have always had that feeling of rejection and being out of place. I used to explain it as being that piece of the puzzle that seemed to not fit in any space. In church the other women invite each other to go out or go to their homes but never me.
I became a Christian when I was 6 yrs old. The majority of my family were Catholics and I was the only one assisting an Assebly of God church and going to a Methodist School. I have struggled and felt unwelcomed to wherever I have congregated. But now I know I am not the only one and that I can change this with the help of God. Thank you!?
This message is very empowering, especially when it mirrors my life.
I have been rejected by everyone around me. My mom rejected me as a child and still treats me like I’m not her daughter. My dad used to be my hero and let me down when I was around 12 years old and he has never looked out for me since. I don’t have a close relationship with my siblings. One of them admitted to my husband she hates me. My family members such as cousins, aunts, uncles don’t bother with me. I thought giving my life to Christ I would gain a new father but God never talks to me and is always distant. And then to top it off the body of Christ don’t bother with me either.
I reach out to so many people. I give my heart, my all to everyone. I hold no grudges. But I must not be good enough to be anybody’s friend or worthy to love as a family member. If your own flesh and blood don’t like you and the body of Christ couldn’t give a toss about you either then what hope do you have.
It’s always been a very lonely road.
I can completely relate to everything you said in your post. I too have no one in my close family that I talk to. It has been a totally painful walk with Christ and have wondered like you if it’s just me. I do believe that Satan has a way of discouraging us as believers that no one cares for or about us. Even though we know this is not true, when we experience this kind of rejection and loneliness it just seems so hopeless, yet now Jolene explained it in a way that we all can relate too!! Praise GOD for her and her dedicated ministry to give us each other and hope for our future relationships to end our lonely realms….. I pray? that you find the friendships and family relationships your precious heart desires!!!
Warmly, Jeannine B.
I really am in need of a real Christian sister to connect with spiritually and to pray with and for. After reading your post I’m praying for guidance in selecting a Christian sister.
I really needed this! I think your four steps were super practical. I hope to spend this summer cultivating friendships. Thank you.
Wow. This is so timely for me!! We moved a little over a year ago and I haven’t made any friends and it’s taken us awhile to find a church we clicked with. They both have just happened. I literally just made a new fiend LAST NIGHT. even better our husbands are fast friends and have already hung out a few times.I’m really excited about this new friendship and can tell she is too. We’re already trying to make plans to hang out again. Yes we both have kids and I have a 2 mos old and a 3 year old who(praise God) still naps. But it’s been hard lately to click with someone I am happy to hear your encouragement and good advice. I know that my marriage will benefit from me having a girl friend as well. TY
During a very difficult time in my life, it was my sisterhood that sustained me, encouraged me, prayed with and for me! I was not the only one going through difficult times so even in my despair, I was able to give back in return… Truly these women have made me a better person from their example and guidance and I know whole heartedly that it was God who brought them into my life.
Thank you Jolene for this article. I have felt the isolation and solitude that comes from doing online ministry and had the same kind of thoughts, especially because my background is vibrant “real-life” ministry for many years.
Recently I started doing my own small meetups, one-on-one coffees with my sisters and it’s as powerful as you say. I loved your points, such good reminders for me in this season. Many blessings to you!
I needed this. I am learning to live a life without a workplace. Health has taken over. I know I need to socialize more but am not a real social “bug”.
Being a friend I can do. Being a Chiristian friend is an awesome social fun thought. Why not a once a month coffee group for ones like me. Pray together for others! It always helps my soul.
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