By: Hannah Pritchard
As women, we often struggle with friendship. We crave the feelings of being seen, known, and understood. We desire to have a friend who can be counted on to walk beside us in both the mundane and pivotal moments and we search for this type of person. We ask, “Do I have any of these friends in my life?”
We are asking the wrong question.
We so easily go down the list in our heads, trying to find a perfect friend match. Then, in our mental search, we feel defeated when we can’t seem to find anyone who measures up.
It’s time to rephrase the question. Instead of asking, “do I have any friends like this?”, we need to be asking, “Am I a friend like this?” The hearts of the women around you are deep wells just waiting to be filled with the living water of Christ. Here are 5 practical ways to embrace friendship as Jesus did in His time here on earth.
1. Be intentional about initiating love and friendship with others, even if they can’t reciprocate
Jesus tells us in Luke 6:27-36 to “do good to those who hate you”, “pray for those who abuse you”, and to “love your enemies”, “expecting nothing in return.” The position of His heart was always to reach out to others first, especially those that were broken. We can practice this by sending a loving card, note, or text to a woman who has never taken the initiative to reach out to us first. By selflessly choosing purposeful connection, showing genuine interest, and asking intentional questions we can pursue the hearts of other women and serve them well, even if in their brokenness, they can’t do this for us.
2. Find joy in lovingly shepherding others towards salvation, without ignoring their sins
Jesus pursued depth with the woman at the well, while she was still entangled deeply in darkness. He made her feel known and seen when all others cast her out and questioned His ways (John 4). Jesus also showed this kind of all- consuming love in His interactions with the woman caught in adultery. She was worthy of death, but Jesus loved her in that moment, intervening on her punishment and urging her to go and sin no more (John 8). We can emulate this by looking for opportunities to mentor younger girls and women, particularly those that don’t know the savior. Invest your time and energy into a girl whose soul is thirsty. This might look like showing up to her soccer game or chatting over cookies, but make the time. Verbally call out her strengths and gifts, without dismissing her sinfulness, while lovingly pointing her toward Christ.
3. Empathize with others in the midst of their struggles
Jesus displayed raw emotions when Lazarus passed away and mourned with those around him. Scripture says in John 11:33 that Jesus was “deeply moved in His spirit and greatly troubled.” (John 11). We can put this into practice by making a meal for a sister who has just had a baby or lost a loved one. Sit in silence with a friend when there are no words to say, offering the gift of presence. Work on truly “rejoicing with those who rejoice” and “weeping with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
4. Create moments for quality time and become passionate about hospitality
Jesus frequently placed himself in situations with sinners and encouraged others to do so as well. He pursued Zacchaeus and initiated wanting to spend time with him, even though all others put him in a category of isolation and hatred(Luke 19). Jesus also pursued this radical type of community when scripture mentions that He and His disciples “reclined at the table” with “tax collectors and sinners.” (Mark 2). Hospitality, Hospitality, Hospitality. In practice, this is so important in the life of a believer. True heart transformations often happen nestled in a cozy living room with coffee. Invite a hurting sister into your home, not just friends who fit into your comfort zone. In fact, invite all kinds of women into your home. This is where raw gospel conversations will take place. Through making people feel welcome and loved, salvation often follows. This does NOT have to look pinterest-worthy with candles and pier 1 decor. God will honor your heart and the simplicity of the act of welcoming.
5. Make space for at least one close, believing, sister in your life
Jesus had a set-a-part group of individuals that he got to the deep stuff with.. In John chapter 15 Jesus calls His disciples His friends and challenges them to “lay down their lives” and “love one another.” This lets us know that having other Godly friends is important and life-giving. A friendship between two believers is a fresh drink of water and is also starting point to further the gospel as a team. Don’t remain in hiding. Take the step to reach out to other strong believers. Network with your church community and other Christ-filled sisters. Offer love and friendship to other believing friends, but also break down the walls in your own heart and be receptive to their efforts towards you.
Hannah is a wife to Simon and mama to Theodore Samuel. She began walking with Christ at age 17 and He is radically reshaping her world daily. She currently lives in a small town in northern Maine. Alongside her husband, she leads the middle/high school youth group at her church. Hannah is passionate about reaching women in all life stages with the gospel and particularly loves empowering young girls to pursue Christ. Her heart is stirred towards hospitality and she finds much joy in coffee cup conversations with other women in her home.