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Soul Sisters

4 ways to foster spiritual friendships.
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I love carrot cake and hate small talk. Cheri craves ice cream and works out religiously. Friends for more than 20 years, we're two Starbucks-drinking, Levi-wearing, munchkin-rearing friends.

But when Cheri and I mention we're on a "spiritual journey" together, people often give us blank stares. We suspect they're imagining us at Bible studies and weekend retreats. Some of those images ring true, but faith-filled friendship is more about sharing the rough-and-tumble of ordinary life than practicing spiritual piety.

Jesus and his 12 stinky fisherman friends spent more time at the beach than at a synagogue. Their hillside picnics probably felt more like church than most days at the temple. Every social gathering was a feast of friendship and faith. Even today, a circle of friends—with Christ at the center—is one of God's desires for his church. He continually sows seeds of community, whether we're scheduling play dates or coffee breaks, joining book clubs or Bible studies. Yet too often we rely more on our frenetic pace than on faith-inspiring friendships to serve our souls.

In their book Friends for the Journey, Madeleine L'Engle and Luci Shaw describe friendship as a gift "given to you—holy, happy, tough, tender, wild, wacky, a sacrifice, and a sacrament." Finding soul sisters means becoming more intentional about spiritual friendship. Cheri and I have discovered these important ways to foster it.

1. Cheri: Open your heart and mind. Start by asking God to put people in your life who'll inspire your faith and nourish your soul. And be persistent about putting yourself in the presence of people you want to learn from—even if they're different from you.

When Sally and I first met as roommates at college, we were obvious opposites. Sally had jet-black hair and an operatic voice; I'm more introverted by nature. Though we shared little in common, we sensed there were things we could teach each other. So together we attended campus concerts and took train trips into the nearby city. Over that year—and the years that followed—God surprised us with the gift of being more than just sisters in Christ, but friends for the journey. It still surprises us how my introversion teaches Sally to live in the moment and wait on grace, and how her boisterous spirit nurtures my adventurous side. Together we're able to experience the full spectrum of a faith-filled life: stillness and movement, prayer and play.

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Displaying 1–3 of 14 comments

isabellah momanyi

May 26, 2011  8:06am

Dear friend , Greetings in the name of Jesus .Thank you for your love and the work God has given you .We are a small group of believers here kisii kenya .I am saved since 2007 i was appointed as a church elder and a minister of God in these group because the work is growing and their is need to expand ,it is our prayer to get friends like you for encouragement and advise .I am a leader of two congregation and our request to you to join your ministry and expand working together here Kenya.Happy to hear from you.. Yours kennedy and Isabellah

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Abigail

March 20, 2011  1:09pm

Thank you my sister for sharing your heart. This article is important, and encouraging, and helps to remind us that true friendships are required, as no man is an Island. It also reminds us to honor and celebrate our friends, by putting Christ's love which is shed abroad in our hearts, to action, doing the kind of things, like you wrote about. You never know how many hearts you have reached with God's love, and have touched their lives. You have touched mine. God bless you and your family.

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folake

March 27, 2008  2:01am

I had a soul sister who i share my entire heart with we went to high school together and we are happily married though we apart geographically but we are still together because our husbands are also soul brother what a joy to have her as a sister.

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