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The Power and Importance of Sisterhood

True friendship isn’t just about having a nice person to go shopping with

I feel happy right now. I'm exhausted, but completely content. As I write this, the muscles in my right leg are still sore from the 200 miles of flexing them as I drove for a road trip. I haven't even unpacked. But I'm not anxious about the beginning of the workweek, nor am I crabby about the repairs my car probably needs from the abusive driving I tend to partake in. I'm just happy.

This weekend, I went to Iowa to see some of my best friends. These are the girls with whom I experienced college, and since we graduated, we've made a point every few months to spend a weekend together in one of our respective home states. When we started doing these weekends, I thought they'd surely fade into oblivion as we all got busier and our lives became more hectic. Instead, I've been surprised to discover we've started having these weekends more often, and they've gotten better and more meaningful with each visit. The truth is, the more distance we feel from one another in our lives, the more homesick we are for what we experience when we are together: a sisterhood.

My own sisters taught me everything I know, from how to flawlessly apply mascara (you have to move the brush side to side, not just up and down), to how to flirt (the hair flip is completely useless), to how to have integrity in my relationships with God and others. They taught me about the world, and they tried their hardest to protect me from the bad stuff. What they may have never realized is that the most important lesson they ever taught me was the lesson of sisterhood: the importance of deep female friendships that can exist in full-health across state lines, married/single lines, and the daily problems that can bring us down.

Thank God for sisters.

Before I was born, my mom used to pray that my two older sisters would be like David and Jonathan. First Samuel 18:1 says that "Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself" (NIV). They loved each other as brothers, and it was a beautiful relationship. God listened to my mom's prayer. By the time I came along, my sisters had developed a close-knit friendship that seemed impenetrable through my young eyes. Yet they somehow made room for me, even if I was the most obnoxious thing to come out of 1986. I could not be more grateful for this.

We all have sisterhood, or at least potential sisterhood, in our lives. Some of these women are blood-related, and some are by chance or choice, but we have them. However, sometimes as women, we can get so busy, and so perfectionistic, and well, let's face it, so competitive with other women, that we forget how to build those relationships. We forget how to know one another and how to build up one another. And maybe sometimes, we forget to care.

On the flipside, I think we also forget that we need sisters. A few months into my best friend's first year of marriage, she told me that one of the things she'd realized was that she still needed my friendship, because I played a unique role in her life. I was her sister. Last year, when my roommate and I had lived together for long enough to stop being so "polite," she announced to me that we'd officially entered into a sister relationship, because we could now tell each other when we were acting like selfish idiots. Sisterhood isn't just about having a nice friend to go shopping with—it's about having women in your life who will tell you, to your face, whatever it is that you need to hear. These are the women in our lives who are honest. These women are golden.

Sisterhood has some serious spiritual growth applications. James says that we must "confess [our] sins to each other and pray for each other so that [we] may be healed" (James 5:16, NIV). The Bible commands us to develop the kinds of friendships in which we can confess our sins to one another, and trust that those with whom we are confessing will not judge us, but instead, will lift us up and pray for healing from our sins. God gave us friendships and told us to live in community with one another, not simply so that we won't get lonely, but so we can help one another grow, and get one another through the rocky places we all face on our spiritual paths.

So here's my question: Do you have women, sisters, in your life with whom you can honestly and openly share your life? If not, what's stopping you?

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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