Sisterhood, Now More Than Ever!
We need sisterhood now more than ever in a semester that looks different and can be very isolating. You deserve this reminder: You have value in this organization and the value you give to this organization is equal if not more!
Dr. Christina Watlington, a licensed clinical psychologist, points out the benefits of sisterhood in this article. She defines sisterhood as, “ an emotional bond between women, not always related by blood. In a sisterhood, female friends tell the truth, honor each other, and love each other like sisters. And when you have this type of bond, there are a countless number of benefits.” She lists several of those benefits: “Sisterhood can have a calming effect. Female bonding helps to manage stress.” “A sisterhood helps us to live better. Studies have found that as women age, we are less likely to develop physical impairments and more likely to lead a joyful life when we have lots of friends.” “Sisterhood cures loneliness. Loneliness can increase blood pressure, stress, depression, and anxiety...When we feel connected to other people, we are buffering ourselves against the detrimental effects of loneliness.” “A sisterhood gives us a sense of belonging and connection…[which helps] us to feel safe, loved and accepted for who we are.” A sisterhood can make us unstoppable. When women work together, we succeed together. A powerful quote that I love says, ‘Girls compete with each other. Women empower each other.’” She closes her article with equally encouraging words: A powerful sisterhood is based on how you feel NOT the number of girlfriends that you have. Real sisterhood impacts who we are. Real sisterhood provides you with peace in the midst of a storm. Real sisterhood challenges you to be your best. Real sisterhood is based on trust, loyalty, forgiveness, compassion and dependability. Make it a goal to be a better friend and to value your meaningful female friendships. It is good for your mind, body and soul. [emphasis mine] I’m sure that depiction of sisterhood sounds awesome to everyone, but the truth is that we all struggle to make that ideal a reality. But, at the end of the day, sisterhood is built over time. So, naturally, it’s important to spend time with each other! Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” It’s easy to neglect meeting when things don’t feel the same with a “virtual event.” But the real impact is connection. And, to build a friendship and subsequently a sisterhood, you have to have time together. You have to take time to meet and not neglect that, to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” 1 Peter 4:8 also helps us focus on what it means to exercise true friendship, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” When we are friends, we stop seeing the flaws in one another and start seeing the good things. We want to encourage the good things. I challenge you to be a friend even in the face of times when someone is not being especially friendly. Again, spend more time with that person and discover the things that make them enjoy life and do those things together. The Bible is very clear how a bond between and among humans is a very blessed thing. Ecclesiastes 4:8-12 testifies, There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Sisters, we know that our God is relational even in His own identity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Likewise, we can be a reflection of Him in how we foster our sisterhood. I encourage you to, again, spend time with each other! That is the bottom line of the beginning of how to encourage one another to build each other up. Not only do we know that there are benefits to sisterhood, we know it is a commandment of Jesus. John 15:12-13, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Laying down one’s life doesn’t always mean sacrificing one’s life for death, but can mean laying down your time, your talents, your resources, your listening ear, and more to give life to others. I certainly feel loved when others spend time with me, do something for me, share a good word—all the love languages Gary Chapman talks about! Putting love into action is that “how” in encouraging one another. Diversify these ways to figure out how to reach each other where they are. True--Sisterhood is hard to maintain. Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a [sister] is born for a time of adversity.” Emotions are out of whack, especially now with so much up in the air. A sister is for those times when things get hard. A sister is closer than a friend! Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Be that for each other: helping each other become better people, encouraging what we like out of one another, being each other’s biggest cheerleaders. True sisterhood doesn’t care about the frivolous things that this world sometimes places importance on. Being together casually and “being real” has more worth sometimes than we give it credit for. I hope this reminds you that you are worth friendship, pursuing sisterhood. Keep that in mind during this semester when things go awry or look different. Don’t neglect considering the impact you can have one another and the love you can share. I pray you have a reflective, introspective semester that binds you all in perfect unity under His perfect love. Don’t forget to reach out to your mentor for ideas, encouragement, and ways to keep morale up. Stay the course—what you have in front of you is worth it! And, working towards that ideal of Unity is hard work, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it or that God hasn’t called you to it. So, I hope you weather the storm, whether it’s emotional or physical separation or whatever. I pray that you will rely on God and learn to reach out to one another despite your flaws and differences in an honest, open and trusting way to build a better sisterhood always. I pray that you do not make friendships and sisterhood an idol or answer to all your troubles, but work towards it in faith that God will use it to His glory. I hope this blesses you today and brings you peace. We love you and are praying for you all in everything that you do for the Lord this semester! In Him, Claire McAuliffe
- Why do we have a tendency to withdraw when really we need community?
- Give an example of a time where someone stepped in at the right time to lift your spirits. What did they do or say?