“Next week: Pride and Prejudice night!” My roommate announced from the living room last week. I was more than on board with this idea.
Every Friday night is ‘theme night’ – Western night, Baseball night, Christmas night – complete with circumstantially correct food, themed movie, and sometimes… costumes! Since last night was Friday, I made some English scones, Susan bought pound cake, biscuits, and cheese dip and we sat around Pride & Prejudice drinking Darjeeling tea with the best of them (even Mr. M managed to invite himself, but was only permitted to attend if he dressed up like Mr. Darcy).
“You know what,” I said, breaking off a recent round of discussion in era-appropriate English accent. “We’re pretty much a really small, awesome club.”
“Yeah, we are.” said Susan enthusiastically, sipping her tea.
I think every woman deserves her own really small, awesome club. As mentioned in my post, 5 Ways to Make and Keep Girlfriends, friendships among women can be very evasive. We must be both hospitable and discerning, reaching out to those around us while preserving our inner circle for those women of God who will build us up in our walk with Him. That said, I believe there are five friends every woman needs in that inner circle. Some of these overlap each other, some virtues are found all in one friend, and often we can’t have all of these at once – but nevertheless, they are each precious and valuable assets to a woman pursuing holiness!
The Advisor: Woman of Wisdom
There is worldly knowledge, and there is wisdom. The two cannot be confused.
A true advisor bases her advice on the wisdom of God, which comes from outside this world and possesses all that is necessary to navigate what life throws our way. Typically, women with this kind of wisdom are older and more experienced. These women have lived life long enough to know more than principles of godliness – they know how it works out in daily life. I am fortunate to have many ‘women of wisdom’ around me, some young and some older, some married and some single. Each one is a trusted friend I can go to for biblical guidance.
For many of us the number one ‘woman of wisdom’ in our life is our own mother. This is a great blessing! I am fortunate to have my mom, plus many of her friends who I can trust for good advice. There are women who I know I can go to for advice on marriage; there are some I go to for advice on finances; there are some I go to for advice on home management. God has gifted them with different abilities and experiences that contribute to their guidance toward me. This is the correct application of Titus 2:3-5:
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
I often discuss with one of my dear friends how very lacking this verse is in its application through today’s church. Many older women fear they are ill qualified to teach younger women, thinking they need the training or ministerial experience to do so. This is not necessarily true! Your life experience as a wife, mother, and a Christian are enough qualifications in themselves. You can use those to teach younger women what it means to truly love their families, to control themselves in their habits, to be pure and blameless, not idle or lazy, and to honor their husbands in all things. This kind of training empowers women to be excellent in the calling God has given them. What a blessing it is to have women of wisdom training the next generation in these virtues!
The Adventurer: Woman of Spirit
She’s the girl who records everything in pictures. She’s the one who suggests the weekend road trip, finds the flight ticket deal, or pulls out a coupon to your favorite restaurant. She’s game for anything! If you have a serious streak (like me) these kinds of women bring a needed lightheartedness to the relationship.
It is a misnomer that godly women can’t have fun. This ‘myth’ is rooted in the definition of ‘fun’: it doesn’t need to be after midnight, and it doesn’t need to involve a drunken rendezvous or wild shopping spree. It is perfectly possible for good women to have a great time together while still honoring God and those around them.
Mr. M and I believe it is healthy, if not necessary, for both husband and wife to take time with their same-sex friends apart from one’s spouse. While this is something specific to our beliefs and relationship, we find it healthy to maintain relationships with our men and women friends by taking an evening every one or two weeks to have coffee or go out together. For me, that usually entails going out for dinner or coffee, going on a budgeted shopping trip, or taking a weekend trip with a girlfriend. For him, it means bowling, disc golf, or playing cards with the guys an evening every few weeks.
Taking time to invest in girlfriends, regardless of marital status, cultivates relationships that last. Having an ‘Adventurer’ friend makes this easier as life grows busier over time!
The Companion: Woman of Loyalty
I met one of my best friends in the dining hall at Liberty. All we knew about each other was that we were both from Michigan and both had been home schooled, and from that chance meeting developed a friendship of four years. In a month she will stand beside me in my wedding to Mr. M! Despite distance, travel, her intense nursing degree program, and my own career changes, we remained friends. She is the kind of companion who remains loyal regardless of circumstances!
There are some friends who are available only when it is convenient for them. With as busy as life is, we must be understanding when plans change, but the intentional consistency of a friend is so valuable! A woman of loyalty keeps in touch even if she can’t see her friend face to face. This can be by email, handwritten letter, Facebook message, or phone!
As important as finding a woman of loyalty is being a woman of loyalty. Keeping in touch is difficult when work, school, home, and husband keep us busy – but it doesn’t take long to drop a note in the mail, send a quick email, or even text a message to a friend. In a concentrated effort to be better about birthdays, I wrote all my close friends’ birthdays down on index cards organized by month. At the beginning of each month, I try to write out all the cards, put them in envelopes, and stamp them ready to go for the week of their special day! Becoming a companion – whether to our girlfriends or to our man – takes effort. It doesn’t just happen. We can learn from our ‘women of loyalty’ by cultivating care for the girls in our lives!
The Listener: Woman of Selflessness
There are many days when the biggest change I can anticipate upon my marriage to Mr. M will be the absence of my roommate, Susan. After two years with her, I have admittedly been dreading the day when we no longer will live together (she wasn’t keen on my invitation to reside in our guest room!).
One of Susan’s greatest strengths is her patient ability to listen. I greatly respect and look up to her in this area for the example she sets. Susan takes time to hear people out. She not only hears, she responds, and much like the ‘woman of wisdom’ she offers advice based on her experience, knowledge, and education. An overlooked quality of listening is selflessness. Selfish people struggle to listen (I do not hesitate to admit I am one of these), because their time and energy are too consumed on personal priorities to pause for others.
A woman who listens possesses a strength of spirit willing to defer her own desires in order to hear out her friend. I am in awe of those women in my life who do this continually for me – there are several of them – and am gradually learning to do the same. Listeners ask questions and want to know the answer. They aren’t quick to offer opinions and advice until after their friend has spoken. Women of selflessness like this emulate Christ because God is a listener. Every time we pray, God listens to us. He does not only hear, he acts and answers. Women who listen portray Jesus to us in their kind silence and well articulated words.
The Sister: Woman of Faithfulness
I have three sisters, and Mr. M has six. This means that upon our marriage I will have NINE sisters! I consider myself very blessed!
My post about sisterhood, 8 Ways to Relate to Your Sister humorously details the ins and outs of sisterhood. I wish every girl could grow up with sisters, with all the fights, late night talks, and sharing rooms. But for those who missed out on this privilege, you can replicate some of these experiences with your girlfriends. Girlfriends who value Christ in their personal lives will possess the kind of consistency, faithfulness, and devotion to make them true sisters in Christ. Because that is the beauty of sisters: no matter what happens, they are still your blood. And in Christ, all Christian women share His blood with us.
Finding and being a godly friend has no age limit. I encourage young women to pursue friendships with older women – mothers, wives, and mentors – in addition to friendships with women their own age. Being surrounded by women in different stages of life allows us to broaden our perspectives on godliness across the decades.
So take a moment today and think: who are your five friends? Who are the women who fit these descriptions in your own life – and whose life do you touch in one of these capacities? Tell that friend today how much you love and appreciate her for the light of Christ she brings to your day!