When talking with a sister in Christ recently and this topic came up, I thought it would be good to share some of the benefits and delights of having these kinds of friendships here on the blog.
Friendships with Equals
We all know the joys of sharing with like-minded sisters in Christ of our own age. Giggles and late night girl chats, similar interests, and finding kindred spirits. Girls our own age are often going through many of the same things we are and it's nice to know that you're not alone sometimes. We can always be learning from one another as we strive to worship and honor the Lord in all things.
The Lord can use our peers to grow our character. As a writer on Meditations of His Love, I work weekly with girls all who are near to my own age. We have different tastes but I'm grateful that the Lord has kept us all close, helping us to focus on how we are alike in Christ instead of on our differences."Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17
Many times God has used these and other girls around my own age as a tool to teach me or to change my heart. I've had years without such friendships, and after years of praying I'm thankful that God has hand-picked some beautiful sister's in Christ for Jessica and I to fellowship with.
I think we need to be cautious however that we don't only have friendships with girls our own age. Though it took time, I've found such delight in sharing friendships with women older than I and in being there for girls younger than myself.
Friendships with the Younger
As an oldest child and the oldest girl, I have not always gotten along with my younger siblings. My sister and I especially fought quite a lot growing up - I think that was a great deal my fault, but I'll leave that for another post. The point is, that I've learned (am learning) to be patient with her, knowing the Lord is working in her character as He is in my own, and that takes time.
All girls need and desire the guidance of older young women to talk with and show them real-life examples of what being a godly woman looks like. We are the next generation, raising the following generation after us. This is our training ground, girls!! This is the time we need to be involved in making an impact in the lives of young girls who will grow up to be mothers someday (some all too soon).
Friendships of older women with younger women is a biblical example:
"The aged women likewise...that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." ~ Titus 2:4-5
There are the benefits for us as older girls as well, in that we can be humbled and reminded of how far the Lord has brought us in our own walk. In talking with younger girls, hearing of there struggles, I'm reminded of my own and can see God's hand on my life as He's guided me from where these girls are to where I am now. I find myself learning a lot from my younger friends...they are wise and often give new insight into God's Word with their young passionate hearts that are so willing to serve the Lord. :)
Therefore, we as young women must do our part by taking the younger girls under our wings and helping to guide them in their girlhood and growing up years! Befriend them, love them, and be there for them through the tough times of growing up, and the Lord will use it in your own life in many ways.
Friendships with the Older
Though I haven't had as much opportunity to gain older friendships, the few I have had I have treasured. There is such wisdom gleaned from talking with women older than I. They have experienced not only what I am going through at my age, but well past that, and have the years of walking with the Lord to teach and encourage me with.
I realized that since I am older now this age group of women who are in their 30's are just above me in age, making them more like big sister's! It's such a delight to have their friendships to encourage me in my faith and talk to when I need some wisdom.
I think there are times as younger girls it can be easy to grow afraid that the older girls won't like you, won't want to friend you, or that you could have nothing to offer to the friendship because you are not both in the same season of life. However, in my experience there are many older girls willing to be friends on closer terms if they knew of your interest. So step out and be brave! Ask questions and look to them as
Our dear mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and motherly-mentors are here to help us as well and teach us, but perhaps we are not having a spirit that is willing to learn? Maybe it's time to be ready to listen and slow to speak.
Over the years I've grown to love sharing in conversations with young mom's and older women. I have so much of life ahead of me and listening to their conversations...their joys and sorrows, their struggles and delights of womanhood makes me feel more prepared for the future. Hearing birthing stories is not exactly what we as single girls like to hear, yet at the same time I have learned to be less scared of what motherhood and being a wife might be like because some of those fairytale concepts we girls get into our heads have been exchanged for real-life examples of the beauty and joy (and yes, pain too) of adult womanhood is like.
Besides the life lessons, these older woman have so much godly wisdom to share with us younger girls! If we submit ourselves to their teaching instead of pushing them away, we'd have so much more to add to our experiences and knowledge. It's a gift! A wise young woman listens and learns from the counsel of those who are older than she is. This is the way beautiful way that God has designed it to be.
So, younger girls, seek out the friendships of older girls and be willing to ask questions and learn from them! Don't be afraid that because you are younger than they, that you will have nothing to offer the the friendship. Some of my best friends are younger than I am!
Food For Thought:
Mother's take notice of this...are you cultivating these kinds of friendships in your girls? Are you giving them opportunities to interact with women of all ages in various settings? Why not host a ladies tea inviting ladies and girls to enjoy the fellowship of being together? Or perhaps work with your girls on a project with other women such as a clothing or food drive, helping with a church event, or helping a young mom/elderly woman with some house cleaning this spring? :)
Older young women, are you keeping an eye out for younger girls you can minister to and befriend? It's all about making time. Don't forget that you are an important part of helping the next generation to live for the Lord!
Young ladies, are you tending to befriend only those of your own age? Perhaps it's time to branch out and learn the joys of talking with mothers and the elderly, and of girls younger than yourself. Take a younger "sister" with you on a babysitting job so she can learn beside you and have time with you. Invite a big sister, a mother, or an elderly woman to visit with you at your house or out at a nice cafe' spot for a chat - it will refresh both of you!
Don't be afraid to step out of your age group...
...you'll be missing something special and beautiful if you do.
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