As I prepared to share on this month’s topic, I struggled. Sisterhood has become a favorite buzz word, and I always want to be careful to remain relevant, but truthful. I also want to make sure I provide the proper assessment of what sisterhood should resemble. A lot of general truths come to mind, but often the missing ingredient is God. We determine sisterhood based on our desires and needs, but we miss the fact that God has provided a framework of what healthy sisterhoods should demonstrate.
One of my favorite examples of Godly sisterhood is Mary and Elizabeth. I know that they were cousins, but they demonstrated kinship beyond their genetic affiliation. Both women shared a unique experience regarding their pregnancy. Mary (a.k.a. the mother of Jesus) had a supernatural pregnancy while her cousin Elizabeth is having a miraculous one. If you read more about Elizabeth’s story, found in Luke 1: 5-25, you learn the miracle of Elizabeth’s story was going from being barren to with child later in life. When Mary and Elizabeth had their visit, found in Luke 1: 39-45, we see some powerful wisdom in their sisterhood interactions. There is a story beyond the surface, so let’s look a little more closely.
Mary and Elizabeth Didn’t “Hate” They Celebrated
Mary came to see Elizabeth, and she greeted her. Elizabeth didn’t look at Mary and say “You are stealing my thunder! Do you know how long it took for me to have a baby? You have been able to do so with ease.” Mary was as excited for Elizabeth, even though she was carrying the Messiah, as Elizabeth was for her. There was genuine joy and love between the two. They were both carrying special babies!
What does this mean about sisterhood? Godly sisterhood is celebratory. We don’t have to compete against what one woman has over another woman. We don’t have to compare our times and find reasons to disregard the beauty and value in our sister’s lives. We don’t have to put one another down just so we look good. As the adage goes, “Don’t hate. Congratulate!”
Elizabeth’s baby leaped when she came in contact with Mary
The scripture says that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, her baby leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41). Elizabeth wasn’t filled with malice. She wasn’t filled with regret. She was filled with joy! This joy I believe was beyond the significance of the children they were bearing. This interaction is a reminder that in looking at our sisterhood relationships something should “leap” inside of us too. Godly sisterhood should be fruitful, but it should make our babies (purpose) leap so to speak. Too often we are trying to compare our stories as women, and because we are insecure, we tend to become offended when those around us are moving towards greatness too. In fact, some people are afraid of genuine sisterhood because they are fearful that being connected to other women will steal their shine! As Mary and Elizabeth demonstrated, there was plenty of shine to go around.
Elizabeth spoke blessings over Mary
Godly sisterhood provides opportunities for honor and blessing. Elizabeth wasn’t stuck on herself. She took the time to honor Mary’s pregnancy and she spoke a blessing over her life. Let me take off my philosophical hat for a moment. This is where we often miss it. As women, we are natural communicators. We’d much rather spend time talking through things than trying to fix them. Instead of using her conversation to compare or condemn, Elizabeth chose to use her words for blessing. Many relationships are called “sisterhoods,” but they are far from Godly. Some are more gossip sessions where we tear down another person, who is not in our presence by the way, to “build ourselves up.” However, if we learn the importance of speaking life into our sisters, we would be blessed, and they too would be excited about the things God is doing in their lives also.
Time for the moment of truth. Do you see these attributes in your sisterhood relationships? If not, you might want to see what this all means. We are deserving of healthy relationships where we are inspired and can grow to become the best God wants us to be. We need relationships that are truthful but are not damaging to our development. We need relationships that celebrate our growth, but also provide room to celebrate the growth in our sisterhood networks.
I challenge you to look at this encounter and glean greater insight into what Godly sisterhood should be. If our friendships mimic the worlds, we are in trouble! The truth is that sometimes we are acting just like reality stars and wondering why we are miserable in our relationships. Could it be that we do have a sisterhood, but God is missing?
The closing message is that Godly sisterhoods are necessary. As we will continue to discuss these relationships aren’t one-sided (i.e., What’s in it for me). They can have a balance between giving affirmation and support and receiving support. Take some time this week to prayerfully assess your sisterhood relationships. In fact, connect with a sister or two and ask these questions. You may learn something new or see places where you can grow in your relationships.
Questions to Consider:
Do you have a Godly sisterhood? Why or why not?
Do your sisters make the purpose in you leap? Why or why not?
Are there any adjustments you need to make in your sisterhood network?
Are you the type of sister that you desire from others in your relationships?