Monday, March 24, 2014

Christ-Directed Friendships

By Diane H.

What do we have to offer others as women who love Jesus? Many of us are busy women, either with jobs or with families. We look at our schedules and think, “There’s just no more time!” But really, who of us doesn’t want a friend? And who doesn’t want to be an encouragement to someone who just needs an ear, or advice, or to hear about what God has taught you along the way?

Often discipleship ministry just happens. It’s one of those things that develops, and you look up one day and realize – “God actually used me as His tool! How great is that?!” At other times, we have to be more purposeful and prayerfully seek someone to befriend – whether you are the one giving or the one receiving encouragement. That’s exactly what I would like to encourage you to do today.

When God gave the directive in Titus 2:4-5 for the older women to “encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored,” He wasn’t asking us to do anything that is unnatural to us! We ladies are relational beings! We love to be with others and interact and talk and learn from one another.

When I was newly married and then expecting my first child, I developed a friendship with a precious woman in our church. Joyce was a wife and mother of teenage boys, but most of all she loved Christ, and her love for Him was contagious. I remember camping out at her house for many afternoons and sitting on the stool at her kitchen bar to visit while she got dinner started. She would tell me what she was learning, and I would ask questions about marriage, about her Christian experience, about children, or about life in general. When Aaron was born, she and her husband were like surrogate grandparents to him because our parents lived so far away. Another way to describe our relationship could be a “Christ-directed friendship.”

For those of you who hear the term “mentoring” or “discipleship” and immediately think, “Oh, I could never do that! I don’t know enough Scripture or don’t know how to answer questions very well.” I implore you to open up your life and heart to let a younger woman share time with you! You will be enriched, you will be challenged to grow in wisdom, and you will blessed by her enthusiasm and desire to learn.

For those who would love to be on the learning end of a relationship like I just described, I heartily encourage you to seek out someone you admire or someone you are naturally drawn to and ask if you can get together sometime. Look in the areas at church that you frequent. Are you in the choir? Do your kids go to Awana? How about your care group? All of those venues are great and natural contact places for a new Christ-directed friendship!

Bible studies and special events are ministries that require a great deal of planning and organization. Discipleship is a ministry that is best done without an over-emphasis on structure and organization. As the coordinator for the Discipleship Ministry, I’m available to help ladies get together, to give suggestions as to topics to discuss, and to get the ball rolling if that would be helpful. I also hope to submit more articles on the blog in the future. If you are currently meeting with someone regularly, let me know so I can pray for you. And I would ask you to pray for this ministry in our church – that we would have a greater desire to come alongside one another to encourage and to learn from each other.