Sunday, August 30, 2015

JOURNEY TO SISTERHOOD: Apologize, Already!!!

Something short of a miracle happened to me last week. Two sisters took me aside and apologized for possible wrongs done to me!  One, I had forgiven long ago.  The other, came as a shock, as frankly, I couldn't recall any incident or moment of discord.

I can't begin to tell you what the gesture meant to me.  I can only hope it was equally as humbling and freeing for them.  It started me thinking about the power of these two little words...I'm sorry!   Of course it needs to be sincere but is there any easier way to get on in our relationships after a misunderstanding?

Along with three other phrases: Please, Thank you, and I was wrong, we just might have the answer to World Peace! Here's what I've learned.

 First, an apology is not meant to assign blame or elicit retribution from an offending party. It's not about catching my sister friend in a vulnerable position and sadistically twisting the knife of guilt.  Giving back some of the pain I experienced.

  • IT ACKNOWLEDGES YOUR PAIN.  As a human you have feelings.  You exist as a person with God given rights and dignity.  When wounded emotionally and/or physically, the perpetrator violates both of these and depending on your vulnerability, your self worth may have suffered. 
  • IT RESTORES POWER TO THE INJURED. There are few things so devastating as to be in a position of powerlessness at the hands of another.  The loss of control and helplessness causes a fear and anxiety that's really hard to describe because it's different for everyone.
  • IT CLEARS THE WAY FOR DEEPER HEALING. I don't know a lot of women who wait around for an apology before moving on with their lives, but for a few this step is absolutely necessary.  An apology shows that there is remorse and may even allow for an explanation. The more details you have about the nature of an offense, the more you can learn from it and avoid the negativity that caused it.
  • IT COULD FACILITATE RECONCILIATION. I'm sorry will not fix every problem or heal every wound, but sometimes it is the beginning of the process that restores a relationship.  We must never underestimate the impact wounding has on us and others.  The collateral damage that occurs could take hours of prayer and spiritual counseling to help us become whole again.  Still, even if you never regain the warm and fuzzy you once had for a sister friend; the Grace of God will enable you to resume a cordial, even pleasant association honoring Him and the past you once shared.  Just ask the Lord to show you how!
Galatians 6:10 is a wonderful reminder:

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

JOURNEY TO SISTERHOOD: Can you Take the Truth?

I love that commercial where a woman asks her husband or maybe it's her boyfriend, "Do these pants make me look fat?" And he hurriedly crams a Twix candy bar in his mouth to keep from answering!  It just shows the slippery slope we all tread when trying to maintain good relations with people we care about.

It begs the question though: Is a friend truly a friend if she won't be honest with you?  The politically correct answer is, of course not! You want a true sister friend to be  comfortable and trust worthy enough to tell you the truth about yourself when it is needed.  But what happens when that's put to the test?  When she tells you something you don't want to hear and can't even believe!

I'm not talking about making judgment calls, character assassinations, or otherwise petty comments we women indulge in.  Just being brutally honest in order to protect you from harming yourself or another and desiring to see God's best for your life.

The truth is that we all have blind spots when it comes to admitting to things that put us in a bad light!  It might be our behavior, our attitude, sometimes even our loved ones.  All these are deeply personal and can trigger emotions in us so ferocious that it would make a football defensive linebacker cower down!

Very much like when driving, a blind spot is something very close and so obvious that it should be readily seen, but isn't.  In this case it is something we ignore because it is unpleasant or too difficult to deal with.  Now who can't relate to that?  But this is where a true friend is needed to help us out!  To give us perspective.  Take a look at Proverbs 27:6.

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy."

There is a two-fold interpretation of this saying from the Bible's Book of Wisdom, Proverbs.  First, it tells us that we can depend on a friend telling us the truth about ourselves in a trustworthy and reliable way.  She's not going to go behind our back and bad mouth us to someone else.  She's coming straight to the source!  That's actually the meaning of the Hebrew word emunah in this scripture.  It's literal meaning is "faithful".

But it also means that she does so with great risk!  She may wound you temporarily to bring out the good in a situation but takes the chance of losing your friendship and suffer the consequences of years of anger and bitterness if it is not received well!

Still, isn't it better to hear it from someone you love than in the streets?  That's where those phony friends (the kiss butt  enemies in the the verse) will take it.  They have no qualms about allowing you to live in the devastation of your blind spots then blind side you with insults and abandon you when you hit the wall! 

On our journey to learning what real sisterhood is all about.  Let's think about what matters most! Instead of gathering to ourselves silly sisters willing to tell us what we want to hear; let's find some mature women with enough love to tell us what we need to know, and back bone and patience enough to take it, when we go foul on them and lash out because we don't want to hear it!


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Monday, August 17, 2015

JOURNEY TO SISTERHOOD: Handling The Drama Queen

Why is it that just when a sister friend relationship starts coming together, the Drama Queen shows up?   It never fails somewhere between those wonderful fun-filled social activities and long chats of sharing, she makes her appearance!

One little comment gets taken way out of context and before you know comes the drama!  All of a sudden the conversation gets strange or even non-existent and when you ask what's wrong, the face drops to the floor, eyes water up and it all comes out...I never thought you would ever treat me like that...After all we've been through I thought for sure you would have my back!  Always over the top with everything normal stuff doesn't happen to a DQ, it's a national crisis in her life.

But Lord, you gotta love those Drama Queen Sisters.  I mean really, the Lord says you really HAVE TO!  I Corinthians 13:7 says this: Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

The best way to handle a Drama Queen friend is to not feed into her theatrics.  Down play the seriousness of the situation and although it will take a few times for her to get the message; it won't be long before she moves on to the next person.  Remember no Diva wants to play to an empty theater! It's no fun if she doesn't get the right response.

A second way, is to set limits to how long you will give them a listening ear.  If on social media, simply stop responding!  If you're face to face, find a way to shorten the conversation.  Move to another conversation as quickly as possible. Not rudely but firmly give your attention to another person in the room or even distance yourself by focusing on an activity that will take you away from the situation.  

Now of course a real Drama Queen will want to tag along or even hunt you down if you escape too quickly. But you can honestly tell her that this is time that you must spend by yourself to do some thinking and when isn't taking a break from the busyness of this world not warranted.  Even Jesus did this!  (Mark 1:35-36).

An opposite approach may also work.  You pick a time and place and actually spend some time with her!  These dear sisters are starving for attention, but seeking it in highly annoying and inappropriate ways!  Let her vent for a few minutes and then stop her with some thought-provoking questions.  Keep them rational and objective, free from emotion:

Did this really happen, just like that?  Have you prayed about it?  What three things could you do to address this issue?  The point is to try to reduce the emotional fuel behind all the theatrics and help her think through the issues.

Last but not least,  make sure the Drama Queen knows that she is not the only sister that you can connect with as a friend, companion, or acquaintance.  As much as she would like to believe that you simply cannot live without her, prove to her that her friendship although cherished will not be allowed to consume you emotionally or your time!

By all means, treat your Drama Queen sister with patience and tenderness.  Pray for her, pray with her but do not handicap her by feeding into a behavior that will eventually devastate all her relationships and actually pushes God off the throne of her heart.


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Sunday, August 9, 2015

JOURNEY TO SISTERHOOD: Bearing With One Another!

Bear ye one another's burdens...Galatians 6:2
                Me and you, us never part, 
                     Me and you, us have one heart, (Makidada)
                     Ain't no ocean, ain't no sea, (Makidada)
                     Keep my sister away from me...

(From the movie, The Color Purple, 1985, Warner Bros. Films)

I can't help it.  Every time I come across a rerun of this Stephen Spielberg film, I have to watch at least this part: Celie and Nettie's heart wrenching love expressed so poignantly in their clapping song.  It could be that it conjures up afresh, the love I have for my own sisters, all four are now with the Lord.

Somehow, all those things they used do that drove me up the wall, don't really matter. The personality flaws, annoying habits, and even the occasional underhanded schemes to get what they wanted is of no concern.  This fact remains...ride or die...we are sisters and not even eternity will change that!  Nothing will keep us apart!  Our relationship was not by personal choice but came down biologically through our parents...simply put, we're blood!  

This is not unlike our spiritual sisters which did not come by choice, but through our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We're also blood.  United and sealed with His blood throughout eternity (Ephes. 4:5-6).   Why then do we exhibit such intolerance, impatience, and down right hostility when offended by a Sister in Christ?  I understand that we are all human, with real feelings and emotions. It hurts when wounded by another Saint! But I also realize that none of us are ALWAYS operating in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).  Which means we're open to attack by another Christian at any time.  And by no means are we exempt from doing some sniping of our own. So get used to it!

Still the Bible refuses to give us a pass!  You know what will happen if you took that eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth adage literally (Matt. 5:38) both end up blind with no teeth!  God insists that for the sake of Spiritual Sisterhood that we learn to rejoice when persecuted (Matt. 5:11-12) and forgive those who wronged you (Ephes. 4:32). I know...I know, it sounds straight up crazy, counter intuitive, inane, even impossible....But doesn't it sounds just like Jesus?

Relationships are incredibly complex and none are so complex as those between women!  It takes work, it takes prayer.  But let me tell you if you can find a way to work it out, it is well worth the effort!  I'd like to start a little Sister Good will with a list on this blog.  Let's create some positive love language for sisters. I've put some thoughts down and I want to hear yours.  Please read and then add your own statements: 

 Send an email to: OR  scroll to the bottom of my blog page at  click on the pencil and the no comments will change to a writing space.  HERE WE GO!


1.  Will tell you about a good store sale even though you've just had a big argument! 

2. Listens quietly to your drama but won't let you hang up until she's prayed for you!

3. Gives you space to develop a relationship with others without getting offended! 

4.  Loves you enough to tell you when you're wrong and tries to get you back on track!