30 Sep Friends as Sisters
SEPTEMBER IS FRIENDSHIP MONTH for REAL WOMEN with blogs, Dear Grace videos, and testimonies
By Ashley Chase and Alexie Driscoll
Growing up, Alexie and I (Ashley) always shared a room. Although we come from the same family, in many ways we are complete opposites. For one, we are six years apart and always had differing ideas of how to decorate our room. One time we even attempted to meet in the middle and paint two walls hot pink and two walls orange. I’m not sure either of us was ultimately very happy with the result. However, I have many memories of sitting on my bed reading in that room while Alexie played music and danced around. We made the space our own and grew to enjoy sharing it.
As we’ve gotten older, we’ve experienced less disagreement about personality quirks or interior design decisions and have instead learned some lessons about how to work out our differences to learn to bring out the best in each other.
The Bible tells us of another sister duo that were total opposites but had one thing in common: their faith. John 11-12 paints a portrait of two sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary is the more free-spirited sister who dances around in her room and plays music. Martha, on the other hand, is more structured and loves to read books while watching her sister dance around the room. They seem to have a strong relationship though, seeing as they live with each other and lean on each other for support after Lazarus’s death.
Their interactions with each other as well as with Jesus reveal some of the ways they followed Him together.
Prayer: When their brother falls ill, both sisters call for Jesus’ help (John 11:3), stating multiple times that they believe that He can heal Lazarus (11:21, 27). When faced with the very real possibility that their brother would die soon, they came together and sought God for their family, calling out in faith to Him like we do in prayer.
Reading Scripture: In John 11:24, Martha says that she knows her brother will rise again on the last day, revealing that she knows and believes in the Scriptures. She and Mary were very involved with Jesus’ ministry, and they could see that He was God because of both His Words that lined up with what they knew to be true and His works like raising their brother from the dead. Because of their familiarity with the Scriptures, they could help each other grow in faith.
Worship: This is one area in which the sisters differ, as we see Martha acting very professional in her interactions with Jesus as her Lord and Teacher (John 11:20-22) and sometimes getting distracted by serving (Luke 10:40) while Mary falls at Jesus’ feet when she sees Him and anoints His feet with oil (11:32, 12:3). Worship looks different for both of them, and they can each learn from each other’s example as Jesus honors Mary but corrects Martha (Luke 10:38-42).
Witness: Because of both of these women’s’ faith and Jesus’ faithfulness to answer their cry, many “believed in him” (John 11:45). They serve Jesus differently, Martha by preparing and serving food when He comes to her house and Mary by worshiping Him (12:1-3), but their combined efforts bring glory to Jesus and cause others to pay attention, ultimately leading to their salvation.
Mary is stronger in some areas of her faith than Martha and vice versa. This is true of nearly every relationship, and these four principles not only help to build good relationships with sisters, but also friendships and especially those wherein the other person is very different from you. I (Ashley) have found that the more I ask questions of my sister to try to understand how she thinks and sees the world, I see similarities in many of my friends, which helps me to empathize with them, whether they are saved or not.
Along with that, both sisters have different wisdom and knowledge to pass on to one another. God created relationships, wither that be a friendship or sistership, so that we could learn from one another, and have someone to connect to through shared experiences. I (Alexie) find it very easy to learn from my sister because we’re so different. We go through similar experiences, but in our own unique ways that the other can observe and think about how they would handle it. It’s even good for nonbelievers to watch or practice this, because it’s a reflection on how God originally made relationships to be.
We can always pray for unbelieving family and friends, as well as recite Scripture over them as another form of prayer as we witness to them and worship God as we walk with them and He comes to our aid. Although they made mistakes, Mary and Martha present us with some examples of why they were such a powerful sisterhood, and we have much to learn from their devotion to Jesus.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
What are some ways that you differ from other people you are in relationship with?
How can you use and pray for these differences to make your relationship stronger?
What’s something that you can learn from the other person, and watch something you can teach them?