Around this time last year I noticed a pattern among young women in our church. Whether they had been part of our church family their entire lives or
were new, these 20- and 30-somethings kept expressing the
same concern – they felt friendless.
Sure, they were friendly toward one another, but busy
schedules and perhaps some misconstrued preconceptions left them isolated. (Have you noticed how the
enemy likes to feed our minds with these lies to keep us
apart?) Each expressed a longing for deeper relationship
with her sisters in Christ – friendships
that didn’t just skim the surface but
nurtured their souls. They hoped for
friends who would take time to build
each other up, even amid carpool
schedules, doctoral dissertations and
the little things that make up the minutes of everyday life.
If you have read this column before,
you may have picked up on my passion
(and the mission of Women Alive) to
equip women to grow in their relationships with God and one another – to
become dedicated followers of Jesus
Christ, living out their God-given potential. As I listened
to one sister after another sharing her struggle to do just
that, I knew something had to be done.
I wasn’t sure how it would work or if anyone would
show up, but it seemed clear we needed a regular small
group Bible study for these young women. Young children would play alongside or perhaps we could recruit
childcare providers to give us the opportunity to connect
without distraction. We set the date, spread the news and
waited to see how God would work.
A few short weeks later, the Lord brought it to fruition!
Our first Bible study drew seven women in their 20s and
30s with diverse backgrounds, some of whom had never
met before that day, but all with a heart to grow closer to
God and each other. Two even made changes to their work
schedules to attend.
A few had been burned in past friendships and needed to see they could be honest and still be loved. Trust
needed to be built before vulnerability could follow. Kleenex was on hand each week as we let God work in our
Partners in the Gospel
God can use his people in surprising
ways to meet our need for friends.
hearts to set us free from areas of sin and struggle to find
true freedom in Christ.
Some are single, some married. Some are graduate students, others work from home and some serve their young
families by staying home. A private Facebook group keeps
us connected to share prayer requests, praise reports and
plans to get together.
I have been amazed and greatly encouraged to watch
my dear sisters reach out to one another to share their
hearts and lives. There is still much more room to grow,
but I delight in this beautiful thing God has begun.
No matter our age, we all need these supportive relationships that keep our focus on the Lord. I love how
Paul describes this in his letter to the Philippians as our
“partnership in the gospel” (Philippians 1: 5), as we serve
and share the gospel alongside one another.
To be women alive in Christ, we
must be women who break down
walls. Isolation occurs when we let
our pride or insecurities stop us from
reaching out. We must refuse to let
socioeconomics, relationship status,
fear, preconceived notions, or past
hurt hold us back from meaningful
friendships. We can’t expect someone
else to do it for us, but we can ask the
Holy Spirit to empower us to take the
Dear sisters in Christ, I am thanking
the Lord for you and the opportunity
to serve alongside women like you across Canada in partnership for the gospel. May we break out of our comfort
zones to support our sisters and nurture the faith of the
The prayer of my heart echoes that of Paul in Philip-
pians 1:3-6: “I thank my God every time I remember you.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
because of your partnership in the gospel from the first
day until now, being confident of this, that he who began
a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the
day of Christ Jesus.” FT
mICHeLLe Ar THur of Windsor, Ont., is
executive director of Women Alive
( www.womenalive.org). Find more of these
columns at www.theEFC.ca/WomenAliveF T.
WomenAlive n BY MIChELLE ARThUR
Each expressed a
longing for deeper
her sisters in Christ
– friendships that
didn’t just skim
the surface but
nurtured their souls.