Aren’t you thankful for girlfriends? I know I am. They’ve picked me up when I’ve been down, and set me straight when I’ve needed an attitude adjustment. Two of my neighbors really showed me how this thing called “friendship” is done. Here’s their story.
Looking out my den window I noticed two of my neighbors puttering slowly down the street. Ernestine, with her bald head snuggled in a woolen cap, held tightly to Patti’s supporting arm. Patti’s chestnut hair, just two inches long, shone like a victor’s crown of a cancer survivor.
The previous year, Patti discovered she had breast cancer. For three months she endured chemotherapy followed by seven weeks of radiation. As God would have it, her final treatment fell on Thanksgiving Day. Yes, she had much to be thankful for—a full life, a loving husband, and Ernestine Nevils, her new next-door neighbor who had moved in two years before.
During Patti’s cancer treatment, Ernestine was right by her side, an extension of Jesus’ hands and feet providing love, encouragement, and support. One year after her final radiation treatment, Patti was given the opportunity to return the kindness to Ernestine.
A trip to the doctor revealed that Ernestine had lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes. Now Patti was the nurturer. She took Ernestine to her first chemotherapy session and explained what to expect. She told Ernestine what to eat, where to have a wig made, and how to deal with depression.
David had Jonathan.
Paul had Barnabas.
Naomi had Ruth.
Mary had Elizabeth.
Let’s look at Mary for a moment. Remember the day the angel, Gabriel, made a shocking announcement to Mary? “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35 NIV).
And what were the next words out of Gabriel’s holy mouth? “Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:36-37 NIV).
Isn’t it interesting that right after the angel told Mary her news, he told her about Elizabeth’s news? God knew that Mary was going to need a friend…a friend to affirm her, encourage her, and yes, prophesy over her. He also knew that she was going to need to watch Elizabeth’s pregnancy and delivery so she would be prepared for her own.
Oh sister, God knows that we need godly girlfriends to walk alongside us during difficult days and stressful seasons.
The Bible tells us, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2 NIV). The Greek word for burden used here, barē, means an excessive weight, over burden, trouble, or heaviness. I think of it as an overwhelming burden we feel we just can’t carry alone.
Jesus is our burden bearer, but sometimes He intends to provide that relief by giving us the ability to help one another.
In Galatians 6:5 Paul says, “Every man shall carry his own burden.” So, which is it? This Greek word translated burden in verse 5 is phortion and is more like a pack carried by one person. In other words, we all have a responsibility to carry ordinary burdens, but when it is a barē burden like in verse 2, we need each other.
As I watched Patti and Ernestine make their way down the street that chilly November day, I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving for Girlfriends in God… friends with whom we can be His strong arm when a burden is too heavy to bear alone and His voice when a friend has forgotten the words to the song in her heart.
Dear Lord, I am so grateful that You designed women to live in relationship with one another. Open my eyes to see someone who needs a dose of Your love today and give me the wisdom to know how to be an extension of Your grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Who is one woman in your life who has helped you carry a heavy burden?
Honor her today by clicking on comment below and saying, “I am thankful for ________.
One of the ways we can help carry someone’s burden is by offering encouraging words. A word offered at just the right time may make the difference between someone finishing well or collapsing along the way. To learn more about how to use your words to speak life, check out my book and study guide, The Power of a Woman’s Words, How the Words You Speak Shape the Lives of Others. Also, check out my list of words to speak and to avoid to husbands, children, adult children and friends on the FREE RESOURCES tab of my website.
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