I spent a large amount of my adult years limiting the amount of friendships I developed. At some point, (I’m not sure when) I decided that I could only have 2 or 3 close friends at a time. I would say “I prefer quality over quantity” or “There’s no way you can have real friendships with so many people.” I’m an only child, so I’m very comfortable being alone. I actually need alone time in order to be at my best. Because I’m comfortable being alone, I convinced myself I didn’t need to enlarge my friendship circle. I couldn’t see the benefits of having several close friendships. I thought I was satisfied with my quality few.
One of the ways I limited my number of friendships was avoiding being vulnerable. There were very few people who had the opportunity to see the real Chrystol. I kept my heart very well guarded. Due to my insecurities, I didn’t think most people would accept me if they really knew who I was. My lack of intimate friendships wasn’t due to the lack of trying on other people’s part. Women would try to befriend me. They would talk to me about any and everything, sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings and I’d share just enough to appease them. So I became a friendly sounding board to some, but rarely a friend.
My opinions about friendships changed after I got married. Our first year was a struggle and I felt very alone. And this kind of alone was different from what I had experienced before. I felt alone and I yearned for someone to talk to, ask questions of, and share my feelings with. But I knew I couldn’t share my issues with just any friend. I needed a successfully married friend or two. So God prompted me to join a group at my church called WIVVES. That group opened my eyes to the power of a sister circle. We were a group of 8 married women of different ages, at different stages of life and marriage. We discussed EVERYTHING associated with marriage. I allowed myself to open up and be vulnerable with those women. It was a beautiful experience. That was the beginning of me creating my sister circle. I made the decision to be intentional about developing meaningful, intimate friendships with the right women. I am still very particular about who I allow in my circle. I still believe in quality, but I realize I can have both quality AND quantity.
My sister circle is so beautiful because of its diversity in terms of ethnicity, age, location, background, personalities and careers. It’s a joy to have so many different women in my life that I genuinely love. What’s even better is that they love me back. They love me for me. God has used every woman in my circle (past and present) to grow me closer to the woman He created me to be. They are my mirrors. They show me the best and worst of who I am. Some of my sisters trigger me in very uncomfortable but necessary ways. They challenge me to go beyond what I want or think I can do or be. My sisters won’t let me stay down when I fall. They remind me of my worth when I don’t see it. They cheer me on, even when I’m not at my best. They pray for me and my family. They forgive me when I mess up because they know my heart.
The journey of womanhood is one that is constantly changing as our lives and roles change. My sister circle helps me navigate my journey. My older sisters have helped me avoid certain pitfalls or advised me on which turn to take. My cohort sisters walk with me. We support each other. We lean on each other. We laugh with each other. My younger sisters inspire me. They give me the privilege of imparting my wisdom to them. I am also motivated to be a good example for them. But the best part is that at any time, our roles in the circle can change. I’ve advised my older sisters. My younger sisters have been my support. There is a constant flow of love, support and encouragement.
If you don’t have a sister circle, I encourage you to begin creating one. Seek out and accept friendship. Open your heart to women that want to see you succeed in life. Release those relationships that no longer serve you or your future. It’s okay to let go. As your life changes, don’t be afraid to add new friends. There are times God will bring people back into your life. Welcome them with open arms. Let your sisters see you, the REAL you. Let them love you. You will be forever changed for the better.
A circle of women may just be the most powerful force known to humanity. If you have one, embrace it. If you need one, seek it. If you find one, for the love of all that is good and holy, dive in. Hold on. Love it up. Get Naked. Let them see you. Let them hold you. Let your reluctant tears fall. Let yourself rise fierce and love gentle. You will be changed. The very fabric of your being will be altered by this, if you allow it. Please, please allow it. -Jeanette LeBlanc