I’m sure the intention of the phrase, “chosen sister” is that of a sister in the flesh who is also a believer. And yet, for me, something else resonated which makes me want to take a little mind excursion into the value of friendships.
II John 13
The children of your chosen sister send their greetings. [NIV, 1984]
The second letter of John did not hold much new for me. I see it as a very concise review of his first letter as he writes on the importance of loving others, obedience to Christ, and protecting the Spirit from within from deceptions and deceptive people.
However, when I read the last phrase about the lady’s “chosen sister,” a deeper chord struck. I suppose it’s because I don’t have any blood sisters and like most women who don’t, wish I did. There is a bond between sisters that is unique.
On occasion, we all encounter a friend who becomes as close as a sister, or maybe even closer. Those friends were chosen: either by one another or, in the case of the Presence, chosen by God. These relationships are singular and should be cherished.
I have had a few such women friends who have marked my life and I am grateful for them. To them I give testimony this day.
Becky & Mary were girlfriends from high school with whom I walked through a complex time, both personally and culturally. It was the time of agitated civil rights, the Vietnam war, and our own search for identity. The times in which we lived branded us and even after forty years, we are still engaged (no matter how frequently or infrequently) and that link makes us genuinely care about each other as well as our children and the lives they are leading. They are chosen sisters.
In college, I met Kathy, another chosen sister with whom I have experienced great losses and gains, marriages and divorces, fertility and infertility, grief and joy. There have been months, even years, when we lost each other, but the cord was stronger than time we lost and we endured. Our big joke now is that we will age together, rocking on a porch somewhere, hopefully near the ocean or the mountains. Our children continue to be part of both of our lives.
In recent years, Janis & Kathleen have been the women who have walked beside me in faith and trials. They adopted my children, in one case, as a Godparent even, and I know their prayers cover me and my kids in a cloud of light as I do for theirs (which takes longer since they both have five children apiece, LOL). These chosen sisters entered my life through the church, our prayers and worship of the same God bind us too.
Of course, there have been other key sisters that God chose for me: women whose lives crossed mine for a season. Each of them were a blessing that cannot be cast off whether it was for ten years or ten weeks or even less. And there are women today who are in my life but we have not quite “chosen” fully. We love, we care, we connect, but we are not laid bare.
Friendships are harder to sustain in this age. We are either too busy to commit the time it takes to bridge our lives or too insecure to open our arms and expose our hearts. I am guilty.
Every friendship is a gift. And just as I need the Presence of God within, I need you, chosen sister or nearly sister or soon to be sister, on the outside. And you need me. Let us choose more freely.