Before we dive into the second session of our (in)courage group today, allow me to introduce the five winners (selected by Mr. Random Generator) of the fabulous book 31 Days of Forgiveness: {through the eyes of grace}

They are:

Comment #1: Abiding Woman

Comment #2: Hana

Comment #5: Jen

Comment #12: Betty

Comment #13: Sherri

Winners, I will be emailing you later today (maybe this evening) to request your snail mail address OR if you are reading this and want to send it my way, my email is ncsnapp at gmail dot com.

I loved reading your stories of forgiveness, sisters. Thank you for sharing your hearts here.


Last week, we discussed the importance of encouragement within a friendship and examined the relationship between Elizabeth, the ultimate encourager, and Mary. This week, we will continue with the “Why We Need Girlfriends” piece of the female friendship puzzle.

There’s really five main reasons why we need other women in our lives:

1. We were created for relationship. When God created Adam and the creatures of the earth, He recognized there was not a suitable helper for Adam. He needed someone who could relate to him—Adam needed a woman. This doesn’t mean that men can’t be relational (they are) but I don’t think any of us would deny they tend to be to a lesser degree. While men often define their life success through their occupation, women tend to define their success through their relationships. We value them immensely.

2. Let’s face it—our husbands are not equipped to meet our every single emotional need.

I’ve had women say to me “I don’t need girlfriends. I have my husband.” And, with all due respect, I’m sure I look at them like a pigeon because I’m confused by the mere suggestion of this.

Don’t get me wrong—my husband is very capable of connecting with me on an emotional level. He’s quite sensitive and does indeed care about what burdens my heart.

But he doesn’t want to hear every last little detail. In fact, I know I have to get to the root of the issue within five minutes or I’ve lost him. Too many words are just simply overwhelming to him.

And yes, I realize not all men are like my husband. But many of them are.

The fact of the matter is . . . our husbands cannot be our girlfriends because they don’t possess a female brain.

Lately, my four and five year old sons think it’s absolutely hilarious to belt-out various bodily functions—each one is followed with uproarious laughter. My husband finds it to be equally hysterical, too.

My daughter and I don’t get it. Well, OK. Sometimes Sarah does get it because she’s eight and there are moments she thinks its funny. But regardless, while I’m not a stick-in-the-mud, I don’t always get it.

But on the flip-side, throw my husband into a room with my close friends and me and he’s ready to exit stage left within 15 minutes— too many circular conversations can be exhausting!

In the end, we were created differently and we have vastly different needs.

3. As we discussed last week, God knew He would need earthly encouragers.

4. Female relationships have a biological advantage. Shelley Taylor, author of the book, The Tending Instinct: Women, Men, and the Biology of Relationships says that when women are stressed, they want to “tend and befriend.” In other words, they desire to take care of their families (likely to regain control of something) and to be with girlfriends. When women spend time with girlfriends, their brain releases a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin has a calming effect on the brain.

The well-respected Harvard Nurses’ Study also found that women with a strong social network have lower rates of high cholesterol, lower heart rates, and lower blood pressure. Those without strong female relationships were found to pose the same risk to their health as smoking or carrying extra weight.

5. Relating to others is how we show Jesus to the world. Matthew 22 tells us to first love God above all else but secondly to “love your neighbor as yourself.” To love our neighbor, we have to interact with them in some way, right? Even if we never see that neighbor again or our time with them is brief, we are Jesus’ public relations team.

How we relate to one another is a direct reflection of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Having authentic and true female friendships is another way of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing.

 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

– Ecclesiastes 4:7-12

So I want to hear from you (even if you’re not in the (in)courage group!) . . .

Why do you need girlfriends?

Join us next Monday as we discuss the different kinds of friends we may have in our lives . . .


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