“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” – Ruth 1:16-17, NIV
This popular verse in the Book of Ruth is found on so many Pins, quotes, posts – and it is almost always used to illustrate a marriage union. However fitting that may be, that wasn’t the original context. It was a pledge between a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law. This bond expressed a committed and devoted love between two women that today’s society might find abnormal and unusual. How many times have you seen two women devoted until death to each other? Completely committed to the betterment of the other before themselves? Choosing for eternity to remain together, not knowing what the future would hold, yet risking, sacrificing and laying it all down for each other? That reminds me of another scripture on friendship, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,” John 15:12-13. Why is it so crazy to see this kind of fierce committed friendship displayed today when that was God’s plan for friendship all along? He laid His life down for us, calling us friends and we are to also nurture that same kind of commitment here. The Lord put quite a bit of emphasis on friendship in the Bible, yet we often bypass those scriptures, not really understanding or maybe wanting to recognize that we were created to need this type of covenant with each other.
“The relationship between Ruth and Naomi is a reflection of the faithful love of God offered to Israel and to us in the gift of covenant. Their story illustrates the power of mutual commitment between persons. When we choose to surrender to loving another person, we form a relationship that testifies to God’s faithfulness and not just our own,” www.dolr.org.
True covenant is the face of God. Committed, loyal, devoted, fierce relationship/friendship reveals the thread of God’s love on earth and what better way to witness that communion than in the bonds of two women. Women are known to be caddy, gossip, competitive, backstabbing and definitely not loyal long-term. We may say to our best friend that we are going to be here forever, that no matter what, we have their back. We say all the things that sound good, but at what limit do we bail? How many mistakes can they make before they hit their limit with us? I don’t know many women who would even use the word covenant to describe their friendships. “Faithful love is an abiding mark of the covenant. Few stories capture that lesson better than that of Ruth and Naomi,” www.dolr.org.
We all need that one! That “ride or die” person that we KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt will stand by us, right or wrong, hell or high water, rain or shine. I never knew that kind of friendship existed on this side of heaven. Then seemingly out of nowhere, God brought my best friend/sister into my life, like the sweetest gift I had never seen. Instantly, we both knew this was different and my sister and I took our biggest faith walk, to enter into something we had never seen displayed before, to say yes to covenant and begin the greatest adventure of our lives. Yes, it was scary at first. Neither of us ever knew women to be committed, loyal and long-term. Heck, I was never that to anyone myself. But somehow we just knew this was different. We took it to Daddy and at every turn, received all we needed to go forward, as we still do to this day. Covenant is something we live daily. We communicate daily. We choose each other daily. Like our marriage covenant with our husbands, we also put time into our friendship and make it a priority. We love deeper through conflict and we take risks other friendships may not. We sacrifice for each other before ourselves and we lay or lives down for each other purposefully. We literally would die for each other and like Ruth and Naomi, we committed to lodge where the other lodges. So much so, that we turned down a house almost an hour away to stay close to my sister. This may not look normal to other friendships, but we are committed through and through. Our families have united as one and we celebrate holidays, birthdays and all we can together. We do things as sisters, families, and couples. We nurture every part of our covenant because it has led to the formation of our “tribe,” our families coming together as one.
Covenant is liberating. I remember years ago, joining a women’s group at Church. After a while, although it was refreshing being around so many like-minded women all married with kids like myself, I began to feel more of a pull to be accepted socially that I felt the need to always be available when plans were made, stretch myself to fit in and make sure I was doing, saying and wearing the right things to be included. It was tiresome to say the least and don’t ask what happened to my spiritual walk at that time. Being in covenant with my sister changed everything. I realized that need to be accepted, loved, appreciated, needed, even secure in knowing that you’re always included in plans, came with covenant. Knowing that I have a sister now who has my back no matter what, I can bleed on her. She knows every secret and everything about me and loves and accepts me-this allows me the freedom to fail. I feel free to step out into new things because I know my sister will catch me if I fall. Covenant with my sister gives me the freedom to be involved in groups at church or wherever because that need to be accepted which we all carry, has already been fulfilled for us and we can laugh and enjoy the company of other women now without the strains of expectation and stress.
Some may say we are too exclusive. Some have said we are unhealthy. Some just look. My sister and I are aware that our friendship doesn’t look like anything anyone has ever seen, us included, yet we can stand here and tell you that through the throes of conflict, ups and downs, loss and valleys, that next to salvation and marriage, this was the best decision we have ever made! It does require time, commitment and most of the same demands of marriage, yet the rewards outweigh anything we feel we have ever put in. Without risk, there is no reward and the reward of friendship covenant is something so grand, we pray women in this generation get a hold of how rewarding and fulfilling it is. My sister is my best friend. I don’t question her loyalty, commitment and devotion to me. Covenant, through the good and bad is something we live every day of our lives. Our friendship isn’t something we ever put on the backburner. It’s what we naturally do daily from the time we wake up until we go to bed. You’d be surprised at some of the obstacles we have already overcome, but our trust and loyalty is solid and we both know that there is absolutely nothing on earth either of us could do that would turn the other away. Covenant is eternal and like marriage, there are consequences for breaking covenant and we take it seriously. Our covenant may not look like any one else’s, but it’s ours. What we choose to live by in our friendship bond works for us and we are very proud of what God has given us.
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it,” Malachi 3:1-, NIV. My sister and I always thought this verse only pertained to money, but for us, the windows of heaven were opened when God brought us each other, absolutely THE blessing so big, we still can’t contain!