They sat holding hands, surrounded by sunflowers and breathing in lyrics, breathing in their story, a constant chord that intertwined their lives for as long as they could remember. The sisters looked at each other, both recognizing that this moment did not come free. It came with a cost – risk, sacrifice, tears, pain, fighting. These sisters knew something no one else did.
It took two ordinary women to birth an extraordinary plan. Two women who were content wives and mothers, but had open and willing hearts to be used for something greater than themselves. Neither of them knew or could have been prepared for what was about to happen that would change the course of their lives forever.
Much like souls are eternal with no beginning and no end, we can’t remember a beginning of our friendship. It seems like it always just was. There was a rare heart and soul connection. Little did we know that God was knitting our souls together. Our bond was deeper than anything either of us had experienced before. We knew it was a divine connection, however with something so strong and unfamiliar, we weren’t sure how to walk this out or even how to talk about it.
Over time, when facing our own personal struggles and hardships, we always turned to each other, somehow so confident that the other was our safe place. We’d vent, cry, pray, laugh – no matter what time of day or night, we were always there for each other! We never let each other go to bed upset. And it was in those rough moments that what we knew was already growing inside of us, ignited a mutual fire. Trust was established. “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. Without saying a word, we both felt a desire to protect each other, sacrifice for each other, lay our lives down for each other; literally offering up our greatest risk to love unconditionally, passionately and eternally at all costs, never knowing or caring if the other would reciprocate. “And Jonathan made David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself,” 1 Samuel 20:17. Jonathan risked his own life, up against the wrath of his father King Saul for his covenant friend David.
Almost immediately after God brought us together, we were confronted with laying our lives down for each other and without hesitation, we did. God had put something strong and unfamiliar in our hearts for each other and it was completely natural and without thought for us to risk, to sacrifice and to commit.
We both knew that what God had planted in us was bigger than us and was going to serve a purpose for His glory. However, with that we recognized the risks we’d have to face; loss of friends, risking how others would see us now, our character, stepping out in faith afraid… Then we had to make a choice to either stay safe and comfortable with the approval of those around us, or choose each other and the destiny we knew God called us into. Although the costs were many, the easiest choice we made was choosing to follow what God had put in us and through those difficult circumstances, the intense joy we received just from sacrificing for each other outweighed any loss we experienced.
We began to realize that what we had was supernatural, something we had never felt before, and something rare that we had never seen walked out before. Where do we go with this? Who do we tell? We turned to God. We sought answers from the only person we knew would have them and boy did He answer! He began to give us both dreams, visions, scriptures, words… We literally spent months on our faces, crying out to Him, seeking Him and trusting Him to tell us what was going on. We entered a season of hardship with mutual friends where we had to make choices, choices that were not going to make us look good, but ones that we knew we had to make. And through that, God began to show us more and more about who we were becoming.
(Vanessa) With any vision or call from God, attacks are always a given. The closer we were getting to the Lord and what He was doing in us, the more attacks came, especially from those closest to us because often times those are the very ones the enemy tends to use. I went to bed grieved one night after a mutual friend accused us of having an unhealthy soul tie and I needed a word from God. That’s when He reminded me of a message my Pastor spoke on at a Women’s Bible Study and when I pulled it up and listened to it, I was blown away! It was called Covenant Friendships! I knew right then it was covenant and I called Michelle and had her listen. It was definitely the confirmation I needed about our friendship and the path God was taking us.
We still didn’t know much about covenant friendship and had only heard of covenant in marriage, so we spent the next couple of months literally listening to every message we could get our hands on regarding covenant, covenant friendships, scriptures, everything. We were journaling, praying together daily and seeking everything we could about this because somehow we knew what we were carrying was bigger than us. We learned the story of Jonathan and David, something so easy to miss in the Old Testament, but one of the first accounts of Covenant between man and man. We didn’t think twice that that was exactly what God had gifted us with and we were both excited beyond belief! We knew our souls were knitted together, that God was doing something big in us, BUT for a bigger purpose, to bring unity and restoration to a generation of women that had become laxed in commitment, relationships and covenant.
From David (Vanessa’s Husband)… “It seems like Vanessa had a huge weight lifted from her. She stopped carrying other people’s burdens that had been weighing her down. I soon realized it was from setting boundaries with others and forming a deeper connection with one true friend. She began to share with Michelle from the depths of her heart. Although it was new and an adjustment to accept at first, I quickly realized that this bond Vanessa shared with Michelle was from an area of her heart that only a woman’s warmth and encouragement can fill. I learned more about covenant and that there is a protection and safety in it. There’s a loyal defense and I know my wife and our family are also covered in this covenant. There’s no drama and it’s safe. I’m glad God brought this to her.”
Most friendships begin with a self-need. We are searching for something from the other person, whether a need they can fulfill or even companionship alone. Ours began quite the opposite way. From the beginning, our only desire was to serve the other and walk beside them to accomplish all that God had for the other, even at the expense of ourselves and our own needs and wants. Also, before the time that we became close, we had been through a season where we were fully dependent on the Lord. We still are, but we were in a season where we had spent a lot of time alone with Him seeking after Him with all we had, not looking for or expecting anything but to be refreshed and renewed. It wasn’t until we became fully dependent on Him that God brought us each other.
The Old Covenant spoke of a legally binding agreement where there was animal sacrifice, blood shed and oaths made. Under the New Covenant, it is even more binding, but 100% about the heart commitment. Realizing we were in Covenant, we did not want to take this lightly and wanted to vow before God and each other that we were committed to this and we did decide to make verbal oaths to each other sealing this God given covenant. Entering into covenant friendship is not something most people do today, but if God’s Word is the same yesterday, today, and forever, how did we lose sight of what Covenant relationship was over centuries? God is and always has been a relational covenant-keeping God and His desire is for His children to also be covenant keepers. Knowing this, we never doubted this was for us and we were open and willing for God to do whatever He wanted to through us.
From Scott (Michelle’s husband)…”Women will always need one another, but many will never experience what a true friendship is all about. I have seen Michelle hurt in friendships in the past, so of course I was a little nervous and protective at first. But it didn’t take long to realize something was different with her and Vanessa. There was something beautiful and trusting there. As time went on and we learned more about covenant, I finally felt like Michelle was safe and knew she was covered and we were protected as a family. I am proud that she and Vanessa have taken the steps to share and teach this kind of committed friendship to women about what God’s Word has intended for them to be. After all my wife has been through, I am glad she finally has this friendship I know has set her free in so many ways.”
We had no idea we would be sharing this, exposing so to speak something so intimate and personal we had been given, but God asked us to bring what we have learned about friendship, even through the ugly experiences, to the women of this generation and bring back the sisterhood the enemy has divided over centuries. Through our blog, our stories, the open door to our lives, we hope to be as transparent as we can. This walk has not been an easy one, but one we both deem worthy and one we would not hesitate to do for each other again. This is what we have lived through, continue to live and have committed to live for the rest of our lives. Our hope is that as you read our stories, God would touch you and heal any broken wounds in your soul. We are praying with and for you!
God is a God of order and we must affirm that our first best friend and covenant is with God Himself, followed by our amazing husbands (Marriage Covenant) and then each other (Friendship Covenant). Not only has this been a sacrifice for us, but also our husbands. We knew God would not call us to walk this out without making sure every detail and every heart involved would be willing. We always talk openly with our husbands about this and never keep them in the dark. They have always been supportive and encouraging and we are so grateful to God for using us to walk this ministry together!