Be Fruitful and Multiply; Generational Covenant

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“And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…” From Genesis 1:28, we see that God has mandated Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. The Hebrew word for fruitful is to blossom and increase, while the Hebrew meaning for multiply is to increase and become many. God is adamant about growth and expansion and this verse tells of that longing in the repitition of that sentence. From the first two people God ever created, came a world full of people. Did God just want Adam and Eve to have more kids? Was that a mandate for all of God’s children? As we grow closer to God and become more in tune with His heart and His Word, we see that scripture is multi-faceted. There are levels and depths we find each time we read, like more pieces to the puzzle awaiting us the deeper we dive in.

As my sister and I sit here on a beautiful day outside at the park with our family, I can’t help but think how we got here. You see, we started out as two people, two ordinary girls who were in love with our Father and knew there was more for us, two ordinary girls who were best friends, sisters, but knew we were so much more. We knew we were called for something big, but how far were we willing to sacrifice, risk, lay it all down? Without hesitation we did, for Him and for each other, and the rewards have been too many to count. Our family over time became our “tribe,” as we call them. We aren’t just two girls anymore. We are two sisters, a part of the same family, having made vows to each other long ago that “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). Our vows weren’t just superficial and we don’t know many, if any other friendships that live as radically as we do, but there’s no other way for us. We see blessings that only came with our covenant. The vows we made to each other extend and flow into our families, our children. We love each other’s children as our own and our vows include taking care of each other’s families if heaven forbid, anything ever happened to us. We are there to celebrate birthdays, holidays, family movie nights and barbecues, Summer’s Winter’s, Springs and Falls for as long as we are here. Sissy and I are the first generation to pass covenant down to our children. We believe this is the best thing we can give them-committed, loyal family and the bond we share with each other for them and their generations. We are not just two families anymore, we are one.

1 Samuel 20:41: Jonathan told David, “Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between my descendants and yours forever.’” We look up now and we have produced fruit, multiplied. Only with the Covenant vows we made was that possible. Now as a tribe, we have protection, covering, more power and freedom to go out and fight the principalities of evil with our backs being covered and our children and their children blessed and covered, as well.

 

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Jonathan died, but David’s friendship lingered. In II Samuel 9:1 we see that David did a favor for Jonathan’s son in honor of Jonathan and his life. He brought Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, to the king’s palace (though the son was crippled) to live as one of his own sons in honor of Jonathan.

Face to Face…

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Face to face…Hand in hand…Heart to heart…Soul to Soul…My sister and I tell each other this every single day- they aren’t just words, but a gift our Father gave specifically to us on how we walk through trials, storms, fire and even joy.

FACE to FACE

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In today’s generation, face to face gatherings almost never happen. With technology so advanced, we don’t hand write letters anymore (although my sister and I still do that, too), we don’t talk on the phone and we rarely get together face to face with people. Technology has been of great benefit, but also debilitating. It’s so easy to be so very “social,” while being a complete hermit at the same time. We honestly feel like we truly know those around us because we see their posts and comment back and forth. Technology has slowly caused humanity to be disengaged, disconnected. We’ve exchanged deep meaningful relationships for convenient relationships. Our relationship with God requires face to face. No, God may not physically be here, but we still need that face to face, alone time in His presence and it lifts our spirits. The same goes here with those closest to us. We can’t keep our relationship with God on track without constant face to face. We couldn’t keep our marriages going without constant face to face, so why are friendships any different? Where’s the care and concern anymore for face to face communication? Without the face to face, we are losing so much in relationships. Technology is robbing us of intimacy!

HEART TO HEART

Who do you call in your time of need? When you need to talk to someone, whether to share exciting news or need a shoulder to cry on – is there someone there you can pick up the phone and call without a doubt or do you have to scroll social media to see who’s available? My sister and I have a relationship very different than most. We talk every day on the phone to hear each other’s voices. Yes we text and keep communication open that way, but without hearing her voice, how do I truly know how she’s feeling? How do I truly sense what’ going on in her heart? We are very fortunate to be able to see each other quite a bit and we definitely take advantage of that. We can sit and just talk about any and everything, no TV, no radio or outside influences distracting us. When you have that face to face with someone, the heart to heart connection almost comes simultaneously.

HAND IN HAND

We often sit and talk about why our friendship is so different from others we have seen, and while there are several things we have learned and do differently, hand in hand is another vital component we live by. We are hand in hand physically, but also spiritually. In life, we all need that friend to be hand in hand with. Through life, who’s hand do you have to hold when afraid, in sorrow, in moments of joy? My sister and I, when in each other’s presence, often just put our hand on the other. When we pray, we always hold each other’s hand. When we are in moments of disagreements and fights, we grab each other’s hand. There is a powerful connection being hand in hand. When we are out with our husbands we are hand in hand. It doesn’t feel right walking beside them without being hand in hand with them. I often will grab my children’s hand when walking. When I do, there is an immediate connection. Boy, do we underestimate what human touch can do! Godly friendship inhabits the same intimate connection.

SOUL TO SOUL

This leads me to mention that while we may have other friends, there is always ONE that sticks closer than a brother. For my sister and I, we only go to each other. We have learned that it is much harder to maintain several “friends,” and we decided that what worked for us was only allowing each other in on this level. In order to have deep meaningful relationships, it takes time and effort and that isn’t something you can do with multiple people. As we stated in a previous blog on Covenant, you cannot maintain several relationships in covenant. It’s impossible to be fully dedicated to multiple friendships to that level. Former Miss America and Evangelist Cheryl Salem mentions that “We are the temple of the Holy Ghost and we are made up like the temple, outer court, inner court, doorway into the holy of holies and then the ultimate where covenant is made, Holy Of Holies. Not everyone can be in our holy of holies. Only a few have this kind of ability and trustworthiness to be allowed this deep in our hearts and lives. It’s up to us to keep the unholy out of our holy lives.” We live by this. There is freedom and liberation in covenant friendship. Knowing there is ONE who always has your back no matter what time of day or night, that they aren’t distracted with anyone else is completely freeing. I believe we as women all need that… But it starts with the face to face…

We understand that while the standards my sister and I set for our friendship may not be what others desire, we have learned through hardship that this was the only way for us. Nonetheless, we do believe complete intimacy and freedom comes with just having that ONE Best Friend/Sister. It’s risky, it’s judged and may even seem odd. But we have never felt more free and covered, protected.

“And he called the twelve and began to send them out TWO BY TWO, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits,” Mark 6:7.

Over the Rainbow; Conflict Resolution

Where do you go when you and your best friend get into an argument, not just a disagreement of opinions, but a complete clash of personalities? What about you and your spouse? Do you go to another friend with it? Vent your feelings and frustrations out to them to make you feel better? I did that for years…but it will start to make you think the grass is greener on the other side if you’re not careful.

No one enjoys conflict, but it is inevitable. We will face conflict everywhere – in the workplace, school, church, marriage, friendship, etc. Conflict is anywhere two or more people are in contact. However, we have not been taught how to resolve conflict, therefore witness an unprecedented number of relationships being broken in our generation. My sister/best friend and I have had to face numerous conflicts and through each one have learned so much about each other and ourselves. We pray that as we share what we have learned, it will help others as well.

What is the cause of most conflict?

I believe the main reason is pride. “Pride leads to conflict….” Proverbs 13:10. The middle letter in pride is “I” and that’s what pride is – it’s all about me, myself and I. Pride is our ways, our views, our opinions etc. Pride is dangerous and lead to the fall of Satan. Pride manifests in many ways. One can be haughty and arrogant or insecure and shy. So, if pride leads to conflict, what will sway us from conflict? The answer is humility. Humility is the opposite of pride. Instead of saying “I” first, it’s you first. Your ways, your views, your opinions and feelings, etc. Pride divides while humility heals. Humility is simply putting the other person first and therefore creating peace, harmony and unity.

Peacemakers

The bible tells us “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God,” Matthew 5:9. I, for one thought of myself as a peacemaker, but soon learned that what I was actually doing was peace at any cost. I would avoid conflict, sweep things under the rug, or appease everyone around me. The way I grew up handling conflict was not beneficial and created disharmony with others and within myself. Conversely, my sister’s ways are different. She is very forward with her feelings and facing conflict, however she tends to be way more emotional and rash when confronting conflict. Can you see our problem here? We had to learn what peacemaking looked like on our own THROUGH our conflicts. Peacemaking is being willing to confront an issue and caring enough about the other person to both recognize and resolve it. We must be willing to admit faults no matter how embarrassing or ashamed we may feel. We must also be willing to understand instead of being understood!

Putting two VERY different people together will most certainly welcome conflict. However, through each storm, we have learned so much on how to resolve conflict. We learned a lot about ourselves and changes we had to make within. We’ve talked about iron sharpening iron in a past blog. Most times, we see that in the midst of these trials, the other is sharpening us. My sister will often tell me things that I hate hearing! It rubs me the wrong way and doesn’t feel good to hear. But if I stop and realize how much I trust her and how much she loves me, I realize that she’s showing me my errors and helping me overcome them. Relationships are work, but the reward is worth facing the conflict head on instead of avoiding it. I think that’s why so many marriages and friendships dissolve-the two people are too different, not “compatible,” don’t want to put in the work and just don’t feel it’s worth it. We don’t believe in the word incompatible. In that case, no one is compatible. Differences are how we grow! When we are at our wits end with each other, ready to throw in the towel, it’s then that we CHOOSE to push through despite our feelings! We lay ourselves down for the other, no matter how hard it is-and it is THEN when the miracles flow, when blessings reap and God’s hand rests on us and the reward when we walk through is greater than we could imagine! How many marriages and relationships could be salvaged when this is practiced!

My sister and I, no matter how different we are, we change and choose to adjust and accommodate the other’s needs first because our love is bigger than any problem we’ll ever face! This should stand true in our marriages and our relationships! The grass is greener where you water it! When we fall out, we don’t turn to other friends or anyone else. We pray and we work it out with each other, even if it takes a while! It’s worth it! One thing we can say FOR SURE is that after EVERY single conflict we rise out of, God blesses us more abundantly than we can imagine! As my sister and I always say, there is always a rainbow after the storm.Rainbow_Conflict_Resolution

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bonds of True Friendship

“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

IMG_2915This 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.

IMG_2916_GreaterWe 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.

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“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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misunderstood

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As my sister and I often talk about God and delve into the depths of His soul, we discover more of Him and receive these beautiful revelations He lavishes on us. Jesus was the most misunderstood person. Religious mindsets put Jesus in a box and anything outside of that box is considered wrong. It’s judged, ridiculed, mocked. The world misunderstands because they lack the Spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear Him clearly. The world is at war against the things of God. As worshippers, we realize that as we begin to carry more of His nature, we too will be misunderstood, judged, and disliked.

My sister and I learned a hard lesson – that not everyone will like us as we move more into the calling and ministry He has put on our lives. God spoke to us and showed us that not everyone liked Jesus either. In the beginning, that was extremely hard for us to grasp. Naturally, we desired to be liked by everyone, no enemies, no conflict, but that just isn’t reality, especially when you follow Christ. Your story won’t look like anyone else’s story, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t uniquely designed just for you. You may be the first one to walk a new adventure unfamiliar yet and we need to be a brave people willing to take risks we’ve never taken to allow God to take us where we’ve never been. When we truly stand for something, it’s natural to have people oppose us. As our Pastor once said, “we are ruined for the ordinary.” Isn’t that the truth!

God has not called us to a life of comfort, security or ordinary tasks. He has called us to a life of extraordinary measures, supernatural risks, and unfortunately discomfort, which means we must step out of ourselves and everything we know, to truly follow where He leads. It’s a life that many will not understand, but one that should never stop us from discovering all there is to discover. May we be a people willing to cross dimensions and boundaries, step out of our boxes and explore what we’ve always been too afraid or insecure to explore! God is more than we can fathom and He has so much for us to experience. We limit God with our finite minds. We set parameters with God. We need to see the beginning, the end and the in between, but we have to give that up to walk in faith. For far too long, the church has been too religious and afraid to step into the unknown. What stops us? Fear! We may be looked at as weird, out of our minds, deceived – the list goes on. However, it’s in these times that God wants to pour out so much more of His Spirit. Who is willing to be fearless in what others may think?

My sister and I believe we are truly living in a season that has never been seen before. God never does anything the same way. He is doing a new thing and it doesn’t look like anything we have ever witnessed before. He is searching for hearts that are willing and open to dive off the cliff and trust His wings to carry you to new heights, to understand that the task you may be given may set you up for ridicule, judgement and criticism. May we be a people who are willing to walk in righteousness and holiness, despite what we think to be “normal.” May we walk worthy of our calling, full of confidence and a fierce boldness that comes from Christ alone. So will this life He is calling us to live be misunderstood? Yes! Oh, but it’s worth it. The cost is worth being misunderstood, ridiculed, mocked and judged. Our prayer is that God’s daughters would be willing, just like Mary. Imagine what was spoken about her. The ridicule she must have endured, being misunderstood and judged, but she knew what many others did not. That the Savior of the world would be born! Many people judge because they just don’t know the whole story.

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When my sister and I were called to walk this journey together, we instantly lost friends. Many we thought would support, encourage and understand fell off. But we knew in our heart of hearts that what God called us to do may leave us alone, however we would always have each other and our families and we were willing! We never look back or regret saying yes to this! Two best friends, two sisters, two ordinary girls called to risk and leave the ordinary behind to dive into something much bigger than us, and while we don’t know where He is taking us, the journey becomes more thrilling and exciting with every passing day! God is longing to impregnate His daughters with the extraordinary. Who will He find?

Valentine’s Day

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Love shouldn’t just be celebrated on a particular day once a year. Love isn’t candy and flowers. It doesn’t consist of cute red and pink hearts, nor does it always come disguised as kisses under a much too perfect moonlit night. Valentines Day speaks of longevity through storms, choice through fire and commitment through conflict. It’s impossible to fall out of love when you become aware falling into something was never a good idea anyway. We love because we choose them over us. We love because He first loved us. We love because we finally understand what risk and sacrifice were really about and it wasn’t what the world thought.

Love isn’t just a word or a feeling. Feelings come and go. If love was a feeling, Jesus wouldn’t have laid His life down for humanity. In the garden, He asked the Father, if this cup could pass Him, but He didn’t operate off of His feelings, but rather the will of the Father. So, what is love? Love is a person and that person is Jesus! He is our example. Love died on a cross. It wasn’t anything beautiful. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Love bled! Love emptied itself! Love is dying to self. Love is sacrificial, committed, risky, vulnerable, loyal, and devoted! We, as children of God are called to love like Christ, but do we really? What would our world look like if we truly and genuinely loved like Christ? We can confess our love , but love is to be demonstrated by a life living and flowing in the love of Christ, for words are cheap.

Our world tells us to take, which is the opposite of Gods kingdom. The world offers the counterfeit. It tells us to take when we are called to give. We aren’t to be just recipients of love. We are to give expecting nothing in return. What is love without risk and sacrifice? What is love without challenge and conflict? It would be devoid of meaning. We think love should be easy and not require work. But love IS work! As Pat Benatar puts it, Love is a Battlefield!

Without risk, there is no reward. Jesus risked and His reward was you and I, and all those who would make Him their choice. As you celebrate Valentine’s Day, it shouldn’t be a day to go out and make up for anything, rather a day to recognize the love we are allowed and should be giving every day to those we love!

Iron Sharpens Iron

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This verse metaphorically speaks of man edifying, exhorting and uplifting his/her friends. It is comparative to iron because without iron being sharpened, it is dull, lacking luster and shine. Although it is still a knife, it is less effective and not very useful. Likewise as humans, without exhortation and encouragement from our peers, we become disengaged and less powerful for the Kingdom of God. When Christians are truly engaged in each other’s lives, there is a mutual edification that both strengthens and empowers the two to be fruitful and motivated in fulfilling the plans and purposes of God in their lives. “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification,” Romans 14:19.

We have used this verse throughout our blog and it is definitely worth mentioning again. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” The threefold chord represents two people in a relationship who are in submission to God.

According to gotquestions.org, regarding iron sharpening iron, “The meeting of two people together in the Lord’s name will always guarantee blessing. It is a means of grace that the Lord Himself promised- “where two or more are gathered in His name, there He is among them, “Matthew 18:20.”” When we can come together and sharpen each other, despite differences, the Lord lends an ear from heaven in sweet pleasure. The author goes on to say that the fragrance of divine unity are best sensed in the relationship of Jonathan and David. As David was being pursued by Saul, Jonathan sought to help David find strength in God, 1 Samuel 23:16. The Apostle Paul also shares that we are to carry one another’s burdens and advise on how to best repent and rejoice in victory over it. James 2:8 mentions that we are exhorted to love one another.

From the beginning of the Bible to the end of the Bible, it speaks of relationship; Relationship between God and us and us with others. As we have said in previous blogs, God is a relational God. We are to portray that love and example Jesus shares with us to each other here on earth. Iron sharpening iron requires two people. One can stir himself up in the Spirit, but one simply cannot sharpen himself alone. That is why you must challenge one another to acquire the things of God you may be lacking and to exhort someone else and strengthen their spirit. Now as my sister and I learned, sharpening someone else is not always fun. We can definitely rub each other the wrong way, as they say, but is it really the wrong way or is it just uncomfortable because we recognize our own sin now? When we think of sharpening someone else, we tend to believe that we are just edifying, uplifting and encouraging them, loving on them and they just become these saints. That’s what that scripture always meant to me. In fact, until now my sister and I didn’t even realize how powerful that verse was. It’s one I think most of us read, get a happy feeling about and move on. But, oh God wants us to meditate on that and get so much more. It speaks of commitment through and through! If someone is to sharpen you and call out your sin (in love, of course), shouldn’t you be in relationship with them and trust them to point out the sin you cannot see in yourself? It speaks of covenant. I know for my sister and I, we have cultivated, nurtured and worked hard for the friendship we have. It is completely trusting and free. I know whatever my sister calls out in me, even the hard ugly stuff, is because she loves me and I trust her to do that. And if one of us is off or in sin, we are both ineffective in what we are called to do. This is where you cannot just rub yourself against anyone or multiple people. It’s meant for the one(s) you allow in your holy of holies only, which for my sister and I is just each other and our husbands.

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Two people coming together in any relationship will both bring some sort of baggage, their own set of ways that are contrary to the other, past hurts, whatever it may be. Where relationships often go south is when we are unwilling to change our ways for the other. My relationship with my sister is far more important than the standards I set myself to live by. If I set certain rules for myself and yet they repel relationship, what good is it for me to be alone? My sister and I committed to sacrificing for each other and sometimes changing the ways one of us does something to be compatible for the other, to bring unity in our bond and it’s something we both learned to love to do and we see the benefits we reap.

I, for one carried a lot of insecurities, fears and anxieties into our friendship. They were very unhealthy. These fears and insecurities stemmed back from childhood and progressed throughout my adult life. They broke many friendships and relationships in my life and most people just walked out because they couldn’t handle it. But when God brought my sister to me, everything changed. I learned what sharpening meant! I didn’t like it at first, but I quickly saw how committed she was to our covenant and to me. Instead of throwing my insecurities in my face, she got down in the trenches with me to fight them, to literally call each one out, face them and kill them! This didn’t happen overnight, and honestly, we are still fighting some. But she has held my hand through every one of them, no matter how ugly they are, no matter how bad they hurt her too, no matter how outright bloody the fight is-she remains in the ring with me even taking punches for me! She’s not afraid to get dirty. I am safe to bleed all over her. When you are confident you have this kind of supernatural bond with someone, you feel free to dig in and face your fears. Because of her love and commitment, I slowly began to see how the Father saw me. I began to see who I was created to be and not what others showed me through rejection and abandonment. I saw the love of Christ through my sister, the commitment, sacrifice and risks she takes to sharpen me. And because I trust her, I am fully committed to repent of these insecurities and allow her to speak the truth in me, sharpening every edge and every part of me she sees dull. Often times, your best friend can see in you what you can’t see in yourself. That is why covenant is so important. This kind of trust does not happen in groups or fickle friendships. Where would I be right now if my sister had decided my baggage was too heavy for her the first time, the second time, the 10th time? Where can we learn commitment without longevity? Where can we learn trust if someone runs scared of your past?

We as humans are influenced by the people we admire and respect, and those are usually the people we flock to, whether good or bad. We have to be careful who we are allowing in our circle, who we are allowing to influence us. There is a difference between influence and sharpening! Influence is when we pick up the other person’s traits and take them on as our own. Sharpening is when the other person encourages us by challenging us, as well as motivate our desires in alignment with the Word of God. The one sharpening needs to be stronger in faith in the area they are sharpening you, and in wisdom, discernment and understanding, otherwise you can easily be led astray! As with my sister and I, we have different strengths and weaknesses, allowing us to both sharpen each other! That constitutes for a healthy relationship. According to Missionary Reverend Mike Keys, “The stronger always prevails over the weaker,” that’s the way of life. Our spiritual identity is confirmed by comparison. Our desire is to be an asset for the Kingdom, not a liability and we need sharpening by another Christian influence we trust in order to be all God has called us to be! “Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses,” Proverbs 27:5-6. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” And the famous scripture in 1 Corinthians 15:33 which states, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

My sister and I are so thankful to have this bond that we have. We never let the sun go down without thanking God for this. It’s nothing we have ever experienced in our lives, yet something we both fight for every day. Whether I am doubting myself, backsliding on all the work we just overcame or struggling with internal insecurities, my sister can feel it also, and immediately jumps into prayer and vice versa. We always marvel in the fact that God has given us such an ability to be able to read each other’s hearts. I know when my sister is hurt or struggling and I have learned how to fight in the spirit on her behalf and sharpen her, as well. “Carry each other’s burdens and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ,” Galatians 6:2. We are called to edify and encourage one another and sometimes it’s not all the pretty words we like to hear. Often times sharpening is the exact opposite! It’s the secrets you hid, hoping no one would see. It’s the fears you were able to get by living with for so many years, that no one else called you out on. It’s those things that your sister, your best friend can come in and call out to you, but say “Hey, we’re going to fight these off together if it takes the rest of our lives!” And one of the many great benefits of this covenant is through the sharpening, you become shiny, confident, your beauty is unveiled and you are now empowered to go and live the calling and purposes God has for you! When we sharpen one another, we become more effective in carrying out the plans and purposes God has for our lives because the time is short and there is much to do! “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” John 15:12.

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Beaches…

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I remember when the movie Beaches came out in 1989. I was 12 and ½ years old and I must have watched it a million times, sobbing each and every time as if somehow the ending would be different the next time. What girl doesn’t watch that and dream about having a friendship like that? A Best Friend that truly sticks like glue through good, bad, life, death… I think I set a lot of people up for failure with that one, but the day came and so did the one, the Best Friend that made the movie look amateur!

As if the timing couldn’t be better, a 2017 remake! Now I am not one for remakes of any good movie, but I have to admit the diversity and more modern nuances peaked my interest. And who better to showcase these two backgrounds colliding under the Venice Beach sun than Nia Long and Idina Menzel? Let’s just say my sister (my Best Friend) and I watched the original Beaches for weeks leading up to the Lifetime premiere and even planned a Santa Monica Beach Day to celebrate the momentous occasion, boardwalk photo booth shots and all! We spent the earlier part of the day at The Grove in Los Angeles, walking around and goofing off at Dylan’s Candy Shop and then had lunch at the Farmer’s Market there. We swung by See’s Candy for some treats and even got some dessert for the beach. Next we headed over to Santa Monica Beach where we laid out a blanket and did what most people do, took a million selfies! We did sit wrapped in a blanket (it was a southern California freezing day of 69 degrees) talking, staring at the ocean and listening to Oceans by Hillsong United. It was truly one of our best sister days and something we will definitely make a usual trip!

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Since we spent the day at the Beach, it was a couple days later before we got to sit and watch the new Beaches movie, and we did it with a box of tissue, some Sees Candy and chips and salsa of course! I’m sure it’s not a spoiler anymore, but in this version, Hillary dies in Cece’s arms! The tissues were on full force now and we definitely were not prepared for that surprise. I won’t go into a full-on review here, but we agreed that although the original version is a well deserved classic, this newer one showcased a more intimate friendship between Cece and Hillary that really leaned more on what my sister and I are all about- love, covenant, committment, loyalty. Obviously, as Christian women, there are a lot of differences in our friendship comparitevly to the film, but Beaches definitely tops our Bestie Movie List!

I (Vanessa) on the other hand had never seen the movie Beaches. I didn’t grow up watching girly/princess movies. However one thing my heart has always wondered was what would it be like to have a sister? To have someone to do all things girls do with? I only have two brothers. The thoughts of having a sister to share clothes with, secrets, laughs, tears, and even fights. I remember when I was pregnant with my third child and found out I was having a girl I thought, well at least my daughters will get to experience what I didn’t. Until one day God brought me a sister/best friend into my life and I no longer have to wonder anymore what it would be like. I have experienced so many first’s as a best friend/sister. One of them was getting to see Beaches for the very first time with her. Beaches is one of her all time favorite movies and now it has become one of mine. I have never seen a friendship between two women lived out like the one in Beaches until now that I have it. I have to  say our friendship supercedes the one portrayed in Beaches. It is definitely a gift from God and one I cherish deeply!

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The Grandest of Love Stories

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Love is a choice, not a feeling. Love is intentional. Love is purposeful. It is also a risk. Jesus risked as he was dying on the cross because He loved. He is love. He did it without knowing if anyone would choose Him. Love is allowing yourself to be vulnerable, to let walls come down. Love is scary when you put yourself out there in hopes of being chosen, that love will be the choice of the other person. Is love not worth the risk? Is love not worth the fight? What if Jesus allowed fear to stop Him? Jesus in the garden sweat drops of blood asking the Father if the cup could pass, but Jesus said, “not my will but yours.” Love won! He laid down His life for us. “No greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”

Women carry the heart of the Father. We are all daughters, sisters, mothers and/or wives. Our hearts are relational like our Father’s. The men carry a different part of the Fathers heart and it isn’t their role to fight for relationships, but it’s the woman’s. We were created to fight for our relationships. We learn early on that it’s natural to fight for our marriages and our children, but many of us never learn that friendship relationships are just as important to God to fight for. If we as women can begin to understand the very depths we were created with for relationships, our world would look completely different.

We are to be women of great wonder and awe. We as women have been told we’re complicated. Could that be because the world has not been able to describe women? We carry a depth within us that is vast. “Our friendships flow in the deep waters of the heart where God dwells and transformation takes place. It is here, in this holy place, woman can partner with God impacting and be impacted by another for lasting good. It is here that she can mother, nurture, encourage and call forth life,” says Stasi Eldredge in Captivating.

Eldredge goes on to say, “God endows Woman with certain qualities that are essential to relationship, qualities that speak of God. She is inviting.” Are we inviting as women? Are we drawing people to ourselves? When we draw people, we should be drawing them to the Father’s heart. However, the enemy has wounded us from the very beginning. God is restoring the woman heart, though right here and now!

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Many people ask my sister and I “How does this kind of friendship/bond look?” God has blessed us with something truly miraculous that we don’t take for granted for a moment. It’s a friendship you can’t really manufacture. It’s one of those things that happens organically solely by the Spirit of God. And He has asked us to open up our own relationship for other’s to see what He has ordained for us to be. We always try to be as transparent as we can, sharing the good and the bad, so here is a peak into our daily lives as sisters. As we have already said in previous blogs, we are fully committed, willing to sacrifice, risk and lay our lives down for one another.

We learned early on that commitment wasn’t practiced when we were out having fun together or watching movies on the couch. Commitment came when we realized God put two completely different people together (Much like a marriage). Two people that communicate differently, talk and act differently, love differently and receive love differently. Two people with opposite fears and insecurities and even different ways of handling conflict. Commitment came when we instantly chose to love each other more than any attack that could come our way, no matter how long it took to get through! We have had times where we rubbed each other the wrong way and had to tell each other things we didn’t want to. But the difference with us when it comes to telling the other one something they may not want to hear about themselves, is it truly hurts the one having to tell as much as the one having to receive it. We carry each other’s hurts purposefully. Our love for one another is so supernatural, that we trust the other enough with the corrections they are giving to listen, talk openly and resolve the issue. We have definitely created a safe place for each other that most relationships lack. This kind of friendship has to stem from a place where both parties feel they can be open and safe with the other person. You feel safe to be yourself without apologies. It’s about loyalty. I know that whether I am right or wrong, my sister will cover me. I know she can see the ugliest places of my heart no one else sees, we can bleed all over each other and we remain committed to sticking it out together no matter what! You will not always agree with your best friend or sister, but when you KNOW that you know that you have that bond and that person has your back, the rest is easy! If you only knew the conflicts we have come through because we CHOSE to love through them and grow closer, rather than apart.

We are not able to do this on our own accord. We are still human and have tendencies to run away from each other and let our fears or laziness of resolution come before our friendship, but there is something we made a commitment to do together daily that covers us through it all, and that’s praying together. We actually began doing this because we reached a point where we had become comfortable in our friendship and weren’t praying together like we should have and boy did we see a difference. When we just skipped a day and then two and then several, we struggled with getting along; we were attacked in bad dreams, thoughts and were just off. Isn’t that just like God and us? When we aren’t praying and seeking Him, we can become disconnected too. So, from that moment on, we agreed that we have to be in prayer. We pray for each other, our families, women, our husbands, our church and protection of our friendship. We place a very high value on our friendship/sisterhood and always remain humble and aware that the enemy will try and divide.

We are still human and have our struggles and disagreements. We have times where we don’t see eye to eye. We have moments where we want to just walk away and not deal with conflict. But we never allow walking away from each other an option. And we’ve pushed through some hard times, none worth losing each other over. We work at listening to the others feelings and allowing them to feel validated and appreciated. We fight fair. We never throw the past or negative thoughts in each other’s faces. We are bold, though and do speak the truth to each other in love.  Because we trust each other, we are able to receive it, even when it’s hard. We cry it out sometimes when we don’t know what to do, and we always stick together until it’s worked out.

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Something else my sister and I do is journal. We journal our feelings and seek God, asking Him to intervene. We share a journal apart from our own personal journals. We each have the journal for a few days or week or some time and we write to God, to each other and share our most raw emotions safely. We take turns writing all our highs and lows. We then pass it back to the other, read what our sister wrote and take it from there. We’ve been doing this for a few months now and committed to doing this forever. It also allows us to go even deeper and share certain things in our hearts that may be harder to say. We already love to look back on how far we have come and actually see that in our hardest moments, we always make it through, continuing to grow deeper with every victory! This is why it’s so hard for us to see why a majority of relationships today don’t work. It’s usually stemming from disagreements that snowball into something more unmanageable. One person doesn’t feel like working it out or has fallen out of love or whatever the situation may be. But we realized that love is a choice. When we don’t feel like working it out and we want to go back to the ways of the world and walk away, we actually hold onto God tighter and each other. There have been times where my sister and I are completely disagreeing and can get very frustrated with each other and want to literally get up and leave. (Remember, we do not communicate or receive things in the same way, but it’s our constant CHOICE to resolve, learn and grow.) We actually grab each other’s hand and finish our “fight” literally holding hands and refuse to let go until it is resolved.

My sister and I talk to each other every day, or at least text if there’s a day we can’t talk. We pray, talk about our lives, our families, our plans, etc. It’s not always deep. We can laugh at the dumbest things that no one else would probably get. We also committed to a set day once a week that is just our sister day and we don’t make other plans that day. We may go do something fun, run errands or just sit at home watching movies and talking, but it’s our day. We don’t do things the way the world does in friendships. This may not be how other friendships look, but it’s how ours looks. Some may think this is way too time consuming, way too complicated, way too much for a friendship. But my sister and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We see the blessings we reap from this sacrificial commitment. Blessings on our marriages, our families and the mission God has invited us to journey on together, and it is worth the judgment we may get. Knowing someone has your back, right or wrong, through life and death, you are empowered to change the world because if you fall, your sister is there to catch you! This is all new for us, too. We have never seen this displayed in our lives, but God gives us new revelation, new depth and new insight into the secrets and mysteries of His Word daily and the transformation He is calling for His women this generation to step up to. Our intimacy, passion and heart for one another is one that doesn’t come without a fierce fight! And my sister and I suited up and waged war for each other’s hearts, which is a story for another blog! This kind of friendship may come once in a lifetime if you’re lucky! Rarely do you see two powerful female-centric roles collaborating to do life this close, but like most, my sister and I were on our own individual journeys in life when God interrupted us and brought us together. We each possessed something the other needed to continue. We pray you will begin to see what God is doing in the hearts of women and our relationships because we believe we will play a vital role in what God is doing in the last days restoring sisterhood back.

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Covenant

word_picA Covenant bond is most likely relatable in the context of marriage, yet also a word we don’t use today. However, with the failure to use that term over the past few hundred generations, we’ve also become laxed in holding ourselves and other’s accountable for the covenant relationship values we still seek today. Covenant oaths and rituals may have changed over the centuries, but the heart of what covenant bonds meant to God and man are still true for relationships today. The most important covenant is between God and us, followed by marriage covenant, then family and friendship covenant. Covenant is how God has chosen to communicate to us, redeem us and guarantee us eternal life in Jesus. He is a covenant keeping God who desires to be in relationship with people. Sadly, over time, though we have lost sight and raw understanding of true covenant and have become awakened to a lost generation of brokenness, divorce, loneliness and lack of commitment to our spouses and friendships. A covenant friendship holds most of the same principles as a marriage. According to “Blue Denim and Lace,” by Dr. Jack Hyles, “A friend should be as carefully chosen in the will of God as husband and wife.”

Not to be confused with the Old Covenant (Old Testament), which was more contractual and legally binding, the New Covenant (New Testament) is all about the heart. The Old Covenant or contract was sealed on paper, but the New Covenant is sealed in the heart and much more binding than a contract. “In Him, you also, when you heard the word of truth, the good news of your salvation, and [as a result] believed in Him, were stamped with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit [the One promised by Christ] as owned and protected [by God],” (Ephesians 1:13 AMP) A contract was enforced by the law, whereas the new covenant was enforced by the Spirit of the living God, driven by God’s own Spirit. The entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation threads a chord of covenant between God and His people. Covenant is the key to unlock the Bible. When we read the Bible as a law, a separation will exist between God and us preventing proper relationship. Although the old covenant is made void in light of the new, we can be too legalistic and miss the heart of what God is doing today!

Until Jesus came to fulfill the New Covenant through His own blood, the Old Covenant preached of the law. It was much harder to keep the old covenant, and consisted of a blood sacrifice, usually a pure, innocent animal. “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them,” Genesis 3:21. When sin entered the garden through Eve’s deception and Adam’s disobedience, they recognized their nakedness and vulnerability was introduced. The Lord made garments for them to cover up, animal skins no less! We see the plan of redemption as early as the Garden. To Adam and Eve, animal skins covered their nakedness, but the shed blood of the animals covered their spiritual nakedness. This was a foreshadowing of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus carrying guilt for humanity. We die to old covenant ways and rise up in Christ, clothed in His righteousness, not animal skins. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life [which it represents],” Leviticus 17:11.

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Covenant keeping people require a perfect heart. We will never be perfect people, but we can have pure hearts. David was an adulterer and murderer but the Bible says he was a man after God’s own heart. “But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do,” Acts 13:22. In the Amplified Bible, that same verse ends with the words, “…who will do all my will.” That means there was a purpose for David’s clean heart – he would be able to carry out the plan of God, not because he was a perfect person, but because he had a covenant heart. He went on to be one of Israel’s finest leaders.

We will focus more on the New Covenant for purposes of tying in how this relates to us in this generation. Covenant works in two ways. One, it is a relationship between God and man and two, it should reflect the relationship between us and others. Covenant is relative and redemptive. It is spiritually liberating! There is a power and freedom in being in covenant with someone else that essentially sets your soul on fire! You are empowered to see the plan of God fulfilled in the world around you, are fought for, chosen and sacrificed for. If our earthly relationships are to be a reflection of God’s covenant love to us, then shouldn’t we all feel fought for and chosen? That’s sadly not the case in this generation. We are too lazy or don’t have time to cultivate such relationships and isn’t that the dilemma of today-too many broken people with no real confidence or security to fight the spiritual forces that come against them alone? If we truly understood covenant more, there would be much less divorces and broken friendships.

In his sermon, “Covenant Relationships Keep Love Turned on,” Danny Silk breaks covenant down as being intended to help us become free. He goes on to say that we have limited each other to performance. If one party does this, then they are accepted, however if one party starts doing something the other doesn’t like or is uncomfortable with, the hidden terms of the relationship are jeopardized and eventually broken. There is a standard we expect others to live up to in order to stay in union with us. At that point, their struggle or fear becomes scary and we pull away and put our guard up to protect ourselves. This is the exact opposite of covenant relationships. In Covenant, your guard is down, you are willing to risk, sacrifice and literally lay your life down for the other person. Their needs take center stage always. Covenant is not about the other person. It’s about you keeping your love turned on no matter how they act. Through covenant, we are called to draw closer to the other person in struggles, and sacrifice our own ideologies for their success. Jesus was not afraid of covenant. He was not afraid of our failures or what other people were going to think. All He knew was covenant and to offer up His own life for our benefit. This is what we are called to do, as well.

Let’s take a look at Ruth and Naomi. Naomi had lost her husband and 2 sons and tells her daughters-in-law to go back to their countries. One goes and one stays and displays covenant heart. “But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. 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 do the same to me [as He has done to you], and more also, if anything but death separates me from you.” When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more,” Ruth 1:15-18. Covenant loves with a love we have only learned from the Father. In Kris Vallotton’s sermon, “Covenant Relationships,’” he explains it as something your heart knows but your mind can’t wrap around! Covenant entails two major components: passion and sacrifice, not to be separated. Covenant means I have come to die for you! This generation confuses camaraderie with covenant. In camaraderie, there is a common root of an enemy. You befriend someone because they have similar interests as you, commonalities or most likely because you have a common enemy. These are all false and empty relationships that will never succeed. Camaraderie without covenant always requires an enemy.

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Paula White talks about the personal benefits of covenant in her sermon, “Covenant Relationships.” If you are going to lead in covenant, never let anyone follow you that can’t see where you are going. Covenant is the melting of two souls into one. Covenant means you see what I can see, hear what I can hear and speak what I speak. Isn’t that what we are called to do with our Father, be led by His voice in every step we take? Then, as commanded, shouldn’t we be doing that here with each other? When you walk in harmony, in total unity, not only are you going in the same direction, but you are also linked up arm in arm. Visually, White shows herself being linked up with another woman from the audience. Together they are linked and walking harmoniously, but it’s a shadow of their hearts being one now. One will put a thousand to flight, two will put 10,000. Once you are connected by the heart, you can move together, going in the same direction. God doesn’t give everyone His heart; He gives His heart to every shepherd to impart to those around him/her the will of God. Back to the ending of Acts 13:22 that states, “…who will do all my will,” it’s the shepherds, the messengers that will take this message of covenant to the world. Not everyone will heed. God covers us on every side, except our backs. This is because He wanted us in covenant! When you are walking in the same direction, linked in covenant, you are now completely surrounded, protected! The other person can see attacks coming you may not be able to, and as covenant partners, they will instantly lay their lives down to protect you! No enemy can divide true, committed covenant!

“After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.” (1 Samuel 18:1-4, NIV). In the NKJV version, verse 1 uses the word knit, …”the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David and Jonathan loved him as his own soul…” Going back to Dr. Jack Hyles, Blue Denim and Lace, he shares that the knitting of one soul to another is being “made one,” as in the relationship of Christ to the Church and a husband to a wife. He goes on to say, “…when God gives one a friend, he knits their souls just as really as Christ was knit to the Church and as the husband and wife are knit to each other.”

This kind of friendship led those around Jonathan and David to speculate that they were gay or carrying on a sinful relationship, but that wasn’t true or tolerated in their time or ever in Gods kingdom! Jonathan and David carried the covenant relationship that was God ordained and reflected the relationship of God with Jesus and Jesus to man. They walked together in the same direction with their souls as one. Covenant drives you to love harder, reach out and motivates you to want to change the world around you! There is so much to be said about Jonathan and David that could take volumes, but we will share with you our own covenant story.

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We were at a point where life was good! But you can only go so far in life without a divine connection. Nothing could have prepared us for all God was pouring out on us. It took God joining the two of us together to fulfill our lives in a way we never expected. We experienced life with new depth, meaning and purpose. We were no longer just living, but now living to build the Kingdom of God together and produce something we knew we couldn’t apart from each other. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples,” John 15:5-8.

There’s supernatural power and intimacy in covenant relationships. Our hearts toward each other deepened unlike any other friendship we had known. God was removing us out of the realm of the world’s perception of friendship and into the supernatural realm of how He originally ordained friendship to be, covenant. Our generation doesn’t think of covenant, let alone friendship as necessary, but throughout the Word of God, the thread of covenant is knitted tightly through sacrifice, risk and everlasting commitment.

Bishop TD Jakes, in his YouTube Video entitled Jonathan and David, says covenant is indescribable. He goes on to offer that it is “passionate and intimate because you bear a fruit coming out of your union.” Essentially you are on the verge of producing something you could not produce apart from each other. This is where things get risky. We knew our souls were tied together and our destiny’s entangled in each other’s. There is a pure intimacy in covenant that the world has either abused or ignored out of fear, but not without consequences and hindrances on our generation.

Former Miss America, Author and Evangelist Cheryl Salem explains that Covenant is intimate and you can’t maintain several covenant relationships as it takes dedicated time, effort and energy. You may have more than one, but some are at different levels of friendships. “We are the temple of the Holy Ghost and we are made up like the temple, outer court, inner court, doorway into the holy of holies and then the ultimate where covenant is made, Holy Of Holies. Not everyone can be in our holy of holies. Only a few have this kind of ability and trustworthiness to be allowed this deep in our hearts and lives. It’s up to us to keep the unholy out of our holy lives,” Cheryl emphasizes.

Covenant to us means we take every aspect of our friendship to God first and that we remain committed to each other. How He commanded us to love each other as He loves us is how we portray love and commitment to each other. And it is a commitment we don’t take lightly and work at daily. However, we don’t consider it work since it is pure love. We sacrifice, risk, lay our lives down for each other daily and cover each other. “No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends,” John 15:13. Historical scriptures tell that David and Jonathan did not miss an opportunity to reaffirm their love for each other every time they saw each other. We use that as our example. We do not let the sun go down every single day without praying together, praying for our husbands and children, our extended families and friends, our Church and this world, our friendship and our calling from the Lord. Through trials and struggles, we grow closer, not further apart. We don’t allow division or differences to take residency in our friendship. We are looking to the men of God here to redeem us back to the garden. The men of God do have that powerful presence and display the masculine heart of God as we look to them for protection, but the heart of the home, the heart of the garden was filled with femininity. It was Eve who entered sin first, disrupting the perfection between God and man. Since God redemptively brings all things back full circle, what if it’s redeemed Eve, this generation of covenant-making women that will restore things back, that the thread to surviving end times and thriving in these last days is covenant, relationships, and unity!

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