Friendships between women can get a bad rap. Media today stereotypes friendships between women as jealous, catty, and judgmental. It can be easy to wave off friendships with women as complicated and messy.
But we don’t have to live in a “Mean Girls” world. Friendships between women offer incredible opportunities for spiritual growth and feminine community.
Instead of buying into the world’s expectations for back-stabbing friendships between women, we can find the perfect example of feminine friendship in the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Can you imagine being in the Virgin Mary’s shoes? The Angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her that she was going to be the mother of the Savior of the World. But instead of getting a moment to process a huge life-altering announcement, God asks Mary to go visit her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a woman who was once called barren but, through a chain of miraculous events, was expecting a baby, too.
How many of us would have done a double take, or asked the Angel Gabriel if he was serious? Announce that I’m pregnant with God and then recommend taking a road trip? No thank you.
God wasn’t asking Mary to just take a quick jog down the road. Tradition tells us that Elizabeth and Zechariah probably lived in or near the city of Hebron . The city was nearly a 100 mile long trip from Nazareth. It would have taken Mary about a week or longer to make the journey on foot.
Yet the Blessed Mother wasn’t miffed about Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Granted, it helped that she was immaculately conceived and she didn’t struggle with sin. But if we had been in her place, would jealously creep into our hearts? God has just been conceived Mary’s womb, but she was asked to go celebrate Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy?
But Mary wasn’t angry, jealous, or judgmental. She didn’t go to visit Elizabeth out of curiosity or to see if the Angle Gabriel was telling her the truth. Instead, she humbly went to visit her cousin and celebrate her blessings.
Beautifully, God rewards Mary for her humble acceptance of God’s will. When she reaches the end of her trip, Elizabeth greets her with humility, beautifully pausing to rejoice of Mary’s new role as the Mother of God. Mary, who had made the journey with a mission to serve, found herself praised and blessed.
As women, we have to take this Marian example and live it out in our own lives. Rejecting the “Mean Girls” attitude and awful stereotypes, we should embrace intentional friendships with each other.
Have you struggled to form friendship with other women? Mary offers us an incredible example of how to form friendships.