Jan Greenwood has been a breath of fresh air in my life. Knowing her has brightened up my heart in a way I didn’t even know it needed. Her depth of insight, stability of character and endearing personality cause anyone who crosses her path to lean into her friendship and mentoring.
As a pastor of women at Gateway Church, just an hour or so from my home, I’ve seen her influence thousands of women through personal discipleship and with stirring messages from their platform. And when she prays. . . my, my my. . . when this woman prays, you can feel the heavens open and God’s Spirit come. She carries an authority of Spirit that has been developed on her knees through times of difficulty and trial.
She has come forth as pure gold. And her love and appreciation for others is solid proof of that.
Enjoy getting to know her today.
You’ll be so glad that you did.
Today is my daughter’s 23rd birthday. I’ve just spent about an hour checking out her instagram and twitter to see who’s celebrating her special day with us. (I know some people think that’s stalking…but she is mine, after all!) There I found lots of sweet friends sharing memories of good times together and reminding Ashley of her special qualities.
Something struck me…
Ashley has many friends. They range broadly in age, profession, and passion. She has friendships that were formed in her earliest years, in her teen years and certainly in her college years. Now she is forming relationships with passionate, God pursuing women from all over the world. Her life is filled and influenced by women who are excellent role models and who are encouraging her to follow consistently after the call of God on her life with passion and strength. Many of my friends are her friends and many of her friends are my friends.
How did that happen?
Well, her story is a little different from mine.
I started out with a lot of casual friends, but somewhere along the way I separated myself from almost every female relationship in my life. In high school, I began to hold all girls at arms length. I don’t remember ever thinking of having relationship with my mom’s friends. And when I entered the workforce, I distinctly remember hoping I would have a male boss.
I was void of the benefits, joys and challenges of female friendships for many years. I didn’t even realize that I was so relationally destitute.
Thank God, God knew!
When Ashley was just six months old, we moved to a new city and a new neighborhood. And surprise! One day a woman, who would become my first real girlfriend, knocked on my door. Thanks to her gentle manner, loving countenance and humble attitude, she reached through my wall of self-protection and grabbed my heart. She changed me from the inside out. I experienced a healthy female relationship that began to transform my life.
And guess what? Her little girl, who was nine months old at the time, became Ashley’s first girlfriend. Today, they still claim each other as close friends and confidants.
Have you ever wondered what your world would look like if girls could just get along? What if women cheered for one another, rather than competed? Is it even possible to have healthy female relationships? Is it worth the effort?
Let me assure you, it is possible, it’s worth it and it’s happening all over the world in increasing measure.
Women everywhere are beginning to awaken to the realization of the subtle lies of our enemy that divide us from one another. Mentoring, mothering and friendship have become “in fashion” again. Ashley’s generation is teaching my generation to dare to trust one another, to connect to one another, to care for one another.
Today, my friendship capacity is huge. I think of every woman as my friend, my sister, or my daughter. As my heart grew tender, it opened a door to the gift of friendship for me and for my daughter. We grew together and as a result she has an experience I never knew. Her life has been shaped for the good by what I call The Friendship Factor. Having female friends or not having female friends greatly shapes a women’s life experience.
I can’t help but muse about the impact of this trend in our world. I wonder how the Kingdom of God is being impacted by the shift that is occurring. I wonder at the power of a mom to shape and share relationships with her daughters (both natural and spiritual) that are life changing. I find myself hopeful and excited about the potential reach and influence of women who love one another and embrace healthy female relationships. Who will be saved? Who will be healed? Who will be rescued?
You never know when your next friend (or next daughter) will appear. Be watchful! Be awake! She just might come knocking at your door, or maybe you will have to reach into places of darkness and distrust and grab her heart. Are you willing? Are you ready? How is your friendship factor?