What is it about women and relationships? From the day we’re old enough to write our own name it’s our girlfriends who take center stage. It’s their approval we ache for and their company we desire most. Little girls giggle and hold hands while elderly women sit side by side and chatter away like happy parakeets.

Once I placed my trust in Jesus, I silently desired to grow in my faith. I needed someone to help me with answers I didn’t have. I needed someone who knew Jesus. I didn’t know anything about “discipleship”, what it was, or why I needed it. I discovered quickly this kind of connection is one all Christian women crave but few knew how to cultivate.

There’s a slice of Scripture that intrigues me about the discipleship relationship women can share. God tucks it away in the Gospel of Luke. Mary has just learned she is pregnant with God’s Son. After showing teenage hospitality to angelic company, she has only one thing on her mind when Gabriel leaves.

She must speak with Elizabeth.

The Bible tells us Mary bolted out her front door and headed straight for Elizabeth’s house. She needed someone to confide in. She desired wise counsel from an older woman of faith. She needed acceptance and love. Most of all, she needed encouragement to become the leader God wanted her to be. Only after spending three months with Elizabeth could Mary begin the journey the Lord created her to accomplish.

Joanne Kraft, author of this article, is leading one of the tracks at this year’s National Disciple Making Forum. Follow her track in Nashville, Tennessee at the 2017 Forum.

The National Disciple Making Forum is one of the largest gatherings of disciple makers in North America with 65+ workshops, 15+ speakers, and 10+ tracks. Join us to learn practical ways to make disciples of Jesus this November 9-10 (Thursday-Friday). Register for the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum here.

What Discipleship Looked Like For Me

Celia was the first to shove a soft leather pink Bible into my hands and drag me with her to church. We worked the graveyard shift together, answering 911 calls and dispatching police and fire at all hours of the night. It was the beginning of a friendship that grew into discipleship.

We shared more than girl’s nights out and marathon telephone calls. With God as our foundation, she became my own personal prayer warrior and the encourager of my dreams. When God is in the mix, you just can’t put a price tag on that kind of relationship. Unfortunately, she didn’t know discipleship is what she was doing and I didn’t know discipleship is what I needed. What took us years to learn together I could’ve learned a whole lot sooner.

Making the Connection

Where were the women willing to surrender a little bit of their time to intentionally disciple me? Who would sacrifice a little time with me for a few months? The Holy Spirit made sure the story of Mary and Elizabeth made the final edits into the Gospel of Luke. A tiny spotlight on these two young women reveals the soul-need for discipleship. This is why I started Grace & Truth Living, to create resources for women like me.

The truth is, no matter who you live with, work with or love, you will learn something from one another. If only we took a few minutes on purpose to pray for, share with and help another friend in Christ to grow stronger. God made no mistake when he penned the Gospel of Luke. He made it quite clear—every Mary needs an Elizabeth.

Learn from Joanne at the 2017 National Disciple Making Forum, where she is leading a track called, “Women’s Discipleship”.

Written by Joanne Kraft

Joanne Kraft is the founder of Grace & Truth Living and the author of The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids and Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical. A frequent guest on Focus on the Family and Family Life Today, Joanne has a heart for discipleship and encouraging women to grow in faith. She and her husband, Paul, lifelong Californians, took a cross-country leap of faith in 2012. They moved their family to the rolling hills of Tennessee where they’ve happily traded soy milk and arugula for sweet tea and biscuits.

Image Credit: Katie Treadway

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