The Girls’ Club Experience, a companion to Girls’ Club by Sally, Sarah, and Joy Clarkson, is a guidebook for women of all ages who want to cultivate deeper, more satisfying friendships with other women. Believing that friendship must be cultivated like a garden, the authors have compiled tools and seedsdiscussion questions and fun, practical exercisesto help readers start planting.Whether you work through the book with a current friend, a new friend, or a group of friends, the chapters, discussion questions, and exercises are intended to draw you into deeper knowledge and trust of one another.
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)|
Read an Excerpt
A Friend Knows Your Story
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
Psalm 71:15-18, ESV
I'm the cover of a book Whose pages are still being written.
from "Being a Father" by Richard L. Ratliff
Joy Your life is a story.
Sometimes in relationships we find that we know a great deal about someone and yet still feel that we do not really know them. There is some invisible barrier, some untapped knowledge that keeps us at arm's length. I call it the "Facebook problem." You can learn a lot of facts about someone from their posts on social media: their name, their date of birth, where they live and work, their travels. You might even pick up some deeper details: their favorite books, movies, and music. But this knowledge is abstract and disconnected.
To really know someone, you have to know their story.
We speak about our lives as if they are stories. When someone asks how our day has been, we might say something like, "It was good. I woke up this morning, dragged myself out of bed, and was almost late to my 8 a.m. class ..." or "I took the kids to school, worked at the coffee shop, did laundry ..." Then we'd go on telling the narrative of our day. We don't rattle off facts; we spin tales.
Instinctively, we all think of our lives as stories. There are beginnings, important introductions, and main characters. There are shining moments of joy and gut-wrenching moments of defeat. We trace our lives looking for the moments of tension, the climax, and the resolution. Our stories are what make sense of the facts about us; they weave together who we are, what we love, what we struggle with, and what we hope for. Who are we apart from our stories?
Our stories are also where we can most clearly see God's hand graciously guiding our lives. Through grateful retrospection, we can see the story lines where He has been faithful and the arcs of promise that are still waiting to be fulfilled.
The bridge from social media knowledge to personal knowledge is story. If we want to be close to someone — to know them and to celebrate who they are — we must know their story. But to know their story, and for ours to be known, we must learn to tell our story and to listen to the stories of others. If we want to move from the distant knowledge of social media friendship to the closeness and intimacy of true friendship, we need to share our life narratives. But we must also return the favor; we must listen to and honor the stories of our friends as well.
All too often, we neglect to tell our stories. One reason we might do so is because this kind of sharing requires time and intentionality — two highly priced commodities in our hurried times. And because our stories comprise so much of who we are, it can feel vulnerable and even embarrassing to share what is closest to our hearts. That's not to say you ought to share your life with everyone; you should only do so with those you trust, those who will honor it appropriately. But if you never tell your story, you will never be known. So be brave, and share with someone. You may even surprise yourself as you discover what an important story it is as you tell it.
Take my word for it: I've never encountered a boring life story yet.
For this activity, we will learn to thoughtfully share our stories. Perhaps you've never thought of your life as a story before; if that's the case, you are in for an exciting surprise. Before you and your friend or your group get together, take some time to work through the following questions so you can be prepared to tell your story. You might want to bring some things that are significant to what you are sharing, such as a picture or a keepsake.
1. Create a simple timeline of your life up to this point. What have been the significant events? Moves? Marriage? Divorce? Deaths? Times of special growth? Think about the things that are important to you now (your career, your beliefs, significant people). When did those important things or people enter your life? It might help you to draw a literal line and plot the major events along it.
2. Who are the main characters in your story? What people have shaped who you are, for better or worse? Who loved/loves you? Whom do you love? Who has hurt you? How do those people shape who you are today?
3. What was God doing during the various seasons of your life? Take some time to think and pray about how God has worked and moved. Was there a moment when you first knew God's love for you? What was that like? What prayers have been answered? What prayers have you not seen answered yet?
4. Now that you've taken the time to think through your story, try to consolidate it into a ten-minute (or so) narrative to tell your friends. You can write it out if you want, or you can just bullet-point the significant moments. If you're having a hard time writing this down, remember that your life is a story. Try telling it like this: "Once upon a time, I was born in ..." or "On a muggy night in Texas, on May 26, I was born ..." I have no doubt your story is important and interesting.
I would recommend some ground rules for telling your story. Sharing is vulnerable, because it allows people a peek into who you really are. As such, you and your friend or group of friends should be careful to receive each other's stories attentively and graciously. Honor the life stories of your friends as God honors them; they are infinitely important. As you listen, pay attention to what seems significant, beautiful, and central to who they are. After each person finishes telling her story, allow a few minutes to talk about it. Tell your friend what you think is special about what she shared. Affirm the importance and significance of her journey.
5. Read Hebrews 11 aloud together. This passage, one of the most famous in the New Testament, is simply a collection of the stories of God's faithful people. In their own ways, these stories are testimonies to God's faithfulness and the individual's faith. How might it affect the way you live when you think of your story being among theirs?
Read the monologue "All the World's a Stage" (from act II, scene 7 of As You Like It by William Shakespeare), which explores the different roles we play over the course of the story of our lives.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Girls' Club Experience"
Copyright © 2019 Sally Sally and Joy Clarkson.
Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Part 1 Heart
1 A Friend Knows Your Story 3
2 A Friend Learns What You Treasure 11
3 A Friend Hopes with You 19
Part 2 Soul
4 A Friend Helps You Discover Your Core Values 29
5 A Friend Cheers On Your Passions 35
6 A Friend Encourages You to Cultivate Your Gifts 43
Part 3 Mind
7 A Friend Challenges You to Think Clearly and Biblically 49
8 A Friend Inspires You to Be Curious 57
9 A Friend Holds You Accountable 63
Part 4 Strength
10 A Friend inspires You to Live a Righteous Life 71
11 A Friend Supports You in Being a Good Steward of Your Body 77
12 A Friend Galls You to Influence Others 87