On Monday, Diane told us about the importance of female friendships. Yesterday, we talked to Katie Reiff, one of the four founders of 4word Portland, about her relationship with the other three 4word Portland girls and what difference those friendships have made in her life.
4word: How did you, Maria, Stephanie and Meghan meet? Was that before or after you heard about 4word?
Katie: We didn’t know each other before we heard about 4word, but we were all connected to Diane in different ways through different people. We felt like the Lord’s favor was involved in putting us together. Diane invited Maria and I out to lunch together last February to talk about starting a 4word Portland group. Later, we went to happy hour together and talked for hours.
As it turned out, we were in similar life situations. We both felt isolated from knowing other professional women who had faith at their core. Maria knew lots of professional women but didn’t know if they were Christians, and I was meeting a lot of Christians but didn’t know if they were career women.
From there, we started meeting on a consistent basis, and Stephanie was quickly brought in. Our idea to start 4word Portland was to meet once a month and have happy hours at different places around the city. We invited the girls we knew and encouraged them to invite their friends. We actually met Meghan at our first happy hour event in April.
After that, things happened really quickly. These girls have become some of my closest friends in Portland. We have a common goal, a common faith and a common life situation, and I think that made it really easy for us to bond with each other.
4word: What motivated you to start a 4word group in Portland?
Katie: Diane described her vision to us, but we saw the need before that. Realizing how isolated we each felt, we wondered if there were more women out there feeling the same way. We have a passion to find these extremely capable career women who are already doing great things for the kingdom and to connect them to each other and give them an opportunity to support one another. We also want to encourage them that their jobs are important for the kingdom of heaven and to grow and equip them in their faiths and careers.
4word: What difference has your friendship with these three women made in your life? In your walk with Christ?
Katie: You know the verse from Proverbs that iron sharpens iron? We’ve been sharpening each other. Being able to share our priorities for our lives and ask hard life questions together has strengthened our faith as a whole. Also, since August, we’ve been meeting every two weeks to pray for each other and the ministry.
We’ve seen really cool things happen as a result of that. The day after we pray about a certain thing in somebody’s life, we’ll seen a major shift in the situation, whether it’s a better understanding of a relationship or having God work in someone’s career.
Praying together has bonded us, and God has honored that. Without that prayer time, I don’t know what would have happened. We’ve seen God’s work in our lives and seen Him provide for us tenfold more than what we thought we needed. Seeing Him work through our small efforts has been encouraging to our faith.
4word: What do you do to protect your friendship and ensure that you carve out time in your schedule to invest in one another?
Katie: We are extremely intentional about getting something on the calendar and blocking it out. Having a consistent time we can schedule around has been helpful. Also, we realized that it’s okay if sometimes only three of us can make it. We just send out an email update afterwards, and we usually communicate with each other throughout the day via email or text.
We are also very intentional about any time we spend together. There’s usually someone in charge to make sure we stay on track with what we wanted to meet about: either praying for each other or planning for 4word. We’re also intentional about having authentic, honest conversations about our lives.
One thing to remember is that, for your close friendships, you have to find other people that are able to give to the relationship like you are. Jesus invested heavily in only twelve disciples. The women in your core group should be able to give back and invest in you, and for Christian women, it’s important that those women also have faith. Friends like that are gifts from the Lord, and they don’t come along often.
Do you have a group of close friends supporting you like Katie, Stephanie, Maria and Meghan? How have they encouraged you in your faith, relationships or career? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re a young, professional woman living in Portland, we encourage you to learn more about 4word Portland here. If you live in another city, don’t worry! We are looking to connect women all across the country with likeminded women in their cities. Email us with your contact information, and we’ll see who we can put you in touch with.