Siblings

siblings

When I was pregnant with my youngest, I automatically assumed my girls would be immediate and consistent best friends. I have a brother and we weren’t overly close growing up. I thought it was more because he was a boy and I was a girl. Because of this, I wanted a sister so badly. A built in best friend. That’s what sisters are or must be, right? I didn’t know any different, so I assumed incorrectly.

Having the same mom and dad doesn’t automatically equal friendship. Just like being coworkers or neighbors doesn’t. I never knew. Just because I’m the type of person that wants to be friends with each and every person I meet, I naturally assume others feel the same way. Why not siblings?

My girls are very different. Five years apart, different interests, different body types, different temperaments, different personalities. As are my brother and I. Expecting them to be close is a set up for my own disappointment. They may be friends one day. And sometimes they appear to be. But, they will always be sisters. They can choose their friends, but they are bound by blood. If this is all they have in common, so be it. But, those rare moments when they act like they actually like each other, warm my heart and soul.

Never in a million years did I expect my girls to argue and annoy each other like they do. It’s pretty constant…..So much so, I’ll tell them my ears are bleeding from the incessant fighting. So, I pray. I pray for their hearts individually and towards each other. After all, that’s all I can do. I’ll separate and discipline them when necessary, but just like I can’t MAKE someone like me, I can’t MAKE them like each other.

I thought they would love to sleep together when they got old enough. Last night was the first time they voluntarily did. I was so thankful! In the past, one or the other always refused. Once my oldest finally agreed, the youngest decided she didn’t want to, probably out of spite. After that exchange, I was convinced it would never happen. Then, last night…I made sure they knew how much it meant to me this morning. My oldest said, “It’s not that big of a deal, Mom.” The kindness, the closeness, the mutual agreement on anything. When it is hard to come by, it’s a very big deal.

Brothers and sisters may not be best friends and that’s okay. If you have a brother or sister that is, wonderful!! Being a sibling happens at birth. Friendship is a choice. May your friends complement you and lift you up. May they encourage you when you’re down. May they make an effort to meet you where you are and remind you of how special you are when you forget. This is my prayer for my girls. They may or may not have that friendship with each other one day. Either way, may God fill their lives with friends that do. And, may they learn how to respect each others differences. May they love each other in spite of them. And, may they know how much I love them both. They don’t have to be friends, but they will always be sisters. And, that is irreplaceable too.

Raising kids is a whole new world. People can tell you, you can watch others, you can read books, you can take tips, but until you experience it, you just don’t know.

 

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Love Them Anyway

love

We are called to love others as God loves them…and that means to love them anyway. Because we are not perfect and will fail each other, we will need to choose to love anyway and in spite of. We are studying the various fruits of the spirit in our women’s Bible study and the lesson on love hit me hard. Not because I have a hard time loving necessarily, but because of how Beth Moore explains why we tend to withhold love or are afraid to in the first place. The reason is rejection and fear of further rejection.

When we offer love and it is not returned, it can be the most painful experience known to man. Jesus felt the pain of rejection personally. When we experience that pain, we subconsciously protect ourselves from ever feeling it again….because it hurts. This is why we withhold or withdraw love. What we fail to realize, is that God sees our attempts. He catches and rewards our attempts to love even when they are rejected, ignored, or go completely unnoticed by man. This frees us up to go ahead and love anyway…because He sees.

For singles, this doesn’t mean to fall in love with anyone and everyone. Guard your heart. Be prayerful about who you fall for and commit to. But, we can still show brotherly and sisterly love to all in the process. Show love to potential mates by respecting them enough to be honest, polite, and direct. Every ex doesn’t need to turn into an enemy, wish them well and keep moving. One of my best friends reminded me that the one God has for you won’t leave. I believe this to be true! If they leave, let them go gracefully and be thankful that you are one step closer to the one that won’t.

We are called to love our enemies. This feels completely unnatural, but it is for our own good. Loving our enemies removes the enemy title. It doesn’t mean we hang out with them on a regular basis, call them when we have a problem, or have play dates (unless we feel led to). It also doesn’t mean we continue to put ourselves in hostile or harmful situations. There are some people in our lives that we will need to ask for God’s guidance on how to love and do it from a distance. To love our enemies is to recognize that they are fellow humans that Jesus also died for.

Forgiveness will lead to another blessed fruit…..peace. Peace that passes all understanding is a fruit that we don’t want to miss out on! This allows us to move forward in our lives without the weight of pent up bitterness, anger, and resentment. Remember, if God sees our attempts to love, He also sees those who reject it. God is merciful and just and it is His job to judge. It is our job to love.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another – John 13:35

Some of us have an easy time saying “I love you”. Others, really struggle with saying it all. What it means, is I love you…anyway. I love you after all we’ve been through, what we will go through, regardless of what you do or don’t believe, in the midst of our failures and distances. It means as a brother or sister in Christ, I love you.

Forgiveness is the final act of love. Jesus forgave us all as He hung on the cross. He loved each one of us enough to die for us…..anyway and in spite of.