Today is my sister’s birthday. As we are only 19 months apart, I’ve been around for most of the celebrations of her life. Growing up, people often remarked on how similar we looked, but as they got to know us, people usually commented on how different we were. Despite these differences, I’ve learned a lot from my sister and as is somewhat of a tradition on this blog, I want to take some time to articulate what some of these lessons are. Not just because its her birthday, but as an expression of gratitude for the good gift God gave me in granting her as my sis.
Loyalty is a Strong Communicator of Love – As with many siblings, my sister and I didn’t (and don’t) always get along. However, one of the truly wonderful things about her is that my sister always has my back. It wouldn’t matter if we were arguing moments before; if someone else wanted to mess with me, my sister would quickly come to my defense. You might be tempted to think that this is just a big sister looking after her younger sibling, and I suppose there is a part of that, but I am not the only one who benefits from this commitment to be there through thick and thin. Whenever my sister commits to someone or something, she is there to the end. She doesn’t become dissuaded by practicalities or inconveniences. Often at great personal costs to her, she perseveres for the sake of others and their well-being.
Generosity is Meant to be Extravagant – While loyalty is often the first thing that comes to mind when I think of my sister, her generosity is a close second. To my chagrin sometimes, she often goes (in my mind) “above and beyond” in what she “needs” to give. In this regard, she often reminds me of my dad, and although my protective nature often beckons me to try to temper her generosity, I’ve come to realize that she has the right idea. My sister loves to give to others – and she is intentional in doing so. She will plan someone else’s vacations for week or months to ensure that they have a good time. She actively looks for ways that she can use the resources that God has given her to bless someone else. If there is a need that she thinks she can help meet, she commits to doing so. Scripture tells us that God loves a cheerful giver, and my sister loves to outdo herself with how generously she gives.
Be Passionate in Your Pursuits – One of the things that people quickly learn about my sister is that she is passionate about what she believes. This passion translates into her willingness to run hard after the people and the things that she believes matters. I’m not sure the words “half-hearted effort” are part of her vernacular. If she has committed to doing something she is “all in” and she will do whatever is in her power to make it a success. While I may be tempted at times to look at the seemingly insurmountable obstacles and throw in the towel – my sister presses on. She does so, not with grudging willingness, but with a deep desire to do well at what God has called her to and a love for the purposes and people that He has placed in her life.
Dream Big – When I was growing up, I never was quite sure what I wanted to do when I got older. My sister, on the other hand, had the opposite problem. The list of things that she wanted to do was so extensive it often made my head spin. My sister continues to be someone who dreams big dreams. She wants great things – not just for herself but for those that she loves. Her passion and her generosity fuel her desire to help others achieve their goals and she is rarely content to mitigate those grand plans in light of what ostensibly seems unrealistic. My sister desires for her life to matter and in both big and small things she strives to have a significant impact, pushing beyond what seems plausible to strive for what is possible.
Pay Attention to How Things Fit Together – My sister has a mechanical mind. If something needed to be fixed in our house, she was usually right there besides my dad putting it back together. When I had to move, they both stood in the moving truck strategizing how all the boxes and furniture would go inside what was, to my thinking, a space that was way too small for the amount of stuff. My sister pays attention to the details – how seemingly small things may impact the larger ones. Because of this, not only is she good at fixing household items, but she can tell how the little things in life can have a significant impact. She is quick to discern when someone may be going off track, even in a small way, and works hard to pull them back towards what God has called them to do. She sees the parts of the puzzle and understands how they are interrelated, and because she is passionate about pursuing God’s best, she is quick to notice and work to correct any deviation. My sister understands that it is important to pay attention to the details because its the amalgamation of details that make up our lives.
My parents always told my sister and me that we needed to make sure that we were kind to each other – we were the only sister that each other had. God was very generous in the fact that if I was only going to have one sibling, He gave me one from whom I could learn so many important things. I’m grateful for the example she set for me as I grew, and for the things she continues to teach me through the way she loves and lives.