I remember my first look at my sister, Jeanette. I was leaning over the front seat of the car, looking at this baby that my mom was holding. My grandmother had ridden with me and my dad to pick up my mom and my sister from the hospital and I think I was more interested in the Ritz crackers that Maw-Maw had for me than I was in the little baby bundled in a blanket. I don't know that I was all that thankful for her then, or for the first few months that she spent crying and not doing much playing with me, but that all changed!
My baby sister soon grew into a curious tag-along, who loved to do whatever her big sister was doing. Again, I'm sure that I didn't show too much gratitude for having her follow me around or having to take my little sister to the bathroom whenever we went somewhere (I think she just had a desire to see what different bathrooms looked like and didn't really have to go, but that's just my theory).
So, this isn't sounding much like a thankfulness post is it? Well, fast-forward to around 1985 or 1986. By this time, I had left home to go a thousand miles away to college. Suddenly, I didn't have my little tag-along with me. I didn't have my built-in playmate and I began to realize what I was missing. Yes, I missed my sister! Those were the days before email and cell phones, so we had to rely on the U.S. Mail and long-distance phone calls once a week. When she went off to college herself, to Birmingham, Alabama, we were a little closer geographically, but still didn't see each other very often. It wasn't until she transferred to Belmont in the fall of my senior year that we were once again living in the same town and kind of under the same roof (different dorms, but same large building).
And that began a new era of our sister relationship. We were not little kids anymore and our friendship started to grow and we related to each other on a new level. Life brought each of us different experiences, different joys, different losses. But we shared a common heritage and a common faith and that brings me to tell you what I am thankful for about my sister:
- She is loving, joyful, (somewhat) peaceful, patient, kind, gentle, good and self-controlled.
- She loves Jesus and points me to Him through her love for me.
- She loves her husband as a godly wife and loves her girls with thankfulness.
- She is my best friend who has known me the longest.
- She knows me better than anyone.
- She knows my weaknesses and strengths, my fears and my insecurities.
- She knows what makes me most happy and most sad.
- She is one of my biggest advocates and cheerleaders.
- She can make me laugh very hard.
- She can get me to do adventerous things and things that I would not do on my own.
- She gave me two sweet nieces and loves her nephew like he was her own child.
- She helps me look at life in a different way, just because we're two different people.
It may have taken me several years to really understand what a treasure my sister is in my life, but once I "got it" I have been continually thankful for the sister that God gave me back when I was two years old.
"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God." Philippians 1:3, New Living Translation