For as long as I can remember I have had the most strained and unhealthy relationship with my older sister. I know at one point when we were little we got along, in fact we were even good friends, however I can barely remember it taking place. All our lives we were compared to each other, the way we looked, the activities we were into, even down to our personalities. As we entered our teenage years, we began the painful process of separating ourselves from each other, trying to establish our uniqueness, and seeing what this world had to offer us both. When I entered high school, I remember having to set myself apart from her for fear of judgment from my peers. There were times we would walk down the halls and not speak a word to each other, and other times we would be dating boys that were friends and we were good again. Boys, that was something that brought us together as friends, and something that would end up tearing us apart.
Our troubled relationship continued well into my early twenties where it erupted with a period of silence between the two of us. Neither of us wanted to make it right, and I just wanted to be mad. I wanted to hold her accountable for every word she ever said to me, every wrongdoing, even every rolling of her eyes at me as we would try to tolerate each other. There were moments of maybe we can move on and forgive, but they were quickly followed by don’t forget why you hate her, she’s getting away with it. I even went so far as to not allow her at my wedding, which I now know hurt her to the core. It is a time in my life where I wish I could have a do-over, but unfortunately we don’t get do-overs in life, only opportunities to not make the same mistake. I want to be clear, during this period of hatred toward my sister, my relationship with God was pretty much nonexistent. I talked to Him, and thought I was a decent enough person that He couldn’t be upset with me, I wasn’t sinning that bad…right? I mean, I could be a lot worse. I remember my younger sister saying over and over give it to God, and my response was always I have! I’ve given it to Him and He has done nothing with it! We are still just as angry with each other, there is no healing, and I can’t possibly move on. If God truly can bear my burdens as He has promised, why do I feel the weight of them on my shoulders every where I go? How do I know He has taken the problem I have given Him? God should want to relieve me of this pain and hatred I have toward my sister.
As long as we were having problems, I never really was searching God for answers for healing our relationship. I was so blinded, that it never occurred to me that it is Satan’s job to tear families apart. He is working day in and day out to tear us away from each other. He had me absolutely convinced that I was completely innocent in all our fights. Who me? I couldn’t possibly be wrong, I am always right, she is the one who needs to get it together! We both struggled with our own demons, and instead of trying to help each other through it, we both turned our backs on each other. There was a significant amount of pain as a result of this lack of sisterly love. The love that once was there was replaced by disgust, hatred, and annoyance at the mention of her name. That wasn’t me. That was truly the spirit of anger that overcame me and tried to make me be angry with her at every chance it got.
I couldn’t carry around everything that she had ever done, and feeling like I forgave her was only a temporary band-aid to this open wound. When I gave my life to Christ, I surrendered every thing she had done to me, and every nasty word I said to her. In that moment, I felt relief, I could breathe. For almost 15 years we were at odds with each other, and finally in that instant there was peace. He had healed me, and it took 15 years to do it. Everything I went through in my life brought me to Him. I ran with my arms open wide begging Him to just comfort me, hold me, love me, be my Father. After I surrendered it all to Him, I wasn’t done that is for sure, He spoke to me. Call her. Okay God, if You say so…what do I say? I will tell you when you get there. Okay Lord, if you say so. So I dialed her number and invited her to my baptism, with no expectations of her actually coming, but wanting a fresh start with her.
She came to my baptism, and everything went much more pleasantly than I could have every imagined it to go. With the death of the old me, came life in the new me, in Him. What better way to start out a new relationship with my sister? I remember after all was said and done, I went home and reflected on my baptism. I was baptized in the ocean, and I could barely stand up because the waves were crashing down and nearly knocking me down every time. This isn’t what I pictured it to be! I wanted it to be serene! Then He stopped me, seriously?! This is not about what you want. This is life Faith. Your flesh, your sin, trials of all kinds are going to try to knock you down. You must plant your feet firmly in the Word of God so you are not swept away with the waves. So, that is where I am, every day trying to plant my feet firm in His Word so that the waves don’t take me down. Even though that wasn’t my idea of my baptism, He planned it all along. Just as He planned how He would heal my relationship with my sister. We are still currently rebuilding our friendship, and I know it will take time. At least we both have God helping us through it, day by day, teaching us how to love each other again.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13