God placed me in a family with a wonderful sister. I also have three brothers, but that’s for another time.
My sister is 10 years older than I, so I don’t have tons of memories of us together when we were younger. I mean when I was 7, she was going off to college. At the age of 10, I was a junior bridesmaid in her wedding. Through the years we’ve gotten closer, but physically we still live more than three hours away from each other.
I was a tom-boy as a kid and never really felt like I could relate as much to girls as I could to boys. I always seemed to have more male friends than female and at some point (the age of four or so) I can remember wishing I was a boy. Being more comfortable around guys was the case for me long into my adult life.
What I’ve learned in the past month is that I actually have an abundance of sisters in my life. IF:Gathering earlier this month was a great reminder of that for me. If you’ve never heard of IF, it’s a weekend event to resource women so they learn more about God and discipleship. It’s streamed online across the globe and the weekend includes many speakers and worship.
The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng. Psalms 68:11 (NIV). This has become a new favorite verse of mine.
I can infer what throng means, but I wanted to be certain. Throng is a long, densely packed crowd of people (or animals). “The women who proclaim it are a MIGHTY throng.” I was incredibly fortunate to know each of my five sisters at the table. Two I’ve known about seven years, two more about two to three years, and one more about two years. As I sat there looking at my beautiful sister-friends, tears started streaming down my face. I realized how blessed I am for the mighty family (friends who’ve become family) I’m surrounded by. Each of them is such a strong disciple of Christ. I am better for knowing them.
As I’ve evolved, I’ve been able to recognize the value and gift of sister friendships. God keeps placing them in my path, at just the perfect time – the perfect person for me based on what He knows I need. True to His ways, I never even knew I needed it.
Two are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 12 …Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
And we can only imagine the strength of even more than three, like 18 or 24 (or more – a throng). Recently, I’ve begun scheduling time with my sisters. That may sound terrible (it does to me too), but this strategy has enabled me to meet with different friends regularly for two months in a row. Previously, it had been about 18 months since we’d seen each other.
Life gets so stinking busy and our calendars have pretty much become appendages that we rely on. This is probably why scheduling sister time becomes so important. If we don’t make it a priority on our calendar, it becomes easier to brush off. Days can easily become weeks, which become months and then years. Busyness and stuff can overtake our relationships.
I recently read an article about scientists proving that spending time with friends can increase life expectancy, lower instances of heart disease and also increase our pain tolerance. Of course, family is important, but friendship has other benefits. William Chopik, a psychologist from Michigan State University, found “in older adults, friendships are a stronger predictor of health and happiness versus relationships with family members.”
She is more precious; nothing you desire can compare with her. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. Proverbs 3:15-18
This is a wonderful way to describe my sister and sister-friends: Precious, a tree of life and being blessed when I hold them close.
Recently, some of my dear sisters rallied around me when I needed it – each in different ways. I have no immediate family in town, and I found myself in a difficult situation. Without asking, they were there for me. Making my heart grow bigger like the Grinch and feeling such incredible gratitude.
People don’t need to be blood to be related. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in a situation where I’m surrounded by people who have become family. I know I don’t need to worry about my future because if I simply reach out, my framily will be there to stand in the gap when my family cannot.
Much love and peace,