Today is my sister Cheree’s birthday. I am the eldest of five siblings, and she comes after me—two and a half years younger than I. God has blessed me with three sisters actually, and a sweet sister-in-law who has been like a sister to us ever since she married our brother. Each of them is very special to me and I love them each dearly, but there has always been a special bond between Cheree and me. After all, we were closer in age and grew up together. I was ten and then twelve when Carleen and Corinne came along and by the time they grew up enough that we could have more of a relationship I was long-gone, married and with children of my own.
Cheree and I shared a room and a bed until I moved out to get married. It was a four-poster bed most of those years. I remember pretending it was a magic flying stagecoach as we giggled and played when we were supposed to be going to sleep. I also remember cracking the cross bar that went between the two posts at the foot of the bed when we were swinging on it. Oops! And Cheree leaping from the doorway to the bed in an effort to avoid whatever monsters were lurking under the bed ready to grab her by the ankles. It was a mighty long leap for a short little girl, but I guess fear put a spring into her legs!
I read a quote recently that said, “Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life.” Hey! I object! As the eldest I often picked on Cheree and my brother Craig, but I was also their staunchest defender and protector. I punched a bully (a boy bigger and older than I) in the nose once for picking on Cheree, and I did the same for Craig later when he was being bullied. Craig puts it this way now (and never lets me forget it), “Yeah, we were your personal punching bags—no one else could pick on us but you!” He exaggerates, of course!
Growing up, Cheree and I had different interests and different friends. She was more of a social butterfly and I was the bookworm and loner. We went off to camp together and to various youth activities as teenagers. I admit—there was some sibling rivalry and little sparks of jealousy now and then. She was petite and pretty and popular, and I felt like a big galute next to her. I felt jealous at times of her friends who seemed to be more important to her than I. I think it was not until we grew up that we realized there was a bond as sisters that friends could never replace.
Cheree still has many friends—many of them those same friends from her childhood and teen years! But I am the one who knows her deepest secrets and heartbreaks—and she knows mine. We work together as a well-oiled team whenever projects come our
way. We laugh together (usually at ourselves); grouse together; sympathize with one another; stand ready to help in a pinch; share the burdens, the memories and our most ridiculous moments. We have been co-conspirators and partners-in-crime (not real crime, of course. More like Lucy and Ethel escapades!) Someone has said, “It’s hard to be responsible, adult and sensible all the time. How good it is to have a sister whose heart is as young as your own.” That would be Cheree and me. Someone else said (probably in agreeting card), “Sister to sister we will always be, A couple of nuts off the family tree!” That is Cheree and me, as well.
How blessed I am to have Cheree for my sister, and Carleen and Corinne, as well! As they grew up, age became unimportant and we
became not just sisters by blood, but friends by love. I thank God for the earthly family in which He put me – loving Christian parents and siblings who would be my friends forever. He planned the family, knowing we each need the support and encouragement, love and acceptance to make it through our journey here on earth. Families are not always perfect, and sadly some
people do not receive those things or have the kind of relationships that God intended, but when we do, how blessed we are!
Our relationship within the church, the Bible tells us, is likened to family, as well. We are not merely members of a body, but brothers and sisters and are to treat one another with love. Romans 12, the great chapter on relationships within the church, says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” II Peter 1:5-7 tells us, “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
and Hebrews 13:1 says, “Let brotherly love continue.” God is so good in blessing us with not only our earthly family, but a our spiritual family, as well! We do not stand alone in this world, but He gives us brothers and sisters to help us along the way.
“A perfect sister I am not, but thankful for the ones I’ve got!”