Thursday, 20 September 2012

Be The Sister

This is a personal story, something that I have learnedam learningand hope can be of some help to those of you with siblings. 

I hear about families of 6 or 8 or 20 and I marvel. I have a younger brother, Aaron, and I think that God knew what he was doing when he limited my sibling count to 1. I love Aaron to death, don't get me wrong, but there are times that I fail woefully at this older-sister business. There are times that I act, shall we say, superior?

Perhaps you share this problem of mine. If you've ever 
  • chastised your sibling for doing something you disapproved of
  • felt slighted when your sibling didn't follow your orders
  • nagged at your sibling when he/she was slow or inattentive
  • gotten jealous when someone else monopolized your sibling
then you could be in the same boat as me.  You're not being the sister. 

It's remarkably easy to forget that God did not appoint us as our siblings' parents, spouses, or bosses. Older or younger, we're their sisters, no more, no less. 

This is so hard for me. I feel a responsibility toward my brother, to "guide him in the ways of righteousness" so to speak. How many times have I given him that look of disapproval, the look that says, "Really, can't you do better than that?" More often than not I just use his name as a reprimand. "Aaron," spoken in a certain tone of voice, can mean everything from "You left your socks in the floor again" to "Why don't you respect me?"

Ouch. I'm ashamed to admit all that. But maybe some of you sistersolder sisters especiallycan identify with these feelings? 

Over the past year I have become aware if how very wrong I've been for so long. I'm surprised that my brother still talks to me, after the way I've treated him for so many years. I'm really blessed by his forgiving spirit.

How does God call us to act toward our brothers and sisters? This ties in with Kyla's last post. We are called to be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven each of us. This is the calling that every Christian has to one another, but siblings have a very special relationship that should definitely be shaped by love. Sometimes it's appropriate to lead your siblings, instruct them, warn them, etc., but our roles as sisters are so unique and so precious that they should never sullied by prideful attitudes of dominance or superiority. God forbid we ever make our siblings into the enemy.

You have an opportunity to be a friend to your siblings, a friend like they'll never find anywhere else. It's a daily struggle for me to swallow my older-sister-attitude and try to enjoy my brother for the wonderful boy he iswithout trying to change him. That is the road I am called to walk. It's also the road that leads to late-night giggles over hot chocolate, lots of loud singing, and fantastic memories.

Trust me, it's better this way.   

Question: Do you ever find it hard to be the sister?


  1. It is hard to be the sister. I have two little brothers, and one of them is rather rowdy and loud. I struggle with being patient with him. When God tells me to stop and focus on the eternal, I shudder to think about how my critical words may hurt him as he grows up. Just because his habits aren't mine, doesn't mean they aren't normal for him.

    1. Ah, we older sisters of younger brothers have so much in common. I'm sure that we could talk for hours and hours over cups of coffee :)

      It is hard to see our differences for what they are, *differences*, not defects. Hang in there girl <3

      P.S. It sounds like you might like to read this blog post from one of my favorite ladies, Holley Gerth:

  2. Abigail, THANK YOU! Since you were so open I shall be open with you in saying this is an area I have not yet been able to conquer. It's been a sorrow for me to reflect to years past and see how I've hurt my siblings over and over with my actions, my words, and my, yes, superior attitude towards them. I am thankful the Lord's helped me in this area but only through making more mistakes than I'd have wished to and by His grace that I enjoy a happy (though not always perfect) relationship with each of my siblings. I am grateful that they choose to love me unconditionally, something I have not always done for them, and it's taught me to love in that unconditional way that Christ (and my siblings) love me with.

    I must say this is the BEST article I've ever read anywhere on this subject! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your heart. It was ever so helpful. :)

    God bless!

    1. Wow, Rachel, I'm so glad that this blog post helped you! Rest assured, however, that though I recognize all of these things I am a long way from setting them right.

      God's grace is an amazing thing, and we are so blessed to have forgiving siblings. I pray that God will give both of us the strength and wisdom to have grace for our siblings. <3

  3. Yep... I need to be the sister. I WANT to be the sister.
    God, help me!

    1. Sending up a prayer for you, Elizabeth :)

  4. Abigail, I just came across this post and it spoke right to feelings as the big sister. I recognize it as a God-sent message, after all being the big sister of 7 siblings can be a struggle if we are not in our God-ordained place. Thank you for sharing what God has laid on your heart! Pray for me as I strive to be the sister God planned me to be.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting, Andrea! I am so thankful that what God spoke to me could speak to you as well. I will be praying for you <3



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