Monday, November 12, 2012


Sisterhood. I can write much on the subject. I am the youngest of seven children and of the seven, five of us are girls. That means, in my home there were FIVE sisters. And although we were sisters, not one of us was like the other. Many people said that we all looked like each other, but we didn't. Okay, so we were all around five feet tall, had the typical, thick, dark Italian hair, and petite, but other than that, we were not the same. I will say too, we not only did not resemble the other, but each sister was different in their personality, giftings, and nature.

~My eldest sister is ten years older than me and like a mother to me. When I was young, she said, she cared for me as if I were her baby. She did everything except change my diapers. She told me how she cried each morning on her way to school because she just wanted to be with me and I was the first one she ran to see upon coming through our front door after school. We shared a room together from the time I was one years old until I was five. After the age of five I don't recall seeing her around too much.

~My second eldest sister was to me like a babysitter. She played with me now and again that is when she had the time. She didn't come around much, but when she did, we would have a cherished time together. As I grew older, I saw her less and less, and so she became more like a coach to me. She'd advise me which way to go and cheered me on. (This is the one I wrote a children's book about: "My Sister and Me").

~My third oldest sister, who is five years older than me, was like a boss. She told me what to do, when to do it and always threatened to 'fire' me if I didn't get it right. If I got it right occasionally there would be a reward. A raise  if you will, a walk for ice cream or arts and crafts time.   

~My fourth eldest sister, two years my senior, and I were absolutely and completely the most opposite people in the world. The hatred this girl had and has for me is beyond anything that I can understand or desire to share today. But being sisters and having to share a bedroom, live in the same house for about twenty years -well you get to know each other and one thing she figured out about me is that I am trustworthy. As much as she hated me, and honestly I got to not liking her either, oddly enough I was the only one in the family she came to when she was depressed, angry, or sad and needed to talk. I was the first one to know when she started dating, why and what she was doing until two am. The first one to know when she became bulimic, started smoking, doing cocaine, etc. I was there for the really big stuff in her life and she knew that I would never use it against her in any way.

But other than being trustworthy she didn't know a thing about me. Our relationship was totally one sided. Our relationship was like a swinging door only for her to walk through when she need me and I was there for her. But when she didn't need me, she detested me and would not be around. I will say that I felt sorry for her most of my life and the older I got I was very glad that I could be there for her, if only to allow her to vent.

So, that is a picture of my real- life, biological sisterhood. We didn't all get along and we weren't always there for each other. I had four sisters who I would not have even considered to be my friends.

"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there IS a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24

Isn't that Scripture so great? God knows that we may not find a best friend in our own family. He knows that and He is prepared to send you a friend who will be closer than a brother/sister.

Now, I had, I believe, a best friend hand picked by God himself, given to me when I was going through the roughest times of my life. I met Marla at age three, but didn't become the bestest of friends until eighth grade. (I wrote about her in 'Let My Love Open the Door'). What made Marla a sister to me? She loved me. No doubt about it she loved me. I think the thing that communicated that the best is that she just wanted to be with me. It didn't matter what we were doing, if I was there, she wanted to be there and vice verse. For example: I'd babysit with her and her with me, she'd walk to where I was working just to be there when I got off from work and we'd walk home together and the sleepovers, well, they were endless.

We talked about everything- dreams, fears, worries, life. She wasn't a biological sister, but I considered a true sister. I remember when I was a freshman in High school, my mother had left us, and times couldn't have been more difficult. My father, who was a man of rage, was at his very worst. Not only was my mother not there to calm him down, but she was the very one who was causing his heartache. When the summer came my father decided to still go on the 'family' vacation that he had planned. He was now planning on going with me, my sister, and my eldest brother (who is mentally handicapped). In the past we had gone every year to the Jersey Shore for a week together as a family -since I was three years old, but this particular year we were a broken family-physically and emotionally.

Are you picturing this yet? My father (angry man) my sister (the one who hates me) and me. Something told me that this was going to be the most dreadful week of my life.  I was truly frightened. I called my best friend, Marla, the morning we were to leave and told her just how terrified I was of being alone for a week with these people. I begged her to come with me on my 'family' vacation. (I had believed my father would try and have some self-control if she was there). She was frightened too, but after getting permission from her dad to go with me, she packed her bags, walked down the two blocks to my home and made the horrible journey with me. She knew all the stories of how bad my father was and how much worse he had become since my mother left us, but now she was going to see it all for herself. Never was there a truer sister.

So as a young girl that was what sisterhood was to me. A friend who accepted me for who I was, hoped for the best for me and was there for me sacrificially. Now I am a grown Christian woman -what does sisterhood mean to me today?

This may seem really crazy, but I used to think that whoever God placed in my life-especially if she was a Christian-would be a new and dear friend. And why not? We're Christians, we share the same values, goals for marriage and have children and so why can't this new person be my bestest friend? After trying that with every new Christian friend that came into my life, I not only got hurt, but learned a few things.

Now, I have been hurt and honestly it is hard for me at times to trust again, but I have found that God keeps putting women in my life and I believe He wants me to keep moving on, and making new friendships. I've learned that God desires us to have dear friends or sisters in our lives. I've learned that, as was my relationship with each of my biological sisters relationships were so different from each other, that is how it is in the real world too.

Yes, God may have put a woman in my life, but maybe not all of them to be my best friend. So, like with my relationship with my biological sisters God may be calling me to:

1.Be a "mother" type of a friend to someone.

2. Be a "coach" type of a friend to someone-one who brings good times or encouragement.

3. Be a "boss" type of a friend to someone -one who motivates and gives direction.

4. Be a listener-someone who only listens.

5. And then finally He brings someone in your life to be that dear friend that will see you through the tough times, be an encourager, pray with you and for you, not gossip, love you, even the 'crazies' in you, love you so much that they just want to be with you.

You see, I think I've gotten hurt by friends in the past because I had an expectation for a friend or sister to fill a need that they weren't there to fill. In those times I look back and see that I was suppose to just be a friend to them and be there for them and not the other way around.  The friendship can last for years with me serving my friend and not really getting anything out of it. And sometimes, I've learned, that God just wants to use me in a friend's life  for a season. I'm to be there for them through a tough time and that's it. No friendship buds out of the time together. The person moves on with life and me in mine. It's not hurtful, it's not that the person didn't care about me, it was just that God wanted me there for them for that moment and nothing else. I think when I don't expect anything or when I've taken the time to ask God, "Why is this new person in my life?" I have a peace about the friendship and am not diving in head first and getting hurt.

Something else I've learned-if you really consider someone a sister, than you treat her like one. If you really believe that this person in your life is from God to be there for you and struggle through life with you then take her in as you would a real sister. Those of who I consider a true sister to me (all of whom are not actually blood related) are adored by me. Them, their children, their family. I pray for them, think about them, will do anything for them. I risk my whole heart in loving them. I become transparent.

I think one (because there truly are many) of the greatest blessings I've gotten from being transparent with my sisters is how much God has changed me through their presence in my life. Little things that I hated about myself, they saw as different and loved it. They've helped me learn to love myself. With my sisters loving me, no matter what I do, what I look  like or what my house looks like - really being me-God has healed many insecurities in me. They have helped me to face fears. They challenged me to grow and see things differently. They challenged me to love the Lord more and seek Him with my whole heart. Healing and growth has come because I have allowed myself to open my heart to the few women God has placed in my life. And what more do I want? I want to be healed so God can use me more and more. I'm on this earth for a reason- I want God to use me. I want to share His love with others openly and freely and with the help of my dear friends that is becoming more of a reality than ever!

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