Faith makes things possible...
I always wanted a sister. Oh a brother would have been okay, but a younger sister... couldn't imagine anything better. When you grow up like I did, as an only child, you long for certain things, "hanker after," as my grandma used to say. It's like when you look at a menu and the perfect entre' is way out of your price range. You have a 5 star appetite on a one star budget. You look at that item on the plate, but you don't get to taste it. However, you can see that others do. And because they can, they don't always appreciate what they have.
So like any self-respecting young lady, age six, with my go-for-it- personality, I started adopting siblings. Not formal adoptions, mind you, informal ones sealed with love and joy and respect and hope. Some of those adoptees seemed startled when I suggested that we really were meant to be family, even if there wasn't a biological connection.
After all, sometimes "chosen family" feels more like family anyway.
Can I hear an "Amen" to that? And so it started, my family-building exercise. Never one to be daunted by a challenge, I often went into friendships wondering, "Is this the one?" Sort of like you do when you are looking to date someone. Not in a stalking manner, mind you, just a highly inquisitive would-you like-to-be-connected-forever type of wondering.
And those in the running came in all sizes and colors and ages and locations. Because yes, I firmly believe that love stretches, and bends, and flows across miles and obstacles and typical dimensions of being family.
If there is a "soul-connection" I don't care where you reside, how much you weigh, the color of your skin or any other data about you that might go on your resume.
One dear soul-brother, Scott Finnie, is a colleague of mine at the college where I teach. He has a heart as big as all outdoors, a passion for social justice, a love for teaching and helping students succeed that brings me to tears, a deep love and commitment to Jesus, and I knew instantaneously that he was my little brother. No matter that his skin is a gorgeous brown hue, and his hair is even more kinky than mine... he was it!
When I told him with great flair, 'cause that's how I roll, that he was now my "little brother," he grinned, hugged me and said "You're my sister from another mother but the same Father."
I love that guy!
Now understand, if you will, that I am a very protective older sis. When Scott was up for tenure, I visited the college President's office, just to be on the safe side. Since I had taught with Scott, and knew he was an A+ teacher, I wanted to be sure that nothing kept him from getting the tenure he had earned. I ended up jokingly telling the President that if Scott didn't get tenure I'd have to hang myself naked from the flag pole.
Dr. Williams, also an esteemed and beloved gentleman of color, stood up, hugged me, made a full-belly laugh and said that Scott was blessed to have such a loyal friend and colleague like me. Someone who would stand by his side to see that the right thing happened for him.
I smiled and then gently corrected Dr. Williams. "He's my little brother." I said with a hushed and shaky voice, trying not to cry. President Williams circled me with a hug. He said words that were a balm to my soul. "You are an amazing big sister,"he said. And grinning from ear-to-ear I left his office.
So where is this leading, and why am I sharing my search for siblings? You know the journey to find the sister or soul-sisters that I had always longed for, yearned for?
You have to understand that while it's awesome to have Scott right here where I can walk into his classroom and hug him in front of his students (and I did just this last Thursday), I have still been on the look out for soul-sisters as well. I love Scott wholeheartedly and I always will, and I am so, so grateful to God for bringing Scott into my life.
But he isn't a sister.
I told God in my 600, 593 prayers about a younger sister, that I wasn't picky about where she lived. And I casually mentioned to the Lord that I was happy to have two... or even three soul-sisters. You see at almost 68, I am making up for lost time.
I do, however, need to admit that there was a small addendum to my prayer request. "If it works for you, Lord, could she love You? Could they be God lovin'sisters. Believers. Someone (or ones) to share my faith with? Kindred spirits on a journey with each other? Both of us eager to share our life-learnings?"
Now please understand that while I have lots of wonderful and fabulous and amazing friends and family members to share my life with, and I adore doing that with my whole heart, this little sister thing is just a bit different. It's hard to explain. Yet I knew, I just instinctively knew, that they were out there.
And guess what? I found them.
Two younger women who both feel like the soul-sisters I have wanted to unofficially adopt. Two younger women whose journeys and lives and challenges and love for God and their families... resonate with mine. Kindred souls, if you will.
And who ever, ever ever would have guessed that by blogging I would meet them. Me... not a huge advocate of the internet for communication. However, I set up a blog to share my authentic journey with my blessed family... my daughters and their children. I wanted them to know who I really was and what mattered to me. And somehow, some other people got interested and started to read and then, amazingly, I connected with two Jesus-sisters...
Vicky and Peggy. Minnesota and Missouri.
Two younger sweet friends whose lives matter to me. Two women I will go the extra mile for. Two women I pray for every day. Two women whose pain breaks my own heart. Two women I "get" and who get me. Two faith-sharers who understand that..
Faith makes things possible, not easy.
Both of them are going through huge changes and challenges right now. Vicky is fighting cancer for one more day and week and month and year. Peggy and I rallied across the miles from Washington to Missouri and put on a fundraiser for her, just like Jesus-sisters do. After all...
Soul-sisters are there for the best moments and the dark valleys.
When you are a faith-sharer and sister-of-the- heart, you show up. Praying and encouraging is part of what you do. Automatically. Gladly.
You come along side for the breath-taking moments of joy and triumph and the toughest moments someone dreads with their whole heart. So when Peggy emailed me and said "God put it on my heart to do a fundraiser for Vicky in her battle with cancer, would you like to do it with me?" I didn't hesitate for a nano-second. Both of us were "all in" knowing that whatever we could do to lighten Vicky's load, we would do it gladly. So hand-made quilts and pillows and baskets and websites and face mail messages later...we were able to step up for Vicky. That's what you do for a soul-sister. Period. End of story.
Now you might cast that off to coincidence or a nice across the miles connection, but I am here to tell you that it was God in action. It was "Love does," to quote Bob Goff.
And sweet Peggy? Peggy has made some huge and very difficult life-changes as she comes into God's light wanting to be all He means for her to be. Peggy and I also have a special connection. I have been where she is. Such tough, heart-breaking decisions. Some of our path to wholeness has familiar trails. We have shared some of the deepest hurts knowing that if I got through this, you can too. Knowing that God is there, no matter what.
Her love for her family and the Lord touches my heart. She is a Nana to grandchildren just as I am. Do I think for a second that the internet somehow connected us? The internet was the vehicle but God was the connector. Yup! That's what both Peggy and I believe.
God put all three of us into each other's lives because He has a plan about all of this. The three of us are reminders to each other of how dearly we are loved, how God created us to be His daughters, and that He loves us and holds us in His almighty hands.
We pray for each other and those prayers are heard by God Almighty.
So my dear Vicky and Peggy, if you read this, and I know you will... know that I am praying for you both this morning.
Vicky, I am praying for you to have a peace beyond all understanding, His peace about your MRI results, not what you had wanted. I am praying that you would know that He is there, no matter what. And so are we. So are we. And that as you take each curve in the road and fall in love with everyone of His sunsets and sunrises, that your heart would be peaceful and full of the joy of living every day as if it was your last. That you would know that you and Rick and Nolan and Colton are all in His almighty hands. He has got this! All shall be well, my friend.
But I also want you to know one more thing, in your deepest heart-of-hearts, Vicky. You are amazing and courageous and inspiring to all of us, but we love you just as much if you are sad, or mad and scared and confused in all of this. You are God's miracle and we wouldn't change a things about you. Thank you for loving me and supporting me.
And Peggy, kindred friend, I continue to be amazed at how we are on the same wave-length. I pray for your continued confidence in this path and journey the Lord has you on. May you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you are amazing and smart and beautiful and that you deserve to be loved and cherished. You are His daughter. Just be you...you are perfect just as you are. Thank you for loving me and supporting me.
I truly believe that God brought the three of us together, as unlikely as this would seem. He knows what we need and when we need it.
God's like that you know, with us soul-sisters.
So... as this amazing Sunday wakes up and my sleeping granddaughters raise their heads after an overnight at Nana's, I am so happy and filled up with JOY. Yup, God is good and He answers prayers. Scott, Vicky and Peggy are all a testament to that!
Love you all to the moon and back!
"We are all just walking each other home." ...