I have two sisters. I sit directly in the middle of them. On more levels than one. I also have two half-sisters. Much older than me, and raised seven states apart. But they were sisters, none the less. We exchanged a few birthday and Christmas gifts and random school pictures. I also was raised with two girl cousins who lived with us for a time and then moved six blocks away. Another family of three girl cousins a quick five blocks away and in our little suburbia lives, that meant we were back and forth and all over town, all together, pretty much all the time. There were some boys in there, but the girls outnumbered and the streets got strewn with pink bikes and purple roller-blades while we all lived there. No one understood “county lines”, it only meant the road had a few more cars on it at 8:00 in the morning and 5:00 at night, so plan your adventures accordingly. We crossed county lines like you cross your T’s, without much thought and as often as was necessary. I never lacked for a girlfriend.
The deep relief of that? I’m a born introvert. The girl who could NOT physically, emotionally, or mentally get herself up to the piano for her first recital. Nope. Cried my eyes out and clung for my very life to my Mom. Could. Not. Do it!!
So the sisterhood I was born into bore me relationships that I never had to go find. Never had to work at. Never had to introduce myself, or explain my quirks, or hide. Yeah. Hide. Shyness has deep fears. I’m working through those still.
I went to school on a regular basis, and I started with only one or two girlfriends there. But they came and went as families moved and shifted careers and in the back of my mind, I had my sisterhood already. I never needed much for a friend. And as we grew and young womanhood set in, I also steered clear of cliques, sororities, associations, you name it! Yes, there were friends, and I had the privilege of spending time with some of them last week. Got to meet spouses and children and a few parents even. And I finally realized one thing. My sisterhood, it turns out, was and is, bigger than I ever imagined!
Let me explain. My sisters, my cousins, my original sisterhood fulfilled an amazing need. Although I thought I did not need people, I actually still call one sister probably four times a week. I worry about the other sister probably four times a week. All but one cousin is still within half a day’s drive, and that one, sadly, passed away a few years ago. But I still have some of her books, and THAT feels like home to me.
But the other part of my sisterhood came in the relationships of girls-turned-women that God allowed in my life. I have always attended church and church schools and church camps. And in all of those, Christ led me to friendships that, as it turns out, played such a vital role in shaping who I am today. That “other” sisterhood has been the one to bring a meal to my door when the world fell apart. She’s been the one to call and pray me through darkness at midnight. She challenges my search for scripture and builds my backbone when motherhood strangles a bit. She’s held my hand at funerals and blown up balloons at birthday parties. And, honestly, when my original sisterhood all lives too far away? She has walked countless miles, sipped hot coffee, and filled my dishwasher more times than I can count.
She is so many of you! I wish, with all my heart, that I could reach out to every single woman who has offered relationship to me. Each time I lap another year I look at all these women who have no idea how they help build up a pretty shy, crazy, disorganized girl into a stronger, more prayerful woman.
Sisters, let’s face it, most of us need each other, in some shape or form. So please know, that when you crawl into bed at the end of the day, and you have no idea if anyone knows you exist. I know. I know, and I am so grateful for your “sisterhood”. You touch lives without even knowing.
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1 (NLT)