I have a sister. Actually, I have two sisters and they’re both amazing, but only one is having a birthday today! She’s my middle sister – the one in the picture above, enjoying an undoubtedly lukewarm Coca-cola in the 192-degree heat we like to call Port Arthur, Texas, circa 1967.
Cheryl is easily the most loyal person I know. She sticks by those she loves through thick and thin and back again. Here are some of the ways she’s proven this to me through the years:
- She used to let me win at Monopoly. And given that I was five years younger and extraordinarily annoying, it’s a marvel that she even played Monopoly with me.
- She gave me tons of rides to and from school and to and from Payless (now Rite Aid – weird!) to buy Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker, and to and from Taco Bell and she would listen to me talk about boys and never tell my secrets. I never had to ask her not to tell my secrets…she just doesn’t tell. She still doesn’t tell.
- She was there at the birth of almost every one of my babies. She missed the one that happened in Nebraska but there was a very good reason for that situation.
- She has spent nights with two of my babies in the hospital. She stayed with Whitney after our car accident and with Tess when she contracted RSV and was in the hospital from her 4th day of life to her 9th. I remember a moment when – on the brink of exhaustion and complete emotional meltdown – I felt that if I left the hospital, Tess would die. Cheryl convinced me that her being there would be the very same as me being there. I went home and slept, she stayed and prayed.
- She has helped me move into – and out of – every house I’ve lived in. She paints, cleans, encourages and just generally keeps the operation on track. She can absolutely get ANYTHING done in record time.
- She’s confronted me when she is concerned about something she sees in my life…and she’s always been right.
- She is a great amazing gift giver. She thinks and plans and creates the best gifts that reflect her ability to truly KNOW the people in her life.
- She calls me almost every time before I’m going to speak somewhere so she can pray with me. And I know she keeps praying for me after we hang up. And isn’t that just about the best thing a sister could do?
So, Cheryl, as this year of your life unfolds, please know how deeply grateful I am to Jesus for letting us share life together. Having you and Lila as my dearest, closest friends is one of the greatest gifts – I can’t imagine how I got so blessed.
I was thinking about what I would wish for you and this is it: may this year be filled with hope. Hope is such a small, big, wonderful, scary word. It’s so filled with possibilities and yet risks and “jumps”, you know? Still, my wish stands: a year filled with hope. I am praying for miraculous doors to open and kingdom resources to fall. I’m asking Him to multiply your contentment in His presence and your discontentment with the ordinary. May His will truly be done in your life…as it is in heaven.
I love you more than words can say,