Some of us are blessed to have a sister. If we have also known her unconditional love and undying support, we know that she is among God’s greatest gifts. Coming from a family of four girls, I always give a cheer when a second girl arrives in any family. A sister might just be the best gift a little girl will ever get.
Of course, not everyone has a sister. And not all sisterly relationships are mutually beneficial, loving, and supportive. It’s hard to imagine a more difficult or painful relational failure. But we can be glad God provides sister-friends. When I stop to count my blessings, sister-friends are near the top of the list.
Please don’t get me wrong. I love my “real” sisters! I am privileged in their companionship, especially as we’ve matured into middle age. We’ve had our ups and downs, for sure. But there is nobody else who “gets” some of what I am dealing with … or is so willing to help me figure out. They know my deepest fears, my wildest dreams and my highest hopes. I can count sisters among my closest friends.
What could be better than a sister? Only sister-friends!
An older woman recently challenged my perspective on this. “Really? Who are your friends like sisters?,” she asked, with just a hint of sneer. I can understand if this concept is difficult to embrace. I am sorry for those who have not had this experience. But truly, I didn’t have to think about it. I rattled off several names without hesitation.
It is not a long list — counted easily on two hands. One sister-friend was a fourth grade pal, another I have known barely a year, others have been close companions for much of my career, another was a friend long before mommyhood. There is an ebb and flow, over time and the seasons of life. But it is not about how long we’ve been acquainted or how often we see one another. It’s the soul-sister bond that we share. When it forms, in my experience, it forms quickly and is not easily broken.
Age, time, and distance are irrelevant. We need not necessarily agree — even about some important things, like religion. We will experience some disruptive discord. But we will forgive and we will forget and we will move on. Once we have tasted the grace of sisterhood, known the sweet joy of working through, the alternative is too much pain to bear.
Each of my sister-friends is a treasure trove of wisdom, a model of integrity, a multifaceted beauty, and a source of indomitable strength. I trust her with my life. She knows some of my deepest secrets. She has seen me fail miserably, repeatedly. Yet I do not fear her chastisement or reprisal. I anticipate her warm embrace, her encouragement, her enthusiastic, over-the-top, celebration of my next success, however small or distant it may be. She is my mentor, my teacher, my guide, my counselor; at times, I may be hers. No matter what kind of difficulty I might find myself in tomorrow, I know she will step up. I love her and she loves me, like a sister.
Maybe I prove the exception more than the rule in this richness of sisters? I hope not. I hope that any woman can count a handful of sister-friends. If not, why not? Maybe there is something to be done about that? I hope so. It is a choice to love and live in sister-friendship. It need not be difficult but does require effort and mutual commitment. It means opening doors, hearts, and minds; always a bit risky, eh?
In my experience, God often demonstrates his great love through sister-friends. May it be so for you, too. One thing I know: when we are willing, open, and accessible, God is able. I remain ever thankful that he always fills the gaps.
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. … Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand …how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. … Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)
~ René Morley