It is true that one of the ways we best understand God’s love is through parenting. The moment I had Adeline, and now again with Maisie, I felt a deeper love than ever before. No doubt. But it is not the only way to experience divine love. Really, we experience God’s love through all meaningful relationships in our life. For me another example of this is with my sisters, Amy and Emily. I am the oldest of three girls, and I love everything about being an older sister! For those of you who have sisters, you get that unique bond – that precious friendship that extends beyond any other. You love them to pieces in the same breath that you want to strangle them (and they you of course). No matter what happens in life you can never sever the tie, you cannot erase the memories and simply move on. It is forever. It is blood.
Sisters are the friends you did not choose but would never give up or replace. I know in our case we are EXTREMELY different from one another, but we can laugh and cry together as we can with no one else. We tell the truths no one else will tell, we laugh at the things no one else will get, and we celebrate with each other a joy no one else fully comprehends.
One of the greatest joys for me has been watching my sisters be Tias (aunts) to my girls. They love Adeline and Maisie like they are their own children. They have stayed over numerous times for midnight feedings and spent countless hours with our children. This is one of those “joys” we share, of which compares to few other things in life. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t always been like this. Growing up there were times my parents were probably surprised we survived. Just as we can love on each other with the best of them, we could fight with them as well. But that is what makes us sisters, right? As kids we could go from hair pulling to doll playing in a second. And as adults we can go from eye rolling to rolling in laughter just as quickly.
The best part about this sister love is that I already see it happening between my daughters. It was amazing to see how quickly Adeline fell in love with her little sister Maisie; it was love at first site! And as Maisie became more alert at only a couple weeks old, she would turn her head when her sister would enter a room – as she heard her voice she would smile. Just the same, if Maisie’s cry was heard a room away, Big Sister Adeline would run to see what she needed. And kisses . . . there have never been SO MANY KISSES!!!!
When I think about the love between me and my sisters, the beauty that is sibling love, it redefines the concept of “children of God”. Scripture repeatedly reminds us that we are indeed children of God, Co-heirs with Christ. 1 John 3:1 shouts it out:
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
Paul takes it one step further as he points out that it is the very Spirit of God that clues us into this truth.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8).
In other words, we are all brothers and sister – and wait! Hold on a second. Pause to ponder this. Take it in. We are co-heirs with Christ, children of the same God. Just like a father’s love reflects the Father’s love, a sister’s love can reflect the love Christ has for us as his spiritual siblings. Paul compares our relationship to the trinity like that of a family. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This means that in my relationship with my sisters, through that love, I can experience God’s love. As children of One God we are called to love one another because we share in the same inheritance: an eternal promise from an eternal Father through an eternal Son enlightened by an eternal Spirit.
This is an amazing concept to think about: children of God that are heirs with Christ. How much do I love my sisters? How much do I witness the love between my daughters? How much have I learned about love through the relationship of my Mom and my Aunt Terri? Yet, this abundance of love is only a fraction of how much Jesus loves us! But in this amazing way we get to experience His divine love through Sister-love (not to exclude brothers I just don’t know about that personally)!
God is love. This means that any type of love comes from God because as Scripture reminds us, we know love because God first loved us. So as sisters, whether we are talking for hours as we share our lives, making “Chandler” faces and capturing it on camera at EVERY family event, or wiping grease from the broken hotel door (long story) on our sister’s face (enjoying it a little too much and pushing it a little too far) — we love. As sisters that is what we do. Why? Because God first loved us and has called us his children, placing us in the position of co-heirs with His Son.
So maybe the bottom line this week is super simple, but one we all need to hear from time to time: God loves us. God loves me and he loves you. He loves us so much that he made us his children and spiritual siblings with the Son, to share in His Kingdom one day. And we get to know and experience this love in so many ways. But today I am celebrating this love as demonstrated through sister-love! Today I am giving thanks for the special blessings in my life, Amy and Emily – my sisters. Today my cup overflows with joy because of such love.