I could hear the voice of a very frustrated child yelling at his big brother. Stupid, stupid, stupid! When the child appeared around the corner, I asked, "Did I just hear the 's' word coming from you?"
"Yeah, but it was their fault," came the reply. This little guy was the youngest of 4 boys and of course, in his eyes, they were the reason for his problems. He wanted to tell me all the terrible things they had done, none of which sounded all that bad...but in the mind of an eight year old, they were awful! I flashed back to my own experience as the "baby" of the family and assured him that his brothers were actually giving him a great gift! They were giving him the gift of being able to handle whatever came his way. No matter what the world tried to trick him into, his brothers had already tried that and he wouldn't fall for that trick again.
I could tell that he was thinking...I'd like to believe about what I had said, but I'm not that naive. Still, our conversation caused me to reminisce on my own childhood and how my sister had prepared me for life. It began when I was brought home from the hospital and my sister became convinced I was her new doll...at least that is how the story goes. What I remember is years of teasing and tricks that I never seemed to win. She'd torment me with taunts of "Donna loves Greg"....he by the way was the little boy who made me eat grass in Vacation Bible School. She short-sheeted my bed, filled it with crackers, played mind games...yep, pretty standard sister stuff. Through it all, I think I always knew she loved me....she never said it, but I knew if I ever really needed her, she'd be there. If you've ever seen the movie "Wild America", the boys in that movie remind me a little of life with my sister....although not quite as extreme...we were girls after all....and we never went on such a great adventure and I never used her toothbrush to clean the toilet. But that's another topic completely.
Come to think of it, pretty much all the things that have happened to me in my life have helped prepare me to become who I am. My life with my sister, being teased in school, having to stand up to the bully, making HUGE mistakes, and dealing with all the things that come my way have helped me be able to deal with life...."Living In a Fallen Environment". The Bible says it this way...."And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
We don't have to make excuses or blame our past. What we have to do is look for the jewel that lies within these experiences...see how they have made us stronger, and how God has used each thing to draw us closer to Him. I often say "that which does not kill me only makes me stronger." Not sure how theologically sound that is, but it works pretty well for me.
I'm thankful for my sister....she helped make me who I am today. I'm learning to be thankful for some of the far more unpleasant things that life has tossed my way as well. Everyone of them has become a thread in the tapestry of my life. I may not see the whole picture, but as I get older that picture is definitely become clearer and easier to see.
It's not the pleasant things that have caused me to grow; it's been those things that have sometimes been like a big sister aggravating me, and it has been those things in life that have been so unfair. Each one has become a part of my testimony...a part of my joy. My life is filled with laughter, perhaps because it was first filled with tears.
God is painting a beautiful picture in your life as well....sometimes it just takes backing up a bit so you can see. Oh, and by the way....if you have a brother or sister...don't forget to say thank you.....they helped make you the person you are today.