Lately I've been feeling a rush of thankfulness for people who have changed my life. The emotions just start to rise up in my heart, leaving me feeling like I'm going to pop. I need to share this, to let it gush out, sort of like one of those volcano's I made in school with baking soda and vinegar.
This is in honor of my sister, Jana. Many know our story, but some of you don't, so I'll start at the very beginning.
As a very young child, I remember laying in bed, praying to Jesus that he would give me a little sister. I knew a younger sister would make my life complete. I remember being so disappointed the longer I went without seeing that prayer answered. As I grew older, my prayer seemed silly to me. I mean, come on, like God was really going to give a little girl a baby sister just because she asked?? I knew it was a silly dream, a silly thing to ask of God.
Well, nineteen years ago this month God delivered my baby sister to me.
I had recently returned from Teen Challenge. Sometimes I would be called on to go talk to a teenager who was out of control. The goal was to try to get them into some type of rehab program. On a cold and snowy December morning in 1994, one such call came. It was cold, I had just finished working an overnight shift at my job. The last thing I wanted to do was to go try to persuade a belligerent teen to get some help. I begrudgingly packed up my arsenal of photo's I carried to help sell the cause and drug myself down to the juvenile detention house. There I met a 15 year old that was about as warm as a polar ice cap. She sat stiffly listening to what I was saying. There was absolutely no indication that I was doing anything to persuade her, I could just feel this stubborn kid cussing me out in her head. I gave her my regular speech with only half of my heart, this was pointless.
Later I found out she was being released and was moving into my parents house. She had decided that she was going to go to Teen Challenge. I was more than a little surprised because of the way she had reacted during my sales pitch. She left for Teen Challenge a few months later. She did really well there, and God completely changed her. I remember not knowing how to feel when she would introduce me as her sister. It felt fake, like something needy or insecure people do to try to make themselves feel part of something. I wanted to claim her, but I held back because I didn't want to accept her as my sister and then have her reject that relationship later. That didn't change for quite a while.
Twelve years ago God really started cementing our relationship. Sometime during that time I suddenly saw exactly what happened. All those years ago when I said those silly little girl prayers, pleading for a baby sister, God said yes. God said yes, but we had to keep walking until the right time for him to bring our paths together.
When God made my little sister and I he cut us out of the same fabric. We don't share any DNA physically, but spiritually we are blood. We are different in a lot of ways, like any sisters, but when people meet us they never think we aren't actual sisters. We look alike, we talk alike, we are passionate about all of the same things. We finish each others sentences. Sometimes our kids are mistaken for siblings. In every way possible, God has woven us together as family.
Now to the sappy stuff.
Jana builds me up. She loves me when I'm not loveable. She tells me the truth, even when I hang up on her after she does. Jana knows how I'm feeling without me having to say the words. When I rejoice, she joins me in the party. When my world falls apart she climbs in the pit with me and hugs me. She forces me to be a better person. She always turns me back to Christ. I wouldn't be half of the person that I am if I didn't have her in my life. She is the wisest person I know.
That cold December morning in 1994 changed my life. I thank God I went to meet that stubborn kid. God answers our prayers sometimes in the most unlikely place, with the most unlikely people and in the most unlikely ways.