My siblings and I somehow have a gift of knowing exactly what the others need, most times without even knowing how or why.
About a month ago, as I traveled home to meet our little kidney bean for the first time, I stumbled across an old journal entry I had written over a year ago. With those words fresh in my mind, a few days at home sparked this letter to my sister, and soon it was tucked away like most of my other writing.
Then this weekend, out of the blue, my sister texted me a link to a new favorite song of praise, “Fearless” by Jasmine Murray (worth a listen) and reminded me of this letter, not knowing that I was struggling with my own doubts and could use a little reassurance of what will be.
I reread my letter to her today and found it to be exactly what I needed. Little did I know, a letter to my sister would someday be a letter to myself in a whirlwind of a different way.
Today, with her permission, I’m sharing it incase it could be a letter for you, too. Xx
To my sister, who is now a mother —
I’m sitting in a Starbucks as I write this, trying not to cry. (Heads up, I failed.) I have a tall salted caramel mocha in one hand and a robin egg blue journal in the other — the one you gifted me a few years ago now. I don’t share the contents of that journal with really anyone, but it’s where some of my best writings have begun.
I want to share one with you today.
Last week when Matthew finally came into this world I thought of this entry, and ironically enough, it’s from about a year ago, almost to the day Matthew was born. When I read it, it struck me how much has changed since that day. I’ll let the entry speak for itself.
January 12, 2016
My sister is looking for God.
Her car radio was playing Christian music today. When I turned it on, I thought — surely this is a mistake — and flipped the station. Later when I stepped back into the passenger seat it was back playing songs of praise.
On Thanksgiving she offered to say Grace first — before anyone had asked for a volunteer. Usually this request is met with a moment of silence as we wait for someone to shoulder the responsibility, to find the right words to make the moment seem more like an act of genuine faith rather than a forced tradition. Not this time. Her words were loud and clear, unwavering, simple and from the heart.
My sister is looking for God. How I wish she could take my relationship with Him as her own.
My sister is looking for God. Somehow she has been plagued by an undying sense of guilt and responsibility seated in her barren womb. She wants a baby. But first, she reasons with herself, after one failed pregnancy test after the other, first she must find God. For surely He wouldn’t punish her any longer if He only knew her name.
My sister is looking for God.
In this unfair universe, somehow I found Him easily. I asked, and one day He was there. And when I faltered or doubted His presence, He showed himself to me — time and time again. At the kitchen table in a time of weakness or in a church filled with thousands in Sydney. He was there. For my sister it hasn’t been that easy, and I don’t know why.
Today she asked how she would know when He came to her. Would she have an altering moment of clarity? Would she cry? Would she feel again?
I thought back to the moment I found God. All of those things rang true for me. “Oh,” she whispered. Not yet.
“It’ll come,” I promised. “Just listen.” I hope I am right.
My sister is looking for God and her journey with Him has tested my own faith. Where are you? I ask. Patiently I wait for an answer, bargaining my own relationship with Him if only for her sanity. It’s okay to leave, I tell Him, she needs you more right now. I need her to know how it feels to be loved unconditionally, I tell Him, so she can see how You are with us always. So she can end her guilt and understand that our God is not a punishing one. So she, too, can feel Your calming spirit that says, trust and listen for My plan and soon, soon you will understand too. The feeling of being known by your God is unlike any other. It’s hard to explain and unique to everyone in their own ways. But for her, I would loan it away in a heartbeat. My sister is looking for God and I know He is with her, for I’ve seen the depths of His love, so how couldn’t He be? But where, she asks. In this unfair universe, somehow I don’t have an answer.
In the weeks and months since I wrote this piece I’ve watched you transform into a completely different being. I’ve watched you give yourself wholly and truly to God in a way I have never been able to, releasing your control completely into His hands and soon — after he delivered — into the heart of your unborn baby. I’ve watched the fragile and uncertain sister I once knew transform into a spirit confident that what will be, will be. When doctors told you Matthew may have some difficulties, you responded with a defiant trust that God would give you only what you needed. That things would be okay.
I hope now that you carry that strength with you for the rest of your days.
Raising Matthew will not be easy. We’ve seen that already. But it shouldn’t be. It should be filled with tears and laughter, years of heartache and confusion and days full of joy and a heart overwhelmed with love. It should be a life of experience and a life of learning. Because what God reminds us is that a life lived without these tests and turmoils and triumphs isn’t a life lived at all. You know this. Remember that on the tough days and the easy days and all of the days in-between. And remember that through it all, you are not alone.
A month after this entry my journal simply read: “Matthew 28: And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
I hope you realize now that the God you were looking for for so long was already within you. And his name, too, was Matthew.
Because of this, I know you’ll be okay.
Keep your head up little one.
Love, your proud sister, now a proud auntie thanks to you