When I was young we moved around quite a bit. After third grade, I don’t think I went to the same school for more than 2 years. As much as I hated to admit it at that age, my sister, Heidi, was my best friend. We went to Disney World together, she was a cheerleader for my pewee football team, we home-schooled, and the list goes on.
My parents tell us that when Heidi was a baby, I would sleep on the floor outside of her bedroom door. I always wanted and felt a duty to protect her. I was the big brother. Of course I had to protect my sis.
One day that all came crashing down. I learned that my sister had become pregnant. She was too young…she was still my little sister. I had failed. I felt I was helpless to defend her. Worse yet, I was leaving for college in a few months.
I watched as people reacted to seeing her, this pregnant teenager. This statistic. This lost cause. Some supported her. Some were apathetic. Others put her out. Some people didn’t say anything, but their eyes gave it away.
As her daughters grew up, so did Heidi. She became an amazing mother. It seemed that she set out to prove wrong what people thought about her. But there was something missing. In becoming an amazing mother, she had quieted her critics, but there is no sense of value in that. The pain that was inflicted on her remained. For years I prayed that she would see, I mean really see, how valuable and beautiful she is.
Then something different happened. My prayers turned to belief. I said it out loud. “God will get a hold of my sister. Things will be different. She WILL see herself the way God sees her.” I believed. With everything in me, I knew that God was about to change her.
Today, I see her in love with Jesus. I see a leader who will impact the lives of young women. Women who others look at and see a statistic. A lost cause. They won’t have to go through the same things she did. God did transform her. Now, she knows how beautiful she is, because HE made her.
In a month, my little sister will marry the man of her dreams. A godly man. I am so proud of her. I am so proud that she withstood pain. She grew up when she needed to. But more than anything…I am proud that she responded to grace.
Grace that revealed who she really is in Christ.
Grace that turned that pain into a lifeline, extend to others.
Grace that valued her.
To my sister, Heidi Noelle…I love you and I am so proud to be your brother.