Friday, January 18, 2008

Sisters

God is so good isn't He? I just want to say, that I am trying to be very careful in what I am posting because I truly believe that I should just keep pointing to God and how He has helped me *see* what He sees. I don't want my words to be misconstrued or used as a tool of harm against ANYONE, so, as you read, please only apply them to yourself instead of thinking of, *so and so* who really could use a talkin' to about her pride" ;). The *so and so* in my life is always ME-though I don't like to admit it...the Lord shows me all the time what a depraved state my heart is in and how it is riddled with pride.

The issues that have been placed on my heart are very very sensitive ones. To divulge my heart in its entirety would be reckless, riddled with human reason and not of the Lord, so, I am asking that you read with all discernment and prove everything with the Word of God. The Holy Spirit's work is never to be mocked or mimicked in any way by ANYONE. My job, as a wife and mom, is simple (in theory-HAHAHA). I will never be too little for God to use but I can get too *big* in a hurry if I in any way allow pride to guide me when helping others. I am to be a Biblical help-meet to my husband, a godly mother, a virtuous women, a soul-winner, and a teacher of good things to those women that the Lord brings my way who need encouragement. (Forgive me for not taking the time to add in verse links-maybe later I will add them in)

I will say that sharing my convictions, preferences, thoughts etc in a way that tries to mimic the work of the Holy Spirit or undermines the authority of the husband or Pastor is destructive and is evidence of the pride of life among other things. The transforming work of the Holy Spirit works from the INSIDE OUT! I know I said this before, but I can't stress enough that it is HIS work and never ours to try to change someone...our efforts to do this will always result in confusion and worse. We do not see clearly and are easily deceived, as women especially...we must consider this humbling fact of life and be ever prayerful when giving counsel.

The Lord uses relationships and people to teach such wonderful truths doesn't He?When determining the best way to encourage a sister in Christ...especially a new Believer or carnal one (being CAREFUL with that word), it helped me to observe the way my daughters interact. So, I share the following (WAAY too long-but hopefully helpful) list of observations ;) Brianna and Anjolie are 20 months apart. Because Brianna was born first, she will always be more mature, older, and have more experience. Does this mean in any way that Anjolie is inferior or WRONG in her lack of understanding or skill? Is she any less important? Of course not, I love them RIGHT where they are at. When they walk in their appropriate *age paths* (lol), they are so pleasing. When Anjolie tries to leap ahead and keep up with Brianna-she only fails miserably. Brianna will even (in her pride) try to encourage Anjolie to *keep up* with her and do the same things she does because she knows it will only bring her out on top and leave Anjolie to stare in the awful glare of her shadow. (Does this sound familiar?) On the other hand, just because Anjolie is younger does not mean she doesn't have strengths that Brianna can learn from. Brianna's pride rages when Anjolie's differing strengths shine through. I am so pleased when Brianna can set her pride aside and just be happy for Anjolie and enjoy her individual gifts. It is much harder for Brianna-due to pride-to learn from Anjolie than it is for Anjolie to learn from Brianna. Do you see some parallels? Since Brianna is older and more capable, she is expected to, IN LOVE and with MEEKNESS, help her sister when she makes her bed or tries to tackle some other task that requires more experience. The very second that Brianna allows pride to leak in- she is tearing down and NOT building up.

It is amazing how clearly I can discern the spirit in which the help is given (as it is for our Father in heaven when observing us). When a task, that Brianna has helped Anjolie with, is complete, Brianna is expected to stand down and allow Anjolie to receive the praise for a task well done. When Brianna allows Anjolie to recieve public praise, I take her aside in private and love on her and tell her how proud I am of her for being so humble and allowing her younger sister to be encouraged.

How does Brianna know when she is to help? She observes and quietly steps along side of her when she struggles, or Anjolie will ask her to help. Brianna is to help her in the task and not just take over and do it for her. Boy is that a tendency we have sometimes! Brianna's "help" is destructive when it is done in a way that causes Anjolie to feel shame for not being as mature or when she is critical or when the help is done in anger or pride..or with the desire for personal praise. Anjolie is best helped when she is approached with a pure desire to build up-she glows when Brianna praises and encourages her. It is hard sometimes for Anjolie to accept help from Brianna, but when Brianna patiently waits and encourages, Anjolie's heart is able to soften and accept the help that she needs from an older loving sister. Brianna seeks out oppurtunities to encourage Anjolie. When we consider one another, we will see that the opportunities to encourage are endless. I, as their mother, can see the bigger picture in what can be accomplished in their relationship as sisters. God has a plan in our relationships as well His plan is not seen in a competetive and prideful spirit. I can see how they can build each other up with kind words and loving actions. I can see how I can build others up by applying what I have learned through these observations. My heart is grieved when my daughters try to exalt themselves by belittling the other by actions, hints, words.... How our Lord must be grieved when we overwhelm or try to outdo another sister in Christ all for the praise of man.

When I am correcting Anjolie, it is NEVER a help for Brianna to chime in with ANYTHING...a well timed loving pat (rarely even a word) on the back is about the only appropriate action that is expected and well received of Brianna. A haughty look is corrected immediately and holds greater consequence than the stumbling of her sister. The only time Brianna is ever allowed to use any type of authoritive tone or what would be perceived as words of rebuke is if she is doing something that is of danger to herself or someone else...whether it be in words or actions. 99% of the time she is to leave any rebuke or correction to the proper authority...either to me or her dad, Pastor, teacher etc. So you see, Brianna's job, as the mature sister standing along her younger sister is to be "little"- to allow her sister to lean on her when needed, to be quiet and meek when she witnesses her sister's rebuke, to ALWAYS use words of encouragement, to supply a loving hug when she is sad instead of a cheery mocking song, and to allow Brian and I, under God, to be the undisputed authority in Anjolie's life. WE, as her parents, know where Anjolie is at in her growth, we know what she is capable of. For Brianna to burden her with her own personal idea of training or opinion only distracts Anjolie from her current course and causes her to be in sin as she is not doing what WE have told her to do. In the end, Anjolie ends up defeated and depressed because she will never be able to please or outdo her sister...they end up despising one another. Anjolie is NOT pleasing us when she is trying to keep up with her sister in areas she is not yet mature in or has not been instructed in. Anjolie is just learning to read and is gaining nothing by trying to tackle reading one of Brianna's readers. She does best just moving at the pace I have set for her-learning the basics for a firm foundation with Brianna encouraging her IN the course WE have set for her. I do ask Brianna to listen to Anjolie read and to help, but only what is within Anjolie's understanding and what is helpful to her at that time. It is never my desire to overwhelm either of them with tasks that belong to me. I only want for them to continue walking in their own paths-encouraging and loving one another. I am sure most of you could break this down alot better than I just did :)

When is Brianna expected to be big? She is after all, the big sister :) Brianna fills that role when she comes to Anjolie's aid against friends that would tear her down or tempt or hurt hurt her she can warn her of danger when she sees her doing something out of ignorance that would harm her. It is then that she is to come out of the "shadows" so to speak and use her wisdom and experience to protect and aid in a time of trouble-until I come. Brianna can *hide* Anjolie behind her and protect her, she can shield her from hurtful words or blows...she can usher her to the safety of my arms. She is never to leave her broken and alone as a *lesson* to her to wise up...or as an "I told you so". If Anjolie insists on doing wrong, Brianna is never to participate but to sincerely warn with the intent to protect and then get help. Even in this, an attitude of meekness is the only acceptable one. When wounded, even through her own doing, Brianna is expected to be that much more of assistance to her growing and learning sister. I hope I am conveying my thoughts clearly :)

God uses the people and our relationships to teach us. The relationship between my daughters has been most helpful to me and the Lord has taught me how I can apply what I have observed to my role as a fellow sister in Christ :) I must learn to be humble in both roles, for I am found as the younger sister and the older sister in this life. I hope you can examine this on a deeper level as the Lord leads you.

My posting is and will be sporadic. Brian deploys next month and my 4 little ones really need about 99.5% of my time these days :) Love you!! I think of you all often and wish I could *visit* with you more, but I know you understand!!

10 comments:

Pam--in Jerusalem said...

Oh Heather, what a wonderful parallel! I learned so much; thank you!

Tori said...

This was great, thanks so mcuh!!!

BTW, the kids are so pretty. *Ü*

CONNIE'S THOUGHTS FROM THE HEART said...

Wonderful words of wisdom,Heather. Thank you so much. connie from Texas

Leah said...

Heather, I lurk but wanted to tell you how thoughtful your posts are. You have really given me some things to ponder. I just know you'd be an amazing friend! :)

A Note From Theresa said...

Heather, I would like to explain things if I may. please email me

theresamcentire@yahoo.com

Maybe after you read what I have to say about my sister you would get a better understanding.

Thanks, Theresa

Christian Mommy said...

Such eloquent words. I pray whatever has been layed so deep on your heart finds peace. It is such a fine line we walk as sisters in Christ....Older and younger sibling, having to balance the roles and be ever-watchful of the spirit we embody. You are a wonderful friend Heather and I am always amazed at how you are always growing - spiritually, in the Lord...always seeking God's will and longing to be one step closer to His will for your life. I'm sure I speak for more than one at how your encourage others to do the same in their own lives. ((((hugs!!!)))

Deeapaulitan said...

This was simply beautiful Heather. Your love and zeal to be a women of God constantly draw me upward. Thanks for being honest.

liz said...

Heather, it took several times of me coming back to get all of this read but I'm so glad I did. What a wonderful post and I love the illustration you used with your girls. ((hugs))

Heather said...

Pam-you are always such an encouragement to me... more than you know.

Tori! I am so glad that you are *back* and enjoying your "Home Away From Home" :)

Mrs Connie-thank you for your encouraging words

Theresa-I am praying for you and your family!!

(((Deea)))What a blessing! :) Praying you are staying warm and cozy!

Mrs Lauren-I have so enjoyed our conversations and seeing your deep desire to grown in your walk with the Lord-you are such a blessing....

Liz-((((you)))) are such a blessing

Mishel said...

What a great post Heather! I love the way you illustrated this issue by using the girls. Awesome post!! Love you!