Hugs for Sisters; Stories, Sayings, and Scriptures to Encourage and Inspire, by Philis Boultinghouse
- ISBN: 9781582290959 | 1582290954
- Cover: Hardcover
- Copyright: 12/1/1999
|A Sister's perspective||p. 1|
|A Sister's love||p. 15|
|A Sister's comfort||p. 33|
|A Sister's support||p. 51|
|A Sister's challenge||p. 67|
|A Sister's service||p. 87|
|A Sister's memories||p. 105|
|Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.|
L et your soul be at rest once more. I've been good to you ... delivering your soul from death and your eyes from tears. May you walk before Me in the land of the living. My supernatural peace, which transcends all human understanding, will guard your heart and your mind.
Your Father of Life
--Psalm 116:7-9; Philippians 4:7
Sisters . There's something about the bond of sisterhood that is unlike all other unions. There's the shared femaleness--that alone is significant, but there's so much more. There's the unreasoning bond of heritage--you're bound together just because of who you are. And there's the unrelenting bond of shared experiences --you've shared secrets and Barbie dolls, Christmas mornings and roller skates. And then there's the inexplicable bond of shared genes and genetic codes that make it so much fun to say, "You look just like Mama Lou when you say that!" or "Your lasagna tastes exactly like Mom's!"
But this bond, this sameness, has a strange way of bringing our differences into sharp focus. And sometimes we can learn qualities or perspectives from our sisters that we do not naturally possess.
Take Mary and Martha, for instance. When Jesus came to their home, each approached her honored guest through her own distinct personality. Martha, the gracious hostess, took her responsibilities very seriously. She cooked and cleaned and fussed and fixed.
Mary, on the other hand, took Jesus seriously. Everything else could wait. All other responsibilities were put on hold. The Lord was in their house, and she wanted to hear every word He had to say.
On that day, Martha learned from Mary that, really, "only one thing is needed" (Luke 10:42). On another day, Mary may have learned from Martha the value of a job well done.
Sisterhood provides a safe place to learn new ideas, to explore different ways of looking at life. The comfort of our sameness helps us relax enough to learn from our differences.
So get comfortable. Put your feet up. Spend some time reflecting on the blessings of being a sister. You'll be glad you did.
When all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family, and friends.
peace like a river
She didn't know why they had come. But here they stood, under the trees. Three sisters, side by side, arms around each other's waists. They were here to visit their brother's grave.
It had been a little more than three years since Paul had died, but when people asked Michele, the oldest of the three sisters, about her siblings, she still spoke of Paul in the present: "I have three brothers and two sisters," she'd say. She firmly believed that Paul was still very much alive--just not here.
When her younger sister Katherine, had suggested they visit his grave, Michele had hesitated. She'd always had a hard time understanding why people went to visit graves--especially people of faith who believed that their loved ones were with God. The person was not there. Why attach such sentiment to a grave?
"Come on, Michele," her youngest sister, Mattilyn, had coaxed, "just come so we can be together."
Michele had reluctantly agreed to go.
She loved being with her sisters. She always felt an unexplainable joy and sense of completion just being with them. No three women could be more different. Mattilyn had the air of a businesswoman--always organizing, always planning. She gave financial advice to all her siblings and even took care of the accounting for their father's business. Katherine was the maternal homemaker. Baking bread, going to yardsales, and refinishing furniture were some of her favorite pastimes. Easygoing and completely candid, she liked nothing more than long conversations of honest sharing. Michele's demeanor was somewhere between Mattilyn's efficiency and Katherine's candor. She loved learning and being outdoors and spent way too many hours indoors at work. But the bond between them did not require common interests or similar personalities. Their bond was based on a shared heritage and a sense of family. Their love was rooted in who they were: They were sisters.
Their busy chatter on the way to the cemetery had jumped from their relationships with their husbands, to their children's activities, to the demands of work, to experiences at church. It was wonderful to share the day-to-day aspects of their lives in an atmosphere of complete trust and love.
When they arrived at the cemetery, Mattilyn knew just where the gravesite was. As they walked around other tombstones on the way to their brother's, their mood quieted. And now the three of them stood together, sharing unspoken feelings, uniting their spirits.
Michele remembered the morning she'd gotten the call and the heaviness in their mother's voice. "Paul's had a heart attack," their mother had said. "He died before he got to the hospital."
Michele had sat in a stupor on the side of the bed, eyes staring straight ahead, mouth hanging open, receiver dangling in her hand. Her hurriedly thrown-on robe was still unbuttoned. Tears streamed down her face. She just sat. No thoughts formed. No emotions took shape. She had been aware only of the pain.
She remembered standing in front of Paul's open coffin at the funeral home with her two sisters--in the same pose they now maintained. Loud sobs had threatened to spill from her mouth. Instead, the three women had cried quietly together. The song the congregation had sung at the church memorial service the previous night had played in her head: "When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, `It is well, it is well with my soul.'" It had been her brother's favorite song. He'd even rewritten the words into simple, contemporary language, and a copy of his rendition hung on Michele's den wall. As she'd looked down upon his stiff, cold body, she'd realized that her brother's death brought their family's faith into sharp focus: So this is what my faith is all about, she'd thought. If I believe what I've professed to believe all my life, then I know that Paul will be raised someday, and we'll all be with him again. If that isn't true, then none of what I believe is true . But Michele knew that it was.
And now they stood together at his grave, the truth of his absence made fresh again. And with the truth, the pain.
"Remember the time ..." Mattilyn began, and for the next several minutes they shared stories of their childhood and growing up together. They laughed a little, cried some, then fell silent as each rummaged through her own treasure box of memories.
The hot sun filtered through the summer green leaves above them. A gentle breeze mercifully cooled their faces. The only sounds were the cars on the distant freeway. Each woman was absorbed in her own thoughts. Sadness began to clutch at Michele's heart. She wished they had not come. This place made her think only of death and separation. She was about to insist that they leave when a scratchy song rose up through the silence.
"When peace like a river ..."
Michele was roused from her brooding.
"... attendeth my way," the voice continued.
It was Katherine. She was singing Paul's song. Her voice was weak and filled with tears, but she sang on.
"When sorrows like sea billows roll ...," Mattilyn joined in.
Michele heard her own voice join the others, and all three sang haltingly in unison, "Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, `It is well, it is well with my soul.'"
At that moment, no force could have pulled the three sisters apart. Clinging to each other for support, their voices gained strength as they sang on, "And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll, the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, even so, it is well with my soul."
As their song concluded, a vague understanding began to come over Michele. At first, she didn't recognize what it was. But her emotions took form, and she began to understand why it was good that they had come. They had come to share memories of someone they loved; they had come to be reminded of their eternal hope. They had come to honor their brother Paul. Not because they thought that in some sense he was still there, but because they knew Whose he was and where he was. Maybe he was even looking down on them right now. Maybe he was even singing with them.
She closed her eyes, and she could see his face. She saw the mischievous twinkle in his eyes and his easy, gentle smile. She heard his sweet voice. And with the memory came a wonderful sensation. She felt it go all through her. Slow ... cool ... calm. She took a deep breath, and the feeling intensified--refreshing her tired heart, soothing her soul. It flooded her body, almost in a physical sense, and filled her with an all-consuming sense of well-being. Then she knew what it was. It was peace--the peace that Paul had loved to sing about the peace that must accompany him now. Peace.
Peace ... like a river.
She was glad they had come.
Copyright © 2000 Philis Boultinghouse. All rights reserved.