I was seven-years-old when I found out my parents were expecting my youngest sibling. Before they found out the gender, I knew, knew, knew the baby was a girl. I had been praying every night – starting before they announced the pregnancy – for a sister, and this was God’s answer to my prayer. When the ultrasound revealed another brother, I adamantly refused to believe it. This baby was God’s answer to my prayer; she was my baby sister.
David was born on a fall day in October and was all-boy right from the get-go.
God never answered my childhood prayer for a baby sister and after a few years I accepted the “no” and moved on. I was and am blessed with two great brothers.
My brother Andrew brought the first in-law into our family, the day after my 24th birthday. Amanda was sweet, and we got along well but lived a few states apart, making relationship-building slow. As young newlyweds, they didn’t have a lot of money for traveling, but I tried to make it out to see them at least once a year, especially when they blessed me with my first nephew and niece.
Amanda cared for me when, on two consecutive visits, I developed horrible stomach bugs and was stuck in bed (of course these visits were supposed to be about me helping her with her young children).
It wasn’t until a recent visit, me toting my own toddler, to see my brother, Amanda and their now-three kiddos, that a huge realization hit me.
While enjoying my time at their house, a yucky mess was made outside by their dogs – partly due to something I left outside and partly due to Amanda telling me to leave said item outside. Being a gracious hostess, Amanda quickly offered to clean it up.
And then it happened; instead of responding with a nicety and insisting I clean it up, as I would have as a guest anywhere else, I told her, “That would be great. It was mostly your fault,” with a teasing glint in my eye. In that moment I realized, we aren’t just sisters-in-law anymore. We are family. We are comfortable enough to let down our guard; to be silly and sassy. And to even fuss and fight like siblings.
The next morning, I heard my youngest niece asking Amanda what her relationship was with me. “Rachel is Mommy’s sister,” she replied, and my eyes filled with tears.
Sometimes God answers your prayer just the way you hope at the time you’d like. Sometimes.
Sometimes God answers your prayer just the way you hope but makes you wait for His timing. Sometimes.
Sometimes God answers your prayer with a no.
And sometimes God answers your prayer in a way you never expected long after you hoped He would. And you are surprised by the beauty of His gift.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11a (NIV)
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