Now, onto a LONG overdue post...
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
We find her clip clopping around the house; her pretty little feet tucked into her sister's shoes. She laughs wildly and holds up a foot for me to see. They fight like typical siblings. The two of them, as different as the yin and yang of their haircolor, are the differences in their personalities.
"She is touching me!"
"That is MINE." (with a telltale whine)
"STTTTOOOOOOPPPP!!" (If I hear this one one more time, I very well may require intervention!)
And still, despite their differences, the younger of the two will capture every opportunity to slip on her sister's shoes and proudly strut, desiring to be just a smaller version of her elder counterpart.
In May, our older daughter, Emily was anticipating many milestones. Her first Reading Olympics, multiple recitals, school concert, her tenth birthday! The Reading Olympics and school dance recital fell the same day, just one day prior to her tenth birthday.
Em woke early, which I quickly attributed to excitement. It wasn't until I stood and watched her that morning that I knew something was wrong. Em struggled to eat her little bowl of cheerios and when she looked up at me, I could see her flushed cheeks. A whole year of healthy ushered out in just a moment of fever, on the worst possible day of the year.
Her eyes knowingly plead her case, wishing away the warmth that threatened to ruin a year's worth of hard work. I believe we took Em's temperature 113 times that morning, each time, praying that God would change the thermometer. A normally antagonistic little sister, Hannah watched silently. This was the day of her FIRST dance recital.
102.7 was the first attempt and 104.4 was the final attempt...that fever wasn't going anywhere. So, with a heavy heart, I called school to let them know Em would not be there that day. We had the sad job of telling Emily we could not send her to Reading Olympics or the dance recital with a fever peaking just over 104 degrees. I assured her that her hard work was not in vain. These are the moments I wish our parenting handbook was delivered WITH the child!
That evening Hannah joyfully donned her costume. She was dancing to a beautiful version of the Lord's Prayer. Em put her costume on "as a symbol of solidarity" she said. I was rather impressed that with eyes heavy with fever and a terrible headache she mustered the energy to be excited for her little sister. They posed for pictures and as Hannah was leaving, Em smiled, waved and told her to do as well as she had done in rehearsal. My mama's heart was conflicted. As sad as I was to leave Emily home with her grandmother, I was beaming with joy for Hannah. I was elated that in an important moment, these two sisters were compassionate to one another, Em setting aside her disappointment and Hannah able to receive that her sister felt badly about missing two such important events.
Because I work at the school, one of my roles this year was to assist the dance teacher with the production. So, there I sat, in the front, anticipating my baby's first time on a stage. She did not disappoint. It was so exciting to see Hannah confident and worshipful. There was no doubt that she served the Lord with her whole heart.
The dancers were nearing the time for the finale and the smaller children were to take their places in the front, down low. The dance teacher and I realized that Em was partnered with another girl high up on the stage to wave a gold banner, the effect simply would not be the same without Em. So, in a quick attempt to fill Emily's shoes, I motioned to Hannah to take Emily's place. Now, Hannah is a tiny little bit of a girl and she had to maneuver up that stage in between the junior high girls and get to another dancer and partner with them. It was obvious how closely she must have watched her sister, because with great precision, she got to her mark, made eye contact with the other girl and that banner was waved!
It may sound simple, but more than anything, Hannah had honored Emily. Her small frame not quite able to do exactly what her sister did, she tried her best and the product was exceptional. When the dancers were finished and Hannah ran to me, she said, "Emily would be so proud."
"Sisters are different flowers from the same garden" ~Anonymous
On a normal day, their battle cries would sound loud and clanging, not this day. This day, they chose to quietly love on one another.
I am certain Em would not have chosen to be sick and miss the Reading Olympics and the dance recital. But, I am also certain that God's special design for that day was best for her. And perhaps, best for this conflicted mama. Often, the Lord chooses events and circumstances we would NEVER choose for ourselves. We can be assured that what the Lord allows in our life is surely to build His kingdom.
Hannah's gentle act of love allowed us a window to her heart and sweet honor to her sister. It was a blessing amidst uncommon circumstances that I will not soon forget!