Sisters for those with no sisters


I grew up with one brother and no sisters. I love my brother, and never longed for a sister (unlike my daughter, who loves her three brothers, but has always wanted a twin sister). But I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a sister.

I know now. You see, I have many sisters, and they are as dear to me as any sister of blood could be. God is good, and “sets the lonely in families” (Ps 68:6 NIV)—not just blood families, but church families. I look around my church, and I see sisters, brothers and mothers (Mark 3:35; Rom 12:10; 1 Tim 5:1-2; Heb 2:11). God gives fathers to the fatherless, mothers to the motherless, and brothers and sisters to those with no brothers or sisters.

As I get to know my sisters in Christ, I learn that loving begets love. Just like a blood family, you don’t choose your church family; you might choose your church, but you don’t choose the mix of personalities in it. A church is not a friendship group, built on mutual liking; a church is a family, and it’s only as you love and serve that you come to love the people in it.

Loving begets love. When I don’t invest much in others, I feel little for them; but when I care for others, I grow in love for them. When I teach Sunday School, I become fond of even the naughtiest kids. When I encourage the women in my small group—even on mornings when I’d rather stay home and rest—we grow closer together in God.

I have all kinds of sisters now. There’s my little sister, extrovert to my introvert, who excels in hospitability and who has the warmest welcome I’ve ever seen. There’s my big sister, who gives me wise advice when I’m confused about which path to take. There’s my strong-minded sister, who teaches me courage; my generous sister, who motivates me to serve; and my struggling sister, who inspires me to adopt faithful perseverance.

The other day, two of my sisters and I cried together about a mutual sorrow. As we sat side-by-side, disembowelling a box of tissues and comforting each other with a hand on the arm and a cup of tea, I realized how precious my sisters have become to me, and I thanked God. I pray for my daughter—that one day she will look around and rejoice that although she has three brothers and no sisters, she has many sisters in Christ.

4 thoughts on “Sisters for those with no sisters

  1. I have one complaint with this article – it is a few days too late!
    I was preaching yesterday on the subject of unity within the family of God.
    I wish you had published this article a few days earlier.
    However, as I think about the members of my local church, I can see that what you have said is absolutely true.
    Thanks for this.

  2. Jean, as a sister in the Lord who knows you only from your many eloquent contributions to the blogosphere, I’d like to say ‘thanks’. Thanks for once again encouraging us all to recognise and rejoice in the spiritual treasures we enjoy this side of heaven – simple but profound gifts that are evident in the ordinary and the everyday. Living in a culture that is so focused on the individual, we can sometimes overlook the significance of belonging to our local Christian family and the very real difference it can make to our walk with the Lord.

  3. Hi Richard and Lee!

    I’m so glad you found the post encouraging!

    Richard, I’m sorry it didn’t make it in time for your sermon!

    Lee, it’s always good to encourage a sister in Christ – even one I’ve never met.

    In Christ,


  4. Thanks for this Jean. Enormously encouraging, as you always are. Great for me to be reminded to think so happily about church and about God’s gentle, loving provisions for us. Also a good line to feed my eldest daughter who still laments that we only gave her sisters and not a brother!

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