October 10, 2010


Disclaimer: Facts given from Beth's perspective may be slightly skewed. --Janalin

The wise anonymous soul that quipped that "Sisters are two different flowers from the same garden" will never know how accurately she described Janalin and I. We're not just two different kinds of daisies, we're as different as a sweet pea is from a sunflower.

  • I use my right brain, she her left.
  • I think in pictures, metaphors, analogies; she in words, precise explanations, detailed organizers.
  • She appeals to logic, I to emotion.
  • She seeks for the close companionship of one or two individuals, I try to juggle twenty intimate friendships at once and somehow fit my school and daily life around them.
  • She orients her life around principle while I tend to try to fit principles into my life.
  • If she sees black, I see white, and gray is a shade that is thrown out entirely.
  • I spend forty minutes getting myself ready for the day, while she throws on a t-shirt, runs a comb through her hair and gets on with life.
  • She is in the car waiting and ready to go ten minutes before she really needs to leave, while I scramble to finish a hundred things in that oh-so-amazing last minute.
  • She pulls a steady 4.0 while I---well, I'll just leave you to guess!
  • She wants to get to the bottom of things and find out how and why they work, I prefer to take what I see for what it is and add my own little unique twist to it.
  • She asks, "What do the experts say?" I ask, "Who ever said that person was an expert anyway? What if they're WRONG!!"
  • She makes pronouncements. This is the way it is. Or so this is what we're going to do guys. And people just happily go with what she says! I lead by energizing people and if I fail at getting people excited in what I want, I'm at a loss to know what to do to keep the team going.
  • Yet, where I am at ease with nearly all classes of people, she struggles to find common ground with many.

And for the first 15 years of my life, she was an enigma; a riddle so difficult I didn't even try to figure her out. In a way I felt that she was a threat simply because I couldn't understand her. She couldn't understand me either, and so we just ignored each other. I could never be better than her, so I capitalized on our differences, and looked for ways to get an upper edge. The definition of a bratty sister, I did much to make her life rough and rocky.

We played together as kids, and we had our good times. Like when we'd get left home alone and crank out kitchen creations that were so terrible the goat curled up her snooty lip in disgust and wouldn't touch them. But given enough time, conflict was inevitable:
"I'm going to be the mom."
"No, I'M going to be the mom. You're always the mom. You're so bossy!"
So we would compromise. I would be the mom and she the Aunt.

But the funny thing is, we're sisters. We're planted in the same garden.
  • We have the same upbringing and our lives have taken us in similar directions.
  • We've gone to the same schools.
  • We're both education majors.
  • We're both canvassing leaders.
  • We both are driven to work for the souls of young people.
And the more we grow past the immaturity and insecurity of adolescence the more things we find in common with each other, but maturity alone could never have resulted in the friendship that I now share with Janalin. We have been brought together by the compelling force of the Word of God. "I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." John 17:23

The Word bridges the gaps between her world and mine. Maybe other sisters can chat for hours about shoes, and hairstyles, but Janalin and I have no common ground there. Our common ground is Bible study. We text each other points from our devotions, and I have to admit, I really enjoy the way her lefty brain is able to put points into words! She's amazing like that.

So why am I all reflective here? I guess I just got thinking about it because yesterday we had a sister date. Maybe other sisters have those all the time, but we just never did-- we didn't have anything to talk about. Now we do.
So after church, we went through potluck line, took our plates down to the river and just sat and talked about life. We talk about our futures, about relationships and all the challenges and opportunities that they bring. We talk about teaching-- her students lives and the joy of watching their little light bulbs go on. It's like making a new friend--just with a person that I've known for twenty-one years.

She's fun to be around. She really is. I like her.

I love you, Janalin. You're beautiful, talented and so much more understanding than I give you credit for. Thanks for putting up with this rebel brat that God placed in your life, and for working so hard to understand me. :-) You're MY sister...and don't argue with me now cause we've been over this before and you know I'm right!


  1. Oh Beth, this is heartwarming to read! It
    s beautiful! PTL! It's also kinda hilarious after having had you both as leaders. ;)
    You are blessed to have each other! I would rather have nothing but the Word of God in common with my sister, than to have it the way it is now. But God has the power to change that. And I am praying He will.
    Thanks for sharing! Love to both of you from me! ;)

  2. Aww.. what a beautiful tribute to your sister. This post captures the amazing differences between sisters and the miracle of understanding and having such a blessed thing in common.