Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Band of Brothers

A post on the 3 young men the Lord has placed in my life as brother; and the 3 very different ways He did so.

On Friday my younger brother (I am forbidden from calling him my “little” brother) will get on a plane for the very first time, and I will experience heart palpitations and pace back and forth until he’s in New York safe and sound. I will have him call me the second he lands, and yes I have called US Airways and arranged for someone to escort him from gate to gate on each flight. I can’t help it, my entire life I’ve felt the need to protect Samuel; ever since I held this mammoth 10lb 8 ounce baby that took up almost the entirety of my 4 year old self, since that moment he’s always been my Buddy. Maybe I just knew that’s what sisters were supposed to do for their younger siblings; my older sister had always protected me so there was no hesitation that this was what I was to do as well. Yet, I was never the cool older sister; I was the constant nagging voice; "Sam do your homework, Sam tie your shoes, Sam don’t talk with your mouth open, Sam don’t say aint. "(He hates that one.) I don’t know if he ever saw through the layers and realized that I was hard on him because I loved him, and I don’t know if he ever will. I can only hope the times when Sam and I would play basketball or throw a football at the park spoke louder to him than all the motherly requests I gave him. There were times when I would physically put myself between him and whatever struggle the world had given to us to take, and then there came a time when our relationship would be altered and I would literally be asked to guard over him. I remember my prayers so vividly from that time in my life; I asked the Lord to remember His promises to His children and to not forget Samuel. I would do whatever my Father asked of me, it didn’t matter. And as it is with our Heavenly Father; He did not leave, He did not forsake. God transformed my heart and placed inside of it a love for someone greater than my own life, God changed my dreams filled with successes and changing the world, to dreaming of a place of refuge for my baby brother and having his world forever changed. God then put people in my life to walk that road with me; I never walked alone, and I can never pour out enough gratitude to the people that came alongside me and helped me to bear my burden of grace. On Saturday, Sam the Man; a good bit over 6 feet these days, will turn 20 years old, and my prayer for him is this. "Dear Father I thank you for what you have done in his life, and how you have displayed your grace. I praise you for the people who genuinely care for him and are invested in his future. I pray for his future, that he would be given a drive and discipline to succeed at whatever You call him to do. I pray that you would utilize his intellect and love for reading and sports. Just as Hannah in the Bible, I give Samuel up to you. I surrender my worry and my anxiety and my fears for Him to you and will trust that you will continue to move mountains for your son. Amen."

Up in Pennsylvania there is a young man that I knew long before the Lord would graft him in to my heart as brother. I remember when Nevin and Robin Gorki decided I was finally old enough to babysit their children, I was so excited, they were such good kids at church and I was drawn to their parents and looked up to them in their walk of faith. Jared, their youngest, was always such a great kid. He said please when he asked for more macaroni and cheese, was always a joy to draw treasure maps with and play hide and seek, karaoke, and HORSE on long hot summer days. As I grew older, Robin and I got closer; to this day I still curl up on the stool over the kitchen island and pour out my heart to her. So, when my home no longer became my home, it was the Gorkis who opened up their doors to me. I already had a fierce love for their family and now by Gods grace I was a part of it. I’ll never forget when Kylie, their oldest, introduced me to some of her friends as her older sister and I can't tell you how much it means to me to see a photo of me on the wall. Jared and I have a sweet relationship, see we play checkers and I let him win every time......actually, truth is I’m terrible at checkers and no matter how much I practice or how many trick plays I memorize off my I-phone; it’s Jared who wins. Hands down. He even HELPS me and I lose. Whenever I call him he always asks me if I'm ready to come home and lose. I try to leave a letter on the table every time I leave home, I sign it; “All my love, forever and always” and that’s true, I will always love all of them with all my heart; Kylie will always be my sister, Jared will always be my brother. It’s hard to believe that the little boy I watched run up and down the tiny soccer fields is now a tall, kind hearted freshman in high school, and my prayer for him is this. "Dear Father, thank you for the incredible gift  of family you have given me with my Gorki’s, thank you that I have a sweet brother in Jared. I pray that you would bless him these next four years of high school and cultivate his heart for others into the leader of men I know he will be. I pray that you would give opportunity for him to share your love and gospel and he would continue to grow in wisdom and stature. Amen"

When I was 17, I had a paternity test that ruled out Option Number One of who my father could be. It’s results left me with the information that Option Number Two was indeed my biological father. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to find him or not, the story I had been given was that he hadn’t wanted anything to do with me. I questioned why I would want to track that person down and ask them to want me again. I decided I would at least find as much information on him as I could, and like every other high school senior with a question at hand; I turned to Google. I googled his name and a phone number and address came up; I wrote it down on a piece of paper, there in my hands was the X on a treasure map of a lifetime of searching. I didn’t call it for the longest time, to be perfectly honest I was scared a little girl would answer the phone and tell her daddy that there was strange girl on the phone for him.  Yet sometime when the season turned colder and I was at my mothers house by myself, I called the number. I asked for him using his full name, thinking the middle name would indicate I had definitely found the right one. “This is” he said. I asked if he remembered my mother, calling her by the name he would have known her as. His voice slowed, it was full of questions. Finally, very calmly I stated; “ I’m your daughter” The first thing he said to me was; “ You have a brother”. "Yes, yes I do" I said, "his name is Samuel." He then went on to explain that no, he had a son, so I had yet another brother and his name was Leland and was 10 years younger than I was. Since that phone call I have spent time with Leland twice, it’s hard because he lives out West and I live down here in Dixie. Leland is a sweet boy who at 14 is already heads taller than me. He asks grown up questions and seems like a very serious, mature boy. He is my little Leelee and my prayer for him is this. Dear Father, thank you for giving me the courage to pursue a truth that scared me which ended up giving me another little brother to love. I hope that I can be a good example for him and that we can grow up the rest of our lives together even though we are far apart. I pray that you would reveal your truths to him and that you would walk beside him. Bless him Father and remind him that he is never alone. Amen"

I am a very lucky big sister, to have been given three boys who look up to me, whose bonds with me are so very different; our DNA is nothing alike, we share only parts of each others features, yet I love them all with an unconditional compassion and they each bless me with their unique hearts. What a beautiful reminder that though each of us in this world are so very different; we should love one another just the same. The man sitting across from you on the subway or in the next cubicle is your brother. The woman who just lost her husband or is checking out your groceries, she’s your sister. Your fellow man is someone you should love and protect, cherish and encourage. Our Father said to love one another as He has loved us, and has He not welcomed us in to his family, adopted through the precious blood of His Son making us all brothers and sisters in Christ. His prayer for us is this: "I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."