Loving Siblings When It’s Hard

by Sarah W.

“I don’t think it’s possible for me to have a good relationship with my siblings.”

Is this your reaction when you hear about sibling relationships?
It was mine for many years. As my younger siblings are adopted, they had behavioral problems that caused tension in our family. Yet God showed me, over time, that I couldn’t run away from the problems; in fact, He wanted me to persevere in loving my siblings. These relationships are special – so worth investing in and cultivating!

I’d like to share with you some tips I’ve learned along the way.

First, pray for your siblings (Ephesians 6:18). Your siblings have very deep needs. Prayer helps them, as well as your attitude toward them! I remember one day in particular when one sibling had been particularly troublesome. That evening during family devotions, when it was my turn to pray, I began to pray for each of my siblings by name. As I was doing this, this particular sibling started crying! He became genuinely sorry for the problems he’d caused that day. God is so faithful to work through prayer.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
and watching thereunto with all perseverance
and supplication for all saints.”
(Ephesians 6:18)

Pray for your siblings daily during your quiet time, or when you wake up in the night, or when they are having a difficult time. Colossians 1:9-12 and Ephesians 3:14-21 are passages you can pray for them.

Evaluate yourself. Do you have right relationships with God and with your parents? Are you walking humbly with the Lord, confessing your own sins (1 John 1:9)? Are you honoring your parents? Are you following Biblical commands in relating to your siblings (Ephesians 4:31)? Our siblings watch our lives, and they sense whether we are genuine or hypocritical about our walk with the Lord.

Break down walls. Is there something that you can do to remove something that is hindering your fellowship with a sibling? An unconfessed sin, a misunderstanding, a past hurt? Be willing to open the conversation with them and discuss these things, repent if needed, and express your desire to rebuild the relationship. It can be painful, but communication is so important.

Have compassion on your siblings. Learn to be sensitive to what your siblings are feeling or going through, and listen to them. My attitude towards my younger adopted sister, in particular, changed when I stopped to think about what she had gone through in the past. She experienced more pain and instability in her first three years (before coming home) than I have ever known. It took me years to realize this. Jesus Christ had incredible compassion on people during His earthly ministry, and we are His hands and feet on earth now for our siblings!

“Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.”
(Matthew 25:45)

Persevere. There will be days when you feel overwhelmed and don’t want to keep loving, keep investing, or keep trying…but don’t give up. Seek God’s strength to press on, asking for His love to share with your siblings.  There was a point when I wanted to give up and I felt like my siblings would never change, but God has worked in our relationships and they have changed so much. I am watching God work in their hearts and it’s really exciting (Galatians 6:9)!

“And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
(Galatians 6:9)

Most importantly: be faithful to God.

The Lord knows you and your needs; He knows your siblings, and He has a reason for putting you together! He is using these relationships to sanctify you and give you opportunities to grow in Christ-like character – so embrace them and trust God to bring forth amazing, wonderfully impossible results – as you obey Him! It’s not always easy, but God’s grace is sufficient!

“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26)

We would like to hear your ideas for how to work through difficulties in sibling relationships. How has God answered prayer as you have prayed and persevered? Share in a comment below!

-Sarah W.

P.S. Here are more articles on sibling relationships:

Let’s Encourage Our Siblings! (April)

Showing Our Siblings Love (April Challenge)

Ways to Encourage Our Siblings (April Challenge)

 


If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


Current Issue of KBR Magazine: Cultivating a Heart at Home

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How to Cultivate Humility

by Peyton H.

“Pride goeth before destruction,
and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
(Proverbs 16:18)

Have you ever had your pride taken down a notch?

I remember one specific time when my pride caused me to fall—literally. I was racing my brother to jump over some grass in our little downtown area. As I ran and jumped, I skidded across the sidewalk and skinned my knee and my hands. Laying there in the ground with skinned hands and knees, my pride was broken. What seemed a simple feat turned into a situation where I was humbled—before my brothers and before those people walking and driving by!

After this little accident, I still had lots to learn about humility…

Recently, I was thinking about humility and how it affects my own life. I decided to search the Scriptures for verses to meditate on and to pray, and I found many illustrations and verses about humility. Proverbs has a lot to say about this:

“The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom;
and before honour is humility.”
(Proverbs 15:33)

“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches,
and honour, and life.”
(Proverbs 22:4)

“A man’s pride shall bring him low:
but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”
(Proverbs 29:23)

Pride will lead us to destruction. God values a humble heart—one who fears Him and exalts Him. Pride creeps in our hearts in so many ways. In my own life, there are times when I look at someone or hear about someone, and I think prideful thoughts. I think that I am better than they are because I dress more modestly, or because I read my Bible every day and they don’t. These are proud, self-righteous thoughts and I have to remind myself that we are all fallen, sinful people (Romans 3:10). Not one of us will make it to heaven without Jesus Christ.

“For the wages of sin is death;
but the gift of God is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
(Romans 6:23)

When we are humble, we will realize our need for Christ and His strength to do what is right each day. It brings us to our knees before the cross.

So how can I cultivate humility in my own life?

Start with Jesus. Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? Is He in control of your life? In order to be humble, you have to start by humbling yourself before your Maker and trusting in Him for salvation.

“As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.” (Psalm 55:16)

Ask the Lord to make you humble. He delights in answering the prayer of a humble heart! He may answer that prayer in a humbling way, so be prepared.

Start working on humility in your own home. Be humble with your siblings. Let them go first or let them receive acclamation from your parents. Receive rebukes and corrections humbly from others, knowing that they are for your growth and benefit.

Serve others. Do special things for others; take note of their interests and likes, and put their best interests before your own. Take time to invest in your siblings and make dinner for your mother; give of your time and meet needs around you (Matthew 25:45).

Do the lowly and unseen tasks. Serve the Lord even when no one else sees it or recognizes your sacrifice (Colossians 3:24). Taking out the trash…cleaning the floor…changing a diaper… What would it be for you?

God promises great blessings and rewards to those who are humble.

How do you strive to cultivate a heart of humility? Why do you believe humility is so important to the Lord? As a daughter, how do you serve with humility? Please share with us below!

As daughters of the King, may we realize the tremendous beauty and value of having a humble heart: one that does not seek approval or attention from others, but that lives for the pleasure of Jesus Christ alone. He promises that when we humble ourselves, He will exalt us in due time (I Peter 5:6) and give honor and life (Proverbs 22:4)!

Peyton (19) of Mississippi can be found blogging at sistersonourknees.com.


If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


Current Issue of KBR Magazine: Cultivating a Heart at Home

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How to Prepare for Your Future Home

by Paige B.

The thought of having our very own home, with our very own husband and children one day, gives us a tingle of excitement.

Some of us may be very optimistic type girls, and we picture this future home as being a beautiful, peaceful haven with darling perfect little children and a husband who adores us and tells us so every day!

Having our own joy-filled Christian home one day is a beautiful, God-given desire. However, we must be using the years God has given us right now to prepare ourselves to be godly wives and mothers. Many times I’ll watch my Mom perform a certain task, work through a sibling disagreement, or proficiently manage many things at one time; and I think, “Wow, I have so much to learn!” When I stop and think about the responsibilities that come with having a home to manage, a husband to passionately love, respect, and obey, and children to answer to God for; I ask God to help me use these years responsibly and make me fit for such a great task!

How do we prepare for our future homes? How can we begin to bless our future family now?

First of all, begin with your relationship with Jesus.

If you’re going to be prepared for the future, you must start with the One who holds the future. Where is your relationship with God? Are you in full communion with Him? Do you know His love for you? Is your heart totally given to Jesus? Are you only trusting in His love and grace for you? We can’t be what we need to be in our own power—we’d just end up miserable failures. We can’t prepare ourselves to be future wives and mothers when we aren’t truly walking with Jesus. We can’t (even with our wonderful husbands) train the next generation to love and serve God—without knowing and loving Him ourselves!

I’ve watched my parents work through so many issues on their knees. My siblings and I know that we definitely wouldn’t be what we are today if Mom and Dad hadn’t prayed and sought God with many tears for victory. It has been God’s grace through their prayers that changed our hearts. My mother’s prayers have sprung from her strong relationship with Jesus.

Do you really love God and have a heart totally given to Him? Is He working through you to conquer the things you struggle with each day, so you don’t carry them over into your future marriage and family? (If you struggle with character issues now, they will only be magnified in marriage!)

I would challenge you to delve into 1 John and truly see the deep, unfailing love that God has for you. Take time to pour out your heart to the Father who loves YOU so much He sent His only Son to die for YOU! He is your Good Shepherd—every pasture He leads you through is for your best. When you truly see the love of God for you, your heart will just naturally respond in deep love for Him. “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Make it important to always spend daily time with Jesus—no matter how many “good things” we may be doing, it doesn’t matter if we aren’t growing in God’s love and our relationship with Him.

Another way to prepare for your future home and family is to embrace where God has you.

Wherever you currently are, whether serving your family, ministering to grandparents, ministry with others, or whatever it may be, thank God for where He has you right now! It’s the best way to prepare, because it’s right where God wants you and can use you best.

Contentment is vital! Too often we think that “preparing for the future” is more important than serving Jesus right now. What if you may not be able to take classes at your local college because your mom needs your help teaching and training your younger siblings? Embrace and serve those little siblings—God knows they’re preparing you more than anything else can right now. You may not be able to sew all the little girl dresses and homemade things to put in your hopechest, because you have elderly grandparents to take care of and minister to. Be thankful, embrace where God has placed you, love those needy elderly grandparents, and serve them with cheerfulness! When our hearts are right, God will take care of the rest.

Finally, use your time wisely, dear girls!

The days are short and we must redeem the days God gives us. With the spare hours and minutes that God gives you each day, use them to prepare for your future family and home in the following ways:

  • During your time with the Lord every day, take a few minutes to pray for your future husband and children—our heavenly Father isn’t one of time and space; He remembers our prayers far after we humans have forgotten. Read Psalm 139!
  • Take the time to learn first aid and basic emergency response skills; these could save your child’s life or some other child’s life someday.
  • Read challenging books and learn new skills that could be of use in the future. Strive to always be learning and growing and progressing spiritually, physically, and mentally.
  • Prepare yourself for the physical rigours of motherhood by girding your body with strength (Proverbs 31:17)—through exercise and nutrition. Wisely steward the temple God has given you so you are equipped to serve Him to the fullest!
  • Enlist your family and friend’s help at birthdays, Christmas, or other holidays in helping you build your hopechest with useful things for your future home. You can also save special things that have been part of your life and girlhood, for your future daughters!
  • Learn from your mother. God gave us amazing moms who are just waiting to pass on a wealth of knowledge if we are just willing to listen and learn. Your mom will love teaching and showing you all the shortcuts and special ways she has discovered to run a home more efficiently. Don’t shrug it off—“Mother’s way” is often the best way.

These are just a few ways to begin preparing for the future and bless your future family. Use the days God has given you—these years pass by so fast—and see every circumstance you face today as God’s tool to perfect you into what He wants you to be!

Sisters, I encourage you to hold your dreams, preparations, and hopes for your future home in an open hand before God.

Be willing to let Him do with them what He will—He may bless and grow them for His glory or He may replace them with something far better. Adore and lift Him up as you serve Him right where He has you. As He leads you, use your time wisely to prepare for your future. Live for eternity!

Paige (21) is a joyful daughter of our loving heavenly Father. Her greatest passion in life is to bring glory to her King and be a channel of his love to the hearts of others. She teaches piano and violin and spends most of her time serving her family in all the little day-to-day duties of life. In her spare time, she’s either playing volleyball with her siblings, sewing, blogging, or writing about things God has laid on her heart. Her deepest desire is that you too may know the unfailing love God has for you as you journey heavenward.


If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


Read the New Issue of KBR Magazine: Cultivating a Heart at Home!

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5 Ways to Bless Other Girls and Make New Friends (March)

by Sarah Lee Bryant

Do you sometimes wish you had a good friend? Do you wonder why you don’t “hit it off” with anyone?

Or maybe you’re disappointed that there are no “likeminded” girls in your area?

I think we all have been in those places! I know I certainly have!

The truth is, we have a natural human desire for companionship. Although our loving Father has graciously put many special people in our lives, they can’t fulfill our heart’s deepest desires. They can’t always be available to listen to our woes and needs, understand our feelings, or always comfort and encourage us.

In fact, no one on earth can. Only our Creator and Savior Jesus Christ can satisfy our heart’s deep desires! Our hearts were made by Him and for Him, and as Augustine said:

“You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they can find rest in You.”

When our hearts have been filled by Jesus and we are complete in Him, then we will be equipped to be a channel through which Christ can spread His love to others. And then, we will be able to develop friendships that will sharpen one another and be based upon the Lord!

You see, that “friend” you’re looking for may be in disguise. You’re looking for someone who is a certain age and looks a certain way and has certain interests (of course, the same ones you have).

But, sisters, let’s just admit—that’s a rather selfish outlook on friendship!

God has a solution:

“Look not every man on his own things,
but every man also on the things of others.”

(Philippians 2:4)

Instead of waiting for the “perfect somebody” to come to you looking to be a friend, try a different approach. Look for opportunities to reach out and bless and serve others. Invest in other girls’ lives. Initiate conversations and be genuinely interested in what God is doing in the lives of others…even if they are not your age or have similar interests!

Here are five ways I’d like to challenge you to minister to other girls!

  1. Initiate the conversation. Have you ever really talked to that little girl at church or reached out to the quiet woman who always sits alone? Maybe you aren’t quite sure what you have in common. Find out! Go out of your comfort zone: be interested in her life and find out what her interests are. Use that as a springboard to show that you care about her, and be consistent to initiate conversations when you can!
  2. Pray for her. Maybe you do not know a certain girl very well, but would like to bless her (even if you haven’t quite found “what makes her tick” quite yet). Put her on your prayer list! If you have the opportunity, you could ask her for any specific prayer requests she might have. It is such a blessing to know someone is praying for you!
  3. Remember her birthday. I remember years ago, when I received a birthday card from an acquaintance. I was shocked that she remembered my birthday—and cared enough to send me thoughtful wishes. We are friends to this day—her thoughtfulness meant so much! Keep a birthday calendar and have a ministry of sending birthday cards with an encouraging Scripture verse.
  4. Invest the Word of God in her life. Text an encouraging verse here and there, meet her out for lunch and read a passage together or work memorizing Scripture together, or keep one another accountable for Bible reading or Scripture memory.
  5. Do normal activities together! Invite her to do something normal with you one afternoon. Whether it’s baking, sewing, playing instruments, studying the Bible, walking—these normal daily things can be a great way to spend time together and encourage one another. Your conversations don’t always have to be about deep theological issues (although these conversations are great!)—they can also be uplifting and fun!

As you invest in others, you may be surprised at how God blesses and sharpens you! And you may never know what an impact your efforts to “be a friend” can have in their life. Friendships that cross the age gap are sharpening both spiritually and emotionally. Learn to relate to others in various seasons and walks of life, and to recognize God at work in their hearts!

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.”
(Matthew 25:40)

Have you ever been blessed by someone in a special way?

What did they do that encouraged you? Maybe that will give you more ideas of how you can bless other girls! We’d love to hear what ideas you may have.


If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


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What is Your Greatest Delight? (February)

by Sarah Lee Bryant

De • light

—To affect with great pleasure; to please highly; to give or afford high satisfaction or joy. I will delight myself in thy statutes. Ps. 119.

—To receive great pleasure in. I delight to do thy will. Ps. 40:8.

Definitions from Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language

What is your greatest delight? What do you most delight in?

What is the first thing that pops into your mind? If you were honest with yourself, would it be a person…a specific hobby…friends…project…music…fashion…accomplishments…or something else?

God has given us all things to be enjoyed for His glory (see 1 Timothy 6:17) and to be used for the advancement of His kingdom. However, not all things are always expedient (1 Corinthians 10:23)…some things may tend to distract our attention from what should be the greatest delight of our souls.

What should be our greatest delight?

The answer is simple: the Lord. Our Savior Jesus Christ should be our joy, rejoicing, lover, and delight!

Delight thyself also in the LORD;
and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
(Psalms 37:4)

We are to take great pleasure and joy in the Lord our God more than anything else in this world. And why shouldn’t we?!—He is our reason for living, salvation, and eternal life!

Although we don’t hear this message heralded by the masses, nothing will give us lasting joy or satisfaction—except for the One Who made us! Jesus satisfies our hearts and gives us purpose and true meaning in life.

Oh, friends, when we really live in the reality of Who God is…the alluring things of the world fade in comparison! As our eyes are fixed upon Him, and we grow in the knowledge of Him (through His Word), the thought of Him will bring us the deepest pleasure and satisfaction.

Do you find, as I do, that so many other things fight for your attention and affection?

Sometimes, I step back and realize that so many things (other than the Lord) are filling my mind, taking my attention, absorbing my joy, and distracting me from the fellowship I could be having with my Lord.

I Corinthians 7:34 tells us that “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”

This season of singleness is a unique time that we have been given to be able to serve the Lord and focus on Him without distraction. If the Lord gives us our own family one day, we will carry more responsibilities and cares. Today we must wisely invest in the opportunities we have to seek the Lord, and guard our lives from things that hinder a focus on what truly matters.

Will you join me this year in making GOD your greatest delight?

I’d like for us to challenge one another afresh to delight in Jesus. Are you ready to do what it takes to make this a reality in your heart? Here are some steps that I have been taking, and invite you to do as well, as we seek to put HIM first!

  1. Honestly ask yourself, “What brings me the most delight right now?” What comes first to your mind? What absorbs a lot of your time or thoughts? Write it down and pray for wisdom as to how to fast/diet from that for several weeks. If possible, stay away from it completely (if you truly cannot, then ask the Lord to show you how you can minimize it for this time so that you can free your heart to focus on Him). And pssst..if it’s Instagram…you can find a way to completely fast from that for a few weeks…you probably will survive! :)
  2. During this fast, actively seek ways to delight in GOD. Make a goal to study God’s Word, memorize Scripture, and spend a certain time each day in prayer, pouring your heart out before the Lord (Psalm 62:8). Allot a certain amount of time each day that you will do these things. (Personally, I have been setting aside an extra time for this, besides my normal daily quiet time in the mornings. I also love to talk to the Lord/memorize Scripture while I exercise/walk each day.) If necessary, tell someone else you will be doing this so they can hold you accountable.
  3. Write down ten of your favorite promises or passages on small pieces of paper. Decorate them, and then set them around the home. Put God’s Word before your eyes—it’s a great way to delight in Him through the day.
  4. Ingest as much of God’s Word as you possibly can. In spare moments, recall your current Scripture memory passage, read a few verses, sing Scripture, or turn on your Bible app while you work (or wash dishes). Make a choice to do what the psalmist did: “His delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2).
  5. Develop an appetite for what God loves. Pursue the things of the Spirit. Serve others unselfishly. Add to your faith virtue, knowledge, forgiveness, self-control, patience, godliness, kindness, and love. As you make choices to delight in what God delights in, so will your satisfaction in God and His fellowship increase! “I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).
  6. Set up boundaries for yourself. Guard your thoughts, heart, and eyes against anything that does not please God or line up with His heart/desire for you. This is a choice. Write down these things that distract you from an undivided focus on the Lord. Then, write down ways you will be proactive and purposeful to divert your eyes from unwholesome things and refuse impure thoughts. If something is in question, and you aren’t sure you can do it with a clear conscience before the Lord as the best thing for your spiritual growth, then don’t do it. When in doubt—stay away from it! I have learned from experience this is not always easy. It is hard to deny yourself. But let me encourage you: the fruits of righteousness are WORTH IT!!

Delighting in the Lord is a choice: and once we make it, the fruit will be unmistakable.

Our entire focus in life will be where it should be: seeking the kingdom of God first. I like this quote by Oswald Chambers:

Beware of anything that would spot or tarnish that mirror in you. It is almost always something good that will stain it— something good, but not what is best. The busyness of things obscures our concentration on God. We must maintain a position of beholding Him, keeping our lives completely spiritual through and through. Let other things come and go as they will; let other people criticize us as they will; but never allow anything to obscure the life that “is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Never let a hurried lifestyle disturb the relationship of abiding in Him. This is an easy thing to allow, but we must guard against it. The most difficult lesson of the Christian life is learning how to continue “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.”

Sisters, there is nothing like the joy of walking in complete fellowship and openness with our Best Friend: our Lord Jesus. Let’s not settle for anything less. All the vain things that charm us most—really aren’t that attractive after all.

What do you need to lay aside today? Sacrifice it through His blood…and place your delight in Jesus!

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.”
(Philippians 3:1)

Will you take the challenge? If so, let us know in the comments below!


If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


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