Category Archives: Family Relationships

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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5 Ways to Invest in Your Siblings (September)

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“The forthcoming issue of KBR Magazine will be focusing on Treasuring Sibling Relationships. It is brimming with practical advice on this important topic. To whet your appetite for what it will contain, here are some thoughts on how you can love and bless your siblings.”

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
(Psalm 133:1)

Guest Post by Acacia T.

Siblings are a special gift from God, yet in so many homes, relationships between brothers and sisters are strained. God wants us to dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1). How can we promote peace and joy in the home?

Be humble.

Pride is the cause of most relationship struggles. Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Be willing to be “wrong,” let your siblings make decisions, and put them first. You will be amazed at how quickly this will bless your relationship with them. As they see you genuinely care about them enough to put aside your own desires, they will respect you more.

Serve your siblings.

Paul goes on to say that Jesus, the Lord and Creator of all things, took upon Himself the form of a servant. How much more should we who are nothing without God, willingly serve our brothers and sisters? It is encouraging to keep in mind that when we do so, we are ultimate serving Jesus. Not even the smallest act of service done for the Lord will be overlooked by Him!

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)

Invest in their lives.

Our little brothers and sisters look up to us and follow our example. When we do our chores cheerfully, speak kindly, and honor our parents, our siblings will be encouraged to do the same. Psalm 127 says that children are a heritage from the Lord. May we be like Christ who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me” (Mark 10:14). We can also invest in our siblings by spending time with them and doing things with them that they enjoy doing.

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Respect them.

We should show respect to our siblings, accepting instruction meekly. Remember that the older ones often have more responsibilities, and look for ways to lighten their load. Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” We should esteem our siblings, whether they are younger or older, better than ourselves.

Be sensitive to their struggles and needs.

When your sibling is having a hard day, be loving and kind. There could be more to their struggles that you see. Pray for them and be willing to listen. One thing I want to work on is asking my brothers and sisters how they are doing and being willing to share my heart also. When we are sensitive to our siblings, they will learn to trust us and share their burdens.

Most importantly, we need to keep our eyes on the Lord, Who makes all things possible (Matthew 19:26). Pray that He would fill your heart with love for your brothers and sisters and seek to be a blessing. These relationships are precious, and will last a lifetime, so let’s treasure the time we have together!

“…by love serve one another.”
(Galatians 5:13)


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


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Current Issue of The King’s Blooming Rose Magazine
New Scripture Prayer Cards

A Letter from a Mother (June)

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by Guest Writer Mrs. Ryan

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment
with promise;)
 That it may be well with thee,
and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
(Ephesians 6:1-3)

Dear Daughters,

My mother passed away two years ago. Getting older and having my own children has given me a different perspective on the relationship I had with my mother. I would like to share some thoughts on my heart with you.

To be honest, my relationship with my mother was often strained. As I look back on our almost 50 years of a mother-daughter relationship, there are many things that I am glad of, but I have regrets, too. I want to share these with you and perhaps you will be spared of some regrets after your own mother passes.

Moms are people, too. I suppose I had very high expectations of my mom as a girl. I expected her to know everything and make no mistakes. But Mom was human. Mom had her own struggles and hurts and challenges. It was easy to focus on my needs and not consider hers. My mom didn’t complain about her challenges. One of her difficulties was arthritis. I remember her taking the stairs slowly, one at a time, because of pain. I know I probably complained when she asked for help, so she didn’t ask much. I was a pretty compliant child and did what I was told. But I didn’t go above and beyond what was asked or expected of me. I wish I had run up and down those steps for her and sought to make her life easier.

God choses our parents for us. Growing up, I had no concept of God having chosen my parents for me. Imperfect as they were, my parents were God’s vehicle for my growing up years. I wish I had been grateful for His Providence for me.

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Tell your mom “I love you.” After I had a couple of children, I remember telling a friend of mine that my parents never said “I love you,” to me. She put it right back in my court. “Do you tell them?” And I had to admit, “No, I did not.” I was convicted then and there. After that, I made a point of telling my parents, “I love you,” at the end of phone conversations. At first they didn’t say it back. But over time, they were able to tell me they loved me. I am glad to have no regrets about that. After Mom died, at times I wish I could tell her again that I loved her.

By the grace of God, I do not live with “only regrets” in my role as a daughter. There are things in my life that I am glad I persevered in, even when they were hard.

Mom developed Alzheimer’s Disease at the end of her life. It is a slow, sad disease. Mom had always been so very strong in mind. It was hard for her. The time came that Mom basically stopped speaking except for an occasional “No.” In the last couple of years of her life, when I took a couple of children to visit with her, we would take instruments and hymnals. Dad liked the old Gospel hymns. We would sing and the kids would play their instruments. One visit, my son observed that mom smiled during the singing. Mom didn’t smile much otherwise. When it seemed that Mom’s time was to be measured in hours, I drove the 7 hours to be with her and Dad and my siblings. Mom lasted two weeks more, however. And I was able to stay and spend time with my parents with my two siblings. It was a quiet time but a very special one. I had opportunity to read the Bible to Mom, sing hymns with Dad at Mom’s bedside and serve in little ways. The only word Mom ever said was, “No.” But I asked Mom if she knew that Jesus loved her and she said “Yes.” I asked Mom if she knew He had died for her sins and she said, “Yes.” I have reason to hope that Mom did know Jesus in the end. Those last two weeks of her life were the best I ever had with Mom. God restored the years that the locust had eaten.

So, dear girls, I challenge you, as a mother looking back over my own relationship with my mother: seek to live with no regrets in your relationship with your mother. Love her. Forgive her. Invest in your relationship with her. Look for ways to lighten her load. Pray for her. Be Jesus’ hands and feet to her.

As a mother myself, I know how imperfect mothers are. I know how many times I fail God, my children, and others. And God forgives me, loves me, gives grace, and shows mercy. And that is what He wants me to do for others. I wish I had had more grace for my mother; I wish I had sought to understand her better when I was younger.

You have that opportunity today, to show your mother honor and respect and love. Do that with joy, and have no regrets!

This guest post was written by Mrs. Ryan who has been blessed with 26 years of marriage and 9 children. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


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CurrentIssue of The King’s Blooming Rose Magazine

Key Qualities of Being a Godly Sister

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Follow-Up from Rebekah’s Session
at the Joyful Daughters Conference

Four Key Qualities of Being a Godly Sister

by Rebekah Parish

 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.
(1 Peter 3:8)

No matter what, we are going to influence our siblings–either towards the Lord and His ways, or away from Him. As sisters, we have the exciting opportunity to deeply and eternally impact our siblings’ walk with the Lord . . . and bear MUCH fruit to His glory!

However, trying to do anything for the Lord on our own will only end in failure.  All our strength and ability to love our brothers and sisters must come from Christ, our Source.  It is HE Who works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure (paraphrased from Phil. 2:13)! It takes daily investment in our relationship with Jesus for us to be able to invest Jesus into our sibling relationships.

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The “Four Be’s” are four character qualities of a sister who has a wide, Godly influence.  We talked about the importance and beauty of these four qualities in our daily interactions with our siblings:

  • Be Sensitive

Have a quick and delicate understanding of others’ feelings. Being glad for good things they experience or grieve/hurt with them. Try to be all there. Put their interests above our own. Little siblings are little people in progress. Look deep in their eyes, really listen to them. Think of when I was their age. Recognize differences as God’s intent and purpose. Affirm different experiences/interests. Also quiet. Brothers – respect space, let them work through things. Be creative. Not adding to spiritual struggles – on their side. Be willing to give up freedoms so they can grow. Pray for wisdom. Serve together.

  • Be Humble

…that others might see Jesus in us, more than the fact that we are “right.” Quietly search our heart and have perfect quietness there – expect nothing, be at peace. Jesus is the perfect example of flawless humility. Jesus’ perfection, only ambition, concerned about Father’s will. 

  • Be Uplifting

They too have battles/decisions up against them. Be messengers of His love and truth. Selflessly set our own needs & interests aside. Live each day joyfully. Support them. Bring needs to the Lord in prayer. Enthusiastically cheer them on in the gifts He’s given them. 1) Stayed in constant fellowship with Father, 2) let go of own needs/desires/interests. Younger siblings: little things, praise. Notice them and be aware of their needs. Sisters: don’t belittle them, treat like our own age, be open and available with them. Brothers: respect them and give them more and more responsibility. Don’t crush their confidence. Choose encouragement more than criticism.

  • Be Faithful

Opportunities are going to arise. Hypocrisy ruins. Are we doing things we tell them not to do? Our siblings see the real us. Do I talk about the Lord in everyday settings? God’s love is unconditional. The Lord’s purpose is in the process. It isn’t about making no mistakes, but letting the Lord fill us with His strength.

This is how we model Christ!

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Session Follow up: Practical Application

Take a moment to CONSIDER each of your siblings’ hearts, and IDENTIFY what they most need today.

  • Maybe it’s encouragement,
  • a listening ear,
  • respect,
  • humble repentance or forgiveness from you,
  • praise,
  • a few minutes of your full attention,
  • or loving prayers for their growth in Jesus.

Then ask the Lord to help you every day to be sensitive to His voice laying your siblings’ needs on your heart . . . and be obedient to it!

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Scripture to Ponder and Memorize

“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3)

Personal Evaluative Questions

  • Am I driven by a deep desire to plant many seeds of Jesus’ love and truth in my brothers’ and sisters’ hearts?
  • What are some of the rewards of being humble in my interactions with my brothers and sisters?
  • If one of my siblings were to describe me to someone else based on the words that come out of my mouth on a daily basis, would he/she say I was an uplifting sister, or a negative, sour one?
  • Am I valuing my time, a hobby or an activity I enjoy above my brothers and sisters, or is it clear to them that I treasure them above my other interests?
  • How could I be a better example to them of Jesus’ faithful obedience to the Father?

If you would like to hear Rebekah’s entire session,
it is now available for download.

Did you miss it?

Audio recordings of the conference sessions are now available for download!

JD Conference Play Album

Pictures of KBR’s Joyful Daughters Conference are now online. We will continue to post follow-up notes from conference sessions in coming weeks on this forum—stay tuned!

slider_kbr conference 2015

Join us this month in seeking the Lord:

Do You Honor Your Parents from the Heart?

Follow-Up from Tiffany’s Session
at the Joyful Daughters Conference

Do You Honor Your Parents from the Heart?

by Tiffany Schlichter

 “Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
(Deuteronomy 5:16)

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The biblical command to honor our parents (Ex. 20:12, Deut. 5:16) promises blessings, but true honor must come from the heart.

O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29)

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What is in our heart is manifested in our actions; therefore, when this honor penetrates our heart, there will be a natural overflow of honoring actions toward our parents in large and small ways.

As we genuinely treasure our parents, we will find that honoring them becomes a true delight. This becomes possible when we ask the Lord to transform our heart and to fill us with His love and righteousness.

  • Honor from the heart (Deut. 5:16, Prov 4:1-4)
  • Opportunities for honor (Prov. 21:2, Prov. 17:9)
  • Never enough ways to honor
  • Open our hearts to true honor
  • Remember the goal – honor from the heart

Be best friends with your parents. Chose to honor them; joy will follow!

Show humility; honor their small preferences. Asking forgiveness shows we care. Submission to our parents is a choice. We might not always agree with our parents, but we can always honor. We help our siblings to honor our parents by how we talk about them even when they are not around. Pray Scriptures for your parents.

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Session Follow up – Practical Application

Gratitude is an essential building block for true honor. Make a list of what your life would look like if it weren’t for your parents’ role in your life.

Take time to express gratitude to them for raising and loving you.

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Scripture to Ponder and Memorize

”The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” (Proverbs 23:24-26)

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Personal Evaluative Questions

  • What sins are hindering me from honoring my parents from my heart (pride, selfishness, etc.)?
  • Do I resent their protection or do I thank the Lord for that gift?
  • How can I seek to honor my parents in ‘little things’?
  • What is one way I can be of practical assistance to my parents on a daily basis?
  • How will my choices regarding my relationship with my parents affect my future children?

If you would like to hear Tiffany’s entire session,
it is now available for download.

Did you miss it?

Audio recordings of the conference sessions are now available for download!

JD Conference Play Album

Pictures of KBR’s Joyful Daughters Conference are now online. We will continue to post follow-up notes from conference sessions in coming weeks on this forum—stay tuned!

slider_kbr conference 2015

Join us this month in seeking the Lord: