It’s easy to say you will always love someone when nothing is going wrong.
But when something takes place that is unexpected... That is when we learn if we mean what we say.
For a few years I knew my sister struggled with homosexuality. Even during the times when she acted as though she was passed it, I could still see there was a battle going on. At first I found myself saying a quick prayer for her and hoping it would fade away. I didn’t want to lose Jeremy as my brother in law and was also terrified to see how it would mess our family up. Sounds awful right? In all honesty, my heart was wanting to push this issue under the rug rather than address it because I couldn’t handle the thought of my sister choosing the homosexual lifestyle. It scared me. I didn’t want to lose my best friend to a lifestyle I didn’t agree with in regards to my faith.
One day while I was at work, I received a phone call that my sister had left her job and husband to run away with a girl she had met. One week prior to this, an individual that I loved very much passed away and I couldn't help but feel like my sister was slipping away too. I remember sitting in my office alone in complete silence. I couldn’t come up with any words to say. All I could do was cry until I was able to muster up a few words, “God please do something.”
You see my sister is my best friend. She knows everything about me and yet still loves me the same. She encourages me, shows me tough love when I need it, and has always been the one to pull me from the fire. This time I felt like she was running towards the fire and I had no idea what to do. But in my unknowing, God began to move and I was determined to not give up. I left the next day to see Ciara and the girl she ran away with. I was nervous, anxious, I wanted to scream, but then God began to pour out His Spirit over me while I drove. He literally filled my little 2002 Ford Taurus up with His presence and began speaking to my heart and I won’t ever forget what He spoke to me that day,
“They are both my children, they are lost. Speak love over them and they will find me again.”
I began to sob. The horrible snotty nose, puffy eyes kind of cry. I started proclaiming life over my sister and the girl she was with. I started to claim victory over the firm hold the enemy had on them and prayed that chains would be broken in Jesus name. I began prophesying His promises over both of their lives. When I got to their location, I hugged them both. Throughout that short trip we talked, hung out, and had a heart to heart. I didn’t yell or tell them how "ignorant" they were being, instead I told them how much God loved them, how much I loved them, and that God has so much in store for their lives. By the end of that weekend they agreed it needed to end. My sister moved back home and I thought this was the beginning of moving past this...
But it wasn’t.
The following winter my sister split up from her husband again and was openly pursuing a relationship with a female. My sister's life began to revolve around this new woman and she started to change her appearance and behavior. It was very difficult to watch and take in. I had to keep reminding myself “show love and she will find Jesus.” I started to treat her like a normal sister would instead of acting like she was some broken object I needed to fix. Ciara knew where my convictions stood and what I thought about the lifestyle she chose to live out, but I loved her despite this because that's what I was called to do. When she wanted to go visit this woman in new York, I drove her. I even got stuck in a snow storm taking her and picking her back up. Ya'll...that is love right there. When she decided to move to New York, as much as it broke my heart, I rode with her to the airport. Leading up to her moving, I noticed something beginning to change in her. I could see her longing for something more, something only God could give her whether she knew it or not. Ciara began to question what she was doing out loud, yet she was still determined to do it. Though we weren't in agreement of her lifestyle and choice, my family supported the idea that moving was something Ciara needed to do. When I dropped her off at the airport she hugged me and said “trust me I’ll see you soon” and in that very moment I knew God was bringing her home and deep down she knew it too even while she struggled with accepting it. My sister needed to go find this out for herself while not having anyone to use as an excuse for why she "pushed herself farther away from God." Several people doubted this choice but God knew what He was doing.
When someone you love more than anything is lost or living in the world, nothing reaches their heart more than loving them. My family and I could of banned her from our family and never spoke to her again, but that’s not the heart of the Father. God saw her for who He created her to be. He loved my sister just the same as He did the day He created her. He wanted better for her but allowed her to make that choice. But in the darkest moments He was there. He fought for her, He protected her, and even when she ran from Him, He found ways to show her He was still there because that’s the God we serve.
Now my sister is back with my incredible brother in law and they are happy. Some ask me “how do you know she won’t do it again” and all I can say is “because God is good.” One of my favorite scriptures is,
"Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." Psalm 34:5
It makes me think of my sister and how God transformed her. Before, you could look at Ciara and see how lost she was and the pain she struggled with. Now when you look at her, she radiates joy, she’s loving, she's kind and filled with so much goodness. She’s strong, passionate, and determined to win the lost to Jesus. Ciara is a living breathing example of what restoration from the Father looks like, she’s the definition of how mercy is new every morning and the endless grace of the Father. All because God never stopped fighting for the one.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23
When I was little, I always wanted to be like my older sister and through everything that has taken place, what she has done and gone through, I still mean it when I say I hope to be at least half the woman of God she is. - Alyssa Cowan