I only have one biological sister. But growing up, sometimes it felt like I had three.
Sarah, Rachel, me, Julie
My cousins, Sarah and Rachel, were almost like sisters to me. They show up in most of my childhood memories, whether we were "sneaking a snack" at sleepovers at my grandma's house (where she conveniently left Teddy Grahams and Hostess cakes out on her counter), putting on plays, arguing because Rachel and I were ganging up on Julie, or making a commercial for "The Crimper." ...which was recorded on my grandparents' video camera. ...to be saved for generations to come. We were basically awesome, and I should definitely share that on the blog one of these days.
Rachel and I, who are only 8 months apart in age, were extremely close. We made our moms dress us alike, and told everyone we were twins. (Clearly you can see, we looked nothing alike despite our curly hair!) We had dance parties in her living room in front of her huge picture window where we could see our reflections. We baked cookies together while Rachel narrated, as if putting on our own cooking shows. We played dress-up, always. We had sleepovers so many weekends in tents made out of an endless combination of blankets, pillows, and furniture. We whispered into the middle of the night about boys, while staring up at the awesome glow-in-the-dark stars on Rachel's ceiling.
We grew up together. She was a total tomboy, not afraid of anything. I was the girly, wimpy one, afraid of everything from bugs to getting my clothes dirty. We couldn't have been more different, but our friendship worked because our personalities complimented each other. I was the Diana Barry to her Anne Shirley. I mean, literally, I went as Diana and she went as Anne for Halloween in sixth grade.
There were seasons in life when Rachel and I grew apart a bit. We are very different, and have had periods where we've had different groups of friends. But God always brings us back together. She is the kind of life-long friend who knows me in ways that most other people can never know me, because she's been in my life through everything, and vice versa. Our husbands actually lived together for a year, and have been in a band at church together for about 7. And somehow we ended up being neighbors with only the fire department separating us.
Why am I telling you the history of my friendship with Rachel? Because she is a very special person in my life. One of the most loving and selfless people I know. I know it is her absolute goal in every moment of her life to glorify God and to share His love with others. And I really think it is for that reason that God is letting her go through a storm in her life.
Last winter, Rachel started experiencing some strange symptoms, and it all culminated this spring with some extreme kidney problems. After some tests and a lot of prayer, she was diagnosed with Lupus. I didn't know much about Lupus until this year, but basically it is a disease where your body's immune system attacks healthy tissue. It is a lifelong disease, and there is no cure.
I know Rachel has struggled so much in the past few months. But I know God is using her suffering! And the reason I'm writing about it today is because she has decided to start a blog where she can share hope through her disease. I know God is going to use her powerfully through this! So you should definitely go check it out! Especially if you are going through a period of suffering in your own life. So here is the link to her blog, Beauty Beneath.
Have a blessed day!