Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Joy of Sisters

A sister shares childhood memories and grown up dreams. ~Author unknown

I had the privilege of co-speaking with my sister this week for the Women of Worth at Interchurch Holiness Convention.  It was a first for us, but such fun--of course everything is more fun with a sister. The theme of the convention was "The Things that Really Matter."  Melodie and I chose "Joy Really Does Matter" for our topic. I'm too exhausted to write a post for the weekend, so thought you might enjoy this first opener we did together.  From there, we both told our stories of grief separately, coming back to tie it together at the end.   

We’re sisters --
One older,
And one younger;
Yet both blessed.

We come from Carl, a giver,
And Dottie, an encourager;
Baby Brother Craig,
In full time ministry.

We’re from rural Pennsylvania --
Cessna coal country;
Home of Oll instead of oil,
And where we worsh instead of wash.
We’re from the spring in our woods,
And grape vine swings.

We’re from Hillsdale Wesleyan Methodist Church
And the old wooden altar where sins were forgiven.
We’re from youth camps at Stoneboro,
And once-a-month youth rallies.

Decorating by Linda Davidson
We are from Friday night trips to town,
And a library full of adventures.
We are from Indiana Wesleyan School,
From Morrises and Larry Muir educating sacrificially.

We are from family vacations in South Dakota,
And rambling roses from the New England states.
We’re from the healthy colors of an artist mother,
Of handwritten letters and china teapots.

We’re from Daddy’s hugs and protective care,
Of homemade ice cream and the color red.
We’re from a Daddy who made it easy to believe our Heavenly Father loves us,
And from a mother who lived the fruit of the Spirit.
We’re from forgiveness and love,

And faithful church attendance.

So many places, activities and wanderings make up who we are, but one stands out:
We are from joy!
Our mother was the epitome of joy.
Not happiness dependent on an outward gift or circumstance
But in obedience to the command of 1 Thessalonians 5:16 --
Be joyful always.

Mom’s favorite saying is, “Sometimes you have to make your own sunshine,” --
Because we all know outward circumstances don’t always make us happy,
But INWARD joy encourages us to look for the good.

Joy that carried her through a father who lived many years in a tuberculosis sanitarium,
Through severe back pain,
And an early death of her mother.
Joy through a diagnosis of cancer – first Mom then Daddy,
And through the death of two granddaughters and a best friend.
Of losing a son-in-law and sharing the grieving process with her daughter...
And still, her joy lives on.

We were birthed with a double portion of joy --
A Daddy who loved family vacations
And little honeymoons with mom.
We asked Daddy about work during a crisis time.
He laughed and said, “Oh I hung those problems on a tree outside.”
That joy enabled him to love us and Mother unconditionally.
We knew we wanted marriages just like theirs.

From there my story is different from my sister’s.
And both of our stories are different from yours.
We’ve all gone through hard times but the thing that really matters is that we choose joy.

We are keenly aware that our losses are not the only ones suffered. 
Some of you, our dear sisters-in-Christ, have faced many more heartaches.  God will meet you in your grief.
We challenge you in the midst of it all, Look for Joy!  
Fanny Crosby caught a glimpse of it through the darkness all around her – Remember her song? “GUSHING from the rock before me, lo a spring of JOY I see!”
Choosing Joy really does matter.
Linked to:


LDH said...

What a blessing your words are! How precious each statement and encouragement to be joyful always! So well written.

Glenda said...

Oh my! Wish I could have heard your entire stories; I'm sure your audience was blessed and encouraged and challenged. Thank you for your beautiful reminder that joy does not depend on circumstances but on a relationship with our loving Heavenly Father.

The joy of the Lord shows on the faces of your mom and dad.

joy said...

Everytime I read the word joy, my hearts leaps coz it's my name. And God had really put joy in my heart despite of the circumstances in my life that could have been ended in a dissater. Praise God for the joy that he had given to us. Thanks Pamela. You are also a joy in our hearts:)

Shoregirl said...

Oh Pam, I missed your talk the first time around, but I'm anxiously waiting for the archives to be posted so I can watch it. You're right -- there's nothing like sharing things with a sister (and even a sister-in-law!) your little introduction and what a timely reminder that there are times we must choose joy! (I needed this today!)

RicKaren said...

Thanks for sharing! Wish I could have been there!

Stephanie Burley said...

This was the only service I was able to attend at IHC 2012, but God has used it minister to me ever since! Thank you for giving me something to carry with me through this week of grieving the loss of my grandmother. My grandmother, like you and your sweet sister, taught me that joy is not dictated by circumstances. It's a lesson I continue to learn each day.
God bless you both for your willingness to share this part of your journey.

Tesha said...

This is just lovely, I wish could of been there to hear it all. You have such a sweet heart and right perspective. I am blessed you shared this I have been looking at my circumstance a lot today.

Tracy said...

That was lovley...I have a sister and we are just now starting to get close in adulthood! I loved reading your tribute and history!

Renee said...

This is a beautiful inspirational. What a beautiful testimony you and your sister share.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Hi Pamela,
What an encouraging post and what a blessing it must have been to hear you and your sister speak. You are such an encourager and a blessing to many.
Thank you for your visit and sweet comment. I also choose joy; for the 'Joy of the Lord is my strength'! Have a lovely weekend in Him.


Laurie said...

Your words are such an encouragement to me today, Pamela, filling me with the assurance that Christ is my joy, and also that I, too, have a sister I love and miss terribly, since we live in different states amd only see each other a couple times a year. I would have loved to hear the rest of the talk you and your sister shared, but what you were able to share today was so precious to me, especially about your parents - your words were so honoring towards them and a blessing to God.

I will uphold you in my prayers this weekend, that you may find rest and rejuvenation both physically and spiritually, as you wrote on my blog.

With joy,

Kristin Bridgman said...

I loved this! Wish I could have been there to hear in person. We native Oklahomans say warsh too;)
I have experienced joy being here at your place. . .thank you.

Sheila said...

It had been 16 years since I last attended IHC and was so pleased to find out that I would be able to hear your speak in the Women of Worth meeting. It was very touching...and I don't quite know how you got through it, except for God's help. I remember when tragedy came your way. We only live 50 miles from Bedford and if I remember correctly, there was a picture in our local newspaper. You and your sister are a blessing!


This intro was so great ... birthed in joy. I want to hear it all.

Annesphamily said...

Pamela this is so beautiful! How very blessed you are! You are such a lovely person. It has been a while since I stopped by. Blessings Anne

Linda said...

I do not know if I have ever read such a beautiful and moving introduction! It is easy to see why you would be able to speak to a group of women at a conference - you have chosen the better portion! Bless you both!

Doris said...

Speaking with your sister - beautiful!
Your heartfelt introduction makes me wish to be in one of those seats with the group you were speaking to. Really and truely want to hear it all!

Blessings to you!

Christina A said...

Yes everything is truly more fun with a sister! Thank God for our siblings:)

Christina A said...

... indeed we must choose JOY every day. It's one of God's precious nuggets of wisdom for us and He has given us the grace to always choose this. What a wonderful witness to your parent's faithful lives! :)

Rebecca said...

How wonderful it must have been to minister with your sister - and on such a relevant topic - JOY! I should have loved to have been there - to hear your voices and see the two of you together...

OurCrazyFarm said...


Esther Joy said...

I enjoyed learning a bit about you and your "roots". I certainly agree with your mother about sometimes having to choose to make your own joy! And I agree with you that Joy doesn't always happen spontaneously and has to be chosen!

Laurie Collett said...

What a lovely history and a joyful post! You are truly blessed!
Love in Him,

bettyl said...

So true!

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

Thanx for sharing Pamela, and for stopping by to praise with me at Faith Hope & Cherrytea!

blessing your recovery to full strength and energy for the day...

Joan said...

Oh this is so encouraging! What a blessing to be able to minister with your sister. You certainly have a legacy with your precious parents


Susy said...

Pamela~ you're blog is beautiful. I enjoyed the replay of your presentation with your sister ~ what a wonderful example of Godly heritage. Blessings.

Wendy said...

Hi Pamela

What a lovely, thought provoking post, so positive and joyful.

Thank you for sharing this and teaching us to choose 'joy' in all circumstances.


P.S. It was a pleasure to have you visit my blog :D

Crystal Mary said...

What a GREAT story. I never tell anyone where I worship, but my eyes lit up when I saw where you do...
Mine is called Gympie Wesleyan Methodist.. So my secret is out, just for you. The reason I say nothing is just to stay neutral and love everyone as Jesus did. Blessings you you. (and your sister.) xx

Karen said...

Oh, wow...this brought tears to my eyes to read it and just imagine...if I had heard it in person, no telling how many tissues would have been used...

Such joy...much encouragement...all about it!

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Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

How exciting! Oh, I wish that I could have been there. I enjoyed learning about your family and how your parents raised you all in such a loving Christian home.

Loved your Sweet Lemon Praise post too, Pamela. Thanks for piping in on the letter "S" too!

Have a wonderful week,

Kathy M.

Wendy said...

Thank you for visiting my blog today and for leaving a lovely comment. Appreciated. x

A Joyful Noise said...

I loved the statement that sometimes we need to "Make our own Sunshine." Joy and happiness is an attitude we can choose to enjoy!

NixBlog said...

Lovely post.

Vintagesouthernlife said...

What a wonderful opportunity to be able to give such a beautiful testimony with your sister. I love the words of your mom. Often we do have to "make our own sunshine."

Making Memories 1999 said...

I was challenged by your talk at IHC, and the theme to "choose joy". Thank you, so very much, for being willing to share your story! Blessings!

Jen Ferguson said...

beautiful -- a reminder that no matter what the circumstances, we can choose joy.

Lyli @ 3dLessons4Life said...

This was lovely! Sisters. Joy. Yes!

Courtney said...

Oh my goodness, I just love this. What a JOY to hear you describe your childhood and your precious parents. It is a standard to live up to as a mother myself. Thank you for sharing so boldly. You are blessing others.

Laura said...

Oh, Pamela. Thank you so much for sharing this. How special to get to know more about you (and your sweet sister) through these words. It looks and sounds like a wonderful experience.

path of treasure said...

Suffering and loss, I think, produce a deeper layer of joy in those who have walked those paths.
What a beautiful heritage and story of faith to share and pass down. That indeed is a joy!

Hands to Work, Hearts to God said...

Your beautiful post is like a twin sister of my Choosing Joy post! It's always more fun when we do things with a dear sister! :^) patsy

Daisy said...

Your words are so beautifully written and paint an amazing picture that glorifies God. I want to choose joy.

Mic said...

What a beautiful testimony!

Charlotte said...

Wow, Pamela, this was beautiful. You and your sister are both very blessed.

primitive ole frugal mumma said...

Dear Pamela what a beautiful uplifting post i agree with the ladys above you and your sister are very blessed indeed!!