My sister is 5 years older than me. Five long years.

This age gap was HUGE when we were younger. To add another wrench into our age gap, we are complete opposites in every way. And this is putting it mildly.

She is very "type A" whereas I am very type-NOT-A. She was always boy crazy, I hated them. She always was dressed very nicely, very clean and her room was always in order. I rarely made it five minutes without spilling something on my mismatched t-shirt and shorts, ran bare-foot everywhere (my feet were always the color of asphalt) and my room was a big pile of stuff.

I'm a very deep sleeper, she is light. My early, full-blast, beeping siren of an alarm clock would always wake her up and never me. You can imagine the lovely "cheerful" face I was awoken to on these mornings. Sorry sis!

I use to chase her around with bugs when I was around five laughing my head off and her screaming bloody murder. The list goes on and on. And that is how we are. Even to this day. I'm sure my sister is appalled at hearing I left the house without a shower in my pony-tail, jeans and t-shirt. She always looks great. And to be honest, I hope this is what we have come to love most about one another. I really wouldn't want her any other way.

Sounds good on paper, right? If only.

Our differences can make it hard to understand one another. I'm sure I drive her bonkers most days. But part of me wonders if this is why God chose us for sisters. Perhaps I have much to learn from my very opposite sister. Acceptance being top on that list.

But how this is done is a work in progress.

While it is funny to reminisce about all of our small differences, I know my sister and I have a few really big similarities. We love our family. We love our God. And if anyone were to try and hurt one another, I have no doubt who would have my back.

Hopefully over time we will stop being the ones that cause most of the hurt and misunderstandings to one another.

And just how do I gain this acceptance? Awww, the question of the hour!

I no doubt think this lesson with my sister can be applied to many of the relationships in my life. Eight years ago, I became a daughter in-law. I'm sure my husband's mom is shocked at the "homemaking skills" or lack thereof of her poor, sweet son's wife! ha ha ha.

My mother-in-law got a degree in Home Economics and I have no doubt she probably got straight A's. She is an outstanding mother and wife. I cannot think of another woman who could raise five boys all within two years of age...and still have her sanity! She is an amazing cook, seamstress and is more frugal than anyone I have ever met.

All of her strengths seem to be weaknesses for me. Things I really work on but often fall short.

I feel I am arriving at a level of acceptance not just for her... but for me. I am a much better person, friend, wife and mother when I focus on my strengths instead of comparing my weaknesses to others' strengths.

God knows I have plenty to choose from (weaknesses, that is). The strengths I have to offer my relationships may be different from the next person, but are good things, nonetheless.

I feel more love towards others when I put my emphasis on not comparing and accepting. And this, I believe, is the first trick to achieving true acceptance.

I have recently been reading a book by Karol Ladd, titled "The Power of a Positive Mom." She said,

"We are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by our loving heavenly Father.
God knew just what he was doing when he made each one of us --
imperfections and all!

...often...we are tempted to compare ourselves to other women,
and we forget that God has created us as unique mothers
designed with exacting care to benefit our unique homes and families.

...we are glorious creations -
a special blend of strengths and shortcomings
that God has put together to create a
beautiful work of human art..."

I LOVE how she worded this! We are glorious creations. And our weaknesses and strengths make us a beautiful piece of "human art!"

In my journey to acceptance, I often find myself thinking,

"It would be so much easier if everyone else would just accept me, and focus on my strengths instead of weaknesses."

How nice would that be! But the real journey lies in learning to accept myself first and then those around me.

We all have good to offer. How much better we would feel and our relationships would be, if we could focus on the good and treat one another's weaknesses as part of their "human art."


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