Having a little brother has not only been a struggle but also a blessing. He is teaching me how to be compassionate when it feels nearly impossible. He is showing me what it means to love when in anger. He is helping me not care about what others think. Believe it or not, he is revealing to me more of my identity than anyone else is. Sometimes I question why we argue so much when we would be so, so lost without each other to stand alongside us. He is not only my little brother, but he is becoming more and more of a friend each day. Yes, we do still fight a lot, but the motivation behind our bickering is that we are both too ashamed to give into the disguised, hidden sibling love we have for one another. I really am blessed to be able to call this little kid my brother because he has so much to offer to the world, including his personality, humor, intelligence, athleticism, and his loyalty. The one thing that I am mostly looking forward to about watching him grow up is that I get to see him grow closer and closer to the Jesus that has found me. I get to watch him fall on his knees when he realizes that God is everything. I cannot wait for the day when he shares with his family that he has not only given his heart to the Lord, but he finally surrendered into giving the Lord his life. From his date of birth until now, I can see just how much I would never have been able to do without him. I have looked through a countless number of baby pictures where my face is filled with pride and joy to be holding the brother in which would one day become my closest friend. I can look at the pictures and find myself staring right into my own childhood eyes where I flashback to the times when I was my brother's age. I can see just how innocent the world looked and the naive perspective that I sometimes want back. Watching my brother grow up is going to be a roller coaster ride, but all I hope is that I will enjoy the ride and not take one second for granted because there will come a day when it will all be gone.
Siblings truly do have a special part of our hearts reserved for them. There is nothing and no one that can come between siblings who would give anything to protect one another. Whether a boy, a girl, a younger sibling, or an older one, every sister and brother knows just what it feels like to be united with someone who is not exactly like them but close enough to be a best friend. One of the greatest blessings that God gives me is the blessing of a sibling. I have become so much of a stronger and all around better person because of my brother.
Austin, thank you for teaching me so much about life. I would love for you to understand the measure to which I appreciate you; however, if there ever comes a day when you cannot remember just how much I love you, I pray that God would give you the guidance to bring you back to what started it all...the first words you said to me, the first time you addressed me as "Allie," the first time we laughed together, and the first time we argued. I pray that God will help you remember that I love you more than I know to explain. As I sit and write this to you, the tears in my eyes do not exist because of sadness. These tears are there because I would never ever be able to live without you being able to look up to me, proud to call me your sister. If you are reading this, I know that your ten-year-old-self may find this hard to wrap your fingers around, but I am so excited to be able to watch you grow up and discover more and more about this crazy beautiful life.
As I watch you grow up, I pray so many things for you. I pray that your love of life would help you turn problems into great joys. I pray that you have big dreams set for yourself so that you can challenge yourself to be better than what you even imagine. I hope that you are never ashamed of who you are but that you always feel fearlessly free to be you. I pray that you would realize that happiness doesn't come from material objects but from things in life that you cannot even see, like love. I wish for you to understand that joy comes from contentment, not in striving for what you do not have. I pray that you will find the treasure that stays safe in your heart, the treasure by which you give and receive love. I hope that you never feel alone and that you know that God's smile will light your way. I pray that you will be confident about who you are, who others are, and who you are becoming. I wish for you the strength to persevere through difficult trials and the hope to get you through anything. I hope that you will do what is right, even when you stand alone. I pray that you will see the sun when others see darkness and that you will see an opportunity when others see a challenge. I pray with all my heart that you will trust in God's love to get you through this life. I hope that you are not disturbed by the things you cannot do but that you will persevere with the things you can do, challenging yourself to accomplish the things you think you can't. I pray that you hold onto the faith that keeps you in love, even when others have let go. I wish for you that all of your mistakes could simply be life lessons in your journey to better days. I pray that you value learning and education and that you have the desire to learn new things. I pray that you never go a day without giving and forgiving. I hope that you often remind yourself of what you want to get out of this life and where you want to go. I pray that you dare to do things that no one thinks you can do. I hope you know that all achievements take hard work and time, and when you do achieve a goal, I pray that you will be humble, teaching others to achieve what you have achieved yourself. I pray that you always find the sunshine in what seems to be the worst of all your days. I pray that you learn how to deal with change so that you are prepared for what the waves of the seas can do to your sail. When your world feels like it's falling apart, I hope you can turn to your family, friends, and faith to hold it all together. I hope that you take advantage of second chances and that you would clearly see the mercies and grace in which God gives you. I ask that you not worry about being equal to everyone else, but I pray that you would see others better than yourself. I hope you take time to dream big dreams so that you can see beyond the limits of your imagination. I pray that you would look higher and higher to see life's endless possibilities. I pray that you would take the story of your life, and write it well. A quote from Lance Wubbles says, "Leave a legacy rich with integrity." I pray that you will. Lastly, I pray that you never forget your family because we will always be here for you, even when no one else is. We will stay by your side and help you see what you are missing.
There is one quote from Winnie the Pooh that I would love to leave you all with today: "If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus a day so I never have to live without you." Do not take your sibling(s) for granted because there is nothing in the world that can replace them. I challenge all of you with siblings to go and do one small act of kindness for each sibling you have. Let them know how much you really do love and appreciate them, for whether you realize it or not, they are becoming more and more of a best friend as times go by.