What I Learned from My Oldest Sister
Updated: Aug 26, 2021
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. ~Hebrews 13:7
My oldest sister, Kathy, went to heaven about a week ago. She passed away due to COVID complications. I was honored to be asked to preach for her recent homegoing service. I continue to reflect on the impact she made on my life, personally. Here are a few things that come to mind right now, and I may have a Part 2 in the future…
>People are people. I grew up in Kosciusko, Mississippi. My dad was called to serve at the Mississippi Baptist building the summer after my sophomore year in high school. I was a little anxious about the move. Kathy told me one day, sensing my anxiety, “Hal, people are people.” She explained that no matter where you live, there are a lot of the same people, just different names and cultures. You know what? She was right! That was the first of many moves for me during my lifetime and I’ve always remembered her wise counsel. She loved people. I love people. God loves people. And God has people all over the world. I would not take anything for all the places I have lived so far, and the people God has put into my life. And the way I look at it, I have two hometowns—Kosciusko and Clinton, Mississippi. If you move, remember this wise counsel and trust God during the transition. Your true friends remain, and you just add others.
>Haughtiness is not next to Godliness. The bible has a lot to say about pride. For example, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” (Romans 12:16) This was something I “caught” from her. Kathy had lots of friends. But her closest friends were not “snooty.” You know what that means? Snobbish. But the bible also says God gives grace to the humble. I know I need all the grace I can get. I’m thinking she thought the same. She was attracted to the “lowly in spirit.”
>Rescue people and dogs. Kathy lived to “rescue” people. She was a counselor, by trade. Her passion was to help others work through difficulty. And she was good! But she also developed a desire to help rescue dogs that had been through traumatic experiences. (I have not done this, yet.) Lilly was the most recent. She is a white poodle. She’s the one that entered the dogie lookalike contest with Kathy and won. (I have discovered there’s a trophy.) I’m sure this verse influenced her thinking on this matter… “The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.” (Proverbs 12:10) Have you ever noticed the kind of people that love animals? Me, too. 😁
>Confrontation is not a bad word. It’s biblical to work through issues, if necessary. She was not the type of person that was “looking for a fight.” But she was certainly willing to work through conflict. Way too many people avoid conflict at all costs. Folks, that attitude is costly. Kathy pulled me aside one time when I was in elementary school
because I was giving my mom a hard time about going to school. I am sure it was because there wasn’t enough recess. I liked to play outside and often “played” at schoolwork. (She was trying to get to me before my dad did. Always protecting me! 😁) Whatever she said, worked. I can still picture the moment to this day. It helped me. It helps others to confront if God leads you to do so. And I am not talking about with just anyone. A prior relationship matters!
That’s it for now. I have tried not to repeat things I shared in the funeral message. But as I continue to think about my sweet sister and work through the grief process, I just thought I’d share. I hope it helps you. It has sure helped me!
Someone has said, “Having a sister is like having a best friend you can’t get rid of. You know whatever you do, they’ll still be there.” This was certainly true of Kathy! She’s not here, but I will never get rid of the influence she’s had on my life. It is still there. Until I see her again in heaven, I will continue to consider the outcome of her way of life and by God’s grace, imitate her faith…