If you haven't already, check out this post about Esther Sisters at A Holy Experience.
I've got my own Esther Sisters - women God brought into my life to teach me by their actions that 'the world needs women who do hard and holy things.' I cried reading that post, because I'm so grateful for their lessons and truth.
2761. First, there's Big Sister, who wouldn't let me finish high school without reading the entire Bible through. (Your friends will ask if you really believe it, she predicted, and if you haven't read every word yourself, you can't really answer them.) She fed me feasts of great books, chronicling challenging lives and sold-out hero(in)es, and insisted I settle for nothing less than living bare and real beneath that Terrible and Beautiful Gaze. No playing church, no settling for an occasional nod at heaven - she prodded me to hunger for and run hard after a deep and true life of knowing God.
2762. Then, there's Fiesty Sister, who loves me even though I take her unrequitable great gifts with all the entitlement and nonchalance of a younger sibling. She taught me to drive. Told me what marriage was like. Took me out and bought me Subway anytime I wanted to chat. She loved me with her front door wide open, her whole family welcoming me (even in their toddler years), letting me learn the rhythm and art of sharing the messiest, most difficult days with grace.
2763. There's Gentle Sister, who loved me in my least-lovable days ... those days from 12-14, when I was a growly, scowly beast who took offence at the slightest hint of kindness and acted like I knew better than everyone. (Ugh ... sounds uncomfortably like pregnant days, actually.) She let me crawl in bed with her when I had bad dreams, talked backwards with me, ordered ice-cream with a hick accent ... she welcomed my craziness and laughed with me.
2764. There's Sister-Mother, who was always in the background, being amazing. I took her for granted every single day. I accepted her selflessness and sacrifices and gold-standard patience as if I deserved them, because of course I was such a gem myself. She gave me that rare treasure - she loved me, not for how I reflected her mothering (shabbily, at best), but just wholly, steadily, unwaveringly no-matter-what loved me. She blesses me with her unpreachy joy, her willing laugh, her determination to love my dad her whole life long.
2765. There's Miss-Sister, who is so soaked with the Word that talking to her feels like flipping through age-soft Bible pages. She made me hunger for the lasting loveliness of a soul knit tight to Jesus, and she put up with my late-night rambles, pointing me always and forever to Him.
2766. There's Soul-Sister, who holds me in her heart and knows me and loves me and makes me laugh.
2767. There's Little-Sister, who thinks the best of me. I choose the hard and holy things because I know she thinks I would.
2768. There's Seeking-Sister, who hunts for God through the whirlwind of everyday living. She challenges me to stretch higher and dig deeper even in these toddler-days of little sleep and less patience.
2769. There's Sister-Friend, who puts her money where her heart is and actually lives out everything she believes. She challenges me to do the same, to say yes, to surrender always to the big and scary amazing adventures.
2770. There's Sister-Aunt, who has held out her hands to me my whole life long. She prays for me and blesses me and drives halfway across the country to ease my lonely heart.
For just such a time as this ... oh, I thank God for my sisters! My Esthers, who reach out their hands and open their hearts and stand brave in the empty spaces to love me and bless me. Sisters who bow low in surrender and love hard right where they are. Sisters who make me want to do the same.