18681_4629604533970_1815730582_nThere they all were. My girls. Dressed up and looking fine. Celebrating not just a wedding, but the receiving of a new sister. A young woman who is as much a part of our family as if she’d been born into it. Someone who can appreciate the gentle jokes and constant teasing of five sisters who put her through the crucible of their love for their brother and found her to be a perfect match for him.

Someone, frankly, who can take the jokes dished her way and dish it right back. In spades.

My kind of girl.

The night of the rehearsal dinner was special in so many ways. Yes, it was the run-through of the big day. Yes, the flower girls decided to do their own thing. Yes, everyone’s high heels aerated the field where the wedding would be held.

But it was a rite of passage for my five girls not only accepting Jillian as Mark’s wife, but inviting her to be a part of their special sisterhood. Heather, Melody, Courtney, Tiffany and Debbie. So different, yet so joined together by more than DNA. They’ve weathered disagreements, disappointments, disgust, disapproval, discontent and many other dis’ to get to that sweet spot of knowing and loving each other well right where they are. Special relationships. And they have embraced Jillian as part of this sisterhood. (No traveling pants involved.)

But there are sister rings.

During a time of celebration that was full of symbols, these five chose to identify their relationship with each other and with Jillian with elegant gold bands with a simple white agate in each. Nothing that would break the bank, but a reminder that they now have a shared heritage.

And when my six girls wore their rings together, they became part of each other’s identity.

That’s taking acceptance to a whole new level.

We all yearn to belong. To be accepted. To be known and loved for who we are. To have an identity that’s valued.

Jesus seeks to give us that identity. That acceptance. That belonging.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”  Isaiah 61:1a, 3a

Jesus knows our hearts, our needs, our yearnings, and He longs to bless us with His full acceptance, total forgiveness. Better than a sister ring. A family ring, so to speak, fashioned in eternity. And once we have it, we can never lose it. That’s identity.

Who says you can’t pick family?

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