What does one write about his sister-in-law? Maybe only a fool would do so. You know that whole business of going where angels fear to tread. I only have one SIL on my wife’s side, and she turns 50 today. (It is possible I said too much already.) I have known her since she was 14. And I am better for it. (Don’t tell her that.)

I can describe my wife’s sister in two words: True Believer. I know of few people who can wear that moniker as well as she. Let me break it down for you…

True.

She is true. She is true to her God, first.

She is true to her beliefs. She is true to her faith. She is true to her husband. She is true to her kids. She is true to her family…her church…her career.

Faithful. And true.

In Hamlet, the ever-quotable, and often-wise Shakespeare wrote this line for Polonius to his son  Laertes, who was dying to get away from his talkative dad and experience the world:

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessing season this in thee!

It is argued that we have changed Shakespeare’s meaning over the years. He meant to say to his son, “Look out for your own best interests.” That fits his other advice of “neither a lender nor a borrower be.” We have morphed it into the modern philosophical idea of really knowing yourself and being true to your true self.

I would use the modern meaning here. My sister-in-law is true to herself. One needn’t wonder where she stands, what she thinks, how she feels about most things. If you know her, you know the one, true version of her. She is not this Felicia for one group and that Felicia for another.

That’s a family trait and she exemplifies it as well as any.

Believer.

I like this part, because I have been the beneficiary of it. At the lowest moment in my life, when I had lost much of what I held dear and banished myself and my family to the East Texas backwoods, where I would lick my wounds, heal, and try to rise again, I discovered the ministry possibilities of the Internet. I wasn’t preaching much, if any. So, I wrote. I wrote a daily devotional that was distributed via email. It was called Morning Manna. I later changed the name to The Way-Maker, because I was clinging to that promise in Isaiah 43:9…

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (ESB)

Sure, that verse has specific application, but it had personal meaning to me. I needed the Way-Maker to make a way for me.

Back to the devotional. I had no idea if it would work. I really didn’t know how to grow it.

It did work. Moreover, despite my ignorance, it also grew…from http://oceanadesigns.net/warranty/ one original subscriber to nearly 2,000 in a matter of months.

I wrote that devotional for several years. It was one of the best ministries I ever undertook.

That first subscriber was my sister-in-law, Felicia Cash. Many of the first people who joined the group were people to whom she forwarded the morning devotionals.

She still believed. In me.

[hr]

I do my part and am true to myself as a brother-in-law. I give her grief.

But, I love her. I thank God for her. And I want you—and her—to know how she helped me believe in me again. She was a part of me finding myself, finding my way.

And now she finds herself FIFTY YEARS OLD. Fifty!—

(Sorry. Just had to remind you.)

Happy birthday, sister.