Happy Birthday Justin!!
Where do I start about my sweet brother? I (like many people) end up introducing myself as Justin Cates' sister. I also like to point out that "he has changed a lot since high school"-HA!! But really... There are not words to describe this man. First, it seems weird to even call him a man. He will forever be the 4 year old our neighbor and I dressed in a white dress and slathered make-up all over. He will be the kid I used to straddle and hold down to torture, even though he is a little bit bigger than me now. He will always be the kid that started hitting on waitresses at my birthday dinner when he was 12 -really Justin?! The reason my whole world was turned upside down 30 years ago.
He is also the reason I have 2 children. Well, for lots of reasons really. Okay, Bill gets some credit, Amy Clinite gets some too (along with all of you who prayed us through our first adoption journey) and God gets it all. Very early on in our relationship as siblings, I knew my brother would be my lifeline. If you dont have a sibbling, I am sorry and you will probably look at this post as craziness (Bill does). If you have one other sibbling you know just what I am taking about. When my parents were embarrassing me, he understood and rolled his eyes too. When he got picked on I was right there (and vice versa) until high school football hazing (sorry UB). When we were 18 and 14 respectively my dad had a stroke and our relationship intensified. Mom was taking care of dad, and that left us. At a time when most siblings CANNOT STAND EACH OTHER, God drew us closer. Through the darkest days of my life (and there has been some pretty unrelenting darkness), he was there to hold me up. So many other instances I could mention, but won't (he will have another birthday and I can blog about those then), but one in particular.
He took me to Africa. I had never wanted to go, I was a "sender"! God gave me a good job so I "sent". God had other plans and Justin was an important part. As soon as he got back from his first trip to Kenya, he started pursuading me to go. One year later, I went, kicking and screaming and finally submitting to God's will. On that trip I fell in love with a continent really, not just Kenya. The trip changed my life in so many ways. The way that will go down in history is this-God used that trip to plant the seed of international adoption. On that trip to Kenya, we were on the border of Ethiopia and Kenya with a broken down Matatu. I was basically in Ethiopia at the same time Andrew and Annabelle were concieved. Wierd huh? So I have 2 children because I could not imagine my life without my sibbling, and I have 2 children from Africa because my brother saw my brokennes and would not give up.
So today we celebrate his life, all 30 years of it. He is amazing really. He is strong and sensitive. He loves the Lord in a mighty way, and his family with just as much fire. He works hard and sacrifices a lot, more than most people know, for the welfare of others. He is fiercely loyal and ridiculously hilarious. Did I mention handsome and single?
So Justin, when mom and dad called from the delivery room to tell me "it's a boy", and I told them to "put it back"... I was wrong. I would never want to walk thorough life without my sweet baby brother by my side. I love you!
Happy Birthday Tiny Brother!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Happy Birthday Justin!!
Posted by Annabelle at 7:46 PM