Being a sibling is a strange thing. You are born into a family you don’t choose with brothers or sisters you don’t choose. And then you have to all get along.

I have been a sister for 25 years now, and it has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. It has shown me the best and worst parts of me and has taught me how to love, show empathy, and forgive.

Twelve things I’ve learned about being a sister over the past 25 years:

1. You don’t get to choose your siblings, but you can choose to become best friends with them.

2. It pays off to speak life into them even when they’re driving you nuts.

3. You came into the world as a team, and God can make you an even stronger one.

4. Siblinghood is like any important relationship: not always easy but so beautiful when you nourish it.

5. Being the oldest sibling means you are an example whether you like it or not and your words and actions have impact.

6. Saying you’re sorry is absolutely necessary.

7. Letting go of grudges paves the way for lifelong friendship with your brothers and sisters.

8. Accepting them as they are and not how you wish they were is the key to appreciating them.

9. Just be there for each other, always.

10. Work together to make your parents proud and love them well.

11. Find the good in each other.

12. Always answer the phone when they call—you never know when they might really need you.

I have been incredibly fortunate to have two brothers who have become two of my best friends in the world. They are both just like me while being so very opposite of me. They challenge me, help me grow, and make me better.

We have had knock-down, drag-out fights over who gets to shower first; we have pushed each other IN the shower fighting over the sink; we have almost killed each other multiple times—but there’s no denying our bond when you get us all laughing (and sometimes ganging up on our sweet mama) together.

It’s obvious God gave us each other for a reason, and I’m so grateful.

If you have a brother or sister you are able to call or hug, do that right now.

If you have lost a sibling, I am so sorry and I’m saying a prayer for you as I write this.

If you have someone in your life who feels like a sibling, let that person know.

And remember, we are all brothers and sisters with the same Heavenly Father—let’s treat each other as such.

This post originally appeared on the author’s blog

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Kaitlin Chappell Rogers

Kaitlin is a newlywed striving to be a strong half of a Kingdom team with her hunk of a husband. She is a lover of words, good coffee, and exploring new cities. Her favorite places include airports, hotel rooms, and bookstores and she has yet to meet a stranger she doesn't like. Kaitlin is addicted to shopping, yoga, and brunch and couldn't make it a single day without her dream-supporting family and best friends. She hopes everyone who meets her sees Jesus in her eyes and feels a little lighter when they leave her presence.