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‘I’m Just Lovin’ You!’

My little sister has Down syndrome. She is a wonderful blessing from God.

Janessa Saelee, for Lake Union Herald
‘I’m Just Lovin’ You!’
Janessa Saelee (left) and his sister Kayla. [Photo: Terri Saelee]

One week after my little sister was born, my parents found out that she had Down syndrome. They explained to my brother and me a bit of what life would be like for Kayla and told us she would need extra love.

Little did any of us know then how much extra love God would pour into our family through her. One of the many ways in which God loves us through her is through her little sayings. I find myself quoting her daily as I enjoy her unique way of wording things. They are simple comments, yet often I feel as though God has hidden lessons of love in them for me. 

“I Think You Should Call Me ‘Sister’ ” 

I may ask, “Kayla, can you pass me the soymilk?” only to be met with a twinkle in her eye as she suggests, “Uh, I think you should call me ‘sister.’ ” Some days she comes running into my room exclaiming, “Sister! We should have Sister Day!” Or when I sit down to watch Bible story videos with her, she’ll snuggle up to me and say, “I think this is like Sister Day.” Or when her brother takes her out to run errands and get food, she’ll look up to him admiringly and say, “You’re my best brother!” Although she loves her name, she likes it even better when my parents call her “Daughter.” Our names were the first things she learned to read and write, but more important to her than our names is her relationship with each of us. 

It dawned on me one day that while God knows us by our names, He values most our relationship to Him. We are His sons and daughters. He isn’t ashamed to be associated with us (see Heb. 2:11) and longs for us to call Him “Father.”  

“I’ve Been Praying for You!” 

Kayla loves to go out in nature early in the morning and spend time with God. She comes back with a sense of peace and joy and an intuitiveness that often surprises me. With my heavy class load this year, there have been many days when I come home with a lot on my mind. Somehow, she senses it right away and often runs up to greet me and says, “I’ve been praying for you!” 

“I’m Just Lovin’ You!” 

There are times when I’m busy working on homework or a project, and my sister comes over and gives me a long hug. Sometimes she notices my eagerness to get on with my project and looks up to me with her sweet smile as she says, “I’m just lovin’ you, sister! I’m just lovin’ you!” Other moments, I catch her looking up at me and ask if she needs something. She just grins and says, “I’m just lovin’ you!” 

I can just picture God, with a twinkle in His eye, sending situations that seem like interruptions to give us a moment to breathe and see that He’s smiling and saying, “I’m just lovin’ you!”  

I can’t imagine growing up without the blessing of my little sister. Through her, God has shown me a new side of His love. We thought we gave her extra love, but God keeps pouring even more love through her to us!  

Janessa Saelee, a biology pre-med major at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States, loves to spend time with her family and worship God through music.

The original version of this story was posted by the Lake Union Herald.

Janessa Saelee, for Lake Union Herald