In my family there are three sisters. I am the youngest of the lot, with my oldest sister being born 17 years before I came on the scene. At one point in our lives, we talked about joining forces to open a Bed and Breakfast called “The Three Sisters.” We are all very different from each other, but if we combined our talents, we would be a force to reckon with.

I was reading a book about life and gardening called “Orchard House,” by Tara Austen Weaver. There I learned of the term “three sister bed.” She described it as a Native American tradition of companion planting, using beans, corn, and squash. The three very different plants each provide a needed element for a successful garden. They serve each other, making each one stronger. This concept reminded me of the importance of community and strong relationships.

Famous American preacher and writer, Charles Swindoll, put it this way. “Always dig a foxhole big enough for two.” A foxhole is that trench that soldiers dig in the ground to protect them against enemy fire. He is saying that it is not a good idea to find oneself all alone in the midst of war. There is no one there to help protect you, to work alongside you, and even to just understand what only you two could about what you are going through.

In Ecclesiastes 4, the writer finds himself lamenting being alone. He wrote, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

When I was just a baby, a family moved into the house on the other side of the church. (My father was a pastor, and so we lived in the parsonage at the church.) They had a tiny baby girl named Martha. Little did I realize that almost 60 years later, Martha and I would continue to be the closest of friends. She and her husband came to visit us to celebrate my 60th birthday. Even though we have not lived near each other since we lived side by side as infants, I know that I could count on Martha to be there for me through good times and bad. She is like a sister to me.

I have been fortunate for family and friends that I know are there for me. I pray that you, too, have those with whom you could build a “three sister bed” or dig a foxhole “big enough for two.” The three sister bed – what a wonderful example of how important it is for us to live together in community. For some it is literally family, like having three sisters. For others, it is a close-knit group of friends. And for those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we know that we will always have a “friend that sticks closer than a brother.” By being a part of the ICSV community, I can assure you that there are people here who care deeply for your children and your family. In a way, we are like the “three sister bed,” as we each use our special giftings to encourage each other and build each other up.

It is a blessing to be part of such an amazing school. I wish you a most wonderful 2019 as part of the ICSV community!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Director