I have enjoyed the privilege of becoming an aunt again twice in the past few months. A sweet little baby boy and baby girl have filled their lungs with air and made their voices known to the world. And our family is rejoicing.
As I gaze on these little lives, I want to take my role as aunt seriously. I want to be intentional about the time I have with them and about the privilege God has gifted me. So I search the scriptures and try to find examples of how non-mothers effected the lives of little ones.
1) Miriam – While Miriam was a sister, her example of carefully watching over a child not her own is one to emulate. She watched Moses as he traversed the Nile in his cradle and boldly went before Pharaoh’s daughter to ensure he was cared for. When he was older, she was a strong example of a follower of God and supported his ministry very publicly.
2) Mordecai – Esther’s uncle is one of my favorite examples of non-parental love in the Bible. He took responsibility for Esther when she was orphaned, and raised her as his own child. When she was grown, he continued to guide and shape her in the ways of the Lord. Because of his encouragement, Esther went before the king and saved the Jewish people.
3) Ahaziah’s Sister – This aunt doesn’t even have a known name, but her little story had a big impact. 2nd Kings 11 tells of how she rescued her infant nephew from death when the queen was on a rampage, murdering the entire royal family to stay in power. Because of her bravery and love for her nephew, Judah was restored and given a Godly king. She sets an example of self-sacrifice, devotion, and bravery for all of us to follow.
4) Elizabeth – This older cousin of Mary’s had a hard life. As the wife of a priest, she was in the public eye. As a barren woman, her shame was visible to all. Nevertheless, she praised the Lord. When the angel announced the birth of Christ to Mary, she went to visit her cousin. She trusted the angel’s words and spent months by this older woman’s side, soaking in her wisdom. This example of devotion to the Lord amidst trials was an example for Mary and is an example that we should strive to set for others.
These women all are beautiful examples of love for children not their own. It is inspiring to read these stories and to look at my little nieces and nephews and to pray that God will equip me to love them in this way. We labor over being Godly mothers and wives; we rarely think about our other roles. Each and every person in our life is an opportunity for us to show the Gospel and to live out the love we’ve been lavished with.
As you look at the little people in your life, either your own or others, I pray that you will be equipped to minister to them. May you have the courage to speak love into their lives and to show them the way to the Light of the World. Be the one in their life who they can turn to, who they know will point them to Christ again and again. Don’t settle for the minimum, throw yourself into the role you’ve been given. Serve your nieces and nephews as if you are serving Christ Himself. Love them well and pray that they grow in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man.
Bailey Suzio’s journey started out in Michigan, where she grew up as the oldest of 10 (yes, ten) children, and has led her to Hawaii with her husband and their two dogs. In addition to her love for the Lord and her family, her great passions are coffee and collecting an exorbitant amount of books. Bailey has spent the last few years teaching and working with a local church. She writes at http://thethinplace.net/ about her life, faith, and infertility journey.