I am an only child. I have no sisters to offer as aunts to my children. No brothers to provide as uncles.
This fact bothered me greatly while I was growing up. Not having a brother was OK, but what I really wanted a sister. A little girl to grow up with and play with and giggle with. A little girl who could be my lifelong best friend. A little girl who would have the same family history. I begged and begged God to give me one. But it didn’t happen.
Until I was older.
Through the years God’s brought both “sisters” and” brother” into my life. Intimate friends who’ve become intertwined into the fabric of my life and that of my family. One has been with me since high school, a few since college, and several others since then. The ways these men and women have enriched our lives with their blessings, wisdom, support, love, and encouragement are limitless. Unfathomable. It makes my heart swell just to think of it.
But there is one sister who stands out above the rest.
She’s not only one of my best friends, but she’s a precious and beloved aunt to my boys as well. The generous love she pours out on my children cannot be measured. I’m always awed by the way she adores my boys, boys she’s not even related to or has to love out of family obligation! But she does! And she does it effortlessly. Naturally. Even the most even casual observer can see how she loves them as though they were her own. And in some regards they are.
And my guys? They return her love 100-fold.
Through her influence, my boys have learned the importance of being present, the significance of commitment, and the value of selfless love to those outside of your family.
I’ve lost count of how many concerts, games, and tournaments she’s attended over the last several years. She’s as much a fixture in the stands as Thad and I are—and one my boys look forward to and count on seeing. Each one of my boys has told me how much they appreciate her presence at their performances and competitions. But more, how much they’re thankful for the selfless way she pours into their lives, mentoring and inspiring them to be quality men.
When our family celebrates anything, there’s no question she’ll be part of it.
- Buying our house
- Getting a puppy
To tell you the truth, it’s not the same when she’s not able to be there. It’s incomplete. There’s a vacuum only she can fill.
She’s always there to help and serve.
She house-sits and cares for our dogs when we’re out of town.
She helps with house and yard chores.
She helps prepare for events and other gatherings.
She’s chauffeured the boys about when my attempts at cloning myself fail.
A few examples:
- When we bought our house, she was there to get our last one ready for the market: packing boxes, moving things to the storage locker, painting, cleaning, etc. When we did our final walk through, she joined us, as this was to be her -home-away-from-home. She helped prepare our house to move in and then helped us get settled.
- When we decided to get another dog, they took the day off to pick her up with me.
- For Camron’s graduation last year, she attended the ceremony, helped us get the house ready, and faithfully served behind the scenes, enabling us to welcome and be present with our guests.
And seriously, it’s a good thing I can’t ask my dogs because we’re all convinced they love her more than they love us. NO ONE and I mean NO ONE gets greeted with so much enthusiasm as she does. Maybe it’s because she drove with me to pick up Chloe…
Kristina is an amazing woman. A dear friend, sister, and aunt. She’s someone I rely on and appreciate more than anyone else, aside from Thad. My family wouldn’t be what it is today without her influence, presence, and love.
But it’s her investment in my kids that endears her to me the most. There’s nothing that gets to this mama’s heart like when another person goes out of her/his way to pour into my boys.
- Helping them refine and grow into men
- Inspiring them to not just reach their potential and goals but to blow past them and go further
- Challenging them to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, be a friend, and reveal who they really are
- Empowering them to grow in their faith
- Lifting their spirits when they face defeat, their heart is broken, and when things don’t go as they hoped
Moms (and dads), I’m sure you know what I mean. I pray you have someone like this in your children’s lives.
I believe God feels the same way when we invest in His kids. When we choose to be a Kristina to those He loves. When we choose to go out of our way to love those precious to His heart. Those whom He knitted together in their mothers’ wombs. Those whom He created in His image.
When we step out of our comfort zone and selflessly pour into their lives so they can be better people with a heart that follows Him.
The disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
“And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
“What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. ‘
“Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.” (Matthew 18:1-10)
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