I will never forget when my sister Mary told me I was an answer to a prayer. I will always remember that conversation because, at the time, I was blinded with selfishness and was less than appreciative of those grace-filled words. My sister had just had her first child and was anxious about having to go back to work and leave her little girl at a daycare. I, less than thrilled that I was back living with my parents after I failed to find a job after college, became the solution – I became a nanny.
At first glance, this might not sound so bad, but I was wallowing in my misery, going to college was supposed to make me successful wasn’t it? I always wanted a fancy job with an important sounding title; looking back it is obvious that my pride was controlling me. Changing diapers full time is not really what I had had in mind.
I’ve been an aunt since I was 3 ½ months old, though, so taking care of my little niece would at least get me out of the house. When she said those words to me though, the sound of relief so evident in her voice, I couldn’t help but yell at the Lord, “That’s real nice God but what about my prayers, when are you gonna answer those huh?!?”
How selfish and naive that lamenting prayer was. As it turned out, I was only needed for a few months before my sister was able to find a wonderful place to send my niece; but those months, only a few days really in the scope of a lifetime, were some of the best days of my short existence. Something was awakened in my heart that I was never fully aware of until then – selfless love. I’ve learned this love is synonymous with motherhood.
My days were filled with cuddles and chubby cheek kisses, trips to my parent’s house, naps, bottles and of course some tears, but most of all my heart marveled at this little child I held close to my heart. How could I love a little human as much as I did, and she wasn’t even my child.
That experience taught me many things, the greatest being the gift of spiritual motherhood. Women are blessed with many gifts from our Creator and our feminine nature allows us to love others in a special way. As I’ve grown in my own spirituality, I have also been able to grow in my role as a woman. Just because I don’t have children of my own doesn’t mean I can’t still be a mother.
Now, almost 30, with lots of little nieces and nephews, I enjoy being able to offer myself up for my family in a way that only I can. Watching kids, doing crafts, lots of hairstyles, dance parties and nerf guns fights – all these things allow me to embrace my womanly nature while also serving my sisters and brothers by giving them some quiet time.
I wouldn’t trade my role as Auntie for anything, one of my sister’s kids even call me Momma Angie. My heart melts when they want to call me to tell me about something they did that day, or they run to the window to wave as soon as I pull in the driveway. And seriously, what could be better than your four year old nephew FaceTiming you just to let you know you have a beautiful face? When I think of the role the Lord has allowed me to play in this world, I can’t help but cry out to Him just as Mary did, “The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” LK 1:49
We all play a specific role in the family of God, and many times the role we think we should play isn’t the role we are called to. I’ve decided in my life I will choose joy and allow God to work in me, in the way that He knows is best. My identity doesn’t lie in what the world tells me I should be. Our identities lie in the truth that we are beloved daughters and sons of the King, and this beloved daughter knows her Father has only goodness in mind for her. While I may be childless, I am anything but barren.