“Not long after my husband and I started having children, Joyce invited me and a number of other young moms into her home. As I entered, I noticed how lovely and orderly everything was, how wonderfully the food smelled, how the table was set. As Joyce introduced herself and everyone settled in to a little chatter, my first impression was that this was clearly a woman I could learn from. She was kind, warm, and comfortable with people.
Later in our visit, I found myself telling Joyce about a challenge I was facing in parenting. She responded by saying, “I’ve never had children, so I don’t know if this will be helpful, but here’s what I’ve observed with my nieces and nephews.” This surprised me — even more surprising, that she had never been married. I hadn’t considered the possibility that the woman eager to take some green moms under her wing would be single. I am thankful she did.
Emily is ten years younger than I am. I first got to know her when I started cold-calling families from our church directory desperate to find babysitters for the mass of children in our small group. She was in high school at the time, and she, along with her younger sisters, agreed to help. They faithfully served our small group for the next six years.
After Emily started college, I was in over my head with children, schooling, and everyday life. I asked her if she’d be interested in coming weekly to help me out. She agreed, and her commitment to the job was refreshingly reliable. She showed up and worked hard. She shared the knowledge, tips, and habits she’d learned from her mom — made all the more poignant when her mom passed away from cancer during her freshman year at college.
I learned a lot from Emily, including a better way to match socks. And that organizing can be simple. But most importantly, I learned about faithfulness — faithfulness to your commitments and faithfulness to God in the darkest of times.
My Aunt Julie has always been an integral part of my life. Her lifelong singleness has been a gift to us. I don’t say that to minimize the difficulty of it. Her singleness, coupled with her willingness to love us, warts and all, and take us under her wing, has been a type of auntly mothering that is as precious as it is unique.
When I watch my two-year-old son’s face light up at the sight of her, or see the older kids sprint to invade the privacy of her room, I’m thankful.
And time would fail me to tell of Char, whose devotion to God and his people and the unreached around the world was a force that could topple kings and nations.
Or Great Aunt Ola, who at one hundred years old still would pray before a meal in Swedish, and never met a child who didn’t qualify as one of her “peanuts.”
Or Sue, a single mom who taught me how to pray and love others when I was a pesky teenager.
Or Lindsey, who loves our youngest son with special needs enough to expect more of him than I know to, and who uses her skills as a physical therapist to do good for others.
The faithful witness and example of these single women is beautiful. I have a lot to learn from sisters like these.”