I have always loved little kids. I started babysitting when I was 12; and with a few rare exceptions, I loved babysitting more than any other job I have had. (there was this one girl that I'm convinced was possessed by a demon, but other than her ...). I was given the gift of being "good" with kids. I'm good with babies, toddlers, elementary kids and surprisingly even teenagers.
When I was a teenager myself, I dreamed about getting married and having kids. I thought for sure I would have 5 or 6 kids; my plan was to be a stay at home mom; that was my highest aspiration. Even when I was in college, I did not envision trying to get a degree that would provide me with a career that I would retire from. I was mainly there to find something to "tide me over" until Mr Right came along and my life could "start".
Obviously, God had a much different plan for my life. I watched all my friends get married and start their families. I made new friends and again, watched them get married and start their lives together. Somewhere in that time frame, God had to teach me the very difficult lesson on contentment. But thankfully, I learned that lesson and have never looked back from there.
These days, I am doing everything in my power to be the world's best auntie. And not just to my biological nieces (and maybe one day nephews) but to many of my friends' children as well. I love making those connections with them; there is something almost magical when they want to show me their toy or give me a hug. When seeing my face makes them smile.
Over the holidays, I was able to spend time with all of my nieces. We were all together for New Years. It was great! We made sugar cookies, which we decorated, we played games, put puzzles together, colored, etc.
Someone fairly new to our family told me that I should adopt 20 kids because I was so great with them. She said I was so patient and good with them.
Her comments made me think a lot. She was right; I was really patient with them. There were times that it was nuts when we were all together, but I wasn't stressed out, I didn't get upset at them, I didn't ever have to "force" myself to be sweet to them or show kindness. It was interesting to ponder, because I'm never that patient or sweet or kind. It's not exactly in my nature.
Recently, the message at youth group was on "love" and we read through I Corinthians 13 and all the attributes of love: patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonor others, is not self-seeking, is not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil, rejoices in truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
It occurred to me that when I was with my nieces, all of these attributes about love came so naturally to me. It wasn't even something I thought about or had to force myself to be; it was as easy as breathing.
Why was it so easy for me to show this love to my nieces? Why does love for my co-workers not come this easily? Why does love for the high schoolers in my youth ministry not come this easily? (i do love them, but i don't always have the same level of patience or kindness with them)
Who would I be if I showed the same type of love to everyone that I show to my nieces?