05 Sep Aunt Is My Favorite Name
I am known by a lot of titles—school counselor, friend, church member, therapy dog handler—but the one that is my favorite is “aunt.”
I always viewed this as a substandard title compared to “mom” until I went to an Ezer conference. Up to that point, any women’s ministry I had been involved in dealt with how to be a better wife and mother. As a single woman, that always created a point of frustration for me. I wanted both of those things, but I did not know if they would be part of my life. I felt “less than” when I went through those studies.
When I went to my first Ezer conference, though, I was excited about two things I learned. One was that the words most commonly used to refer to women in Scripture lost their meaning when translated from Hebrew to English. I had always heard the term “helper suitable.” In my head that meant meek and part of a couple. However, in Hebrew, the words were ezer kenegdo. Translated, this means one who helps, bringing strength and support in accomplishing a goal. Even better is that it is a strong word, which I appreciated, as someone who does not fit the stereotype of a meek Christian woman. The other thing I learned was that we all have the same calling as Christians, but our season of life and individuality influence how we are called to live out our lives. Finally someone was speaking to me about serving in my current season of life with my current personality and not who I might become.
“Finally someone was speaking to me about serving in my current season of life with my current personality and not who I might become.”
That is when I began to look at the title “aunt” as my favorite. In addition to my niece and two nephews, I have been called “aunt” by several of my friends’ children. Looking at the relationship I can have with my niece and nephews, I am clear that it is different than most because I am single. It is not that I love them more than their other aunts, but I am able to be more available to them because I have the gift of time. I am also able to give them advice that does not come from a parent mindset. I can look at the situation they are in and give them advice and information that I would give to a friend or student at my school without an agenda.
Being an essential counterpart, or ezer, for them means they could feel comfortable calling me at anytime for help or to get a different perspective. It means that I could be an honest voice in their lives, even when we don’t agree. It means being available to visit them when they visit my parents and being a quick stop off when they are near Greenville. I was able to drop everything and leave town when my niece had a medical crisis. I was a safe place to vent and let them regroup to start again. These were gifts created by my singleness.
I spent a large part of my younger days being frustrated with the idea of being single with no kids. As I’ve gotten older, I have come to relish the ways that I have been able to come alongside and support my niece and nephews. I have always loved them, but I have only recently come to realize that the gift of my singleness allowed me to love them better than I would have otherwise.
“I realized that God created me with certain gifts, talents, and passions and placed me in a season of singleness for a reason. I do not need to wait for a different season or different circumstances, but I have gifts and abilities to serve others now.“
When I look at women in the Bible, they are very much individuals. Lydia was a business woman (Acts 16:14), Anna was a widowed prophetess who served the church (Luke 2:36-38), Deborah was a judge (Judges 4:4), Mary was a young bride and mother (Matthew 1:18), and Phoebe was a patron (Romans 16:1-2). Each woman served with her specific gifts and talents in her current situation.
By studying what a true biblical woman was, I realized that God created me with certain gifts, talents, and passions and placed me in a season of singleness for a reason. I do not need to wait for a different season or different circumstances, but I have gifts and abilities to serve others now. I can serve in my current season and circumstances.
How have you been uniquely gifted and positioned to serve others? How can you offer your strength to help those around you accomplish God’s purposes?
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6
Barbara is a high school counselor, unlikely CrossFit convert, and Clemson Tiger fan. She loves her therapy dog, Scooter, and niece and nephews (not necessarily in that order).