It’s a crazy feeling standing in the youth room at my church and having my nieces come in all grown up and give me a hug. It feels impossible that they are both in junior high and are old enough to be in the ministry I serve in. Before I had children of my own, before I knew that student ministry was my passion,I had two amazing nieces. When i first got married I lived close enough to my sister and her family I could walk to her house. I was young, newly married and living in a new city and spending time with my nieces became my favorite thing to do. They inspired me to become a preschool teacher and to be a mom. Which neither of those things were in my life plans.
I can hardly believe that more than a decade has passed since they were tiny. That the years of sleep overs, car seats, dress up and happy meals are long gone. Where did the time go? How is it possible that they are this big? I can barely wrap my mind around it. However the greatest joy as an aunt has been watching them grow in their walk with Christ. I got to be there when they were baptized, I’ve watched them serve at our church and couldn’t believe that they are now both in junior high, both of them attending the youth group I serve in! I have looked forward to this time since they were little, being in student ministry and getting to have my nieces a part of what I do is such an honor.
It doesn’t matter how many students are in my small group. It doesn’t matter how many youth events I’ve worked. It doesn’t matter how many students I’ve impacted. It doesn’t matter how many students I invest in, if I never invested in my own flesh and blood I would be a hypocrite. These girls were placed in my life by God and if I couldn’t invest and love them, how could I love and invest in other girls?
Recently I got to teach a break out session at a youth conference at my church, and what joy it brought to my heart to look out into the audience and see my niece sitting in the front row cheering me on. Truly priceless. My nieces were the first investment I made in the life of anyone. I am so thankful that God has allowed me to see the fruit of that labor.
We are called to Go and make disciples of all nations, but make sure you are investing in your family as well. God is so good to me, because of my investment (and the investment of their parents and many other amazing adults) in my nieces they are now investing in my children. Both my nieces serve in the elementary Sunday school at our church and are loving on my kids and speaking truth into their lives. They are putting their faith into action at a very young age. They amaze me. Their love for little ones is overwhelming, they gush over them and have endless energy to pour into them. My God is extraordinary and created two amazing young ladies in my nieces.
Every investment is worth it, whether you get to see the rewards or not. Taking time this morning to pray for my nieces, praying for their hearts. Praying that they will continue on God’s path. Praying that God will bring more Christ honoring adults into their lives. Praying that they will always choose God. Praying that they will grow into women of faith. And I will continue to thank God for allowing me to be a tiny part of their story.
Take some time this morning to pray for your family, then put that prayer into action and invest!