Sister Christine has always been old.
She was old when I was in elementary school.
She was old when I was in middle school and she was old when I turned sixteen.
There was one thing Sister Christine was not . . . she was not old at heart.
Sister Christine loves people. She has lived her life as one interested and involved.
Most of all, Sister Christine loved me.
When I turned 16, Sister Christine threw me a Sweet 16 party. In the weeks leading up to the party she would tell me at church what she was planning. There would be a bonfire with chili–cooked outside over an open fire in a black iron kettle. She would make my favorite cake–chocolate with chocolate icing from scratch.
I never asked her to throw the party. I did not know how to accept this gift. No one had ever done anything like that for me. I did not think she was serious.
Looking back I know she knew–she knew I needed the affirmation and love.
She knew I needed someone to celebrate me.
The day arrived and I really did not think much about my party other than as a pit stop for free food. I gathered my friends and we headed out to the country to Christine’s house. When I say country, I mean a place where more cows than people lived.
Everyone sang Happy Birthday to me. We ate chili and the best chocolate cake ever. Within an hour we were done and hitting the road to do what teenagers do best–nothing.
I still feel the same pit in my stomach that I felt that night. She cared. She remembered. She noticed.
I in return left my own party with barely a thank you. I do remember her words when I told her we (my friends and I) wanted to leave. She laughed and said, Oh you kids go on–I know you don’t want to hang out with an old person like me. I can still see her standing on her porch waving and laughing as we drove away.
At sixteen I could not forsee the influence Christine would have on my life. Twenty-five years later I understand the power of one senior adult in the life of a young woman searching for God’s love.
Sister Christine was the lady who sat near my Grandmother at church. Sometimes when I would go to the altar to pray, she would come and kneel next to me and lay her loving hands on my back. She would tell me as I was leaving church that she loved me.
All the little things she did and said before and after services–in the span of just a few minutes a week–built up to have a profound affect on my life.
Sister Christine’s example challenges me today as I think of my four children. While I try with God’s grace to be a Christian example of a godly wife and mother, I know that I cannot do it all. And what I do is not perfect. My children, just like myself, need mentors.
We all need a Sister Christine.
We all need senior adult women who are dedicated to pouring into the lives of younger women.
We all need younger women who will respect and submit to the wisdom of older women.
We all need women of all ages who will tear down walls raised to divide the ages.
We all need spiritual grandmothers, mothers, daughters, and sisters.
We need one another, dear sisters. What we are doing and saying is impacting generations to come.
Can you be a Sister Christine today to someone?
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20