Leading by Example

samara and aliyah hug 10-2014Over the past couple of weeks, Aliyah (my two-year-old) has multiplied her words exponentially and transitioned fully into sentences. It is with both joy and exhaustion that I find myself smiling at these developments (I’m positive my ears are going to be dog-tired by the end of each day with how much this kid talks, coupled with the conversations I already have with my four-year-old). But what brings me even greater joy is standing back and listening to the conversations that occur between my two daughters.

Tonight, as Samara went to the bathroom and proceeded to wash her hands, I heard her explaining the process to her sister.

“You go poop in the potty…then you wash your hands like this. Get some soap…”

Her step-by-step guidance all accompanied by a flurry of words by Aliyah-none particularly understandable but all abundantly audible.

The big-sister-little-sister relationship fully engaged and developing. Samara nurtures Aliyah (usually), lets me know when I need to check on her (tattling but letting me know when she is getting in to something-especially when they are supposed to be sleeping-is still somewhat helpful in the long run), and interprets Aliyah’s slurry of words (of course, most of time she interprets the words I understand and simply mimics the ones that are still unclear which isn’t particularly helpful but it’s the thought).

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me and my sister about 25 years ago

I can’t help but think back to the fun I had with my own sister growing up, knowing that while she also tattled on me, more often than not, she looked out for me. She loved me. She was an example for me in faith and in righteousness.

Did I always follow? Haha…no. I have always been independent; wanting to forge my own way and often times neglecting the advantage that came with following someone who had gone ahead of me. But even today, I know that my sister is one of my strongest advocates and fiercest defenders. I pray the same will be true for my girls.

Just as my sister was an example for me to follow, and as Samara steps into the same role for Aliyah, I am brought back to those verses in the Bible where Paul urges us to be imitators of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)

Just as Paul sought to imitate Christ, God has readily placed people in our lives to serve as examples. I have been blessed to have many people throughout my life who have been (and who continue to be) Godly examples for me to strive toward and learn from. I, likewise, strive to live a life that can serve as an example to those who will look to me for guidance– including my daughters.

As we come to a rapidly approaching close to 2014, I want to encourage you to thank the Godly examples in your life. Who has God specially placed in your path to serve as a guiding light to bring your closer to Jesus?

And to those of you who have had such a tremendous impact on my own life (Kristi, my momma and daddy, Megan, Kyle, Laura, Stacey, Judy–just to name a few)–thank you. Thank you for your love and patience, especially in my stubbornness. Thank you for your encouragement and belief in me for so much more. Thank you for pushing me toward Jesus. May God richly bless you all.

And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. (1 Thessalonians 5:14-15, NIV)

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