After I accepted a position in the Charlotte Fellows Program, one of the things I most looked forward to was living with a host family. I didn’t get my hopes up that I would love the family I was placed with–that seemed too good to be true.
However, I was absolutely thrilled when I found out I would be living with a family of six with four little girls (ages two, four, six, and eight). I grew up in a family of four and was an elementary education major in college, so I knew it was going to be a blast. Little did I know that my relationship with my host family would turn into a life-long friendship.
The Tringalis not only welcomed me with open arms, but also my now husband Kit. It didn’t take long for both of us to fall in love with this family. My four “little sisters” (as they referred to themselves) eventually became the flower girls in our wedding this past fall. In addition, Julie, my host mom, has become a dear friend that knows me fully–both the good parts and the ugly parts–and yet still loves me.
Through my time living with the Tringalis I learned a lot about the Lord and how to incorporate him into raising a family. I saw what it meant to give grace freely when you mess up and that their family was more important than getting a task done that day. Matt and Julie stand firm in their beliefs, and yet they’re neither forceful nor pressing in their opinions. They were honest with me about the struggles of raising four girls in our society today.
In order to combat the noise of the culture, everyday Julie would remind the girls on their way out the door of their true identity in Christ: “Never forget–you are a completely loved daughter of the King.”
Furthermore, despite the fact that Matt and Julie are introverts and I am an extrovert to the max, the Tringalis modeled what it looks like to have healthy boundaries with each other. Matt and Julie really honored each other’s alone time so that their family had the best of their energy and time. If Julie didn’t want to talk, she would tell me. That was one of the first times I experienced healthy disappointment. I realized living with them that I didn’t need to be all things to all people; the Lord has made me with a limited capacity, and it’s important that I honor that with friends and family.
It truly was the biggest treat to live with Matt, Julie, Morgan, Ava, Kennedy, and Emmaline. We have talked and dreamed about the day when Kit and I start having kids and the Tringali girls become our free babysitters! All in all, the Lord was faithful in showing me a family that submits their jobs, kids, and life to the King every day.