It takes a village. {2014}

So yes, we totally dropped the ball on the blog this year since coming home from Ethiopia.  I just didn’t know how to put anything in words anymore, and felt like I needed to keep a lot of things close to the vest.  I will write about our trip and our experience someday (in 2015.  I promise), but for now… I needed to say this.

It takes a village.  And we have a great one.  And I could not be more grateful.

This year, we have experienced some of the highest highs and the lowest lows.  It has been the hardest year of our lives, without a doubt.  And yet–also one of the most beautiful.  I don’t even really understand it yet – except to say that God REALLY DOES make beautiful things out of the dust.  Out of the messiness of our life, when we are scared to death but just say “yes” and let things get messy, he meets you.  We’re certainly not on the other side yet.  We’re still in the thick of it – there’s still a lot of this marathon to run.  But God has grown us – is growing us – more in this one year than he has in our entire lives to this point.  It is humbling, and hard, and oh so sweet.

But.  We did not, and COULD. NOT. do it alone.  I’m positive of this.  This is why I need to write.  To thank you.  Our village.  No matter how hard or yucky or rough things got, you carried us.  You supported us.  You prayed for us.  You loved us.

I cannot tell you how many times a “random” little thing came at just the right moment.  A friend knocking on the door with a hot Starbucks latte because she knew it had already been a rough morning.  Another friend with chocolate and a bottle of wine because they knew it had been a long day/night/week.  Dear ones who demand you drop your kids off with them for a couple of hours because you can’t get out on a date night and desperately need to reconnect.  Others who leave gift cards on your doorstep for dinner and a movie so you don’t even have to worry about paying for that date.  I’m just getting started.  A text at just the right moment.  An email with a link to a blog post that speaks right to you, or a song they just knew you needed to hear.  A card with the sweetest words you have ever heard penned on it.  A friend who always welcomes you and your kids at their house anytime you need a break or some company.  A hot meal so you don’t have to cook.  An anonymous envelope with cash in it because they just wanted to bless you… clearly they know medical expenses, surgeries, therapies, and hearing aids ain’t cheap. 😉  A phone call or texts to check in or just let you talk.  Friends who live miles away but give the best text advice around because they’ve been there.  A Bible verse just for you.  Couples who pray over you, for you, with you. A walk or jog or girls night out to get you out of the house.  A weekend in the mountains that’s exactly what you need to leave refreshed, encouraged, and ready to take on the world. Friends who just “get it”-whose couch (literal or figurative) is always open for you when you’re a hot mess. People who celebrate every victory and love your girl in such a beautiful way – this girl who wasn’t even here 8 months ago.  Family members who understand, don’t judge, empathize, unconditionally love, encourage, and are always there for you.  Grandparents (this needs a whole extra blog post.  Thank you Jesus for grandparents).

I seriously could keep on going.  We have been SO ridiculously blessed by our community.  I am convinced we have the BEST friends in the world.  When I begin to list all the people who come to mind that have been there for us in some way or another, I can’t even count them all.  This is not normal.  I know this.  We have received nothing but support, love, encouragement, help, prayers, and cheers.  Our people, our church, our friends and family have embraced us and this new chapter in our lives with open arms.  Tessa Tsinat is practically a celebrity around here, she is so very loved.  I am not even kidding.  This warms my heart more than you’ll ever know.

When I fail, when I feel lost, they are there.  They keep me going.  They stand in the gap for me.  I don’t know how I would do life without them.  This was true when we had twins in the NICU, when Jeff lost his job, when we’ve had health scares and hospitalizations – but it’s been even more true than ever this year.  Y’all.  Do not do life alone.  Find your village.  Find your people and love them big.  Be the church.  THIS is what the church is supposed to do. THIS is loving your neighbor as yourself.

To our people – thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We can never thank you enough – but please know, you are so much a part of our story and her story.  Our family will forever be indebted to you.  I can’t wait to look back at this time next year and celebrate all that God has done.

Many times after a friend has done something sweet for me or for her, Tessa will say to me – “Mommy, they’re the BEST!”  I just smile at her, often while tears fill my eyes.  Yes.  Yes they are, baby.

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