I was thinking back to when Benjamin was 3 or 4…old enough to start making friends…and he did have a couple of them at that point, but we lived out of town & so did they (all in opposite directions), so we hardly ever saw each other (still hardly do). I remember hearing people talk about how so & so’s friend from down the road came over to play & thinking that it sure would be fun to live close to some really good friends. As we had more kids…Manda & then Kirby…the focus became more of wishing/praying we could find a family where all the kids connected & we were friends with the parents too. Living in a small town, it’s even harder to find a family that you click with like that!
I don’t remember what exactly I prayed for at that time…I remember praying for friends…but God knew the prayer of my heart & I am so thankful at how He has answered it! I started getting to know Sheri about 3 or 4 years ago I think. We basically just started talking after church on Sundays & I quickly realized she was someone I could share anything with…and our personalities just clicked. Her middle child & Benjamin are very close to the same age & so are their youngest & Amanda…so they have one a bit older & then we had Kirby…a bit younger. At the time though, the kids were all so young they didn’t really hang out.
Then in April 2006 Lane & Sheri & their kids went to live in Paraguay as missionaries. I don’t think I realized until they were gone how dear of a friend Sheri had become. I very quickly started missing our after church chats. In some ways I think I did a horrible job of keeping in touch…very sporadic…I’d send a long email & then nothing for months. Yet in other ways I think it gave us an opportunity to get even closer. I “talk” more clearly in writing, so I was able to tell her things I may not have if she had been here. I was thrilled (for my own sake…I knew it was hard for them) when I found out they were coming home early (unforeseen circumstances). They arrived back in Canada in May 2008…it was about a month (I think) after that before I got to see Sheri again. At that point they were still living with parents in Southern Alberta & looking for a place to live here in Sundre.
I remember the weekend they came up here to look for a house to rent…I pretty much knew what their options were & was just excited that they’d be in town. What I found out a couple days later was way more than I had ever hoped for…and was COMPLETELY a GOD THING…they were moving into a house just over a block from us (less than a block if we went out our back gate)!!!
For the first month or so while they waited for their phone to be hooked up we would stop in whenever on our way to the store…Ben told me not to wear out the excitement in the first monthJ…it was soooo special to have my dear friend soooo close! (And the excitement didn’t wear outJ) Better yet was how well our kids clicked! Between us our kids are 9 (Alexis), 7 (Jemma), 6 (Benjamin 7 in a couple weeks), 5 (Noah), 5 (Amanda), & 3 ½ (Kirby). They play so incredibly well together!!! Lane & Ben haven’t had quite as much time to get to know each otherJ…but the times that we’ve hung out as families are great…they get along just fine too! Maybe I sound completely wacko for making such a big deal of this, but it is that big to me…and I want to make sure it’s recorded that God did this for me!J
In the last 3 ½ months our kids have played together, we’ve done family things together, we’ve had heart to heart talks, we’ve prayed together…WOW God it’s been so good!!! Thank you Lord!!!
One of the reasons I wanted to make sure & write this down is because in another 3 months (more likely 2), they’ll be gone again. They’re leaving for Mexico sometime around Christmas or the New Year. It hurts so much when I think about that…I don’t want it to end. I want to keep seeing the smiles on my kids faces when they walk to their friends house. I want to be able to keep having those heart to hearts (phone somehow isn’t the same). I want to have that family to go & have family nights with. I know our friendships aren’t going to end…but I long for that closeness. The issue is, that these are all my wants…but I don’t know the whole picture…and God does…so I’m going to do my best to trust Him. I’m reminded again of the verse Jeremiah 29:11…I know this may seem redundant but it’s true! God has plans for the Elliotts & for us…plans to prosper us & not to harm us…plans to give us hope & a future. Even though it doesn’t feel very hopeful right now to have 2 of my dearest friends move away within a couple of months…I’m going to trust that GOD KNOWS BEST. I want to know what it is that God is trying to teach me through this…through the Elliotts coming home & leaving again. Why did God bring them so close only to take them away? Wouldn’t it have been easier if they had just stayed away? Maybe, but then my kids wouldn’t have the amazing friends they have now…and I wouldn’t have had a chance to reconnect with Sheri…and Ben wouldn’t have had a chance to get to know Lane. So I’m choosing to trust. I know it won’t always be easy & I’ll wish for this & that…but I know in my hear that God does know best!
Wow, I really didn’t plan to go this much into this today…I guess I don’t mind getting it out now so I feel better when the time comes for them to leaveJ I did start writing because I wanted to write a little about our day today!
I had the opportunity to keep the Elliott kids for a whole day today! What funJ Last time I had them we walked to the post office. On our way out, there was another lady walking in…she stopped just inside the door & counted the kids as we went by…in shock because they just kept coming…it was very funnyJ The kids had a blast today…playing store, doctor, house, dress up…and whatever other games kids make upJ…doing homeschool together…playing outside…going to the park…walking in town. After supper they all cuddled up on the couch & floor to watch a movie. We didn’t know what time Lane & Sheri were getting back (they didn’t either) so the kids all headed to bed…the boys in Benjamin & Kirby’s room…the girls in Amanda’s room. I could hardly believe I didn’t hear a peep out of them!
Right now I think that there’s not much else in life as important as my kids did today…making lifelong friends…stocking up on that time together. So what if we didn’t finish our school for today? We need to use the time we have…I think I should apply that to a few other things in life tooJ