Monday, November 29, 2010

Blessings Given and Taken

We drove through hours of rain this past week.  Pouring rain.  A cold rain that came in sheets and made seeing difficult (but that we gave thanks for because our land was still bone dry).  The roar of the rain combined with the cries from The Princess in the back seat to fill my head with sound louder than I thought I could stand.  I couldn't wait for the car ride to end, and we still had over an hour to go.  But we had a goal and a reward ahead.  Our friends.

Each year we travel to another part of the state, the one we used to live in, with its rolling hills and winding roads.  It was our home for seven years.  It was the place where our two boys were born.  And most of all, it was where I really discovered as an adult what a church family was. 

When we moved four years ago from that home and that place, we left behind part of our hearts.  We joined family here, and the blessings of living near them are many.  It was what I had always hoped would happen -- our moving back home.  I love having my children here near their grandparents.  I love living less than thirty minutes from my sis and closer to my best friend. 

But we left so many behind.  We left the people that became my family when my family was far away.  We left close friendships that can't be replaced.

Yesterday, as I sat across from my husband at a church meal with empty chairs beside us, the contrast was fresh in my mind.  Where before our table was full to overflowing with friends, it's now . . . not. 

"God gives, God takes.
God's name be ever blessed"  (Job 1:21, The Message).

holy experience

Blessing God's name for gifts #457 - 482:

safety in traveling while the heavens poured

much-needed and asked-for rain

staying with friends

their gracious hospitality

maple pie (mmmmmm)

Baby Girl's quick attachment to Pocahontas

a hand-painted ornament from that Indian princess

a house full of memories

family away from family

Thanksgiving traditions

Christmas traditions

both trees up and decorated

Baby Girl hanging the first ornament

Christmas lights that work!

red everywhere (it's my favorite)

Christmas movies

most of my Christmas shopping completed

good deals

a sister who comes to my rescue

little girls in Christmas dresses

my boys saying prayers in the service at church

Baby Girl loves her sparkly shoes

communion at the table with my love

my husband across from me at the table each day


glimpses of eternity in the every day



gabe said...

ohhh, I hear you about leaving behind a church family. . .we moved about 18 months ago and while we are settling in fine, church is still so very different and I am really struggling with it!

Glad the trip was worth it!

Southern Gal said...

It is a blessing to have a precious caring church family. Praying you'll soon find yourself in the midst of the fellowship of believers that make you feel right at home.

mom2six said...

"husband across the table...each day" truly a blessing. My marriage has become more precious lately as I watch and walk with a friend whose marriage is gone (her husband left her for another). Gratitude for those who walk this life with us, whichever blood family they fall into. Lovely post!

Heather said...

There is such sentiment in your gratitude :) I'm with you in thanking the Lord for a lovely family and "golden" friends to return to.

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

I love tradition as well!

rachelw said...

I can really relate with this! We recently moved "home", but left behind friends who were much more like family than friends. I'm praying that God would soon surround you with a family of believers...that community is so important in our lives.

Anonymous said...

That verse is one I used a week ago . . . being December, 6 years ago, we buried our 16 year old son. This year we have three new additions - one our oldest son's fiancée and two serious boyfriends.

I know your heart . . . and am thankful with you for those that have been family to us too.

Anonymous said...

YES! I will remember your friend . . . love them, say their child's name aloud . . .cry with them . . .and keep remembering. It's harder as the years go by when others seem to "forget" or think we don't want to cry so we don't say anything . . . and the healing is so much more with remembering. Your friend is blessed to have you!

Kara said...

Ahhh, the friends that become family. I know about this. I know what it is to have to leave both the friends and family and I know the joy it is to be in their presence again, if even for just a short while.

Thank you for sharing your lovely list. It blessed me.


anne graves said...

Although we have done nothing but increase the miles in our friendship, you are always a close friend to me. Hope your visit was sweet. December 1 is not far. My mailbox is ready. :) Miss you friend.

Jennifer said...

How wonderful that you are still able to occasionally visit old friends. We feel that way about our old church and joke "if we only had a private jet" we would still go there every Sunday.

Linda said...

What a lovely, refreshing gratitude list. We have been in a place where dear friends became like family to us too. It is amazing the way our faith creates such precious bonds between us. I'm thankful, with you, that you got to spend time with them.

Michelle said...

Beautiful things to be thankful for here!

So glad you made it through the rain safely (and maybe sanely?!)

e-Mom said...

Oh... so sad... it's hard to leave good friends behind. :~(

And yet, you enjoy so many blessings too. And I can't believe you're almost ready for Christmas!!!! Decorating done? Shopping done? Wow. Good job.


Melanie said...

Beautiful post, beautiful perspective. We truly have SO much to be thankful for.


Kerrie said...

such a lovely list! I especially love the last. :)

Tracy said...

I know exactly of what you wrote. It's very much the same for my family where we live now. I'm thankful for those memories, and pray that one day I'll find those relationships again.

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