It’s been 10 months since Team Williams (our family of 6) sold our house, and packed all our belongings into a 7 x 14 trailer to ramble across the country from Salem, Oregon to Nashville Tennessee. We haven’t second guessed our move for a moment, but it hasn’t been without its challenges. If I am honest, one of the biggest challenges in our move is all of the things I miss about living in Oregon.
I miss living an hour from the ocean. There is nothing quite like watching the waves break on the Oregon coast at anytime of the year.
I miss good pizza. Nashville has a ton of amazing food loaded with lots of tasty southern calories, but it has not discovered really good pizza (Walery’s). Nashvillians, I dare you to prove me wrong, especially if you buy.
Believe it or not, I even miss recycling. My Nashville zip code hasn’t discovered those big blue bins that take all our discarded plastics, glass, and Costco boxes so they can be repurposed.
But you know what I miss the most? People.
I miss my friends, I miss my family, I miss the Salem/Keizer community. I was blessed all my life with friends and family who are selfless, loyal, and fun.
In fact, there is a certain group of people I am missing the most right now. Yep, I am playing favorites for a little bit. The group I am missing the most has blessed me without realizing it. They have loved me without focusing on me.
I miss the people that take the time to love my children.
My good friend Craig often says,
“If you really want to love me… love my kids.”
If you are a parent, I am sure you are nodding right now.
If you are a babysitter, mentor, aunt, uncle, cousin, or family member please know that when you love someone else’s children you are giving their parents a gift that is immeasurable.
As parents, we want our kids to become all that God intends them to be, and we know it is going to take a lot more than us.
We need people who listen to our kids when we can’t, and talk to our kids when we can’t find the right words to say. We need people who will pray for our kids, and patiently sit with our kids when they are struggling. We need people who will speak the truth in love, and laugh out loud with joy. We need people who see the best in them when we can’t get past their worst moments. We need people who point them to God who loves them, and to greatness that lies inside them. We need people to remind our kids that we love them, and that we are doing the best we can.
These are the people I have missed the most in this journey (you know who you are). In a new place without family, and without 20+ year friendships I wondered where these people would come from.
Isaiah 55:8 says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts, and my ways are far beyond anything you can imagine.”
This past month God provided in a way that I definitely did not imagine.
I mentor two amazing young men from Centennial high school in Franklin, TN. Their names are Nick Bell and Eli Katina.
They came by our house so we could go for a “walk and talk” when our 9-year-old daughter Gracelyn began telling them all about her school musical, The Lion King.
Gracelyn was totally excited when she saw Nick and Eli, and spent several minutes explaining her role in the play as a zebra She told them how many hours she had practiced, and that she has a bunch of big dance moves to pull off.
Not only did Nick and Eli, listen to every detail, but they looked her in the eyes and said, “Can we come to your play Gracelyn?”
These two 17-year-old high school guys are Division 1 football recruits with workouts, homework, leadership, friendships, and family to juggle, yet they committed to attending the musical play of a 3rd grade girl they barely knew.
It meant a lot to her, but it meant even more to me. They had no idea how important it was to me, that they spent a Thursday night crammed into a tiny chair, in a tiny gym, to watch a group of elementary school kids put on a musical.
God’s ways are far beyond anything we can imagine. God knows we all need a set of guys like Nick and Eli. God knows we need friends, family, youth leaders, and coaches, to love our kids.
How about you? Where are you at in this equation? Are you a parent who is desperate for more adults to love your kids? Are you a parent who is overflowing with thankfulness for the abundance of people that are loving your kids? Are you a mentor, grandparent, cousin, coach, or youth leader who is currently loving other people’s kids?
Depending on what spot you are in you may need to;
Send a thank you, or several, to the people that have made all the difference in your kids’ life. Do it tonight; text, email, Facebook, just do it.
Realize you are making an immeasurable difference in loving other people’s kids. I know it can be exhausting, keep doing it!
Pray with passion, and keep your eyes open for who God provides for your kids. God’s answer might come as a set of 17-year-old football players who like 3rd grade musicals.
God’s ways are far beyond anything you can imagine, and you have not been forgotten.
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