I remember pulling out of the driveway of our house in Arizona for the last time. Not only were we moving back to Georgia with all of our friends and family, but God had provided Matthew a wonderful job that would allow us to buy groceries each month without worrying if we were going to have enough money for all our other bills.
But, regardless of the true blessing it was, because of the two people standing in our driveway that Friday night, the tears STILL ran down my face.
We met Aaron and Hayley when we first moved to Arizona.
They were instantly impressed with the new family who let their tiny baby jump-in and swim around the big pool without any floaties. And Matthew and I were equally as impressed with THEIR warmth and kindness.
And that’s how our friendship began.
We shared LOTS of last-minute meals…
And, my favorite, LAUGHS.
Six years later, we’ve tried to stay connected over the phone; but, even though we kept saying, “We need to find a way to get together!”, 4 KIDS… 2 MOVES and almost 1000 MILES has definitely made that wish difficult.
After our move to Arkansas, Aaron and Hayley’s family, just like many of us, started experiencing many ups and downs. There were times where I’d get off the phone with Hayley and cry and cry. Sometimes out of joy and my heart bursting from thankfulness. But, towards the end, the tears were out of sadness for their terrible loss. After one specific phone call, Matthew and I just sat at our kitchen table- wondering what we could do.
Then, Matthew had an idea…
Being the kind and considerate people they are, we KNEW they would say no if we offered to come. So, Matthew told me to simply text them and ask what night we could have a meal delivered to them. At first, as expected, they wouldn’t agree. But, FINALLY, I was told what time Aaron would be home from work the next day and what sides they liked at a local barbecue place beside their house.
So, right after the kid’s Christmas parties at school, Matthew and I dropped them off at his parents and started driving to Oklahoma City! As we stood on their front porch and rang their doorbell, we could hear their little girls squealing inside as they waited for their daddy to open the door for the ‘delivery man.‘
Words could NEVER describe the feeling Matthew and I felt when Aaron and Hayley realized WE were there to HUG, SEE and LOVE ON them in person!
We cried a bunch.
But, there were plenty of laughs too.
We loved on their beautiful daughters whom we had never met.
We let them talk us into spending the night with them.
We took a late night drive to see Christmas lights.
We stayed up until 3am… laughing, crying and sharing stories from the past 6 years.
I’ve got to experience a lot of blessings in my life, but sitting on their couch in our pajamas talking about parenting, Jesus, loss and friendship filled me with MORE JOY in my heart than I think I’ve EVER felt.
Even though we did NOT want to leave, after an amazing lunch, we made plans to visit them again soon! But, before we took off, I grabbed a few quick pictures of them in the parking lot…