Part 2: Arizona
This is the second of 5 posts! If you haven’t read the first one, please do so first. You can find it here:
I remember driving up to the house that night after being in the car for about 15 hours. My sisters’ families share a house at the moment. Opening the door, seeing them for the first time in almost a year and half, both moms, each with a one year old on their hip, it was so bittersweet! I don’t think I realized how much I’d missed them! I hadn’t been there for their deliveries, for my nephew and niece’s entire first year of life. It was incredible to meet these two new little people, and at the same time realize I’d missed so much. But holding and kissing them all, the “look how tall the boys are!” and “Oh my goodness, they’re beautiful!” I felt it all and landed on gratitude.
The next week and a half seemed both full and a good kind of slow. We didn’t have much planned ahead of time, and every day seemed to bring it’s own activities. My sisters showed us some of the things they’d discovered and liked in the Phoenix area, and we spent a lot of time outside in the sunshine. We’d missed the sun so much living in Cork! We ate lots of food we’d been missing, played with babies, and just hung out together. It seemed normal and easy, and yet I knew we were all trying to really be there, to soak each other up while we could.
My sisters had asked Branden if he would do a dedication for the babies – a simple ceremony at the house with food and a few friends. They’d also asked Branden and I if we’d be god-parents for both my niece and nephew – what an honor! We had food and beautiful cakes, and Branden read from the Word and spoke about what it meant to raise up a child in the Lord. I’m thankful for this place we have in their lives, no matter how far we are in distance.
I honestly miss them so much, more I think, than I did before we left for our furlough. Before I’d seen pictures of their little ones, smiled and talked with them on video chats. But now I’ve held them, been a part of their day to day routines. I know their laughs and seen their personalities, the things they’re learning. While we were with them, both babies took their first steps! Which I consider just a gift from the Lord to me! And although I don’t at all feel like we’re supposed to live there, part of my heart is with them, and it does feel torn. Following the Lord to Ireland, the cost I feel the most is definitely the distance from family. The Lord knows…
Branden and I also got to attend a pastors and leaders conference before heading back to Denver. Several pastors and overseers were there from our sending church, Calvary Aurora. This was the first time we really got a chance to catch up with them since we arrived in the States. Having a few days, listening to great teaching, spending time with people and each other – it was really refreshing before going to Colorado.