|sweet friends welcoming McKenzie & McKinley Smith to the world! :)|
i am so thankful for the community that God has been gracious enough to surround us with. my family has some of the most amazing friends we could ever ask for. i mean... look at the picture above... how much joy, love & awesomeness is captured in this shot?? :) of course, there are more people that are very important to us not pictured here, but this group is especially precious because of the time that has been invested in so many of these relationships, and how God has intricately woven our lives together.
i have known several of these friends roughly half of my life... i have grown to realize that these types of friendships - those which are not only friends from childhood, but are also still very meaningful and thriving - are very rare. when jason and i talk about the fact that we have not just a couple "best friends," but at least 12 people that we would consider close enough to hold this title... we are just blown away.
and these are not just friends who we enjoy to hang out with every once in awhile. these are friends whom we have prayed with, prayed for, laughed-until-we-cried with, cried-until-we-laughed with, waited in hospital waiting rooms to meet new babies with, played endless hours of silly board games with, broken bread with, bore burdens for, stood beside while marriage vows were exchanged, worshipped with, parented with, walked through marriage with, sought counsel from... lived life with. i do not know many couples my age that know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there were at least 5 or 6 couples who, at the drop of a hat, would do just about ANYTHING for them. we know these friends would offer their homes if we needed it, clothe and feed us, drop everything and bring us dinner and listening ears if we're in need... be Jesus to us.
and even beyond all that, they LOVE our girls. and it is such a sweet thing to watch our girls "grow up" with all of their children. at one child's birthday party, recently, a grandmother commented to the birthday girl's mom, "you have a very "productive" group of friends!" haha! it's so true, as there are a total of 11 children (one 5-year-old, and ten under the age of 2!) between the 7 couples in this picture (and only 5 of us actually have children)! all of our children are roughly the same age, and they are beginning to interact more and more, just making things more and more fun. :)
...AND... they're all really cool. :) each one of these friends are amazing men and women of God. i love them immensely and admire their passion for the Lord and their commitment to living for Him.
i know what we have may not last forever. people move away and live intervenes. i pray that we have many more milestones and years to share with one another. but i also praise Jesus for the influence they are on my life, my husband's life, and the lives of my children. i know that these relationships are extremely rare and precious... and i cherish them with all my heart. :)