It's been over a week since we said good-bye to my sister, Joy and her family. It feels like so much longer though. I'm sure even more so for them as their lives have changed in such an enormous way. All my life I have said good-byes. It doesn't get easier.
We had the most precious week with Ryan, Joy, and their boys before they left for Ghana, West Africa. These pictures are for them and for our mama and dad who would have given anything to be here to send them off. Be prepared for a plethora...
So thankful for the time on Labor day with cousins, aunts, uncles, and my grandparents. The beginning of family good-byes...
A day at Pullen Park, time at our pool, snuggles in the morning, squeezing close over the Ipad or books, dressing up, attending Naomi's first soccer game together are just a few of the memories etched in my heart.
Grateful that my youngest sister, Kristi and her family, as well as Ryan's parents were able to spend that last weekend with us. Simple meals of hot dogs and baked potatoes made it special and stress free. But my tears didn't flow until Monday morning when we were able to Facetime with our parents. Listening to my daddy pray on the other side of the world over this sweet family about to embark on the greatest mission of their lives was one of the most precious parts of that day.
Ryan and Joy are a special couple. How thankful we were when they met in college with the same fervency for missions and the desire to be like Christ in every way possible. They are loved and truly missed!
My heart was full to have both of my sisters and their families together as we said our good-byes. Family is a precious thing, something that in general, Americans take for granted. Even if family lives in another part of the US, the option is still there to visit; a phone call is second nature, and email or Facetime can be typed out on our phones. Our family does not have these luxuries. I can email or Facebook message my parents and sister, but then I wait. I can't call and certainly can't visit on a whim. But I say all this not for pity, but to encourage anyone who may be reading this to love your family! Don't see visits as a burden. Answer a parent's or grandparent's phone call whenever possible. Hold your babies tight as you never know where God may call them to go and serve in the future.
Thank you for praying for Ryan, Joy, and their sweet boys. There is nothing easy about life in Africa, but I can't wait to get to heaven and meet all the Ghanaians who will be eternally impacted because this couple said "yes" to God's call.