by Beth Howe
Our staff goes on a staff retreat every fall. And this past fall I did a devotional about family and how our staff was family to me—extended family. We spend more time together than I do with my extended family due to distance and just time to be together. They pray for me. They know when I am having a good day or not. They know when I am sick, happy, close to God, or struggling in my walk. They know me, they are my family. And the day after our staff retreat, our previously mentioned wreck took place, and the first person I called was Ryan Whitley, my family.
Another valuable lesson I have learned, family is important!
I have family. I have a fantastic dad who would do anything in the world for me, even come to help me pack and move this weekend and every time we have moved before this one. I have a sister who is a new mom and watching her love that little man more than herself is amazing. But I have more!
I have co-workers who are my family. As said before, they really know me. They are beside me in the waiting room of hospitals when I have hand surgery, with me when Parker falls and bites through his lip, or Ethan breaks his arm at school while Jonathan is in Nashville working. They have prayed with me and for me through these past 9 months. They have watched me cry, hugged my neck (remember I am not a great hugger), and saw me through five years of my life.
I have some of the best friends in the entire world, more family. One was the first person I called when Parker fell and bit through his lip. She drove, with her children, to get Parker and me to the hospital as I was not in the right mind to drive. She even sat with us in the hospital until after midnight to drive us back home. Her girls helped entertain my sad 4-year old. Another friend, came to my rescue one night when I could not stop throwing up (pregnancy-related evening sickness) helping get meds, bathe my children, get them to bed, and was ready to take me to the hospital if needed. She had even arranged for care of my boys if needed. Another friend comes to my house once a week and cooks dinner with me for my boys so that I don’t have to be a single mom all the time. When she is here, she gets the boys bathed and helps clean up the kitchen. She offers to help me do anything needed. I could continue, but you get the point. I could not have survived without my family of friends.
And I have an amazing church family of people who truly love me. They brought meals to me after my surgery since Jonathan was out of town, and I was one-handed. They offer to take my children so that Jonathan and I can have some alone time when he can be home on the weekends. They take my kicking and screaming 4-year old from me every Wednesday night and Sunday morning at church so that he can go to class and I can do my job. He really struggles with the drop-off…. really just trying to control the situation since his little world is chaotic. I have received some of the most amazing gifts, cards, and sweet treats from many families at CrossPoint I served and worked with to disciple their children. These families and their children are my family, I love them dearly. I have a great privilege to teach them weekly and pray for them often and love them like I love my own children. They are my family.
So what is the lesson…Family is important. Be honest with your family. I have in my past put on hats for different things. I wear the wife hat. I wear the mom hat, especially on the dreaded field trips that I try to look so excited at. I wear the full-time working minister hat that tries to fool people as I have it all together. I wear the… a lot of hats. And over the past 9 months, I realized that I was a fake person. I needed to be real that I was hurting. I was struggling. I needed help getting everything done. And wow, my family came to help. I have never felt so loved, so meaningful, so appreciated. But I had to see the need and verbalize the need. And too often, we don’t. We hide behind the hats. STOP! Let someone know your marriage is on the brink of divorce, or your children are difficult, or you need help. Allow your family to be with you and help you! I am so thankful I did.
Thank you family!!!