First of all, let me explain that Sunday’s for me have always been a great challenge since having children. Chris usually goes in to church before us, often hours before and then I come with the kids. Coming with one baby, not too bad. Coming with two, only a year apart in age, really hard at first then fine. Coming with three, a breeze, we had very little trouble adjusting. But coming with four, has been my biggest challenge yet. I’m just so outnumbered, they are small and many. Wonderfully, we’ve been able to go as a family several times lately (great for the gas budget too). But once we get there, he is working and I see him off and on throughout the morning. The dilemma always comes when I need to go to the bathroom or get another kid that is having trouble in Sunday school. Last week I passed Audrey off quickly to someone when my number came up on the reader board during church. This week, the other need arose and I couldn’t find Chris.
So I began looking for my mom or someone who could hold Audrey for a few minutes, I scanned the huge sanctuary and found my best friends’ mother. Now, she’s not just any other mother. She is the closest thing to a second mother I have. In 1990 when I met her daughter, Kimberly (then Kimi), we were not instant best friends or even close. But as the months passed and memories were made, God was sealing our hearts together in ways we’d never have imagined. Going to high school and junior high together, not becoming clones of each other but relishing in who we both were, we continued on a path of friendship.
I was rough around the edges to say the least in those early junior high years, another friends parents wouldn’t let their daughter hang out with me lest I be a negative influence. Although I’m sure sometimes they questioned my character, they were always kind to me and welcomed me in their home. They let me come to Hawaii to visit them while their family lived in Honolulu one summer, they brought me to Lake Chelan another time, I cried in their basement when I watched Steel Magnolias for the first time.
In recent years as Kim and her family have established their home an hour north of us, I have still had the pleasure of bumping into her parents regularly at church. Rochelle, though she might not know how much, has deeply ministered to my heart through some very kind words and compassion in moments where I’m sure God showed her my need for someone to care and to encourage. She has prayed for me in passing at church as I cried about my son and how I didn’t feel fit to be his mother. She has reacted positively and been delighted in learning of yet another pregnancy which is something most people at church didn’t do. She affirmed our perspective on life and has allowed God to speak to my heart through her words. I am grateful.
I am also grateful for the daughter that is her second born. Kimberly is a friend to me like none other. Though we don’t live nearby and have playdates every week, we have a deep appreciation for the time we do get to spend together. We are still not clones of each other, but God has taken down similar paths as He has directed us to homeschool our children, feed whole foods to our families and do our best to raise the many children God has gifted us with. Kimberly has patiently answered my slews of questions as I am 2 years behind her in the homeschool adventure. She is the first person I told about my pregnancy with Kyler and with Audrey, even before Christopher. Her words and encouragement as I dealt with the reactions of the people at church who couldn’t believe we would have another baby were sweet salve to my hurting heart.
This friend, this kindred spirit is the reason for Audrey’s middle name. I hope with my whole heart that they share more than a name, I hope Audrey will grow up to love Jesus and love life the way Kim does.
Kim, here is your mama with my Audrey Rose this morning at church-it was sweeter than I can tell you to come back from the bathroom and see pink-laden Audrey sucking her thumb snuggled up on your mom’s shoulder.