We lived in a small town when our kids were little. It was a wonderful place to raise our family. Jim's job, at the time, required him to some traveling, which left me at home with all four kids, and no family in town.
Jim's mom was always ready and willing to come, and she did help us out a lot. BUT, we also made our friends our family, and we helped and encouraged each other every day. With everyone's support, I was able to manage fairly well when Jim was gone [meaning: it was by their help, AND THE GRACE OF GOD, that the plates kept spinning!].
BUT, as soon as Jim was out-of-town, everything would fall apart or go wrong: sick kids, lost dogs, flat tires, scary storms, garage doors that got stuck in the "up" position, etc.
One morning, on the way to school, my van died in the street, just up the road from my house. In less than 10 minutes, my friends had shown up to take my kids to their various schools...and 2 of their husbands, dressed in their work clothes, were pushing my van back down the street to my house.
FRIENDS LIKE FAMILY.
I miss that feeling of belonging and community.
Jim was out-of-the-country recently on a missions trip with our church. We were so happy to pick him up at the airport after 8 days. Joshua was super impressed with the "chin fur" Jim was able to grow in a week! Ha!
Thankfully, nothing much went wrong while Jim was gone, but I wondered: who would I feel comfortable enough calling if it did?
We have been in this town for 4 years, but it still doesn't feel like home...and I don't really have anyone close enough to me that I could call. Or, I don't think I do.
Having Holly and Aaron-the-son-in-law in town was a huge blessing to us.
I'm preaching to myself more than anything when I say this: "LOOK AROUND."
There are people all around us: at church, in our work places, in our neighborhoods...and they need us. They need us to check on them, invest in their lives, and show them that we care. And, yes...it's mess and inconvenient, but it's also necessary.
Let me encourage you: find a support system, build one of your own...or be in someone else's.
"Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ...so let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time, we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone--especially to those in the family of faith." Galatians 6:2, 9-10