Anywho . . . more about the beach later. It was a great trip and all 4 kids actually enjoyed it, but this post is dedicated to some sweet friends who are packing up their family and moving to California. (And now I am singing the Beverly Hillbillies song in my head.)
Last night 5 of the 8 couples from our first community group (after Josh and I moved back to Little Rock) gathered to celebrate and pray for the Lundys before their big move. For those of you unfamiliar with community groups, let me take a moment to explain--our church believes in the power and importance of community and accountability. The catch phrase lately has been "doing life together." Community groups are usually 6-10 couples who meet on a regular basis and do some sort of Bible study and pray. What makes it so amazing is it can be a amazing and safe place to share your junk and celebrate your triumphs. There are some similarities to Sunday school, but we meet in homes and pick a night that works best for everyone rather than doing it before a church service.
The group that got together last night was a huge part of our life for 5 years. When we started meeting there were 7 married couples and a couple that was engaged and only one child (although 3 of us were pregnant!) . . . last night we added it up and there are now 8 married couples and 30 kids. We experienced the births of 27 babies (including a set of triplets), 2 adoptions, infertility struggles, job losses, the death of parents, marriage struggles, health issues, moves across town, and more that I can't say or can't remember. There was a lot of laughter and our fair share of tears. We went on retreats and played games and told stories. We know things about each other that no one else knows. There are inside jokes (gondola) and hilarious moments retold countless times (Brandon, has your life changed since kids?!). There are memories and pieces of advice and nuggets of wisdom that will follow us forever. None of us are the same because of that group--we are better people for our time together.
But with great times and great friendships there is great risk. There is always a chance that there will be hurt, and the more you are invested, the deeper the hurt. We are all so proud of Tim and Lea for taking this enormous leap of faith and following God to San Josea, but we are also so sad to lose them. Last night we spent time crying and sharing how they have influenced us and what we will miss. Tim's leadership was one of those things. For the last several years (maybe 8?), he has been the directional and Spiritual leader of our church. He has a way of charting bold paths with a rare combination of confidence and faith and humility and compassion. He was easy to follow even though he was not afraid to ask us to do hard things. So many times you find a great communicator from the pulpit who struggles with relationships in the real world or the opposite is true, they are pastoral but not good at preaching. Tim was both an amazing teacher and wonderful in personal settings--so rare. And you always knew that he and Lea were living out whatever he was calling us to in his sermons, yet they are both Tim and Lea real people. I cannot count the number of times over the years that our conversations have seamlessly morphed from the color of Bobby Brown eye shadow or lip gloss we have on to something Spiritual or from a deep topic to the latest episode of The Office. Their friendship was(is) so important to Josh and I and we believe that it will survive the 1900 miles between us now.
The Lundys are raising great kids too! GREAT kids....one of whom happens to be one of Tru's best friends. Truey and Kenty (as they jokingly call each other) have LITERALLY been friends since the womb. Lea and I told each other the same day that we were pregnant and delivered them 10 days apart. I would have contractions whenever we were together and we joked that it was because Tru got so excited about "playing" with Kent. The boys have wept about leaving each other, making this impending separation all the harder.
Tim and Lea . . . I have said it before, but here it is for posterity's sake on the internet (haha) . . . I cannot imagine the last 9 years without you and your family. Y'all have been a huge part of every huge part of our lives. Like I said last night, there is so much I will miss about Tim as our preacher and leader, but most of all, I will just miss y'all. Terribly. The Bass family loves you all so much and are proud of your choices--we can't wait to visit and hear how you are changing lives there!!