Friendship: For Elizabeth

This past year has been a long, tired sigh. The result of the baited breath and frenzied pace we kept until the girls were officially ours. There is something in today that feels like the conclusion of that final exhale of air.

Today, I said goodbye to my best friend. She’s not dead, only moving. And she’s not the first who has gone over these long, over-emotional months. But she is the most difficult goodbye. We’ve been friends for the better part of a decade, growing as mothers and wives and ministers of the gospel over that time, while our lives were centered in this city, only a few blocks from one another.

Over the course of these years, we have compared and contrasted parenting approaches, cloth diapers, homeschooling curriculum, and nutritional plans, and despite often falling on opposite ends of the spectrum (I emphatically will not co-sleep [again] or mill my own grain, I will not!), we have never waged a single “mommy-war” against one another’s choices. We’ve also purchased and delivered more Little Caesars ‘Hot n’ Ready’ pizzas than anyone should ingest.

We have co-hosted prayer nights, Bible story groups, denominational outreaches, community groups, high-maintenance internationals, and princess-themed birthday parties.

We have attended countless conferences together, taking turns watching our infants and toddlers in a back room, and more recently, sneaking out during breaks to distribute snacks and restart their Netflix-binge.

We have ugly-cried together as we lobbed up prayers for the individuals, people groups, and nations that we love, but whose hearts seem just so hard. We have written strategy papers, and prayer requests, and presented together at churches (on one occasion, while our husbands were taking care of an emergency car repair, she was imminently due with her third, and her daughter had worn no shoes).

Her husband has been my husband’s friend, coworker, small group leader, church elder, seminary grader, and professor. Her children have been my children’s longest friendships in this city where they have no cousins.

Our families have snapped photos together beside the Superman statue in Metropolis, Illinois, and distributed backpacks filled with school supplies to inner-city African refugees.  We tried to make our own butter once–it was disastrous.

They helped us tame the disorganization of our house before our adoption home study. We have borrowed their truck from others who borrowed their truck, because they so freely loaned out their truck to anyone who needed to move their junk from one location to another. We have shared textbooks and bassinets, cardigans and headscarves, crock-pots and waffle-makers. Then, we helped them, if only slightly, to pack up their house to leave . . .

We both knew this day would come, and I think we both expected it would be a lot sooner than it was.  We hope and pray for all the good things that we know will come from their move, and that they will joyfully embrace all that is new and exciting in this adventure, but I’m not going to lie: my heart is breaking. In a couple of days, this city will seem a bit emptier, a little lonelier.

So, I can only conclude with this: Thank you, Elizabeth, for your friendship. Thank you for serving beside me and interceding for me; for loving my children and my people; for being honest with your struggles and constant in your faith; for disjointed phone conversations in which neither of us can hear the other for all of the racket our kids are making in the background. I truly love you, friend.

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