Ok, so my last post was all true and in a lot of ways is all still true, but I have managed to get a bit more sleep the last couple of days and have been able to think a bit more rationally (and grace-fully) about our time in Michigan.
Emotional breakdowns excluded, we have had a fantastic time here. Hudsonville is where we spent the majority of our married life and raised our kids, so it just feels like home. We have been able to visit our old neighborhood, old places of employment, get a tour of our old house, eat ice cream at Hudsonville Lanes, go to Love Inc, have Frosties at Wendy’s, lunch at Panera, a visit to Hughe’s Park and more. The kids have ridden bikes, scooters and roller blades. They’ve played in sandboxes, swimming pools, trampolines and swing sets with friends, neighbors of friends, relatives of friends and more.
We’ve laughed, like the deep belly laughs that ends in tears, more times than I can count. It has been so good for our souls. We’ve laughed at memories, laughed at movies, laughed at our kids, laughed at ourselves.
We’ve reconnected with friends, so many friends. Definitely more than 2 J The times we’ve spent with friends, while overwhelming in some ways, have also filled us up and the love and care we’ve received will not only carry us through these next few weeks of travel, but will also follow us as we return to South Africa. Being able to share what we’ve been up to over the last 3 years and find out what our friends have been doing has been good. To be able to talk face to face instead of via the internet has been amazing.
We have been reminded of how beautiful and universal the body of Christ is. We have reconnected with our church family here in Hudsonville and have been hearing words of encouragement from other believers around the world who are praying for us as we travel and experience all these highs and lows. We know that the very same God who has been faithfully guiding us in South Africa has not left us to travel on our own. He is with us, providing opportunities to share about his love and goodness, keeping us safe and blessing our time with friends and loved ones.
Now that our time in Michigan is coming to an end, we find ourselves wishing we didn’t have to leave so soon. We are finally feeling a bit more settled and not quite so tired (not quite meaning I don’t think we need toothpicks to hold our eyes open), yet at the same time we are looking forward to heading to Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota to see our friends and loved ones there.
So thank you, West Michigan, for loving us well. For reminding us of the beauty of community, for giving us memories of our children laughing and playing and zooming down the street with wild abandon. We’ll miss you!