I wish with all my heart that I could record every detail of the last week. It has been so good in so many ways, but I know that I will never do it justice or remember all that has been on my heart. We had an amazing crew of friends who came on Friday in Pekin to pack us up and send us off. Many of them even gave up their Saturday to drive here and help us transport all of our stuff. Thank you Eric, Rebecca, Chris, and Chris! Sean's mom came up with us and helped us get settled in as well. We love you!
The girls did amazingly well and played in the water in the backyard all day here at the new house while we settled in. We had lunch provided for us on Saturday by our new church family and many, many who stayed well into the afternoon setting up beds, unpacking, cleaning, and helping us get settled. We felt loved and were overwhelmed by the way everyone served us. Saturday night we had dinner delivered by another sweet church member who even went as far as finding out what my Jillian eats. She brought Jill's yogurt and applesauce as well as yummy homemade pizza with delicious cake. I cried sweet tears of joy because she thought of my baby girl's needs and met them without even knowing us.
The week has continued on much like this. We have had visits by many with cookies, hugs, and welcomes. We have attended a staff cookout where we spent time together with the school and church staff swimming, eating, and visiting. This is an amazing place and while we are sad to leave the many that we love in Pekin, we are excited to get settled here and to start doing life with this incredible congregation.
Thursday we spent the day with some of the church families at a local beach. You all know my Jillian LOVES water and sand! This beach is beautiful, free, and very close to our house. Many may just see this as a lake, but as I looked across the crystal blue water I just thought of God's miraculous provision! A crystal clear lake, much like the beautiful Gull Lake where we happily spend a week at family camp every summer, only twenty minutes from our new home. This is a place that we will be spending many happy summer days with our new family of friends. I heard one of the moms say that she likes to spend time together with other ladies of the church because she is never leaving Cedar Valley and so if we are going to raise up our kids together, we should know and love each other. Music to this mommas heart! Walking alongside these friends and doing life together is going to be a true pleasure.
My sweet babies have also found open arms already and this momma is thrilled. Em seems to have found a wonderful young lady who is in her class and shares her name. EF seems like a great girl and is delightful to talk to. She is an answer to prayer indeed. Anna Mei has already learned to say Abby and looks for her whenever we are with our group. She likes to be held and Abby is amazing with her. She has ministered to this momma so much with how very willing she is to help me take care of the girls while Sean is back wrapping things up in Pekin. Abby walked carrying Anna Mei to the car from the beach yesterday which was a HUGE blessing and she was in the pool the entire time I was on Tuesday helping with the girls. A little lady named Jesse has taken a liken to my Jillian too and watched me signing to her yesterday so she could pick some up. Jesse is a tiny fourth grader, but still let Jillian climb all over her in the water. Jillian kept signing sit and Jesse wasn't sure what it meant so she asked and then sat every time Jillian told her. Both of these girls are from the same family and they have beautiful hearts. I can't wait to get to know them more!
Truly, I can't believe how seamless this move has been. My Jillian hasn't missed a beat. She even seems more comfortable in this strange, new house than she did in our familiar one in Pekin. I can't explain it. I have no words, but what I do have is a God who holds us each in His hands. How I love the Lord who has written this entire story for us and who knows every detail before it is revealed to us. To God be much glory for the way that we have been loved by these beautiful people in the last week. I hope that I have the opportunity to show God's love to them many times as we walk beside each other in the years to come. Cedar Valley Bible Church seems so very special and I am grateful to be able to call it home!