Thursday, June 13, 2013

A BIG "Thank You!"

"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God." Phil 1:3

Where to begin? Our 3 years and nearly 8 months of living on the east coast is shortly coming to an end. We have had quite an adventure! In less then two weeks, the movers start packing our household goods and then two weeks later we PCS to Camp Pendleton. As thrilled as I am that "we are going-going, back-back, to Cali-Cali," :) I also am having a hard time with the reality of having to say good bye to some amazing people.

It has been very special to have had the opportunity to make precious memories with our Griffin (Corl, Hawthorne, et al!) family. Thank you for accepting and loving me in-spite of my introverted quirks. Lol I have learned so many things from each of you and truly am inspired by your lives, perseverance, love for one another, and your faith in God through all that I have seen you weather individually. I never imagined that I'd get to be apart of such a crazy, fun, and incredible family. I love you guys and am going to miss being within driving distance of all the festivities and gathering of the clans! Thank you for providing me with a stud to journey through life with...I know his parents and 4 sisters trained him well. ;) We don't know where we will be living when we get to CA, but wherever it ends up are always welcome! I know our official family farewell isn't for a couple weeks, but I guess this is me trying to put on "paper" what I may not be able to say while full of emotions. :)

My two sisters, Serena and Shantell, live in Indiana and Tennessee. We have all tried to take advantage of our proximity to visit one another as much as we could. It has been great to have made many sweet memories together...and some sour ones too. ;) I love them unconditionally and I know they feel the same about me (right? Lol). We have all been through a variety of challenging obstacles over the past 4 years and these beautiful, courageous, resilient, generous, and talented women have been a huge source of inspiration to me. I know with our move that I won't be seeing them as often but when you are sisters~you are always close at heart. Thank you for being a phone call away especially on those days when I am in need of a good laugh. :)

When we first moved to Hampton Roads, Stephen was getting ready to deploy, I just found out I was pregnant, and I didn't know anyone in the area. Unbeknownst to me, God was about to bless me big time with such an incredible neighbor! This lovely lady befriended me and introduced me to her awesome family and friends. She taught me what "loving thy neighbor" was really all about. I know if there was anything I ever needed...she would do all she could to help. Thank you, Diane, Shannon, Tammy, Chris, Brooke, Kathy, Cathy, Karen, and all my Churchland Bunco friends! I love and will miss you all dearly. Don't have too much fun without me! ;)

While living in Portsmouth, we found an awesome church (Point Harbor Community). I attended by myself for 6 months while Stephen was deployed and the first small group I joined accepted and loved on me right away. I had only known them for a few months and they threw me a baby shower! Thank you, Becky, Brandi, Erica, and Kim for making me feel at home and keeping me accountable. I will cherish those memories together with some great sisters!
Also, thank you Point Harbor, Moms on Point mamas, First Friday young adult crew, and the Pastors who were faithful to share the Word while we got to attend PH!! I love getting updates on what God is doing's always so encouraging. Please keep it coming!

Marcia, Paris, Annie, Kara, Lavonne, Krysta, Jen, Amanda, Melanie, Ginger, Erin, Virginia, and Katie are just a few of the women who I've had the opportunity to meet through the Navy. It has been a privilege to get to know them! Uncle Sam has already moved some of them on to different duty stations around the world but I love keeping in touch via Facebook. I have been a student of their lives and am continually uplifted by each of them! Thank you for the gift of your time for however long or short it lasted.

Last year we moved from Portsmouth to Norfolk/VA Beach area to live closer to base. It was a good move for our family and Stephen's job but tough for me personally. I didn't know if we would find a community to connect with in a short amount of time and after some unsuccessful searches I was getting discouraged. Then we decided to visit First Baptist of Norfolk and found exactly what we needed. It is going to be hard to leave our life group as they have challenged us in our faith and become great friends. I know that we are all pilgrims just passing through this life but it makes a world of difference when you get to travel with wonderful people along the way.

Mom to Moms was another awesome group that I got to be apart of. The pictures above were from our end of the year Tea and I had an opportunity to give a testimony of my experience. Here's what I said:

"I was invited to M2M by Carrie. She met me for the first time and talked about how encouraging this study was for her and how awesome her mentor mom, Barb, had been. :) It didn't take much persuasion because I was fairly new to 1st Baptist, I'm a navy wife without family in this area, I had recently moved, I was 8 months pregnant and I had a 21 month old. I came here not knowing anyone, feeling exhausted, lonely, and was filled with ideas or "lies" of what the perfect mom looked like...and I was FAR from it. Aaand I'm not gunna lie, the advertisement of "free child care" sold me right away. :) I had no idea that I was going to meet some incredible, faith filled-women, great friends, and have my perspective on motherhood completely changed. The lessons were all so challenging but what stood out to me the most was the importance of living everyday as a mom on purpose...not perfectly! ...but learning from God's Word, these mentor moms and from the moms here in this group how to develop a plan to work through areas where I struggle, receive prayer and encouragement, and get to see God slowly change me from the inside-out. In my heart I am no longer just trying to survive motherhood but I want to embrace it with the new dreams and goals M2M has encouraged me to envision for myself as a Child of God and as a wife and mother.

Thank you Mentor moms and the leader moms for putting this study together and sacrificing your time to invest in all of us. I especially appreciate the transparency of the moms in our group and the lack of judgment when I've confessed my pit falls . You all have resonated with my stories and encouraged me to focus on the bigger picture that we really only get to have these precious children for a short amount of time..."

Dear Protestant Women of the Chapel, thank you SO much for the ministry you provide. Reta, Deb, Kelly, Sandy, Rosemary, Kara, Heather, and many others took time to love on me and my children, bring us meals after Micah was born, and pray for our family. Thank you for being a "home away from home!" I appreciate each of you and will not forget my time growing with you all. I hope that our lives in the military pass again soon!

I suppose it is impossible to thank everyone who has touched our lives out here in 4 years but my feeble attempt has left me incredibly humbled by ALL the people God has used to love on us! I don't deserve such a blessed life. I pray that God gives me opportunities to love others the way He loves me.

Please pray for us as we finish our work here at Norfolk Naval Base and begin a new chapter on Camp Pendleton. Oh yes, and if you could lift up a prayer for us to get into a home out there...that would be awesome too. ;)

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1 comment:

  1. Julie, I am so excited for you guys and your move to Cali! I have loved getting to know your sweet family and watching you grow. You have such a love for the Lord, and I guarantee you have impacted just as many people as you listed that have blessed you. Thank you for your genuine heart and sweet spirit! Hopefully our military paths will cross again some day, but I'm thankful we have blogs and Facebook to watch each other's families grow and change! Love you guys!