When my husband Kevin and I got married, neither of us wanted to leave our home churches. We both had invested a lot into our home churches, but moreso into the people we had worshipped with week after week and year after year.
So, after a lot of prayer and some advice from some folks we decided we would just continue to be apart of both churches and see how things went.
I can't tell you how many people said it would never work, and I had my doubts. But God had bigger plans and who are we to say things can't be done? After all, the Bible does say to delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.
So here we are, some 2 years later and not only have our pastors become good friends, but both churches have worshipped together, ate together and sang together. Nothing pleases my little heart more when I'm in a room full of both church families.
So you can only imagine how excited I was when I learned that both church families wanted to do a joint baby shower for us.
As I walked through the Hodnett's home Sunday afternoon and I heard laughter coming from all different directions, I had to step away and thank the Lord for His abundant blessings.
There is nothing like seeing all the people you love in one room, seeing the kids run around and have a good time and hear the sweet sounds of laughter echoing throughout the house.
As we all ate together and we opened all the presents for baby Joy, there was still yet one little surprise awaiting us.
Tracy Hodnett had made up little sheets of paper that had 10 lines of "hopes" for Joy. The sheet started out with "Dear Joy, I hope you learn to ..." and then there was a blank. Everyone filled one out and Tracy had each person read at least one of the hopes for Joy while we were there.
I was completely overwhelmed with the responses of hope for our daughter.
When we got home later on that night I sat down and read them all a couple of times through and, of course, cried like a baby.
Some of the hopes people had for Joy were that they hoped she loved music, learned to play piano, ignore negative people and respect her parents, herself and, most importantly, the Lord and His word. There are a lot more I would love to share with you, but you get the idea.
There was a lot of love and thought poured out onto those pieces of paper for a little girl that we all have yet to meet.
They love baby Joy because they love us so much. People have always said that children bring so much happiness to people, I just never knew how much our child would mean to everyone.
I will leave you with one last little note. Pastor Charles left a note to Joy that said, "I have been waiting for you since my first conversation with your dad at Starbucks."
We all have hopes and dreams for Joy. But I can honestly say it is unanimous that everyone prays that she loves the Lord and follows His every footstep for her life.
Through it all, I am once again reminded of how much the Lord loves me, because just as He knew me and Kevin before we were born, He also knows the very number hairs on Joy's head and the plans He has for her. What an awesome thought.
The Lord really loves you that much, too.
Julie Wells is the editorial assistant in the newsroom at the Rockdale Citizen. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.