I didn’t particularly want to move to Rhode Island. I was pregnant with our first child and didn’t want to move 1,580 miles away from my family and friends just as I was preparing to experience some amazing “firsts.” But the main reason I didn’t want to move so far away from my support network? K and I could barely stand to be in the same room. This was supposed to be one of the most special times of our life together and we didn’t even like each other. But we were playing nice because we were the grown-ups and we were soon going to be parents, so we had to start acting like we had a clue even if we didn’t.
We visited several churches, and if I’m not mistaken, we found Newport Community Church through a little advertisement in the paper. At the time they were meeting in a little house-like building. NCC was not like the church we’d left in Louisiana, but it was exactly what we needed at that point in the life of our family. We quickly became friends with the pastor and his wife. Barr and Ruth and the other members welcomed us into the church as if we were family. Over the year that we lived in Rhode Island, they became our family away from home.
Our firstborn was the first baby born into the congregation. In many churches, it’s common to have a baby dedication service. The pastor prays for the baby and the parents and the parents express their desire to raise their child to know and love God. Barr had never led a dedication service before. Our baby was his first!
Not long before we moved from Rhode Island, K’s parents came to visit us. On the day after they arrived, K’s father, who had been in great health, suffered a heart attack and a subsequent brain bleed. He was transferred to a hospital in Providence. Barr and Ruth and our church family were such a support to us as K’s family flew in to be with us. They provided food and transportation to and from the hospital. K’s dad passed away while he was in the hospital and Barr was holding his hand and praying with the family as Pap left this world and entered heaven.
Even though K and I had Godly mentors in our lives before we met Barr and Ruth, God used that couple to melt the ice that had built up around our hearts. Barr is a wonderful expositor of God’s Word and as we begin to live out the truths that we were learning and moved closer to God, K and I found ourselves moving closer to each other.
Barr and Ruth visited us when we lived in Hawaii. K was out of town for work, but Firstborn and I so enjoyed our time with them. On one of our excursions, Barr and Ruth bought Firstborn a stuffed orange cat. That cat remains one of his most loved possessions. Here are a couple of pictures from the last time we saw Barr and Ruth:
When K’s mom came in town last week, we called Barr and Ruth to see if we could all get together. Ruth is out of town, but Barr drove up to have dinner with us tonight. It was as if we’d never left. I was so encouraged and comforted just by his presence in our home. As soon as he found out Barr was coming, Firstborn started counting down the days. He has been so excited for this day to finally get here. He and the Princess Diva made signs to welcome Barr. And then within 10 minutes of Barr’s arrival, we discovered that Firstborn had a fever. He went back to our room and slept for a couple of hours. He woke up just in time to tell Barr goodbye. It broke my heart. He was so very upset. But we assured him we’re planning to get together again after Ruth is back in town. I’m posting these mostly for my parents (who are huge Barr fans themselves) but feel free to take a look:
Nope. I really didn’t want to move to Rhode Island. But looking back, I am so thankful for the twelve-plus months we spent there. God used our time in Newport and especially our relationship with Barr and Ruth to begin to grow us into the couple and parents and family that He wanted us to be. We’re still a work in progress, but I can see so clearly how instrumental that time was in our lives. I know that’s one of the many reasons that I know that I can trust Him now in the midst of all these question marks. Thanks, God, for using our time tonight with Barr to remind me that even when I don’t want to go where You’re leading, I’m always glad that I followed.