Psalm 68:6

“God sets the lonely in families….”

This was one of my favorite verses towards the end of college. There was (is) a family in Athens that I babysat for often, worked for in multiple jobs (I’m a renaissance woman, if you will), and even lived with one summer. I shared a room with a 18-month old baby girl. It ruled. (That’s not sarcasm. That is for real.)
Because some folks on the internet are WEIRD, names aren’t necessary. All you need to know is that this family is my family even though we don’t have the same last name (though one of the boys claims that we do). I went to visit them today- as the Dad was introducing me to a friend, he said, “This is my oldest daughter, Annie.” That’s the kind of people these folks are. And God set me in their family.
When I went off to college, I was SCARED TO DEATH to have kids. I even was known to say (more than once) that I was never having kids. Too much pressure, too much money, too much possibility of screwing someone up permanently. BUT, watching this family, being part of it, watching this Mom (and Dad) be so Godly and so real all at the same time, changed me. SERIOUSLY. I did not want kids until these five children came into my life.
I loved seeing them today. I loved hugging them, making peanut butter sandwiches, and watching Disney movies. I loved having them in my car, being on their couch, and sitting at the kitchen table that has been washed with more of my tears than I can count. I loved being a family member again.

There is something about it, the idea of home and family, that has permeated my mind as of late. Well actually, since the fall. It’s all relative (ha) to where you are and who you are- these wonderful Godly people ARE my family in Athens and their home IS my home.

This sweet girl- I started babysitting for them when the Mom was pregnant with her. She’ll turn 5 next week. Isn’t she beautiful? Happy birthday, sister. I love you.
And this below is what happens when the Mom and I are talking in the front seat and the kids in the back figure out Annie’s camera. I don’t care who you are, that’s funny. I forgot they even had it until I was on my way home and thought, “I should look at my pictures to see what he did.” And I laughed until I almost ran off Hwy. 316. There are about 14 companions to this photo that are almost equally funny. You are a funny man, D. I love your self-portraits.
And did I mention that when I graduated, the boys made me a card that said:
Annie went to college to gain more knowledge.
The devil went to Jupiter to get more stupider.
That’s rich and good.
I wish I had time, honestly, to tell you all that this family means to me. The way they love me changes me every time I am around them. The way that the parents poured into me (and still do), the way the kids laugh at my jokes and still like me being around, the way that the 11 year old said, “I know your voice, Annie. I’ve known you my whole life!” even though he hasn’t.
All of it adds up to one of the main reasons I stayed in Athens for 7 years and why it will always be a home to me.

Thanks for a great day, y’all. I love you.

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