There is no replacement for family. I've always believed that, but the truth of that statement never truly hit me until after Liam was born.
After he was born I began to understand the love that my parents feel for me. I love Liam like no other. I get burnt out being a stay-at-home mom sometimes, but I also can't imagine being away from him on a regular basis (though I know that day will come). I also realized that there's nothing Liam could do that would diminish my love for him. I imagine my parents feel the same way about me, which makes me appreciate them all the more.
I also started thinking that my family has really been there for me my whole entire life. My temper tantrum toddler years, my know-it-all-ness as a kid, my rebellion as a teenager. When it comes to my family we have had some tremendous fights (I'm not talking about just my parents here, I'm talking siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) but we have always made up. We get together on the holidays, laugh, dance, have fun. They have seen me at my worst and at my best, and they love me.
I feel this family of mine extends beyond flesh and blood. I have friends that I have known for years. Friends that I have fought with and laughed with. Friends who understand me and are patient with me. Friends that don't let me get away with BS and check in on me. Friends who care deeply and love me.
I am so blessed to have these people in my life. I'm excited to once again live in the same city as all these people with a fresh perspective. I pray that I never take these people for granted ever again. And I pray that God would work through me and these relationships to show His love and glory. Some people may think it's "selfish" to walk away from our ministry in Denver just to be close to family, Alex and I have struggled with this a lot, but I realize that we're not selfish. I see my family as my primary ministry and I think our life and culture in Miami will enable me to do ministry in a more effective way. I see our future in Miami filled with opportunity, and I am so excited for it.
And I'm thankful that I will have my family close by, because as I said before, there is no replacement for family.