When we arrived on campus, my baby girl was three weeks old. I was terrified of this new place, new motherhood, and how it was all going to work. I didn’t really know anyone, and knew that I needed to get a part-time job to supplement our income while in seminary.
When the opportunity arose to apply for a campus job, I took it. I really didn’t want to leave my baby in daycare, but I knew that a small, steady income would be a great blessing to our family. Trusting that the Lord would work it all out, I interviewed and later received a job offer. Along with the job offer, I received a phone call from the librarian, Mr. David Sherwood, who also wished to hire another new seminary wife, Ashley. My daughter was only six weeks at this point, and Ashley’s girl was eight weeks. She needed a job, I needed a job. Her baby needed to be cared for, and so did mine. Mr. Sherwood expressed his concern for both of us and for childcare costs and suggested an arrangement where one of us would work in the morning while the other cared for the babies, and then we would switch in the afternoon. We both hesitated, but after chatting, in the end agreed to give it a go.
That is how our friendship was born – out of confusion, hesitation, and a bit of sorrow. But very soon, as we learned to know and love each other’s babies, we found how much we had in common. Our beliefs, our desires for our girls, our hobbies and interests led us to spend hours chatting. Ashley quickly became the greatest source of understanding and encouragement to me on campus, and I pray that I was able to give a bit of that back to her. All of this happened in months, because really, all things happen quickly at Nashotah House! Ashley was eventually blessed with the opportunity to stay home with her dear one, and I couldn’t have been more excited for her. She generously offered to continue caring for my girl for another semester, and our girls continued to love each other more and more.
Our girls have been best friends from the beginning. Those early days of not noticing the other quickly turned into eye-contact, then hand holding, and now an overwhelming, Christ-like love for each other exudes from the pair. They absolutely adore each other, and both Ashley and I absolutely adore both of them. Now almost three-years-old, when they see each other, squeals, shrieks, and hugs abound. The girls could not be more different, but they also could not love each other more.
It is just days until graduation now, and at the end of the week, our dear, dear friends will move away. They go to the West coast, while we’ll soon go to the East coast. I am elated for them and the opportunities that the Lord has in store for them there, but we will miss them terribly. I cannot bear the thought of these first friends being separated, and I will miss knowing that just a few doors away is someone that I can tell anything and everything to.
Above all, I’m grateful for Ashley. I’m grateful that we took a chance on each other, and found friendship for ourselves and our daughters. I’m grateful that, though we can go without spending time together for weeks, the four of us can pick up just where we left off. I’m grateful that though, undoubtedly, weeks and maybe months will pass without contact with each other in these new journeys, those first days of trusting the Lord and each other, of uncomfortable early days as seminary spouses and new mothers, will carry the four of us through and allow this blessed Nashotah House friendship to continue to thrive.