It Takes a Village
Beth & Ted Rice
If there was a catch phrase for our marriage it would be “It takes a village.” From our wedding, which included many talented and loving friends, to finding our daughter through the friend-of-a-member-of-the-church-of-a-childhood-friend-by-way-of-Facebook — take that, Kevin Bacon!
More specifically we want to talk about how Imago Dei has been our community. When we met, Beth was on staff as the children’s ministry director and Ted was an active member of another church. Both communities helped us navigate where our church home should be. That happened with a lot of grace and understanding.
Shortly after we met, Beth’s Dad passed away. The church was there for us. They brought us food, let us cry and be mad and most importantly, grieved with us. Sitting shivah is a beautiful Jewish tradition, where those in the grieving person's life come take care of and sit alongside them in silence. Leaving that space is a powerful and essential part of process and moving forward. That’s why our Longest Night service in December is one of our favorite things we do here at Imago.
A few years later, we had a serious health scare as Beth was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, it was dealt with by needing only surgery. However, it was a life-changing surgery. Dealing with what that meant for us was gut wrenching, too much to bear alone. We told one friend. He wept with us and sat in our shock; the load felt lighter. We told Beth’s best friend. She wept with us and held Beth praying encouragement and healing over her; the load felt lighter. We told our small group. As a group, they embraced us and promised to be there no matter what; again, lighter. Without our community, we would have been beat into the ground; instead, we were lifted up and held there by our village.
When we decided to embark on the journey of adopting, we were overwhelmed by our village. We decided to be vulnerable and ask for help, which was especially hard for enneagram 2, Beth. We decided to host a fundraiser. There were over 300 people that showed up and supported us in this journey. As we went through paperwork, interviews, waiting, failed adoptions as well as joy, anger, numbness and the ebb and flow of our hope...our village was there.
When we welcomed Bella into our home, we needed our village more than ever. Who knows what to do when you go from childless to having a three-and-a-half-year-old!? From boxes of clothes being brought to church, encouraging comments in the hall, Facebook messages and texts, we felt loved and seen. The encouragement, understanding and grace we have felt for our daughter, who comes from a hard place, has been another overwhelming experience. From smiling and laughing when she roamed the stage during the Christmas program to loving smiles and not batting an eye when she melts down in dysregulation, the love that has been poured her way is a beautiful thing to see. Having your village embrace and welcome your child is indescribable. Thank you for loving her so much and so quickly.
It takes a village. We wouldn’t want to do this crazy thing called life without God, each other or our village.
Ted and Beth have been married for six years and are parents to an adorable little four-year-old spitfire named Bella. They love cooking together, hosting parties, traveling and just being with those they love.