The one, the only, Jo Tilley…

It’s another significant birthday in our family life. This time in our wider extended Godfamily, as our boys call them. The amazing Jo Tilley is 50 today and as I love a list and a birthday blog post here are several very good reasons I and my family love Jo.

We’ve hung out with her and her lovely family a whole load over the last 12 years since I joined the same church that they and husbandface were part of. She was one of the first people we grabbed after church one evening to tell her that we’d got together. We became godparents to their youngest, the lovely Sam, who only finally thought husbandface might have been a grown up when he got married to me, before that he was just his big funny friend, who definitely didn’t get listed when we asked who the grown ups in the room were. We planned our wedding on their sofa whilst baby sitting for them. They prayed for us when we got married (and to set the record straight Sam did start eating his tie first before Husbandface joined in while they were praying, although you can see how you might think it was the other way round…).

Jo is the kind of friend you really want to have around. Time after time I have sat in her house drinking cups of tea and praying together, going through the ups and downs of church and family life together, analysing life together and being grateful for God’s constant love and care for us together.

She was part of a lovely group of women from our last church who prayed together each week and helped keep me sane in the early years of having children, reassuring me that all I was feeling was normal.

She is a brilliant Godmum, taking son1 and son2 when we needed a break, hosting son1’s birthday party when son2 had just been born and I was half crazy with sleep deprivation, constantly being generous with her time and space, inviting us over for lunch more Sundays than I can count so we could let our kids go crazy and fall asleep on her sofa.

She took son1 one Tuesday a month so I could attend a course in Spiritual Direction and find my way back to myself after the shock of having a child. She took him again the night son2 was born, being wonderful in swooping in at 3am to take away the confused small one slightly worried at the funny noises Mummy was making. She gave me a morning off a week from son1 in the first year of son2s life so I could rest. Her sacrificial friendship is an insane gift and one massive reason of how I survived those early child years.

She loves our boys and before school got in the way we would be over at hers once or twice a week, or more, loving the safe space away from our house. It’s lovely seeing her delight in them and they in her. They love her SO much and are always happy and themselves whenever we land up on her sofa once again. 

She and her family are the reason we ended up at our lovely church when our last church ended. After a few months of confusion about where we would end up she kept on telling me that this new place was so ‘us’. We gave it a try and the first week we went Son1 told us we would stay at this place because Jo was there. For him it was simple, we would go where Jo and her family were. They were home for him so why wouldn’t we stay? We stayed.

She’s super wise, if you ever get the chance to have a cuppa and a chat with her you’ll find someone who cares, who has deep wisdom to offer and a profound servant heart. (Oh and someone who is brilliant to laugh with).

I love her sacrificial way of life, I honour her and the choices she has made for the best for her family, I see her and all she pours out. I am deeply glad to know Jo and so grateful for her friendship over the years. I really don’t know how I would have made it through them without her and her family and their constant love. Especially their non minding of us coming over whenever, our boys piling cushions on her son and husbandface falling asleep in various locations in her house. She and her family have always been a safe harbour, a place of refuge in the storms of life, a solid provision of grace and generosity.

A blog post is really too small a way to celebrate this wonderful woman. But it’s a start. Jo I love you. Thank you for everything.

(We’ll be over for some socially distant cake later 🙂

Son1 says: “I love Jo because she lets me play in her house, and she lets me bounce on her trampoline, she comes to National Trust with me, she makes me feel happy, and there are too many more things to say, the list would be too long…”

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