How my life changed with 2 friends, a book and the gym!
I am a HUGE fan of women’s bible studies, and as I admitted in my 10 Things you don't know about me I have just this week finished and completed my first Bible study book ever! My Pastor Dad and Bible Study leading mother are so proud I am sure. Anyway, I love the idea of gathering together, growing, stretching and making new friends. When I moved to Texas from Alaska 5 years ago I was super lonely. I knew one other family and that was it. We left our home, our family, and our church just like we believed God had told us to, and we were here in Texas alone. One day, in a mess of emotions, I told my Jesse just how low I was feeling. There had been so many changes. Alaska to Texas, no family, I had just sent my first born off to kindergarten, Jesse was working a new schedule that we weren’t used to, and honestly was just desperate for community. We started going to a small church, and I started at a new gym. Titus and I started going to MOPS and we joined other mommy and me groups. I was so in need of friendship. I know that I function better when I’m connected to others. The gym of all places was where I found those people who I would soon call friends.
There was this crazy pretty blonde that taught most of the classes that I was able to go to. As I began to get into the routine I got to know some more of the people around me, and the pretty blonde, her name is Lindsay, and I started to talk a little and she invited me to a Bible study that she led right there in the gym. After Wednesday’s body pump or cycle class we would meet in the childcare room, sit on the floor, and she would lead a small group of sweaty women. That group quickly became my friends. It was beautiful and so real. There was one day when I was loading Titus into the car and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, "WOAH!" I thought, "I look rough! How in the world have I made friends looking like this?!" That’s when I knew these people were solid. Then one day standing over a cycle bike one of these sweet girls, Holly, handed me a book, "Read this! Jeanette, it’ll change your life!" I giggled, I love to read but how could a book change my life?!
I dove into the book, Kisses From Katie, head first. I was reading, devouring this young girl’s story and about half way through the book I shut it and looked up at Jesse and I quote, "Jesse, I think we need to adopt or like sponsor a 100 children in Africa." He calmly told me to, in his words, "pump the brakes," finish the book and see how it ends. But I felt that quiet tug. The Lord whispered, "I called you to be a mom. There are a TON of babies with no mom. What are you going to do about it?!" Let me rewind a bit here and tell you that when I was little and was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up I would answer very firmly, " A mom." So, Jesse and I talked a little bit more and he told me he’d pray about it. Classic husband just trying to appease his wife. A few days later he looked at me and said, "A girl right?! What would we name her?"
BOOM there it was. We jumped into this world of adoption.
Ok now back to the bible study, the girls in that group were some of the first people I told about this new venture. They were the first ones praying for her, and in Bible study we were going through the Hebrews 11 "Hall of Faith." Lindsay would dive into each of the hero's listed story. Over and over in Hebrews 11 it is said "By Faith that ____" and so often these heros of the bible- Sarah, Abraham, Enoch, Noah- followed the Lord blindly doing the craziest things. So often they didn’t even get to see His finished work. Noah built the ark, a boat that he had no idea what that even was and he followed God’s CRAZY specific instructions for like 100 years all by faith.
As we went through this I was so glad that God was calling me to something easy and short. I really can’t help but laugh. From the time we said YES we will adopt, to the day Zoe was actually in America and in my arms was almost 3 years. Now that’s not as long as some others waited and by far not the longest process I’ve ever heard of, but it was long and grueling and hard.
By Faith, I believed the Lord called me to this.
By Faith I knew he wouldn’t fail me.
By Faith I knew that He had a better plan for this little girl I would get to call my own.
After the Bible study had ended and changed, as seasons do, those girls were still my go to people. And near the end of our process when circumstances were hard and my faith weary it was that group that stood by my side. It was them that held my weak arms up and wouldn’t let me give in. They said, "We are with you to the end" and they were. And they still are!
We have some beautiful photos that were taken at the airport and it was a freaking party. Zoe can and will tell you now that she came home sad, and confused, BUT she will also tell you there were a lot of people there to celebrate her homecoming. That is because it wasn’t just my victory or my family's victory it was all of ours, Zoe was an orphan no more!! That group had expanded my heart, and my reach. Those women cried with me, and prayed, and gave, and connected me with new people. And my favorite part is that it all started on the floor of a child care room in a gym. In a place where we sat, with little to no makeup, and we were real and open with each other. That, guys, is the key. Be real. Be honest. Be open. Be a friend.
Where can you be real today? How can you meet a friend right where she is? What can you do to open yourself up now to find community? I know that it’s not easy and I know that it’s terrifying to walk into new places and not know anyone, but what if today you were just a little bit braver? What could that look like? Let’s be bold and full of faith together!