Today’s guest post comes from my dear friend, Jenna. I first met Jenna 13-14 years ago when she and her husband had just moved to Michigan. She is one of those rare people that upon “hello” I knew in my heart would become a dear friend. God has woven the threads of our stories in and out of each other’s lives over the years, and during that time we’ve both made cross-country moves at least once.
Jenna and her husband, Dan, have four amazing kids and in 2011 they relocated from Michigan to Georgia. Jenna enjoys writing and editing and actively volunteers as a class parent, a small group leader at her church, and is trying to make a difference in the community by serving on the local elementary school PTA board. The rest of her story is still being written, you can follow her blog at http://jennascott77.wordpress.com/
Jenna played an integral role in the development of Isn’t it Time for a Coffee Break? The book wouldn’t even be close to what it is today without her help. As I was praying (and trembling) over writing this book I felt a prompting, that I’m certain was from God, to ask Jenna to critique and read through the early drafts. I’ll let her tell the rest of the story. 🙂
An IRL BFF FaceTime friendship that’s worth Twittering about
When my friend Amelia asked me to help her “check the grammar and verses” in her upcoming book “Isn’t It Time for a Coffee Break?: Doing life together in an all-about-me kind of world“, little did she know she was really inviting me to pull a chair up to her kitchen table and lop off a giant slice of the sweet bread of kindred friendship for me to hungrily devour.
You see, my husband, 4 tots and I had just moved 800 miles and what feels like a new world away from what had been “home” to us for more than a decade.
After unpacking the boxes, kissing the hubs goodbye, getting the big kids on the bus and the little one dropped off at preschool, I found myself with a lot of empty time on my hands and no one to share it with. Time to wallow, think, lament, and miss the familiarity, friends, family, and relationships that were now so far away.
After walking around with my hand constantly outstretched in a handshake and the “Hi, my name is Jenna. I’m new here…” script perpetually rolling off my tongue, I became fatigued with the effort and shot desperate e-mails to friends who had survived cross-country moves asking “how did you do this? How do you make friends when it seems there are none to be had, or no one with openings? I just want to hide.”
So Amelia and her cross-country-move-wisdom and fresh with her first contract to write a full-length book about friendship invited me into her journey. Each of us using our gifts and talents fueled by gratitude for God’s infinite love and the wisdom He spilled out onto us in the Bible peppered with our deep love and empathy for the lonely, scared, and friendless word by word sewed together a resource to put in those outstretched hands to let them know they are not alone, they are deeply loved and called to share the love that’s been poured all over them, and how to navigate the sometimes-scary world of real life friendships.
The timing couldn’t have been more perfect as my recent move had left me empty, scared, alone and after pursuing friendships and getting no responses, feeling very rejected, un-exciting, un-wanted, and lacking in confidence to keep trying. (Note, I have been bitten by a bat and lived to tell about it. How much MORE exciting can one person get?)
Although Amelia originally invited me into the living room of her writing process to check commas and verse references, I barged into her bedroom and pulled out her sock drawer dumping it onto the floor and suggesting different orders, words, pieces, snippets, edits, or tones in the content. And she LET me. So gracefully, as only a true friend could. Because this amazing girl didn’t write this book for herself, she wrote it for each and every one of you. As as act of obedience and worship to her heavenly Father. And because she is so bubbling over with love that she just can’t keep it in and all to herself, she’s just gotta share. Not to mention she has the BEST stories to tell.
Writing a book is so intimate, yet Amelia allowed the Holy Spirit, and not her ego, to be her guide in the process. I think that’s why God allowed us many “holy ground” moments together as we sought to portray words that would gently guide, instruct, encourage, and even lift a weary spirit spurring readers on to the beautiful fellowship of community that God so lovingly created us to thrive in, not hide from.
Little did I know that this project, while throwing myself into it for the sake of all of y’all out there, was really meant for my own heart. I have a sneaking suspicion that my wise-as-an-owl author friend knew this from the beginning.
I’ve struggled to be brave, to get out there, to keep putting out my hand, make eye contact, and jump into other’s lives, and invite them into mine. God has been working on my heart and life, and so many pages, chapters, sentences and verses from the words Amelia wrote have been feeding my hungry soul, much like those pajama-clad chats on living room floors with true friends over a cup of joe–that I so miss and desire– are a boost to the spirit.
I’m so thankful Amelia didn’t let me move away and leave me to wither in the southern dessert of friendlessness. That she kept refreshing the scent of God’s love in my life with her constant texts, e-mails, calls, letters, words, and invitation to walk with her during a monumental journey in her life.
My author friend lives an amazing story, and I’m so thankful for the words she painstakingly penned (or tapped, if we’re being literal) over many cups of coffee, sugary treats at Ella’s, and agonizing tears of self-doubt and confidence over a task she could have easily said “no thanks” to. But she truly loves every single person she’s ever met, and is on a mission to either make them her friend, or connect them to someone else who will be their BFF from now until eternity.
I cannot wait to get my hands on the finished product. And as I’ve been praying for deep friendships in my new hometown, I think I know what I need to do…and this book is going to play a big part of my stepping out in faith, being brave, and asking people to join a women’s Bible study that will begin with looking at the Biblical perspective on how to do life together as outlined so simply, beautifully, and sometimes funnily in Isn’t It Time for a Coffee Break?: Doing Life Together in an All-About-Me Kind of World.
So…who’s ready for a coffee break? I know I am!