Once upon a time, a new couple visited our church. They were on their way toward the door when I stopped them to greet them. The chat wasn’t that significant – just asking their names, if they were church hunting, if they had kids, etc.

I remember thinking they were nice, but I didn’t think they would be back.

Little did I know, they had moved back to Michigan from Ohio about a year before, and the wife (named Jesse) was feeling lonely and disconnected without a solid church family or group of close friends. I’m so thankful that God orchestrated my steps that morning as I caught them before their quick exit.

Because they did come back. And Jesse became a very dear friend.

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We spent lots of time together – letting our kids play, celebrating our 100th day of kindergarten for Grace (see pic above – with our “100” glasses), playing at the park, gathering sap for her maple syrup, digging in her pond for polywogs, and lots of talking, laughter, and fun.

She was baptized at our church, and she and her husband Jared officially became members.

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And then, about a year after our friendship began, her husband got the call. He was being promoted, and they were moving again. Back to Ohio.

It was hard for all of us to say goodbye. But God was shaping Jesse into a woman who not only gracefully submitted to her husband’s decisions, but learned to trust God no matter where He takes her.

This weekend I was SO blessed to be a part of our 4th annual “Jesse” weekend. Each fall, a group of friends and I have visited her in Ohio. This year, we met at a beautiful cottage in Michigan.

I’m so blessed to have a friend who I can just pick up with where we left off. Who loves Jesus with all of her heart and exudes His joy. Who loves to talk about God’s Word when we get together, and encourages me to be a more godly woman.

It was a very refreshing weekend, full of (LOTS OF) talking, laughter, food, and homemade spa treatments. If you’ve never done a Fancy Nancy Ooh-La-La spa day with your friends, you’re missing out. (Tee hee.)

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I’m starting this Thanksgiving week with a very grateful heart.