They were so nice. Right from the start. They always made me feel welcome and valued. There is just something about Bobbie's voice (speaking and singing) that make me feel all relaxed and comfortable. It's just so soft! Justin and I have decided that we're long lost siblings. He hit 30 this past spring, just before me. We have the same sense of humor and a lot of the same mannerisms likes/dislikes.
I waged a well executed campaign to get them to name their daughter Bethany. I mean; she was due around my birthday, Justin said his favorite scripture was when Jesus cursed the fig tree which is on the way to or from BETHANY (the town in the bible I was named for) and I'm freaking awesome. They ended up naming her Summer, but I think I put forth a good effort. After our group disbanded I would still hang out with Justin and Bobbie at church and randomly at their house.
Justin started leading outreach around 2007 sometime and that was about the time I read Under the Overpass. So I started helping him lead outreach. We would giggle and laugh our way through meetings and have these amazing conversations about Jesus and what following him looked like.
Bobbie and I started having regular dinners to hang out and catch up, and to give her some mommy time away from the baby. We would talk about Summer and Justin, we'd talk about this guy that I dated for awhile and all sorts of relational things. We talked about our dreams and hopes and our struggles. It was so amazing. I loved hanging out with her and getting to just spend that time together. I wrote a lot through this time about my interactions with Justin and Bobbie and all the wisdom and peace they brought to my life.
Bobbie was the one person that I confessed something to that others weren't really speaking to in my life. Something that I knew was wrong. We talked about the struggles related to that, about how lonely it can feel when you feel all alone in that struggle and how much like a breath of fresh air it can be to just confess that to someone else that you trust. Bobbie was the one person that I spoke to about this issue that didn't either encourage me to continue in the same way or tell me how stupid I was for my actions. She just sat with me and encouraged me in prayer and friendship, which was exactly what I needed.
In late 2007 Justin stepped away from leading outreach and I stepped up. We would still chat and hang out and things continued about the same. I bought a house, they came to see it. They left 4C ultimately because God was calling Justin to leadership in another church, where from what I hear they are thriving. They just had a baby boy, Silas, recently and he is to cute!
I really admire the way that Justin and Bobbie prioritize each other and their family. I admire the way they speak to each other, even when their frustrated. Their extended families are pretty cool too, I've been blessed to get to know Justin's sister in law Jessica recently and their nieces and nephews are pretty sweet too.
My friendship with Bobbie and Justin has taught me patience, perserverence and a confidence in stepping out bolding for God. They sent me this email not long after I stepped up to lead outreach at 4C:
Well, I know that God is calling you to be unapologetically outrageous for him. I just want to encourage you to go for “it”, even if “it” changes. I just love watching God work through people that love him!!!! You are a great encouragement because you are not afraid to share your heart….or anything else for that matter. So, know that we love you and see that fire that God has put in your heart. Follow what he is telling you. Just let me know if you need to hear that everyday because I will keep telling you that. I believe in you and I believe that God has called you to do his work.
It has been so encouraging to witness what God is doing in their lives and to be able to share with them what's happening in mine. Even though we're at different churches and don't see each other as often I just love them to pieces. I love their gentleness and encouraging ways and I hope to be as encouraging to others as they have been to me.