On the Sunday before Thanksgiving of 2016, my mom met a J, a young single woman visiting my parent’s church for the first time. She was new to town, four months pregnant, her family was in another state, and she had nowhere to go for the holidays.
A nudge from the Holy Spirit prompted my mom to ask J to our family dinner. That act of kindness would change my life.
My husband Andy and I and my sister and her spouse arrived at my parent’s house on Thanksgiving Day, and we all piled into my parent’s van — the six of us, plus J.
“So who is this girl again?” My husband whispers to me.
“I don’t know!” I said. “My mom literally just met her!”
Our family is a big one — there were four generations present at dinner — and I could see a look of overwhelm flash across J’s face when we arrived at my uncle’s house. She settled into a chair and began observing our family’s dynamic, while various relatives arrived at my side to whisper, “What’s the story with the pregnant girl? Who is she?” in my ear.
“I have no idea,” I said, laughing. “We’ve only just met her.”
As the dinner went on, J became more relaxed and we fell into easy conversation about her pregnancy, our similar interests and our different family dynamics. She went on and on about how nice my family is. “There’s no drama! No one is fighting! No one is gossiping! The kids are so well behaved! I want to be a part of this family!” I enjoyed seeing my family through her eyes, and was reminded of how blessed I am to be a part of a big family that loves and serves one another well.
And that right there is how I thought the story would end. J began going to a Bible Study with my parents and continued to attend their church, but, as we live in a different state than my parents, I never ran into her.
Our lives went on. For Andy and I, that looked like getting through one day and then the next. We were living life in black and white. After experiencing two stillbirths, joy felt out of reach. Things got even more painful when Andy admitted he no longer wanted to pursue having children — not even through adoption. He didn’t want either of us to experience more disappointment, more grief.
Though I was deeply devastated by Andy’s confession, my heartache caused me to run to the Lord, knowing He was and is my only comfort, and that He knew what our future held. I felt God place a hope within me that I hadn’t felt for years. I didn’t know how long it would take, but I knew, deep inside me, that God would change my husband’s heart.
Then, on a Thursday in April, I received a phone call from my mom.
“Do you remember J? The girl we brought to Thanksgiving? She’s scheduled for a c-section next week, and she’d like to offer you her baby.”
In those months between Thanksgiving and April, J decided she wanted to make an adoption plan. She had a hard time picturing herself giving her child to a family she didn’t know, and before long her due date was quickly approaching. A mutual friend of ours told J how Andy and I longed to be parents. (I hadn’t mentioned my stillbirths at Thanksgiving dinner.) She could know exactly what kind of family her baby would be brought up in. J approached my parent’s first, wondering if they would be comfortable with her being the birth mother of their potential grandchild. They could hardly contain their excitement!
Praise God, Andy had a change of heart. We joyfully said yes, and a week later we had a brand new baby girl in our arms.
Our Chloe Mae is now 14 months old!
I’m amazed by the beautiful story God was weaving without us even knowing. That a simple kind gesture — inviting a stranger to dinner — led to the adoption of our precious girl.
My mom could have ignored the prompting from the Holy Spirit to reach out to J. She could have kept our dinner family-only, and avoided any potential awkwardness. She could have let her concern over my feelings (being around pregnant women was hard for me after my losses) keep her from extending the invitation. Instead, she recognized an opportunity to say “yes” to God, to allow herself to be a tool in His plan — even though she didn’t know what God’s plan was at the time.
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12
Your kindness has a greater effect than you think. Who is God placing on your heart to reach out to today?
Image Credit: Thinkstock/Halfpoint
Laura Rennie lives in Maryland with her husband and daughter. She loves reading, writing and playing word games. Her greatest desire is to share Jesus through her words and actions as she learns how to be a better wife, mom, daughter, sister and friend. She blogs at laurarennieinteriors.com.