I cannot wait to introduce you to Jackie Hooks, the girl with a Texas-sized heart for God. She makes me laugh but she also invites me to think deeply about what it really means to follow Jesus. Most of all, she inspires me to trust Him for big, bold things. Today, Jackie is talking about what happens when some ordinary women decide to follow Jesus together.
(If you’ve missed the other posts in this series, get caught up by starting here.)
Jesus Friends by Jackie Hooks
“The twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.” Luke 8:1-3
We are “Some Women”…
Following Jesus Together.
I walked into the Women’s Bible Study at the age of 30. I had smoked almost an entire pack of cigarettes on the way…it was such a long drive and I got lost like 8 times. I was angry and annoyed and cussing up a storm as I drove my Honda civic to some girl’s house. The Sunday School teacher had “encouraged” me to go. She said the girls were nice. She said it was a great way to “plug in”. And I was just lonely enough to give it a shot. Just desperate enough to make the drive with printed out directions (no iPhone y’all). Just daring enough to give it one shot. And forever I will have an enormous place in my heart for girls who drive alone to Bible Studies in women’s homes they have never met before. It is overwhelming to say the very very least.
And I walked into a room with a circle of women in it. They all knew each other. They were all so cute. They were all girls from our Sunday School class (the Nearly/Newly Married Class…Except we weren’t nearly or newly anything…my husband and I were two super sinners climbing out of a ditch). And I may have instantly hated them all. And I may have wanted to set myself on fire. And I may have tried to smile a time or two through gritted teeth. And I couldn’t hear what anyone was saying over the pounding of my heart and the panic attack I was certain I was having.
And Jesus Just Showed Up.
Like He Does.
When Folks Get Together for Him.
And they listened when I told them I didn’t really want to be there. And they listened when I had a million and four questions. And they listened as I fell apart again and again in their living rooms over the next several years. Y’all. These girls became my Jesus Friends. I looked up from my messy life, and to the right and left of me were some girls following Jesus. And so, we became friends. Because Jesus placed us right next to each other. We became Jesus Friends.
Jesus Friends are the friendships only Jesus could place in your life. They are the friendships only Jesus could orchestrate. They may have no rhyme and no reason at all. But they are pictures of what Jesus can accomplish when we trust Him with our friendships.
And that y’all, is really the beginning and end of it for me. It was the beginning of Jesus creating my community. It was the end of me searching high and low for the perfect “bestie”. It was unbelievably freeing knowing Jesus is BIG enough to pick the right gals at the right time to walk right next to you. Because He loves us y’all. He really really does.
So, this verse…this obscure little Luke 8:1-3…It is everything to me. It is some women who were not necessarily best friends…not necessarily anything like each other…not necessarily having one dang thing in common…except the following Jesus part. And really, y’all, it’s all we need. When we look to the right and left of us and see another Christ Follower or two or ten getting dusty in the footsteps of Jesus…these are our Jesus Friends. We love them because they are all following Jesus next to us. And that is the BIG part. That is the part that makes us Jesus Friends. Nothing more. Nothing less. The love of Jesus lived out in our lives. No matching t-shirts necessary. Just Jesus. It’s that simple. You love them because Jesus placed them in your life, and hold on tight y’all, you let them love you too.
And really, this is my prayer for all of us…I pray we are willing to stop hoping for matching personalities or perfect age/kid/spouse/pet dynamics. Maybe we could quit looking for the person who completely gets us, and we start noticing the gal who completely gets Him. And y’all, this is when life gets good. When the folks Jesus placed next to us become the folks we make a place for…We meet our handpicked travelling buddies. And the road sure gets a lot less lonely. I promise. He does too.
I am an everyday ordinary gal who started following Jesus just a little over a decade ago, and has fallen madly in love with the Carpenter King who saved my life and my marriage. Corey and I are raising four holy moly messes (Jake 13, Jude 12, Grace 10 and Joshua 4). I am technically a stay at home mom, but rarely do I find myself at home, and the soap opera and bon bon life hasn’t found its way into my living room just yet. I do occasionally allow for a small celebration when all the laundry is clean AND folded at the SAME TIME on the SAME DAY…and that is typically twice a decade.
And I write. And I speak. Words have been the tool Jesus gave me from the very beginning of my life to navigate every road I have walked. My hope is that my words inspire and encourage you to see Jesus in your everyday too. He is right here waiting for each of us, in the daily mess, hoping we see He wants so much more from us and for us than we could ever imagine. I pray my words will lead you to Him.
Connect with Jackie on Facebook, Instagram or subscribe to her blog at jackiehooks.com.
Who has God handpicked for your journey? Which ordinary women has He placed in your path for this season? May Jackie’s words encourage us all to link arms with those sisters and love them well as we walk the narrow road together. And may the visible community we share draw our hearts to the unshakable, unseen kingdom of God, the kingdom in our midst.
Be sure and enter my giveaway to win a copy of Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin. To enter, subscribe to carried by love and leave a comment on any of the posts written by my guest bloggers. I’ll announce the winner at the end of the series.
Grab your free download of Jude1:20-21 here.
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[New Series] Intro: FAITH
Part I: IDENTITY