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Love Does and Jenna Does Too

Linking up with Kate at Heading Home for Five Minute Fridays and Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart

That first night of March I carried one kid on a hip and a menagerie of items in my hands.  I  walked up to my house and spied a package.  I knew from whom it was before I ever checked the handwriting or address.  It was from my heart friend Jenna.  She always sends me a package every birthday.  For all of these years.
Instantly I smiled.  There's a big smile reserved for care packages, boxed love appearing every Christmas and birthday.
I put the babe down, the girls started begging to open the package.  We had to.  Then. We love Jenna-packages.
Scissors scored the tape loose and I unceremoniously ripped open the package.  There was my card that I saved with all of the rest.  I had to pull it out and savor all the words.  It's one of those beautifully sappy cards you get.  That you read and then re read a few times and laugh every time you do.  In the package there was also a blue book with multi colored balloons lifting off.
I wasn't surprised Jenna had sent me a book.  We've sent each other lots of books over the years.
I scanned the title and it was simple, Love Does.  The subtitle was interesting too, 'Discover A Secretly Incredible Life In An Ordinary World'.  It was loud in my house and it was my birthday and lots of things to do, but the title and the cover of the book had me a little mystified.
I put it to the side.

"Have you read the book yet?" She asked me with eager anticipation lacing the edges of her voice.
"No not yet. I'm in the middle of another book, or rather books."  (Story of my life)  Was my explanation to her as we had our annual summary birthday chat where I gush to Jenna what her little package meant to me.

I talked to her a couple more times in the spring and she said the same thing, "You read the book yet?"
I sort of got the point that she wanted me to read this book.  Like more than other books we had shared.

So finally I peeled open the cover and began.
This book is filled with stories.  Incredible stories, funny stories, stories that you know have to be true because they are so unlikely, stories that make you smile big.
They are all stories from the author's life. Bob Goff.
He is a lawyer but also the founder of Restore International - an non profit fighting injustice against children in Uganda and India.
But that little tagline barely describes the rich life that this man leads.  I was captivated by his stories.  They always start with a Goff -ism.  Where he tells something he used to think and then follows up with what He now believes after living a wide open life.
Like this one that opens up chapter one, "I used to want to fix people but now I just want to be with them." The first story from his own life detailing an experience with an authentic young believer that deeply cared about him and proved it really spoke to me.
There are some absolutely hilarious stories.  But they are stories; therefore, we can relate to them.  And they are not long and filled with pious fluff or theological points that you struggle to understand.
This is not one of those books.

I took my time reading this book because I did not want this adventure to end.  This was my favorite take away from the book: Adventure.  That the life of a Christian is an adventure.  It's not a sentence to a boring life filled with rules, but an adventure that we would never want to miss. It's the real life.  This book injected some hope into my heart.

While reading it there were lots of texts messages to Jenna of "Thank you!  I can see why you wanted me to read it! I love it!"

Jenna, who lives out 'Love Does' every day 
One day in the spring I went to the local Christian book store and saw that Love Does was on sale for five bucks.  I decided that I would buy a few and find people to give them to.
I was in line at a bank one golden spring afternoon and felt a nudge of "Give it to her."  The very perky teller with platinum blonde hair received the copy and I left hoping she'd find hope tucked in the pages.
I gave the book to my parents and was shocked at they way the enjoyed it.  My mom holding my dad's attention as she read him chapters over their dinner.  I gave the book to friends going on a missions trip.  I just saw one the other day and she stopped me and had to tell me how much she had enjoyed the book.  "I want my kids to read this.  I want my son to read it." We discussed how unpretentious this book is.  How fresh it is.  How contagious it is.

After I started giving copies of Love Does away I  noticed that in the back of the book Bob had left his phone number and asked people to call it.  I remember thinking, "What a nice gesture." But believing, "Yeah right. How many people blow up his phone on the regular.  He's important."

One Saturday morning I decided though I would try the less brave approach of sending him an email.
"Dear Bob", i typed out hesitantly. I filled it with some points I had really enjoyed from the book and decided while I was at it to ask him for a case of books.  (I know thats ridiculous).  I also asked him to send my best friend a birthday card in the mail. And attached a tribute I had written to her.  You know just so he would see how awesome she was.  Just because I knew if Bob Goff sent her a birthday card it would be the most outrageous present I'd ever come up with.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but if you read the book you'll see why I decided to take a shot in the dark.  For real.  It sort of makes you believe, "Why not?"
Now in part I didn't really expect him to ever read the email.  I've emailed authors before as they are the rock stars in my life, and I've never had one personally reply to me.  Always a secretary if anyone.  And always sort of a standard reply.  Nothing personal.
I pressed Send and went on with my Saturday.

Late that evening as the May sun started yawning into dusk I pulled out my lap top to check my email and there it was a message, from 'Bob'.
"Dear Somer."
I blinked, perhaps triple blinked.
I couldn't click on it fast enough and I was amazed.  Somewhere over the USA in a plane he had read my words and crafted a personal reply.  He wasn't daunted or put off by my ridiculous request for a case of his books.  He simply said that he donated all the profits to his work in Uganda and India and that every time I bought one they would reap the benefits. (I felt silly now for asking).  He told me I sounded like a great friend.  And then He did a very surprising thing.  He invited me to call him.  Just like the book had said to do.

Well I was on cloud nine.  Really.  I dialed my friend Jenna (who unknowingly started this) and I confessed that I had asked Bob Goff to send her a birthday card and that even though that wouldn't be happening he said to call him the next time Jenna and I were together.  I could tell she couldn't believe it.  We school girl giggled.

That was in May and I still haven't called.  I want to, but it hasn't happened yet.  All summer at the back of my mind I thought about it.  I got to spend three days with Jenna in a beach house in September, but the timing wasn't right.  There was never any quiet time to make a call together.
As silly as it sounds I was sort of relieved.
"What were we going to say?"

But lately I've thought about it again.  How the offer still stands.  Now really what is an almost thirty housewife going to say to a man like him?  Still don't know.
But the beauty in this whole thing for me is the driving message in his book.  Incredible in the ordinary.
I read different reviews of his book and spotted jaded people who touted his position and money as being the catalyst for his unlikely and adventurous life.  But I didn't get that from reading his candid  memoirs.  At all.  I didn't think I needed to wait for a sum of money or go to some locale.  I saw that looking at life through the lens of a holy adventure might be a key to bring a lot of love and joy into others every day life and mine too.  Whether that simply be through offering a bank teller this book or taking the time to connect with a stranger in the grocery store.
And let's be real: how many extremely affluent lawyers, humanitarians, and diplomats email a nobody three hours after sending it?  How many of those people actually offer their phone number to us?  And how many of those people actually live out their faith by funneling all those funds away to others?

That email confirmed it.  He probably never thought twice about it; however, his reply made me see a deeper spiritual truth.  God sees.  He takes note.  My prayers are heard.  All those prayers I whisper in the car, utter while sitting on my kitchen floor, or with my head tilted over dirty dishes...they are heard.  All my ordinary living is noticed by an Incredible God.  It matters.
And not only does God see, He like Bob Goff offers me the invitation to personal.  Bob wasn't interested in emailing, he offered a phone call.  Something more personal.  Something that made me hesitant because, 'Who am i?'
Isn't that what God always offers me?  Himself, personally...if only I'll take Him up on it.  I could throughout the whole of my days, if I would.

One day I'm going dial Bob's digits and I hope by then I've finally come up with something to say, but either way I'm happy for the incredible way his "Dear Somer" made me feel.
Happy Friday!! (oh and its likely if its your birthday and we are friends I'll be giving you a copy)

Comments

  1. What an incredible story! I haven't heard of the book, but now you've piqued my curiosity. That's so wonderful that he's accessible like that. I've had a few great FB message chats with Melanie Dickerson :). And your friend Jenna sounds like the dearest person ever. It certainly is wonderful that God is there for all of our ordinary living!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Everyone needs a Jenna in their lives!

    How blessed you are to have this kindred spirit sister, Summer!

    Sabbath joys to you ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda, I love that "Everyone Needs a Jenna in their lives!" i agree wholeheartedly. She is amazing and I pray sometimes that my kids will have a Jenna one day~

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  3. This world is full of wonderful people. You are lucky to have a friend like Jenna and the world to have someone like Bob Goff.

    -Tanya
    http://tanyaanurag.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are right Tanya. I think we want to focus on all the negative people. But it is equally full of wonderful people too.

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  4. I loved this! Coming to you from Holley Gerth's blog--I think I need to read this book. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow! The book sounds like a treasure and what a story! Love the connection you made too!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes Loralee, the book is a treasure. And its so funny too

    ReplyDelete
  7. Somer,
    First, thank you {again} for your sweet comment to me today! I look forward to hearing from you every week. :)

    I was on the edge of my seat with this story! How brave of you to reach out to him and how wonderful that you give his books away when God nudges you -- I LOVE that! Most of all, I loved reading about how a life in step with God is not about rules but about an adventure, about leaning in to hear his whispers, just like you did. I am just discovering this and it is changing my life.

    I have not read his book yet but have heard so many wonderful thing about it, and your review just confirms that I should -- I feel we think alike (I also have a stack of books I am always reading) and on your recommendation, I'm going to check it out! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. LOVED THAT BOOK!! Just finished reading it and it was so good! You should call him!! You never know what adventure that could lead to! Thanks for sharing! : )

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  9. Wow what a story! I love the idea that life is a holy adventure. :) Now I need a copy of that book too.

    ReplyDelete

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