It all started at a garage sale. Do you know how many stories I could tell where the opening line would be, It all started at a garage sale . . . ? A local mom’s group that met at the First Baptist Church held a garage sale every summer. After perusing the treasures filling up an entire ground floor of a pole barn, customers took their items to a table up front for payment. On that table, there was a stack of business cards giving the name of the mom’s group with the days and times of its meetings.

I took one. In the fall, I packed up my seven-month old daughter and drove to that church. I didn’t know any of the women in this group. It wasn’t our church, but I never really look at things that way. He’s my Jesus, so any church of his feels like home to me.

As we walked up, the friendliest smiles greeted us. Women my age, and some older mentors as well. We got signed in and I hauled my daughter’s heavy car seat through the hallway and up the stairs. When we arrived at the nursery, I took her out of that car seat and Ms. Linda took her from my arms. As she did so, she sang. I thought I might cry. My arms longed for a rest, my spirit longed for fellowship, and how did Ms. Linda know our family has a serious thing for music? God knows. I went back down to where the moms were gathering, and while they didn’t sing in greeting, they offered me a hot cup of coffee and a muffin. It was more than enough.

We attended that Mom’s group for five years. I am not one for crafts, but I Modge-Podged and painted and hot-glued with the best of them. We heard excellent speakers and Bible teachers. On occasion, we even let men sit among us. They fed us a feast of things and provided a variety of flavored creamers for my coffee. We prayed for one another. In these earliest days of church fellowship, my little girl played her heart out with a group of kids. She sang Jesus songs and learned Bible stories. Week after week, they took my baby. 

She’s older now, and my arms ache to hold her and give her hugs, because time really does go that fast. Mom’s groups are a thing of the past, although I’ve never lost my desire for fellowship with a group of ladies. From time to time, I run into the women from that group, and they hold such a special place in my heart. On social media, we continue watching our little ones grow up, and offer encouragement. I’m thankful, too, for those older women in a different season of their lives who took the time to mentor us young moms. I still remember the lessons they offered us as one who had been there. It’s a worthwhile investment. If you’re a young mom, and you’re reading this, I’d encourage you to find a local mom’s group. There’s safety and sweet relief there. Lifelong friendships to be made, for you and your little one. They’ll take good care of your babies.

Traci Rhoades

My name is Traci. I live in southwest Michigan, somewhere in a triangular section connecting Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids with all things Lake Michigan. My husband and I parent one daughter. We have dogs, cats, ducks, pigs and chickens. Their number is always changing, as farm animal counts tend to do. I enjoy watching sports, reading, cooking and all things Bible study. I am a writer. When I first started blogging, I wondered about what unique voice I could bring. I’ve landed on this one line: A country girl goes to church.