Jennie Graham is a part of The Anchor Gathering group in Cle Elum Washington. She, her husband, and their four beautiful children ranging in age from 5 to 12 years old moved to the Cle Elum area from Gig Harbor about 4 years ago.

Jennie’s main commitment is to serving her family but feels blessed to be able to teach group fitness classes at Suncadia Resort two days a week. She also sits on the Young Life/WyldLife leadership team and is excited to be a part of bringing it to the local community.


Hello to my Anchor Sisters near and far! I feel grateful to be “anchored” in a community of women who also love Christ as I cannot survive on church alone. Staying connected to this group and other faith-based groups is how I stay connected to Christ, stay growing in my faith and continue to thrive in spite of my high stress life.

I have so many Anchor moments I could share but am thrilled to continue with the Calendar Girls theme. If you aren’t aware of who the “Calendar Girls” are, you can watch a video and read the blog post that Carla Vail shared on this blog last month.

When I think about “yessing God” I think first about what it looks like for me to live by my will and outside of faith. I think about why I HAVE to stay connected to God and His plan. I like to say I suffer from a God-sized hole that NOTHING can fill except God. I am wired for perpetual discontent. I am plagued with “nothing is ever enough for me,” a sense of dissatisfaction, hopelessness, wanting something different than what I get and where happiness is off in the distance somewhere. I cut off gratitude. While I am alive, this is a way I can’t live or stay long; it’s a spiritual death. It’s good to know and I am NOT trapped there and that in THIS life serving the Lord is where the juice is for any of us.

Our youngest son Johnathan is named after John 10:10, a name God clearly gave us through prayer; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” That’s what I have today despite all odds and with a complete trust in God.

When God Nudges

A quilt I created for Janna as one of her Calendar Girls is the reason I was asked to write for the Anchor blog. My grandfather and grandmother led a grief group at church for over twenty years. The group was called “Good Grief.” With my marketing background, I thought the name they chose for their group was cute and clever. When my grandfather passed, I realized he had handed me a few things I had never expected: going out on a limb and praying for people, many of whom I did not know personally, when God nudged me to do so. This is something I never expected nor really wanted. He also handed down the grief ministry which looks different for me than it did for my grandparents. I don’t lead a group but rather get to connect with people one-on-one who have lost someone.

This connection shifts in the direction that He calls: prayer text messages, dropping groceries, listening with an open heart, leaving love messages on someone’s first holidays without a loved one and more. I just follow God’s direction and am the human body for Him.

In this instance of anchoring, I was able to sew Janna a quilt after her husband John passed away last year. Janna and Carla host our local Anchor at Home group. The Anchor group has connected and provided refuge for so many women in my area including me. While I juggle four school- aged children (three in elementary and a middle schooler), I am unable to make it all the time but being a part of the group gives me incredible strength and a connection to women who genuinely love and care about me and the Lord and I adore each and every one of them.

I wanted to give back to Janna in the way she has given to so many women. God nudged me to make her a grief quilt. I was met with both excitement and the thought “why didn’t he nominate any of the other many other women who had more time than me?” My husband and I own a very busy business and I also teach fitness classes two days a week. In addition, my kids are all involved in sports and school activities. However, there was no ignoring that the Lord chose me to make this quilt. Boy, was making that quilt a true journey.

Janna with her grief quilt showing The Anchor side

Along with pieces of scripture, the other side features small squares with a written note of encouragement from the women of the Cle Elum/Suncadia Anchor Gathering.

I had an idea of how “I” wanted it to look and when “I” wanted it done. Once again, both were far from the path God had already laid out. I learned so much making the quilt about faith and life. There were so many people locally who helped me make the quilt; not all of them were Christians OR who I expected.

Unexpected Lessons

Lesson #1

Be open to who God puts in front of you. Different seasons will bring different people and it’s not always our steady people who are the ones who will show up for you, so do not be attached to who YOU want but rather be blessed by the unexpected gifts of those who HE has placed in front of you.

Lesson #2

A walk with Christ, if one is truly on His path serving Him, will most likely NOT be easy but WILL be worth it. If I told you all the trials and challenges I endured on my quilt journey, it would be a long page-worth and feel like I was looking for sympathy so I’ll skip it. 😉

Lesson #3

Whatever the task or journey, it can be worth more than you can ever imagine.

Lesson #4

In a season of challenge, you may have to learn to do the simplest things again. I felt like God was walking me through a bit of what it may be like for Janna in her first year without John. I felt a deep humility for her journey. On my path, I had to learn to sew on another machine that was fully digital as I couldn’t find the pedal for my machine after our move (AND I hadn’t sewn in ten years)! I had to re-master threading a bobbin and so much more.

Lesson #5

You will not most likely have the time when God knocks but He will stretch your time, somehow, someway as He did for me.

Lesson #6

You will get just as much out of it, if not more, than what you put into it. I have always found this to be true but it’s never the motivation.

Lesson #7

Seek humility in service, not perfection. I had imagined creating the BMW of quilts but what God had me make was the humble expression of His steadfastness, love and care. It is beautiful in a way only the Lord’s handiwork can be.

Lesson #8

Finally, the Lord showed to me there is ONLY His time and His time is perfect. During the time I was working on the quilt project, four of the six of us in our household had surgery. My procedure was a major surgery, my son had his tonsils and adenoids removed, my husband had a more routine surgery and the family dog went under the knife as well. I thought I would have the quilt done multiple times before it was actually complete. I had originally planned to complete it in time for Christmas but I ended up barely finishing in time for the day of love, Valentine’s Day (my baptism day, remember?). While Janna didn’t have her sweet husband this year, she had the love of her Anchor ladies stitched together and anchored through faith and in faith by the Lord.

I found one of the founding Bible verses for The Anchor Gathering to be so perfect for this Anchor moment: Hebrews 10:24-25 — “And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but ENCOURAGING one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

When God taps on my shoulder, I try to be a YES. There are seasons to serve and there have been years when my kids were young that I couldn’t but He makes it easy to know when I should be a YES. I love that I get to be a Calendar Girl, not a pin-up girl but rather a Calendar Girl connected to beautiful women of faith. I bet we all are all YES girls, too.

Lesson #1: Be open to who God puts in front of you.

Lesson #3: Whatever the task or journey, it can be worth more than you can ever imagine.

Lesson #7: Seek humility in service, not perfection.

Written by Jennie Graham for The Anchor Journal

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