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Do you remember the last time you were ‘new’ somewhere?

Maybe you took a different job, sold your house, or joined a class at your local gym.

Do you remember how it FELT? Did your skin itch just a little? Were you excited? Nervous?

For many of us, myself included, being the ‘new kid’ can be intimidating.

Back in college I signed up for a Bible study with a group of girls I had never met. I wanted to meet new people and grow closer to God. Sounds good, right? Right.

On the Sunday night of our first gathering, I was weirdly nervous. Like sweaty hands. I casually picked a seat. I tried to ignore how everyone seemed to already know each other. I smiled.

A few minutes passed and we still hadn’t started. People were making small talk and I was beginning to wonder if I had made a mistake.

As I debated jumping ship, the leader breezed in. She had a warm smile and was wearing bright red pants. She introduced herself as Stephanie and promptly began to share an embarrassing story from her day. The air in the room felt lighter.

Stephanie went on to share a general plan for the night and then ran to the dorm kitchen to grab "a little surprise." She came back with a tray full of chocolate chip cookies. . . that had not been baked. I think we all just stared at her.

Stephanie laughed and said one of her favorite guilty pleasures was eating raw cookie dough. She liked to bake and talk to God after stressful days (and on the good ones too). Stephanie told us that her prayer for the group was that it would be a place where everyone felt comfortable, as if in their own kitchens, sharing the nitty gritty details of their lives. And raw cookie dough felt like a good starting place. Health disclaimer: I think she did find an eggless recipe :) Either way, we all survived. 

I’ve not forgotten the powerful impact of Stephanie’s leadership style. As the weeks passed, she kept inviting us into her unfancy kitchen. In doing so, she set the stage for a group of college girls to let their guard down and invite each other in. And to this day I am grateful. 

Cookie dough, anyone?

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