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I met Anna at The River Church and we became friends through a mom’s group that she helped facilitate. Anna had the ability to empathize and encourage, whether people were sharing about their newly postpartum experience or the rage they were feeling with some aspect of motherhood, Anna sometimes gave advice but more often shared “It’s hard. I’ve been there too.”We were WITH each other in the joys and struggles of parenthood. Anna valued connection and giving people that opportunity and she saw a gaping hole in these opportunities for women who were outside of our mostly white middle class church circle. She started Restore and for several years I and several other women would join her as we painted nails, gave foot massages, and gave a moment’s rest for women living at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission. We brought our kids along because we were in it together and what better way to teach your kids about love than to involve them. Even a broken elevator wouldn’t stop Anna from her mission as I witnessed her lug a stroller full of nail-polish foot soaking tubs up a narrow flight of stairs with a baby on her back. Anna was able to connect so easily with people of all backgrounds with childbirth as a connection piece. I was able to experience Anna being with women the most intimately as she was with me during the labor and delivery of 3 of my boys. Talk about empowering care. Anna was calm and confident and gave me the tools to have the births I desired. She even took a slow, cold, snowy walk with me as I labored with my third, showing that she could truly step outside of what made her comfortable (not snow) to be with me. Anna lived a life of Emmanuel- God with us- by being with people in their joyful and most difficult places.