Over twenty years ago the lives of Maureen Batey and GG Grotbo were brought together by God, who continued with His own mysterious hand, to weave and fashion them- singly and together- through many ups and downs. Then, in 2010, the two women received a remarkable call. Their lived-out response to that call is today known as Trinity Books and Gifts. Here is a glimpse into their story.
I. From Precious Beginnings, Called to be Friends
GG and her seven brothers grew up in Idaho Falls, where Catholic items were in short supply. Their parents addressed that need, GG recalls, by selling such articles to fellow parishioners, who came to the family home after Sunday Mass.
Maureen also has seven siblings, two sisters and five brothers. She says, “Growing up, I was always close to God.” From Simi Valley, California she came to Carroll College through a recommendation from her father’s doctor.
Both married and began families, settling in Helena. One night at church, during a break at choir practice, Maureen- newly pregnant with her third child- found herself chatting with a woman named Linda, who gave Maureen a good friend’s phone number. The friend, Linda said, had much in common with Maureen. Maureen lost the phone number, but never forgot the name. After all, she never knew anyone called “GG”! And God indeed had a plan. He was not about to be defeated by a lost phone number.
One year later, Maureen and Bill and their three boys moved to a new home, and who should they find living across the alley within a stone’s throw but GG, Myles and their (then) two boys. Friendship between the two women “started immediately and continued so easy,” says Maureen. The boys played together almost daily, the moms both home full time. The families attended the same church and shared numerous activities.
With the passing of years came changes, misunderstandings and struggles. Ultimately the women had a kind of falling out. For a season they went their separate ways, neither knowing if things could ever again be made right. But God knew. He inspired Maureen with two very special dreams, helping her risk a call to GG. Healing, forgiveness and reconciliation followed.
II. More Than Friends: Committing to a Shared Mission
It was 2010. Maureen had been praying for over a year for guidance in a new phase in her life. For months GG had sensed the Lord nudging her in a new direction also, but what? With GG’s son getting married soon, they spent a weekend away shopping. Before heading home they wandered into a Catholic Book store, where they were very disappointed at what they found. The place was “…tired: it looked the same as it had ten years before”. The sales clerk, her demeanor, the service: all were very sadly lacking. Next door in another business (this one non-Catholic), their experience was totally opposite: merchandise, decor and personnel were appealing and delightful. Somehow, in the midst of all this came the call of God.
GG described it this way. “A bing went off in my head, and God was saying, “This is it! This is it! This is it!” Thrilled, apprehensive, anxious, and excited all at once, they returned to Helena through a blinding Montana blizzard, “jabbering about it the whole way home.”
God’s plan now unfolded in rapid order. The husbands quickly came on board, contributing vision, good business sense and financial support. A new Catholic Book Store in Helena? “Okay! Let’s do it!”
III. Together with God, Letting the Vision Unfold
“Once it took off, it just took off,” says GG. Day by day, the Lord brought people into their lives that they needed at the moment: an accountant, a bookkeeper, a writer of by-laws, just the right vendors. The ladies found the more they were able to let go, and “stay out of the way”, the more God took charge and accomplished what He wanted. His hand is visible in so many different aspects. In the ordering of merchandise, for example, God often seems to lead them to particular items the store should carry.
Continually GG and Maureen are touched and overwhelmed at how their efforts are being used as His instruments. It is humbling and amazing, they say, to realize the Lord is so intensely involved, so very near. Incredible that His Hand has been about the business of weaving together their lives, those of loved ones, and those of many others, to bring forth Trinity Books and Gifts.
Trinity Books and Gifts: A place of warmth, a place of light, where beauty, grace and truth abound. A hint of springtime here, and touch of New Evangelization. Glory to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, from this day forward, now and forever!