Dear friends who build benches -
You are the brave ones, the ones who see a need and slide over to make room for your sister. You bring cupcakes and coffee and invite others in with a warm smile. You choose not to wait to be invited before building community. You look out your window and feel God nudging you to be the one – the one who invites, encourages, welcomes, because the woman down the street? On Twitter? Faithfully leaving comments on your blog? You’ve been where she is and you want to offer her a safe place to sit down, take a deep breath, and feel free to be herself.
The (in)courager leaders? They are bench builders. They welcome strangers from around the world into small group community. They plan, check in, pray over, cheer with, and love on. They are the women who hold open the doors and make room for one more. They stand aside and watch in awe as God shows up and does a good work.
Here are some of their own words, from our last session:
- This group was amazing in so many ways. During this past session we had many tragedies that affected our group. As a result we bonded stronger than ever as prayer warriors, bombarding Heaven in behalf of our sister(s) who were struggling. We shared concerns and praises. We are a very strong group! Thank you, Lord!
- It’s been so beautiful to come together with women struggling with infertility (and those who have experienced it in the past) and pray, share our hearts, have a safe place among women. THANK YOU for opening this group–community can be hard for any woman, but infertile women can feel especially lost and isolated. Thank you for creating a space for us to come together.
- I love this. So much. It has helped me be brave enough to connect deeply with women in real life. To share my own hauntings and be a safe place for others struggling to survive each day as a mum.
- I am so thankful God encouraged me to go another round and stick with this community thing. He blessed me and taught me so much this time around. This group has been amazing and such a needed thing for pastor’s wives. It has truly been a place of exhortation and praise and I am so so thankful for that. God has shown up!
And to you, the bench-seekers? You are the brave ones. The ones who have not given up on community. You who hold onto the hope that there is a place for you, somewhere you can be yourself – exactly as God created you. You trust that God will answer your prayer for women who know what it’s like to walk THIS road – your road – and you search for them. You connect with a new friend on Twitter, follow a few Facebook pages, and leave blog comments faithfully, hoping to connect with like-minded sisters.
These are comments from some women – just like you – who found their bench with (in)couragers:
- It’s a great community where I can share with people who get where I am coming from. We are aligned in experience AND faith, which makes it a lot easier to get great advice, and prayer!
- The women in this group supported each other through prayer and art and conversation. I feel as though I have made RL friends even though I haven’t met any of them (except for one) in person… I like the fact that each group is welcoming and nurturing–ready with a prayer and a pat on the back or a virtual hand held.
- As a somewhat new blogger/writer, the group encouraged me to have more confidence in myself as a writer. They also shared so much information on improving the skill. I felt so blessed to be a part of the group…many new friendships were made.
- I felt included! I felt like the other ladies knew exactly what I was going through, my struggles, my joys, in a way that others just can’t. It feels difficult to meet and make time to get to know other special needs moms, but to find a whole group of them, and also to share the same faith… It gave me so much peace to know that I am not alone, although physically I am not with them, I felt their strength and courage and it made me feel stronger and more courageous.
This summer? Whether you’re a bench builder, bench seeker, or just in need of a fun and encouraging place to connect with some friends, you’re invited to join us at the (in)courager Facebook page. We’ll be joining with the Bloom book club, kicking back, making new friends, and getting ready for our fall small group session. You can find more details on the Find Friends page!
We can’t wait to see you – we have a spot saved just for you.
ABOUT CRYSTAL STINE
Crystal’s heart is to use her words to encourage women and build community while pursuing God Sized Dreams & raising a toddler with her high school sweetheart....