Six months since our first (in)RL {in real life} un-conference.

Six months since nearly 2,000 women from 24 countries connected in real life.

Six months since I sobbed my way through hundreds of Instagram photos with your amazing faces under our #inRL hashtag.

Six months since social media connected us across borders, time zones, and past hurts.

And we’ve been wondering how you’re doing. With community and friendship and going out on a limb and into the nitty gritty of connecting with your girl friends.

We thought it might be time to pause and compare notes.

Are we still plugging in?

Are we still doing the hard work of building friendships that matter?

Are we overwhelmed, disillusioned, tired?

Are we bravely opening ourselves up to share our “un-fine” moments?

So, for the next 5 weeks we’ll be chatting on the sofa with hot tea, cookies, and 5 questions about real life friendship. Won’t you join us?

  1. 09/04 Week 1: “What does community mean to you?”
  2. 09/11 Week 2: “How do we stop hiding from and open ourselves up to community?”
  3. 09/18 Week 3: “How do we forgive past hurt by community?”
  4. 09/25 Week 4: “How do we build local community: some practical ideas.”
  5. 10/02 Week 5: “How do we build community right where we are, not letting circumstances limit our connections?”

Every Friday we’ll invite you to share your thoughts – link up a post, share a comment, discuss on Facebook.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you guys and blessing at least one of you each week with some of our (in)RL resources.

So, this week – I get to ask it – what does community mean to you?

Won’t you think about it and come and share with us on Friday? Because for me – it’s you. The women who share their hard stories. The women who peel back the layers and answer the door with hair undone. The women who are willing to go first when it comes time to talk about how hard faith can be. The women who aren’t afraid of the valleys and are first to rejoice at the peaks.

You.

You all are community to me.

Thank you.

And today we’d love to give you each a reminder. Just CLICK HERE to download a free 8.5×11 printable version of the above quotes on friendship.

It’s this week’s free (in)RL Check-In Printable – taken from our forthcoming Postcards from God’s Beach House – Friendship Set!

{The downloadable print is available through DaySpring.com. This is a free download and your credit card information will not be requested. You’ll receive a link to the Printable in your confirmation email. Easy. Free. And Fun.}

Looking forward to talking real life community with you all.

~Lisa-Jo, (in)RL Cheerleader and fan of kind words and real life community

 

comments:
share:

comments:

  1. 1

    Being new-ish around here…. I had no idea that incourage had ever sponsored a real-life meet-up….and I love it. Absolutely love it. Real life community is so crucial to our hearts coming fully alive….

  2. 3
    Cellina says:

    Community – people who care. We were made to be in community. I have been working at reaching out, taking the first step. painful at times but so neccesary. Would love to report having found my cosy group but have not. God knows my needs, He will provide, in His time. meanwhile, I will not just wait but keep taking little steps to be that person that will be a blessing. I see it as a calling. But….waiting, it is not easy.

  3. 4

    Lisa-Jo, I love this — all of it. Just the question makes me feel so vulnerable — and that is good. I will need to dive in here, searching my heart for words to these beautiful questions. Thank you for the beauty of the invitation.

  4. 5

    Community means reaching out to others, even if that means others may let us down or break our hearts or betray us, it’s God who will put the pieces back together, not man.

    • 6

      Nikole thanks for your email i needed to know afresh and anew how God works
      pray God will put my family back together againg
      God bless you all

  5. 7

    I’ve learned more about community since moving from my childhood home to another state 3 years ago. I didn’t realize it, but I took my community for granted ~ greatly. Once it was gone, a huge void emerged.

    After moving, I found strength in the online community in which I reached out. If I had relied on my nature, I would still be sitting in a lonely place. It is through this community of Christian women I’ve found acceptance, encouragement, appreciation, inspiration and a place to partner in ministry. Community means like-minded sisters who speak good into each other, who elevate Jesus alongside you and focus on the big picture -> getting the Gospel out.

    So thrilled to be a part of the (In)Courage Community!

  6. 8
    Beth Williams says:

    Community means a group of friends, neighbors, or co-workers who pray for one another and help out in crisis. It may be praying for something, cooking a meal, just listening or doing a local mission trip together.

  7. 9

    I love the part where Deidra says , “women who love well with bruised hearts of their own.”

    I think everyone has a story of a bruised heart. I know I have been wounded by others…more than once.

    The question is, will I use it to wound others as I have been wounded, or use my bruising to be tender to those who are wounded remembering it was our sin that caused the bruising of Christ, and his response was Love.

    What does community mean to me? It is sharing your heart and know you are safe, laughing until we cry, crying until we can laugh, and knowing that the person with you will not judge, but try to listen with understanding. It is calling just to say “Hi”, because I like You. It is working hard to help others reach their goals as if they are your own. Then knowing they will love you the same.

  8. 10

    Cherish my memories from that special day of meeting new friends and connecting inRL! Love that you’re checking in with us and looking forward to the next five weeks of sharing our hearts with each other.

  9. 11

    Community means friendship in Christ. It means authenticity with those of like precious faith; it’s means fellowship and truth; women sharing with other women; being authentic and true; till the end; affecting eternity with friendship and love. Can NOT wait for this group.

  10. 12

    I love that you pray to see God in Unexpected places. I see in my mind, a friend surprising me with flowers. That is a beautiful picture of Christ’s love!

  11. 13

    Community is – the folks all around you. Being part of a community where: – love is unconditional, ears are ready to listen, hands to help and hug, voices to pray and encourage – is to be in a very special G0d-given place. May we each, by the grace of God, be a blessing wherever we are and whatever has happened in our past.

  12. 14
    Lucille says:

    People joining together with one heart, one mind, one spirit sharing, laughing, crying, mingling together as one.

  13. 15
    michele says:

    This is what is needed to grow in Christ. To give what we have in our hearts to each other, to encourage.

  14. 16

    Community, to me, is a safety net, so when I stumble and fall, or some life situation becomes unbearable, I will have true friends to catch me, to stop me falling into a dark, lonely, scary place where I feel like no one cares or there is no solution to my problem. I count God as the foremost of my true friends, and my other true friends are his angels.

  15. 17

    i may have jumped the gun, but i blogged about what this particular community has meant to me…

    http://motherjulie.blogspot.com/2012/09/belonging.html

  16. 18
    Anonymous says:

    Community means: Live!
    and because of my circumstances,, hardly without community, it means it feels to me a kind of dead.
    We(my husband and I) moved to another place, (I live in the Netherlands) we were living there for two years, then my husband became ill, passed away, and now I am here.
    On my own, all my friends are in another part of the Netherlands, I have 4 sons, 2 eldest are living in the Netherlands too, one lives in the US the youngest live in the UK. They have their own life, we did not have friends yet, in this vilaage. sometimes I think: I passed away, when I was 62, I only walk with open eyes, and ask myself will you ever live and hope what once was your fundament of life.

    • 19

      Nelleke you are a precious child of God and He is holding you in His hand. Whereever you are, remember that you are not alone and each day is a gift from your Father in heaven. One day at a time..

      • 20
        nelleke says:

        Hi Joanne,
        One day at a time, it is so true, but still, it is also so difficult, there are always those thoughts, “How could this happen, and why was I told”

  17. 21
    Anonymous says:

    I am sorry,
    I did not know My name was not in the comment, My name is not Anonymous:) but nelleke

    • 22

      Nelleke, I am moved by your comment…and pray for you. I know God is always doing a new thing and His love for you is endless. He has plans to prosper you, plans for your hope and future. The word that came to me for you is this: Isaiah 43:19
      See, Nelleke, I am doing a new thing!
      Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
      I am making a way in the wilderness
      and streams in the wasteland.
      Amen!

      • 23
        Anonymous says:

        Thank you for your encoringing words, Elise. It is difficult for me, to trust. Because, in 2010, one evening we were reading the Bible, Fillip 1 18-26 we were also working in the church, Pieter loved to do that. And Pieter said, imagine we can go on working for His Kingdom. We prayed and asked an answer because we knew the work we did was so helpful for the people in the church. This is not what we said ourselve but the minister said that. We asked in a prayer,if we could continue that work. That night my husband was called by his name, “Pieter, do you trust me,” my husband said yes Lord I trust you, go out of you bed, go downstairs, take your glasses! Than he went out his bed, went downstairs, read another part in the Bible. then he was told to bow down and the (he told me it was an inner voice) voice said, you will be healed, but be patient. His patience was always something, he said I would like to be more patient. And I was still upstairs, he had to tell me. After about two weeks, it was told him again, you will be healed. Later, the docter said this is special, the tumor is less then 2 cm, and it was 8cm. we thanked so many times for that. It was good for 11 months.Then within 3 days, he became very worse and passed away. And I feel so lonely, because I really trusted and even did not say “goodbye” and I did not hold him, I thought how can this be, and I think sometimes this is even worse then that he passed away, I trusted and feel betreatened. We did not do “strange, wrong, things, we walked on His hand. I am still hoping, that one moment there will be an answer. I am sorry to sent you such a long epistel of my sad history, I hope you don’t mind, thank you. nelleke

        • 24

          Dear Nelleke,
          I am so sorry that your husband died in this way, when you were trusting and believed you had promises he would be healed.
          I am sorry that you did not get to say goodbye.
          This is so very sad and painful for you.
          It gives you many questions.
          It is ok that you have doubts about God and find it hard to trust Him.
          Many of us would feel that way.
          I hope you keep asking God why,
          Tell God how you feel.
          Even shout at Him if it helps you.
          God understands this.
          He likes us to tell Him our struggle.
          He wants to be with you -for you to receive His love and know He cares.
          I pray for peace and comfort and understanding for you.
          I send you hugs.

          • 25
            nelleke says:

            Thank you Jill, for your taking me serious, and for your hug!!
            nelleke

        • 26
          Michelle says:

          Hello Nelleke,
          I live in London, and when I read your post I thought that is that I have to join this community as I wanted to reach out to you. I have an amazing friend who has just lost her Mum to bowel cancer. It was sudden and her Mum chose to trust God and not go the medical route of trying to gain a little extra time, but most of all her Mum chose to trust in Jesus for healing. My friend’s Mum died just 6 weeks back, but not without a fight. Many of us around the world joined in prayer and we sought God’s healing for her, her daughter was amazing and her faith was the strongest I have seen in anyone – it was unwavering and firm, and yet her Mum left this earth. The reason I write to you is this friend of mine has taken her friends on an amazing journey with her – a journey I have never before witnessed as a believer – when something like this happens, those of us who have prayed faithfully and have stood steadfastly on His promises, and His word will either perhaps seek to blame ourselves for what has happened, and batter ourselves with thoughts of what if I had done more, did I do enough and so on; or we look at our prayers and say well I am not sure whether I will trust you again God and we often withdraw. My friend has done neither – she has cried, and will still cry many tears of loss but she has sought God and asked Him to show himself to her in this time since she lost her Mum. The thing that has struck me that despite her loss she has held so fast to her Father in heaven – and she has gone to Him with her pain and kept talking to Him, she has prized this relationship, and her intimacy with Him over and above everything else. She has felt the love and compassion of God through this and is thankful that her Mum is in heaven with Him, this has brought her joy, even though there is the pain of loss. Another friend said that we do not always understand why God doesn’t heal everytime we ask him to, but I think so often we do not really see the bigger picture, there are so many things that affect and impact why he may choose not to, and sometimes the greater and better healing maybe not on this earth. I, in no way want to try and make this sound an easy thing to grasp, and am aware that your loss is great, but merely want to encourage you towards Jesus, and towards the Holy Spirit who is your Comforter, let Him comfort and still your mind and help you to find peace in this place of loss. When we lose a loved one I like to think of them as if they are just in the room next door, and that one day you will join them once again.
          May you know His deep love and compassion for you right now – sending a big long hug to you at this time. All my love Michelle

  18. 27
    Margaret says:

    This is so what I need right now. Recently moved from Georgia to Mississippi to be near my adult children and grandchildren. Have not yet connected with a church in my new location. I really miss the small group I had connected with in Georgia. I know God has a community for me in my new location. Will continue to look. But meantime, this may fill a void for me. Looking forward to it!

  19. 28

    Community helps to establish a sense of purpose. Your inner strength grows through the support, love, trust and shared experiences people give to one another. Sometimes when we feel alone and troubled we reach out for help using different channels whether online or otherwise. God should always be a part of the community.

    Over the last few years I lost my support network. I am looking to re-establish that community, that sense of belonging… it may be here. I continue to surround myself with positive thoughts, people and of course God because with him everything is possible :)

  20. 29

    Just the word “community” brings tears of gratitude and joy. Across the internet, or across the street, it’s a gift. I wrote this post on it http://wp.me/p1K985-hx. Blessings to you!

  21. 30
    Karen Fawcette says:

    Community…. what we all long for in one way or another…. but in the dark times, when we need it most — it is reaching out in that darkness, reaching, reaching — and then! a hand grabs yours back…. and another hand is placed around your shoulders… and another wipes your tears. And of course, another brings chocolate!

  22. 31

    I can’t believe it has been months since inRL. That was a turning point for me and my community involvement with other like minded God loving women. I was one shy and scaredy girl before I took a leap of faith and went to a face-to-face meetup in my town, and ended up making some fantastic friends. But the best thing for me was that it taught me that past hurts in “community” settings do not all have to be bad. So, I have become more intentional in meeting other people, especially through church groups, and I even signed up to be a Sunday school teacher, and I am so looking forward to that. So in the end, community means a like-minded body of people who share with each other the blessings and the good news that come into our lives.

  23. 32

    After many years of not going to church when I moved from Ohio to NY, I found my community at church again. I grew to love my new church very quickly, but knew they loved (and trusted) me when I was appointed Financial Secretary after only attending church for a year and a half and becoming a member of my church only 3 months before taking the position.

  24. 33
    Joanne says:

    Not being in community has created a void in my life and a hole in my heart. Reaching out to new people in a new place is somewhat daunting. Sometimes I don’t know how to reach out. I pray that the Lord will be the bridge that I need and that He will open doors for me because I need community. Not having community only emphasizes what a blessing community is and can be in our lives.

    • 34
      nelleke says:

      Hi Joanne,
      I think as a person and maybe special as a woman, community is so very important.
      People are not created to live on their own, and i am also in the circumstances there is no community. I need it and I like to be among people. You are right that when you don’t have it, you know even more you need it. I hope that soon, doors will open for you!

  25. 35
    Michelle says:

    I moved from a community of women and a Church that had hurt me but loved me still the same. At the time that I moved it was for a man who’d promised me marriage and I truly believed him – because he was a man of God who served in his own Church as a lay pastor and was just beginning to become a counselor to others within his Church. He was INFINITELY devoted to Christ and at last I saw my life dreams unfolding before my eyes. I had had three daughters who were on the verge of becoming teenagers and this man VERY much became a “real” father figure and played a strong role in their lives. I moved to this community, thinking, I too would become a Church member (in another Church- he is Deaf and though I am fluent in ASL I thought it would be easier for me to “really hear” God’s word spoken. That hasn’t happened yet and I HAVE reached out (though maybe, honestly, recently, as much as I could). Well, five (FIVE) years after moving and more than six years after being “together” he left me. He had had an affair while being together with me and “fell in love” with another woman. We had been stressed financially so hard and pushed beyond limits in stress that we became like “brother and sister” rather than “lovers” in Christ. Yes, in the beginning, we did sin and maybe that led to our “demise” (surely!) But we became made very much aware of our sin through God’s admonishment and we repented and placed boundaries so as NOT to sin that way again. What we didn’t do? Place “HEALTHY” boundaries. We became SO dependent on our boundaries (and we did NOT sin again that way) but instead lost “passion” (at least on his end) and became more like brother and sister. I only recently, today actually, have come across this community. And I can feel the love here (and I’m in Canada!!) so it’s DEF across borders also! The point is I’m now lost. In a new(ish) community (with friends- but not Christian friends :( ) and I LONG for Christian friends desperately!! I NEED community. I pray God will use me to find my community where HE wants me- maybe not even where I want lol!!! It is His choice- because I surrender all to Him! Until then, maybe(?), you’ll become “my” community?

  26. 36
    Michelle says:

    I must also say that he became very spiritually “lost” around the time he began the affair (earlier this year, and is still “lost”. He is also no longer a lay pastor and does not counsel anyone. My strength has increased (spiritually) since we have not been “together”- though it DID take much time and healing. It was as though he had a “mid-age crisis” and “fell out of love”. :s.

  27. 37

    My first ever experience with true community was through a girls Bible study group. It was such an awesome group. It spanned all ages. We lifted each other up in prayer, we met needs that came up, we didn’t judge. We loved. Through good, bad and ugly. I got to experience that early on in my twenties and it has shaped who I am today. Thank God for community.

    • 38
      Michelle says:

      My first experience was a Girls only Bible study too! It was an inter-denominational, mixed age group- and I was the “baby” at 29. Our “eldest” member was 92 and the average age was somewhere between 65-75 :P . I LOVED it!!! I felt the FULL effect of having many “mothers” as well as mentors. It was my very FIRST experience with a “christian” group and it became a full new “breath of life” for me. As I now approach 40 I look back a decade ago and I can TRULY say I miss these women and I miss the sense of belonging I felt with them. Perhaps, it is THAT feeling of “belonging” that I mis the most and feel like I have been searching for ever since? In any regard these women fostered me- they taught me how to pray, they prayed with and for me AND my family, they showed me a taste of unconditional love- what I have found in Him!! I miss those women terribly, as a few have “gone home” since we all last met. Community- is that feeling of “belonging”. And we ALL need that security.

  28. 39

    I can honestly say I have no community. And it makes me sad. 7 years ago my husband and I took on the challenge of raising someone else’s children. Twins. A boy and a girl who have challenges of their own. What I have found is that people don’t want to hear your truth if your truth interrupts their petfect little worlds. I have few friends. Don’t have to worry about anyone dropping by. It never happens. We go to Church every Sunday and have always been active there. I directed VBS for years. My hubby and I were in charge of the Sunday night youth program for years. We have gone to the same church for 30 years. Yet I feel like an outsider. I’m not complaining, though it may sound like I am. My husband and I are happy together. We have two grown children and two wonderful grandchildren whom we love. And we love our twins. We believe God gave them to us for a reason. The two friends I do have are good ones. But we have no community.

    • 40
      nelleke says:

      Hi Karen,
      I agree, people want to stay in their own world, and are not interested in the world/problems of other people. I don’t understand that, even my brothers and sister, they want to give me an advice, but don’t want to listen to my story. For me, a few friends came really close to me, that’s how it is, and I don’t understand.
      Enjoy each other, the twins, and the (grand)children!

  29. 41
    Eubie McCrary says:

    Community to me is when as individuals we come together and make something beautiful! My father used to say that “one mind is one world in itself” and it is so true! Taking this in a positive aspect would be what we could do as a group to help others, praying, teaching etc. Wow! What an impact we could have! I love our community! We love, encourage and bless one another all the time! I am so blessed to have this in my life. It is wonderful! <3

  30. 42

    Community to me is the people that are around me, where i am whether at work, the grocery store, on a walk, or at church. Community is a place and a feeling. Community helps when others are suffering. A good example of community is any of our recent natural diaster’s when communities of believers came together to help those in need. Community celebrate and morn together. Some times they will celebrate new life other times they may be morning a fallen one. As a read over these responses this to is a community of women who are coming together to share there thoughts and to learn more about life and its deep meanings.

  31. 43
    Deb Stevens says:

    hey sorry i missed the boat :( i’ll play catch up!! lol and i will make it short.

    community to me is people letting each other into their worlds, despite flaws, wrinkles, creases, dents and snags. community to me is coming together because we need each other <3

Trackbacks

  1. [...] at Incourage this week we are discussing the question “What does community mean to you?” I will be [...]

  2. [...] (in)RL Check-In Series: Part 1 – What Does Community Mean to You? | (in)courage. Share this:TwitterFacebookPinterestStumbleUponEmailDiggLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

leave a comment:

*