We’re counting down to April 26 & 27 when our (in) real life conference kicks off! And these are a few of our favorite posts from women who participated in last year’s event. We’re sharing them here so you can get a peek at what all the excitement is about and come and join us. Register here — it’s FREE!

This weekend, I went to a virtual beach house with nearly 30 other women. We savored chocolate cupcakes and drank hot coffee. We put our feet up, scooted together on couches, shared blankets, laughed and cried.

Every day, posts from (in)courage make their way to my inbox, and every day I read them. For over three years, (in)courage has made their site a virtual beach house, a ‘home for the hearts of women.’ We gather in that online space to reflect, share, learn, pray, and encourage one another. Last September, they announced their ‘un’conference called (in)RL {RL = real life}. (in)courage would provide the content via webcasts, and we were to gather in our communities and just be together in real life. Before I could think about it, I bought a ticket and created a local meet-up immediately. See, getting together with girlfriends isn’t easy for me. First of all, it seems that whenever a group makes plans, someone has to drop out at the last minute. Something always comes up that gets deemed more important than girlfriend time. And how many times have you dragged yourself out of the house to get together with someone when actually, you really didn’t want to? Let’s be honest… staying at home in our sweats is easy. Saying ‘I’m fine’ is easy. Letting a friend leave a voicemail is easy.

goodies loaded in my trunk, on our way to inRL

Thanks to (in)courage (and to the Lord, for putting the prompt on my own heart and Allison‘s, who graciously offered to co-host the gathering at her inlaws beautiful home), nearly 30 women gathered just north of the Twin Cities. We drove from all over the state, wearing jeans and waterproof mascara, just to be together for a few hours. The chocolate was rich, the coffee deep, the conversation sweet.Not risking our hearts for friendships sake is easy. But gathering with women that we’ve never met before, dropping the ‘fine’, really being present with one another… that’s where the beauty lives. And the funny thing is, I adore hosting. Baking and decorating and remembering little details and greeting at the door and fluttering around… bring it. I love it. But letting my guard down and being real… that’s where the trouble lies.

It was so good that I don’t even have any pictures – we were so busy being together that we even forgot to take a group shot! Gah.

the only picture I have from the whole day – most of our group as we watch the webcasts

Mason jars filled with shells and sand and candles were placed around the home, as well as a few lovely products from DaySpring. We prayed and wept as women spoke to us about community, something that we deeply crave and manage to all too easily evade. But on this rainy Saturday, we didn’t shy away. We bravely left our homes and families and drove and found each others hearts in a basement room1300 other women did the same thing, in 20 different countries. Impressive, isn’t it? And I do believe that heaven resounded and satan trembled and our hearts glowed softly as we gathered in real life to praise the One who created us for real life. I believe that in our being in community, in our choosing to hug beyond the screen, in our being brave, we made Him proud. I can’t wait to do it again.


You are able to purchase the webcasts and study guides  and the super cute (in)RL tshirt. Tell me, who will you gather with in real life? Who are your girlfriends?

By: Anna {girlwithblog}

You’re each invited, you know. It’s free, it’s fun, and it’s so rewarding to connect with other sisters in Christ beyond the blog post. Tune in from home on Friday to watch the Webcast and meetup with friends on Saturday and watch together. Go on, you’re much braver than you think. Just CLICK HERE to register.
  • http://29lincolnavenue.com Stacey

    Anna girl I love this post! It is easier to stay home and not risk it all and be brave. But it is beautiful when we all are brave together.

    Give baby boy a hug from me.

  • http://vickithunstrom.blogspot.com Vicki

    Anna! I am brought to tears again! God has something going on here and I am so excited to be a part of it this year! I am even more excited that it will be as part of your group! So looking forward to meeting you and the rest of the ladies from MN!

    Keep warm!

  • http://alreadyinhishand.blogspot.com Amanda

    Anna, I love you sister!! I’m so grateful God prompted you to co-host last year, for how he reconnected us through it, and for how he has grown our friendship and ministry together since then. He is so, so good!! I’m excited to see what He will do at (in)RL Twin Cities and around the world this year! :)

  • http://crystalstine.blogspot.com Crystal

    My favorite part if this? Knowing how many women you have already for (in)RL 2013!! Love seeing how God is growing your bravery and using you – what a joy to be part of (in)RL with you!

    • http://www.girlwithblog.com anna {girlwithblog}

      It is SO exciting!! And the hidden attendees are there too – it’s open to the women of the church hosting us. Can’t wait til April – God is doing big things!

      MUAH, girl!!

  • http://simplystriving.wordpress.com Nikki

    Anna, you’re making it easy for me to get out of my sweats and join you this year! {HUGS} love how you say yes to Him without thinking about it…;)

    • http://www.girlwithblog.com anna {girlwithblog}

      I can’t wait to meet you, Nikki! And you rock those sweats if you want! =)

  • http://joy4godsgirl.blogspot.com/ Shari Grayczyk

    I would love to host an event. Before I do, however, how do we watch a webcast? From a TV screen or a laptop screen? I doubt my laptop screen is large enough for everyone to see. Thanks. I haven’t registered yet, but I really, really want to.

    • http://alreadyinhishand.blogspot.com Amanda

      We’re planning to hook a laptop up to a projector screen at a church… maybe you could rent or borrow a projector? I know some TVs can pull up web pages, too, if you have an Xbox or other device. :)

    • http://www.girlwithblog.com anna {girlwithblog}

      Shari, depending on the size of your group, a laptop may be enough! Some inRL meetups were nor more than 3 or 4 and that was enough =) Otherwise, my laptop plugs into our TV, and maybe one of the ladies who comes would have a projector.

      Do it. God will work out the details =)

  • http://hamershappenings.blogspot.com Lisa

    Sounds like a wonderful time. Sometimes the gatherings can be scary. But not this one…

  • http://jessicaleejourney.wordpress.com/ Jessica

    I’m so excited about (in)RL! I admit that I am somewhat anxious about hosting a meetup. What if no one comes? What if it is just me and the cupcakes? I’m reminding myself in those moments that regardless of who is or is not at the meetup, I’ll be there with you guys and that is more than enough for me!

  • http://www.jeansblogs.com Debra Bacon

    Thank you for your post. Hearing about your (in)RL experience has me totally jazzed about (in)RL 2013. A first-timer to the (in)RL experience , I have the privilege of hosting in my town-Corsicana. Yay!!!

  • Beth WIlliams

    Staying home with family in sweats & comfy clothes is easy. God doesn’t call us to do the easy–He wants us to get out and into community with other believers. He created us for community.

    Can’t wait for In RL 2013!

  • Marina Bromley

    I can’t wait either!
    I wanted to share that I carry the “Save The Date” cards with me, and hand them out to total strangers when I see a group of women! Even if they don’t come to “my” event, I’m hoping they will host one themselves, and if they don’t know about (in)courage, then they do now! :)

    • Del Marie Riley

      Marina that’s an awesome idea! I’ll have to keep this in mind. Moving to a new community and not really knowing anyone, this is a great ice breaker. Thank you for sharing.

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  • Tami Joyner

    I am stepping out in faith and registering as a host. I know this is what God is calling me to do. I am not a blogger myself but enjoy reading many different blogs by christian women. These women encourage and inspire me to keep going deeper with God. I totally agree that is so hard to take that step of faith and invite other women into your home. When they are in your home they will see the REAL you. We all need to be transparent in order for God to shine through us. This is what God and I are working on together. Transparency :). It is a beautiful thing. :)