We shared a week together at Bible camp, me a college counselor and she a high school camper. We prayed, drank hot chocolate, stayed up talking into the night, held our hands high in worship, sat in the cool canteen, and played field games. All our activities were threaded together with the love of Christ. Our faith grew that week as we connected and shared pieces of our hearts. She took home a puzzle piece that I gave her, reminding her that she was one piece in a vast puzzle that – though we’d never see assembled – we knew we were an intrinsic part of. A part of a community bigger than we could literally see. And without that one piece, there would be a hole. You’ve done a puzzle with a missing piece – the hole it leaves detracts from the bigger picture, right? She mattered to that community, to that puzzle.
Years and college degrees and weddings and children later, we re-connected thru the (in)courage ‘unconference’, (in)RL. I was a co-host of her local meet-up, and she asked in a comment if I had worked at that Bible camp. When we met on the day of (in)RL, laughing and sharing pictures of our baby boys who have the same name, we felt our puzzle pieces coming together. God was giving us a glimpse of the bigger picture, of the whole that only He knew.
We both felt a tug towards encouraging women – specifically, working mothers of young children. When (in)courage announced their new (in)couragers community groups, we knew this was the place for us. And so she & I opened up a shiny new Facebook page, threw open the doors, poured the coffee, and invited women in to breathe.
Isn’t it lovely how God uses ordinary, simple things to do extraordinary work? To truly speak into our hearts and lives and fill up our souls? And isn’t it wonderful how He lives on the internet? We gather online, in pockets and corners, to encourage and be together when we can’t actually be together, and to share our hearts. (in)courage has truly become a ‘home for the hearts of women online’ where we can gather, and through (in)couragers groups we can take it one step deeper with women who share our circumstances.
Is it scary? Yes! To share our stories and ask for friendship with strangers is never easy. But let’s look at where we all gather right now, at incourage.me. The name says it all – in courage. In courage, we join in. In courage, the group leaders and mentors have stepped up. In courage, we offer bits of our stories. In courage, we pray for one another. And only in courage can friendships be built.
Each of us holds a puzzle piece. Each of us has a place in this community. Without our individual piece, there is a prominent hole that our eyes are drawn to. You matter. There is a place for you here. And whether you join a group and talk every day, or quietly listen, or become a prayer warrior for others, or ask others to pray for you… no matter the level of your involvement, your presence has taken courage and it does not go unnoticed.
In our small yet mighty group, all working mothers of young children, we found community. Real, authentic, beautiful community. We laugh out loud and cry real tears. We lift each other up to the One who has gathered us there, and rest in His presence. And this spring several of us met outside the screen as she & I hosted a local (in)RL meet-up. Our puzzle came together – all because of a week at Bible camp, a shared passion for encouragement, and a God who wove it all together.