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Did you know that in less than a month, (in)courage will turn FIVE YEARS OLD?!?!

Wow! Just . . . WOW. That’s almost five years of . . .

Community
Friendship
Coffee
Grace
Connection
Benches
Growth
Courage
Books
Inspiration
Love

Yes, LOVE. We adore you. You know that, right? YOU are the reason we are here. This is YOUR beach house. And we are so very grateful you join us here each day.

As we’re planning to celebrate our fifth birthday, we have been amazed to look back over this incredible journey God has taken us on! What started out as a simple blog has turned into a multi-channel site with something for everyone – daily inspiration, honest and authentic stories, book clubs, community meetups, gorgeous products and more.

(in)courage Timeline

Who could have imagined this?!

Holley and Stephanie, two of our founders, sat down with Lisa-Jo to look back on everything God helped them imagine years ago – the God-sized dream that turned into (in)courage. Watch to hear the story behind our early beginnings and how God nurtured this dream and turned (in)courage into something nobody ever expected.


(Email subscribers, click here to watch the video.)

Do you remember the first time you came to (in)courage? How did you find us? Did you feel, like Lisa-Jo did, that it was like coming home?

“I felt like I’d found my people. It was like I could breathe,
like you were speaking my language.”
~ Lisa-Jo Baker

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We are so excited to celebrate five years of (in)courage, five years of you.

Will you share in the comments one of your favorite memories of this community? We’d love to hear what (in) means to YOU.

{Top photo by Shayan. Bottom photo by Dawn Camp.}
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  1. 1

    (In) courage team,
    Happy Birthday!!! I love the non-threatening feel of your site. It’s a place that makes you want to come and sit a spell. I really appreciate how the writers respond in such a loving way to those who share their hearts in the comments. I also love how the readers encourage each other. You are my go to spot first thing in the morning during my quiet time. Thank you so much…you are a true blessing! HUGS,
    Bev

  2. 3
    Rebecca Riggles says:

    Happy Birthday blessings to you all. I have never commented but come to the beach house regularly for counsel, guidance, inspiration and peace. Thank you, thank you all. And thanks be to God, to Him be the glory.

  3. 5

    Happy Birthday and THANK-YOU! I found (in)courage in a very round about way, I had read a blog (by chance), I can’t even remember who’s blog it was, but she had read Ann Voskamp’s book 1000 Gifts and was counting her gifts. I was intrigued by the book so ordered it off Daysprings. From there I found another book that was a huge help to me, What Women Fear by Angie Smith. I found the link to (in)courage and the book club link and have been comforted by these posts since, four years now. It was truly was like coming home. You gave me something I was searching for, community. I’m still searching for that here in my area, haven’t found it yet but not giving up! Thanks again for opening up the beach house and welcoming me to a safe,secure and loving place where God is the Center. Xoxo

  4. 6
    Melissa says:

    I am new to the (in)courage community. I was so excited to find that one of my dear friends is part of the (in)courage community, too. That made things feel more like home already. :-) Thank you all for all you do. God Bless You all.

  5. 7

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for your loving relational posts that reach out and touch women of all ages. Thanks also for your book clubs One Thousand Gifts and Pursue the Intentional Life. Life changing!

  6. 8
    Barb from CNY says:

    Happy Birthday!! Such a wonderful site, every year we get to meet more amazing women like Holley, Lisa-Jo, Sweet Sarah…..
    The thing about Incourage for me is that it is a place where women are real. It seems we spend so much time in our lives trying to convince others we are fine, that we have it all together when in reality…we don’t. So I read the posts and know I am not the only one who doesn’t have it all together, not the only one who tries to show others that I do, and that it is ok. I can’t imagine my life without this site and glad I don’t have to!

  7. 9

    A women’s retreat speaker referred to Ann’s One Thousand Gifts and, when I came home, I read her inspiring book and subsequently found (in)courage online. It was 2011. I had no idea (in)courage was a fairly new website, but I was overjoyed to find you! I’m a pastor’s wife serving in a small rural town. We have orchards and farmland all around our little central CA community, but this town also suffers greatly from extreme poverty and is broken by the despair of gang warfare and drug addiction. Our church is a beacon, shining the Love of Jesus into the dark corners. (In)courage is one of the few places I find encouragement, rest for my soul, the Word spoken and sisterhood of ladies who speak words of hope, peace, joy into my days. I can’t tell you how many times I repeat the messages you share here to my friends and church family. The messages are real and relevant, inspiring and powerful. Sitting here with you each morning…I can almost feel the sand between my toes and the salty breeze in my hair. God blesses me, meets me right here, through you.

  8. 10

    It was hard for me in the beginning to reach out to others as I’m an introvert. But, through the years, I learned to write with others about my walk with the LORD and thoroughly enjoyed it. At first I was a bit ….. shy …. but … I got used to writing and reading others’ experiences. It made me feel like all of you. Just one of the crowd.
    :)
    Thank you.
    :)

  9. 11
    Michele says:

    (In)courage is one of the few blogs I read regularly. I love that I can come here anytime of day, and I come most frequently when I need to refocus on God all around me. Thank you for listening to God’s soft whisper, His plans placed in your hearts to create this haven.

  10. 12

    I first connected with (in)courage when Michele Perry was a guest blogger 2 or 3 years ago and found out what (in)courage was about. As a person living in the U.K, I realise I am a little disconnected although very connected spiritually, but I found stories I could relate to and appreciate at different levels. Even if the stories are about children, marriage and life circumstances that are quite removed from my own life, the principles and subjects are helpful, and often give me reasons to be thankful for things in my own life.
    I value (in)courage and the varied output of each contributor, and would like to thank each one for taking the time to share their story, and by doing so enrich my life in so many ways, and possibly eventually enable me to enrich the lives of others.

  11. 13

    HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY!!! I found (in)courage 3yrs ago reading Holley blog. I feel like it’s just a place to sit back and relax for awhile you know like home.

  12. 14

    I’m 65 with 3 adult children & LOVE the posts….sure wish I’d have had something like this 40 years ago :) God is good!! The content of posts is so relevant, even for those who are “older”. Happy Birthday to a great ministry!

  13. 15

    Happy Birthday. Loved the video! I first stumbled on (in)courage when the book club was just beginning 1000 gifts, which was life-changing for me. Recently when Jean Fleming’s book was highlighted, I was thrilled to see how many women were involved at my age (over 50) . I was hoping to connect more with them but the book moved pretty fast and I was away and unable to connect for part of it. But now I know they ar out there. I was beginning to think my generation weren’t connecting online at all apart from Facebook. So thank you!

  14. 16

    Yes, (In)Courage felt like coming “home.” I identify with Lisa Jo’s statement. I longed to connect with women who understand me. I was deeply discouraged. Then towards the end of last year, God led me to you. At first I just read and didn’t comment. The book club had already started, so I followed along and gleaned some truths from Emily Freeman. One quote especially moved me – “How we handle critics could be the difference between creating art that matters & allowing the art to die.” I also found out about Holley’s books, and I’ve grown more confidence in Christ because of them. Finally, I took the risk of joining two support groups this past session.

    I cry as I write this, but it’s in Christian communities that I’ve been the most hurt in life. It was a pastor who abused me as a youth when I went to him for counseling. When I told, I was condemned as an adulteress by the consistory and many others. Years later, when I told the real truth and my husband and I left that church, the friends we thought we had for life left us. Since then we have had many more hurts as we sought Christian communities. My husband was condemned by a pastor and consistory for being angry at my abuser and told he needed to make confession to the consistory before we became members. So again we went seeking… And there were more hurts, but I don’t need to bring them all out. Anyway, I do go to a Bible Study group of non-denominational women when my health permits me. Some of them were the first “Christians” outside my own family that believed me. I have remained friends with several of these women. But I was still so downhearted. Since my chronic illness often limits me and I’m sometimes homebound, I needed more.

    I begged God to lead me, and I believe He led me to (In)courage. Since then, I call this community the Elim in the wilderness God has provided for me to refresh my dry and drooping spirit. And through you, I’ve also come to other communities that I call “home,” such as Holley’s Coffee for the Heart and Bonnie’s Faith Barista (who is helping me be more “real” at my blog). I thank my God when I think of you all. Thank you, Holley and Stephanie, for following your heart in bringing about this God-sized dream that blesses so many lonely women. Thank you to all of you who contribute whether in posts, comments, or behind the scenes.

    I loved the video! The background of what the name means makes me feel even more “safe” and “at home.” I always wondered about it. I figured it was another way of saying “encourage.” But what a precious meaning! When we are IN Jesus, we are IN courage! I love it!

  15. 17

    Forgive me for writing such a long post before, but I have a question yet… There is a tray on a table in front of you with sea shells in it. What does it read on the handle? Is this something available at DaySpring? Thank you.

  16. 18
    Sandra Crittenden says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!TO BE APART OF THE SISTERHOOD OF CHRIST IS AWESOME AND WONDERFUL. TO HAVE PLACE WHERE WE CAN COME AND TALK IS CONNECTING WITH THE LORD. HE KNEW WE NEEDED A PLACE LIKE THIS. WE ARE A FAMILY AND I LOVE YOU ALL.

  17. 19

    Gosh, ladies. Thank you so much for what you have created here and what you are stewarding here. Well done, my good and faithful servant, I think He will say to you. I feel the authenticity, I feel the community, the love, and the encouragement every time I enter these doors. Thank you for creating a seat at the table for everyone! Grateful for y’all!

  18. 20

    Happy Birthday to (in)courage!!!!

  19. 21

    Oops! And… Here’s the rest of my post- I love this community. It has provided encouragement, friendship, and fellowship galore! But, I have to admit, I realized that I had truly found My People when I first joined my (in)courage Community Geoup of Special Needs Mamas back in 2012. Oh. My. Stars! These ladies loved me instantly and got my struggles from day one- because we all live them!

    My heart still leaps for joy every time I see a new post from an (in)courage contributor.

  20. 22
    Chantal says:

    Congratulations! I am very new to your community (nearly two weeks!) and want to let you all know how your website helps me on my spiritual path with God. I sought a quiet place of contemplation, where I could find the answers to the questions I struggle with. Where I could be understood, even if I chose not to say anything :) In your website, I found the candle in the window, and reassurance of God’s love and fidelity. Your writings help me reflect on His word, they inspire me to read the Bible more often, and give me the opportunity to share this bounty with my husband and teenage children. I have lived my whole life as a Christian, yet now as I approach 50, it seems I am needing more spiritual knowledge and prayer. When I see women who are inhabited by Christ, they glow! That is what (in)courage represents for me, a godly sisterhood of glowing hearts. This is what I long for, for others to see God’s love in me, and to glow in Christ. Thank you, and peace be with you!

  21. 23

    {Melinda} Congratulations! I’ve been with you from the day you launched, was privileged to be one of your first (in)courage Community Leaders. It has been great to see the dream God put in your hearts grow and thrive!

  22. 24

    Early Happy Birthday! I think I’ve been visiting since the beginning. I believe that I knew of (in)courage because of Mary Carver and her blog Giving Up On Perfect. For some reason I think she was one of the first contributors to this website.

    Thank you for the vlog above! I like hearing the voices, seeing the faces!

    This place has been a blessing to me and I can’t believe it’s been around for almost 5 years.

    Blessings!

  23. 25

    Where do I begin? I’m so thankful for (in)courage. You launched at the same time that I was finding my way back to God after years of just not knowing what it was to be all in with Him. I’d been baptized again in 2007 and was working in digital marketing, but I knew NOTHING about the world of faith-based blogs. I remember wondering, where are the Christian women online? When I found (in)courage it was exactly what I needed, and I remember feeling so excited to see real women talking about what it looked like to follow Christ in their lives. And of course (in)courage groups changed my life and I absolutely loved being an (in)courager for a few short sessions. I think God used (in)courage to open up a door for a community of women seeking God from all corners of the world and we found His love in this amazing community. So glad that God blessed the prayers of Stephanie and Holley and brought this place to life. Thank you for all you’ve done!

  24. 26
    mommashopper says:

    CONGRATS on 5years.. im happy and excited to read the blogs every day,it in courages me deeply. I too haven’t found a safe and happy Christian community to trust and be a part of here where I live. have had many fake Christian pals in and out of my life and aren’t too eager to go and make new friends..so am happy to read the posts every morning as I head out in the day !! the ladies who write are honest and come across to know the Lord well..i feel like I have a close group of friends.thanks everyone keep in couraging one another

  25. 27

    Happy Birthday (in)courage! Thank you for the great video! It was nice to hear how (in)courage was started. I found the beach house 2 1/4 years ago through Ann Voskamp’s website, and I visit daily. Thank you for making it such a warm and welcoming place, with real women writing about real issues. The beach house is a blessing!

  26. 28

    Love, love, love the “dream-umentary”…you put words to what I feel at (in)courage…that (in)Christ we are in courage…amazing visual, and so descriptive of the sense of acceptance and community I feel as a co-leader in our (in)courage group “A Feathered Nest” and how our Lord Jesus Christ aligns me like a conduit to share the encouragement He gives me with others through my blog…so comfortable, so restful, like the beach house imagery you shared…expressed so well in “Abba’s Child” by Brennan Manning, “Our inner child is a doorway into the depths of union with our indwelling God, a sinking down into the fullness of the Abba experience, into the vivid awareness that my inner child is Abba’s child, held fast by Him, both in light and in shadow.”

  27. 29

    (in)courage launched just as I moved from my home in the US to a new country where I didn’t speak the language. You became home for me while I lived in a foreign place that didn’t feel like home at all, and I’m so grateful for your heart and encouragement along the way. Happy Birthday!

  28. 30

    Happy 5th Birthday (in)courage. I found your site through Daysprings. I believe God led me to your site at exactly the time I needed to find you. I was going through the most difficult time in my life after losing my firstborn son suddenly and tragically at age 28. I felt very alone yet found communicating with people difficult. Some of my best girlfriends became my community at that time as I live in a country away from family. But I longed for something more where I could share with other Christian women on many and any issue especially painful ones as I was experiencing. God was also leading me into writing and publishing a book to help others experiencing loss and I was afraid to launch out. I did not want to become public. But as He continued to nudge me, I realized that I had to obey. Connecting with your site answered all my needs then as I realized that women all over the world share the same joys and sorrows and sharing always helps. I am happy to say that I was able to complete and publish my (God’s) book entitled, ‘Restore My Joy. A Poetic Journey from Hurt through Healing to Hope.’ in 2011. Many persons have been blessed through this book and most of all me. And God has been glorified. Your journey sort of paralleled mine and I have and continue to be blessed by your ministry. I have since shared the site with some of my friends and my daughter who lives in a foreign country away from family. So God is using your site to bless women of all ages and in different parts of the world as it is an online site. How wonderful and amazing! Congrats and God’s continued blessings. Keep on keeping on.

  29. 31

    Happy Birthday! I’ve just recently stumbled upon this beautiful online ‘beach home’ and I’m so grateful I did. I do feel I’ve been led here and it does feel like ‘coming home’. Thanks Ladies for allowing God to use all your unique and creative talents to touch the souls of your fellow sisters.

  30. 32

    My favorite part of incourage is that it is always welcoming, whether I’m just “lurking” without commenting, or when I get involved in a book club, when I miss posts for months at a time and then stop in again, the doors are always wide open inviting me in and speaking to my heart RIGHT where I am… always a God-thing

  31. 33

    I first found you in about 2010 (can’t remember how), but I enjoyed (in)Courage and subscribed. One of my favourite of those first posts was “Holy Tempering” (a post about chocolate), because it came into my inbox just when I needed it. It was by one of your guests – Karen? I can’t find it on the site now or I’d put a link to it.

  32. 34
    Josie R. says:

    I LOVE (in)courage – it has changed my life. I was searching for something I didn’t even know I was searching for and God lead me to you. I read Pursue the Intentional Life and truly it has changed me.

    Thank you for welcoming me with open arms – and making my life brighter and more Christ filled.

  33. 35

    I remember when (in)courage was brand new! I had been a regular reader of Holley’s blog and then when (in)courage started I became a regular reader of it! The posts have been (in)couraging, challenging and Spirit-filling! And then you added Bloom Book-Club, which I loved before it came to you . . I’m excited to see what else is ahead!

    So, Happy Birthday, (in)courage! Keep growing! Keep us growing!

  34. 36

    Happy Birthday. I enjoy it. Keep it coming my way.

  35. 37
    Beth WIlliams says:

    happy 5th Birthday In (Courage). Thank you Stephanie and Holley for following God’s leading and Lisa-Jo for taking over. This site has truly encouraged me greatly over the years. I find it a safe place to “vent” and talk about problems in my life, but also to encourage others in their journey and struggles.

    You have many many amazing writers! I just love them all!!

    Blessings to everyone :)

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