Monday, April 28, 2014

Courage Knocked On My Door (our inRL meet-up story)

I almost canceled my meet-up…twice.

When the opportunity to host the (in) real life portion of Incourage's 2014 conference came again this year I didn't hesitate to sign-up. Last year's meet-up had been a positive experience and I had high hopes of reconnecting with some of the same women who knocked on my front door and shared space on my couch last year.

Early on, my RSVP list filled up with women I knew and already shared life with, just as I had hoped.

But about a month before the meet-up, over half of the women who I thought were coming changed their RSVPs to no. And I was filled with disappointment and doubt.

Last year there was only one woman I had never met here. This year, I knew only one of the eight women signed up.

It felt like the pendulum swung to the other side and all of the sudden this introvert was opening her home to strangers (His plan, not necessarily mine). But God swung with the pendulum and reassured my doubting heart that the women who would gather in my home that day were exactly who He wanted there.

So I recommitted in my heart to follow through on my commitment to host.

Brave knocked on my door seven times this Saturday.

Together we watched stories shared and we laughed and we cried together.

And watching brave on the television cultivated courageous sharing in my living room.

Women connected only by Christ encouraged and empathized, spoke truth and showered love on each other.

As the afternoon sun streaked rays through the window curtains, we bonded over modge podge and searching for meaning in words.

Each woman walked in a stranger and out a friend in Christ.

I'm so honored by their courage — to not just sign up for a stranger's meet-up, but to actually show up at my front door.

And I'm so overwhelmed how God showed up here and prepared a safe place for hard stories to be shared and heard. And for the grace and compassion each woman gave without hesitation. What a gift!

These wonderful ladies taught me that there's beauty and brave in the story being written inside each one of us.

And that there's more to the (in)RL tag lines —

Your story matters…because you matter.

We need your story…because it's God's story being weaved and told through each of us.

And His story is full of redemption and healing and washed in His incredible and unconditional love for us.

How can we keep that to ourselves?

Click here to read other (in)RL 2014 meet-up stories…

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Spring Stirring

There's an ant scampering along the edge of my kitchen sink and I pause my attack to glance out the window as the first clothes of the season whip and swing on the clothesline outside.

The sun has made a glorious appearance bringing with it a warm breeze and the aroma of spring.

I've been quieter than usual here.

I long to write, but the words are hanging — in a good jumble I've been trying to sort out for weeks.

So much goodness, I'm not even sure where to start.

Daffodils bloom happy and I catch the sweet scent of hyacinth in the air.

The changing season elicits reflection. This last year has felt like winter — long, hard, and sometimes lonely. When beauty lay mostly dormant, quiet, and dark.

I have felt like the bulb, buried deep beneath the dark, rich soil. Waiting. Struggling to see. Trusting in the promise that spring would come.

I sense I'm at the surface now. I feel the warmth of the Light. I'm beginning to see some things for the very first time.

But still I wait.

This stirring inside I cannot explain fully. Yet.

A simple knowing grows within, that I am loved and that I matter. Truths I have tried to disprove most of my life, preferring instead, to allow the betrayals of others to inform me of my worth.

Those lies are dying a slow death. And I'm standing in their ashes waiting for whatever is next, consumed by hope and peace and His presence.

I feel renewed, reformed, reshaped.

But still I sit — expectant and unsure, almost afraid to move.

Wondering how much to share and when. And whether the depth of it is even something that can be understood by someone not walking in my shoes.

I appreciate your presence with me on this journey. And I apologize if it all seems a little cryptic. Have you ever experienced a season like this? When you know He's working, but He hasn't given you the words yet?

Linking up with the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood. This "stirring time" also ties into my one word for this year, so you can also find me at Circles of Faith.
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