As the fog has lifted from my mountain top experience last weekend, some realizations are just beginning to make themselves clear. One of these was understanding the “why” behind the joy I had experienced.

In the months leading up to the Relevant Conference I had felt my heart pulling away from my “real life” friends. I used to find contentment, camaraderie, and a way to process what I was thinking through those relationships. Now I was finding those things through writing and my online “twitter” community.

From the moment I started my trip to Pennsylvania I was interacting with “real people”…and I loved every second. Conversing with over 200 like-minded women who desired to know God & to make Him known was life-giving to me. I remembered God created me to interact face-to-face with other women.

(from L to R, top to bottom: Kat, Stefanie, Katie, Jen, Kristi)

Something magical happens when women talk with one another in real life. You listen. You feel. You connect through the back & forth. You can read emotions that may not communicate themselves through a computer screen.

(sweetest surprise of the weekend: Amy Lynn)

Joy came when I sat down with another soul and we shared God’s working, His provision. When we found, despite our differences, a connection. We encouraged one another through words, a resource, Scripture, or previous experiences.

I arrived back in Dallas and I was immediately reminded that I am fortunate enough to have “real women” in my life. Ironically, the week following Relevant was full of “real life” encounters. Each day I interacted with a least a handful of women and there was a new set of women each day with whom to connect.

Looking back over the past week I’ve had as many real-life deep conversations here in Dallas as I did when I was at Relevant. How blessed am I?

I had been pouring into my computer and finding fulfillment through this writing process. Yet my real community has been right here waiting for me

Motherhood can be isolating. Some women do not have “real life” women friendships. In those situations online friendships may be their lifeline. Fortunately, we live in a time in history where we can find community through the internet. (If that’s you then I would check out these online Christian communities:  or

However, maybe you do have women available to you that you are not pursuing in relationships. Are you in a MOPS group? Bible study? Sunday School class? Community group? Is there another woman in those groups that you find interesting and you would like to get to know better?

Here is my challenge: Call/email/text someone this week to meet for coffee or a playdate. When you get together, go deep quickly. Don’t be afraid to ask what God has been teaching her this week. Share what challenges or joys you have been experiencing.

Maybe you don’t feel comfortable meeting someone one on one. Here are some other ideas for developing community with a small group of women:

  • Host a “create & conversate” night in your home…have a little dessert & coffee available and each woman brings a craft, project, menu planning, etc to work on while you chat.
  • Invite a small group of women over for dinner. Pull out some nice dishes, napkins, light candles. Make a centerpiece to give away to someone there. Put get-to-know-you questions under each person’s plate.
  • Ask a few girlfriends to read a book with you. Then get together at a local Starbucks and discuss what you read.
  • Sign up to host an Incourage (in)RL Beach house meetup for April 27th & 28th. It’s an online convention you can host from your home. There will be speakers available through a webcast. They will give each participant a t-shirt and help the host with ideas for making it special time of community.

We need each other. We were created for community. Real Life Community.

“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong–that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” {Romans 1:11-12}

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” {1 Thess 5:11}

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” {Hebrews 10:25}

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