Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Intentional, Available, and Vulnerable ~ Are You In? ~(in)courager Community Groups~ {Meditation of My Heart Mondays}


We all know what it is like to move into a new community.

It's not always comfortable, safe and secure. Cause where there is community there are people. And unknown people are scary! Right!?

We convince ourselves a woman doesn't like us before we've even shared one word.

We are sure the other woman has it all together even when we don't know how she's falling to pieces on the inside.

We are scared to let ourselves truly be known, because the rejection we fully expect will hurt too much.

And all the while, we are women crying out for community. 


A place to let down our hair and breath a little lighter;  to be real and laugh out loud and cry big ugly tears; and ask hard questions and not have the all answers.

A place that takes us just as we are, but spurs us on to become more like Christ; and get down on our knees together and pray continually with thanksgiving.

But, this doesn't just happen. You have to be intentional and available and vulnerable.

Are you interested?




The last time we moved, I was three months pregnant with our third child.

We had moved further from family, friends and found ourselves in a new neighbourhood and church where we knew no one.

I was incredibly lonely.

We were busy with settling in, home educating, home renovations, and with all the other obligations of life. I was ill a good chunk of the pregnancy, and had a good healthy dose of pregnancy hormones followed up with some post partum depression, so when I look back I wonder how I made it apart from the grace of God.

The crazy thing is, I didn't realize how lonely I was until I had finally made some connections with some other women.

I isolated myself—a natural thing to do as an introverted Mama—but I needed to be intentional.

I was never really alone, but I was lonely, and I needed to be available.

I didn't really want to share my pain, but I needed to be vulnerable.


Are we willing to be vulnerable and open the door in a new community to welcome others into out lives?

We need one another, whether we realize it or not.

Only Adam knew what it was to be alone and His Creator said it was not good for him so he fashioned a helper who was perfect for him.

We are not alone, but we are lonely.

We are women living behind closed doors, scared to make connections, making critical comments when we really don't know one another, and desperately desiring to be in a loving community.

We have to open our doors.




Start connecting. And listen to the hearts of other women.


Stay in the conversation. And Love one another.
We are doing this thing called life together. It's not a game. This is real life.

We are not competing with one another. We are completing one another.

We don't need to be lonely. We need to love and be loved.

We need to encourage and edify one another up in the Lord;
 to consider how to stir up one another to love and good works; to rejoice with one another and weep with one another; to build up and strengthen one another with our words.

We need to hold one another's arms up

with acts of kindness

with joy, patience, goodness, self-control, faithfulness

with truth

and prayer.

In all this we need grace. Lots of grace.

Passing it on from one to another as we reach out in trust and build community.

Are you in?




I dare you to be intentional, available, and vulnerable.


There's a place at the table for you.

Open your door and be (in)couraged.






What are (in)courager community groups?
"Groups of like-minded women doing life together in small online communities began in the fall of 2012 with great excitement. And we continue to be amazed at the remarkable women who connect, encourage and champion one another in so many walks of life."
Come on over here and find a community of women where you can encourage and be encouraged. There are over 70 groups—you will be sure to find one for the walk of life you are in right now.

We will meet for the six weeks this spring/summer session on secret Facebook pages where we share and encourage one another in safe online communities.


If you have questions, you can find the answers here.


***

This session, I am privileged and excited to be co-leading an (in)courager group that we've named "Inklings (in) Christ".


Here is the description for our group:
"Whether you’ve just dipped your pen in ink or have ink stains up to your elbows this group is about connecting writers in the Word. It will be a safe place for all writers to grow in the craft of writing and build one another up in the Lord all to the glory of God. 
Once a week, you will have an opportunity to share your Christ centered writing (by linking to your blog post) and receive and give encouragement and loving, honest critiques of the posts shared through the Facebook page. You will have the option to read “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lammot as we will discuss Part One of this book on the craft of writing. We will welcome you to share your thoughts, tips on writing, pose your questions and pray for one another as we (in)courage one another in this community of women who dabble in ink. 
So, put on the kettle, grab your favorite teacup for a large cup of tea, find a cozy seat, and connect with other Inklings, grow in Christ, and learn to better communicate with written words the Good News of Jesus Christ. We’ll share our stories and say, along with C.S. Lewis, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”
If this is an area where you would like to be encouraged, I would love to connect with you. You can sign up here.

But, remember, there are over 70 other groups, so take a peak around and find a cozy spot and lots of encouragement.







A Soft Gentle Voice

17 comments:

  1. Love, love, love your photos, Rebekah! And the description of your group. There are so many groups that I'd like to be a part of, including yours. Prayers for great encouragement in your group this session!

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    1. Thank you, Holly! I pray the same for you!

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  2. What a beautiful post, Rebekah. I know you will bring such wonderful encouragement to the ladies who join you this session. Much love.

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    1. I am looking forward to it! I am grateful for meeting you in our first group! Thanks for all your encouraging that you do!

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  3. Your introduction to the group and the vision are very intentional. Glad you are opening your door.

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    1. I am glad, too and blessed to have this opportunity!

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  4. Rebekah, your words here mirror the sentiments I heard in church this past week -- we aren't meant to do life alone. Love the focus of your group -- what a blessing to have a safe space to come and share. :)

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    1. These thoughts came to me VERY late on Saturday night! I pray they are a blessing and an encouragement! ;)

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  5. So true! I have made a conscious decision to be more intentional and vulnerable in my relations with other sisters. Honestly, it's not always accepted or taken well, but God calls me to be honest. One person needs to hear it more than 100 women don't. I'm concerned with the one.

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    1. No, it is not alway accepted, but we must be honest and truthful and depend on God in His love to work through us for His glory. Thank you for sharing!

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  6. This is a lovely post. Beautiful pictures, words & sentiment. I love the outlay of being intentional, available and vulnerable. I agree wholeheartedly! Though we do have great community and a community group we are involved in in real life, I joined the (in)Courage group for foster parents to share with those who may relate to what I've recently experienced. It's a new realm of friendships and it is likely I will tear up often. I'm looking forward to it. :) Many blessings to you on your group. I really enjoyed this post today!

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    1. I am so happy to hear you found a group to be in to encourage and be encouraged! That would be a great group for women walking that journey—not an easy one! Thank you for opening your door! Many blessing to you, Jolene.

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  7. I signed up for an (in)Couragers group this morning and I'm so excited to start! It is such a great way to be part of a community. I am fairly new to where I live and because of some of the responsibilities that I have I can sometimes feel isolated. These online communities are a great way to fill the gap...and to stand in the gap for someone else! I can't wait for the groups to begin!!

    Blessings, Joan

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    1. It is a great way to fill the gap. It actually has helped me to open up in real life too! We need safe places to share, to build trust, and once we do, we see what encouragement can do! Way to go for opening your door! I so excited for you!!

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  8. This is going to be an amazing group. And I know from past experience the writers groups are always full. :)

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    1. Thanks, Deanna! I know the writing groups I was in were full and really great! I hope the same for this one!

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  9. I love all the posts this week from leaders for (in)courage. I have been so blessed by my involvement in (in)courage and can't wait to decide on another group. All the descriptions and lovely women are making the decision so hard! I know you will do a fantastic job, Rebekah. I am so excited for you! ~from Inspire Me Monday :)

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