(in)RL Community

While I would love to tell a story with beautiful words like those of the wonderful incourage ladies, let’s face it, that would hurt my brain a bit. I am a documenter..a recorder of events, details… So here is my story of what happened on Saturday.

I had signed up to host an (in)RL gathering again. Don’t ask this introvert why she does stuff like that? The Lord leads and I follow.

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Y’all know I hate shopping, and it has been crazy busy around here, and then it was raining on Friday night. So Saturday rolls around…as in, it is the morning of the gathering, and we are finally preparing for the event. Norm goes out to buy a few things for our snack spread, but as 1PM neared, I was wondering where he was. He was out buying all the groceries instead of what was just needed for the afternoon. Who doesn’t love a man who can shop? But bless his heart, I needed to get stuff into the oven!

So I am now trying to figure out what to do…set out the cheese and crackers, cut up the strawberries, etc or perhaps make myself presentable, now that I had at least finished putting out the favors and hung up some postcards I got from Dayspring.

The doorbell rings and it is my first guest, a blogger I have only met online, Barbie of My Freshly Brewed Life. And then, another guest, a friend’s friend I had only met once before. And then my final guest, the table leader in my MOPS group. I am still plating things and forgetting to offer drinks.

We get started, and I love the flow of conversation even as we were getting to know each other. We watched a clip from the video content, and after hearing some of the stories shared, we begin to share a little of our stories. I love that God brings together strangers who have completely different stories and brings us into community with one another. We are all mothers, but it is more than that. We are all daughters of the king.

I wish I had planned better, and that we had more time together, but I am thankful for growing relationships and making new friends.

I didn’t even get a chance to take photos of everything before it all started, and I forgot to take a group pic before Nikki had to leave for her appointment, but I’m glad I got a few (that are scattered through this post) that sums up our afternoon together.

And what you didn’t see was the mess…the house wasn’t even all cleaned before my guests arrived, and my favors were a hodgepodge of stuff left over from last year’s gathering and other things I had on hand, and I taped up the postcards at the end to hide the blue painter’s tape I used to hang the string up because I don’t have cute washi tape. But you know what? No one cared about that. They didn’t come to see if my baseboards were dusted or not (by the way, they’re not dusted). They were there to be in community together. There is something powerful in sharing ourselves with others. There is camaraderie in letting others in on our fears. He draws us to Himself and helps us to defeat whatever is holding us from shining. “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

So this weekend…I am thankful for makeshift TV stands with a TV borrowed from my brother because we (intentionally) don’t own a TV. I am thankful for Trader Joe’s yummy snacks. I am thankful for the behind-the-scenes incourage team who makes this (in)RL weekend possible. I am thankful for stories….our stories…God’s stories. I am thankful for community.

Meeting Other Couples With Kids

In my previous posts, we talked about having a mission statement for our marriage, and finding marriage resources (mentor, books, websites) to guide your marriage. Today, we are talking about being in community with other couples. It is great to have a marriage mentor, a couple who has years of experience and can share wisdom with you, but it is also great to be in community with peers who are going through the same marriage celebrations and struggles as you.

Being in a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group has helped me grow as a mom. We share the joys and the challenges that comes with motherhood. We learn from one another what has worked for potty training, or tricks to get crayon stains out of the couch. It’s always nice to know that we are not alone in this mothering journey.

In the same way, we should be connecting with other like-minded couples in our community to help us grow as a couple. We can share the joys and the challenges that comes with marriage. We can learn from one another what has work for conflict management, or tips for communicating about finances. A Christian couples community can help us keep accountable to a Christ-centered relationship, and grow us in our faith.

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This is 3 of the 4 couples in our couples group that we were in when we were all dating. Now we are all married and have kids.

I’m a blog contributor at Next Level Mama. To read the remainder of THIS POST, head over to this awesome site!

Do you have ‘couple friends’ who you can discuss marriage matters with? If not, come up with a list of 2-3 couples you’d like to get to know better. Invite them over for dinner or dessert party and get the conversation rolling.

– Joyce

Grace-Filled Community

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Grace. What do you think of when you see or hear this word?

Grace. We say it before meals.

Grace. My daughter’s middle name. My friend’s name. She is very gracious, if you must know. 🙂

Grace. We sing about it in a lot of songs. Grace Flows Down, Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone), Your Grace is Enough, and many more.

I love that we are digging deeper into grace this month. In defining grace, Sarah pointed out that “grace isn’t a one-time gift you receive. Grace is a limitless flow of undeserved gifts…”

In the Bible, we see so many examples of grace. God showed grace to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David, Samuel, Esther, and others. Jesus demonstrated grace to the apostles (John 13:1-7) even when He knew they would desert Him at the time He needed them most. And there are many more stories.

To read more about how we can be a grace-filled community, visit hellomornings.org to read the remainder of THIS POST.

Who are you pouring your grace out on today?