Over six years ago, I started writing online. For a long time, it was simple recipes, newlywed tales, and my reader was my mom (she’s still one of my most faithful – hi mom!!)

Then we moved to another state and were living on the prairie, far from people who loved us, and I began discovering that if I injected my heart into my words, I could find the community I was so desperate for. The computer was not isolating, but lifegiving to me.

As I shared the heartache and pain of miscarriage and waiting, I found that in sharing my stories other women felt empowered to share theirs. They emailed and commented and private messaged – all to share their stories of the same thread. It was humbling and gratifying, to ‘meet’ these other women who had experienced the same kind of pain.

When we announced that I was pregnant with our sweet Boy, those same women rejoiced with us. They shared in our joy! Despite their own circumstances, they whooped and hollered and counted down with us. They celebrated when Sam was born, and they continue to support me as a mother by sharing their stories and experiences with me.

While sharing online continues to be a joy and lifegiving and offers friendships – deep, real, relationships – with people I otherwise would never have met, I am convinced that I need that depth of community offline too. This is harder to cultivate, with babies and schedules and exhaustion, but SO SO worth it. Because when we share our stories face to face, sometimes with tears streaming, I think Satan gets scared. He knows the glory of God is present between His daughters, that we are connecting on a deep level – a heart level – and that our time together helps us grow into fiercely loving friendship.

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You are invited to share in such community. (in)courage is bringing a day of connection to YOU via inRLthat’s in Real Life – their ‘un-conference’. It is FREE, and chances are that there’s a gathering being planned in your neck of the woods already. Details and registration are here, and here is the agenda and more info on the speakers.

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And yeah – that’s ME up there on the speaker panel!! I’m co-hosting a whole segment of inRL with my dear friend Crystal, in which we’ll be featuring the friendship stories of women we adore. I can’t wait to see it with you! And if you want to read a slew of great posts about sharing our stories and why YOURS matters, many of the speakers above wrote one and linked up here.

I’ve co-hosted two inRL gatherings here in Minnesota before, and am hoping to do the same this year (though inRL is happening over my due date weekend, so we’ll see!) I wrote my thoughts on the whole experience here and here. I do hope you register or host a gathering. It’s amazing how healing good community can be, and we need YOUR story to make ours whole.

Tell me – have you been to an inRL gathering before? What did it mean to you?

-Anna {girl with blog}

Greetings friend, welcome to the fence...

In case we haven't met, I'm Anna. I'd love to chat over a picket fence in the backyard, but this will do for now. Let's make it easy to stay connected - simply enter your email below to get the latest posts in your inbox. We'll talk real life, real faith, real motherhood, and real encouragement. Oh, and just so you know, I'll keep your email to myself.

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