August 26, 2014

When Community needs to have voices...

...and hugs, and risotto...

   Goofy girls!  I love them so!  

I just returned from a much needed get away.  It was only an overnighter, but somehow it felt like so much rest and refreshing unfolded.  It was one of those times when it wasn't like God showed up tangibly and knocked our socks off or blew us over, laid out... and yet the Holy Spirit was there and all about filling and refilling and refilling some more.  It wasn't as if I could even feel Him doing it as much as when I finally felt full it made me realize just how drained and empty I had been.

We'd talked about it for months.  We are all writers and we had met in real life at a conference, or for dinner... but it was always on the tight schedule with no time to linger and unwind together.  So we talked of meeting up with no real agenda!  We even joked that we wouldn't even need to leave the hotel room! We could order take out and just sit and talk and maybe write --or not. We could invest in this friendship... this sisterhood of bloggers and there would be coffee and chocolate and chatting and glorious hotel sleep. (Can I get an Amen?)

So we did it.  We simply made it happen.  We picked a date and reserved a suite and agreed to leave and meet up around the same time and just see what would happen!

Can you even believe that I am in my 40s now and I had never taken a road trip on my own - at least not to Portland or Seattle?  I normally travel with my family, or at least a friend in the passenger seat. I have gone to see my sister on my own, but that is one small town to another. This was the first time I headed out to the big city on my own... a bit of freedom and adventure danced beside me as I made my way across the State line, across the river, and followed the road that lead me to Community in real life.  
 It had been a couple of hard weeks all strung together and I think we all needed a little hotel room to curl up in and just breathe.  
Asparagus Risotto, MiniCooper, and my sweet friends!

So often, if we are honest, this world and this life and all of it's ups and downs, and even Community itself, can drain us dry... wear us out, leave us feeling numb and bleeding out.  We tire of all of the "I'm good. How are you?"'s and want need there to be space to not only not be good... but to be  honest and say we really don't know if we are good or not.  We can't feel all the feels and know anymore! Life comes at us fast and some seasons it feels as if the best we can do is hunker down and wait it out. Waiting alone can lead to isolation... but waiting together... well, that is Community!

The online bloggy Communities that I have found have offered real, authentic, it's-okay-to-be-honest spaces.  The friendships that I have formed on the interwebs have been quick, deep, and real.  They are such a blessing! I have learned from, imparted to, and been stretched by these incredible writers and the corners online where they hang out.  I have been encouraged and supported and prayed for.  And when we have the honor of taking these online Communities and transferring them in to our real life lives... our every day, Vox-me-your-grocery-list days, we must make the time and investment it takes to grow these friendships!  Sure - we have met at conferences and retreats and I love that... but honestly - to sit and have no time restraints and no agenda = Divine!

Plus... this:

 (Also Divine... but in a different way, of course!)

 Whether you are blessed with Community just down the road, or if you find it mainly online... when you can find it and it can include voices and hugs (and Risotto... or chocolate, at least!) it is #forthewin

We were MADE for Community!

Love it or hate it (or maybe a little of both!), one thing I loved about The Shack was how it portrayed the Trinity... always in relationship with each other and of course this makes sense and how had I not ever considered this? God desires with desire to commune with us. He pursues us and loves us and wants to spend time with us! Community was HIS idea!

Now we all know that there are risks. I am guessing that not a one of us has escaped being hurt at one point or another. We humans can be horrid.  We are flawed and selfish and sometimes mean.  And yet, we long to belong... we love to be loved. To be heard, and valued, and appreciated.

Not a one of us is immune to needing Community, and listen - I know firsthand how difficult it is to find it sometimes! But it is worth the effort... worth the search... worth the risk...  

For we were created to live and dream and love and serve and to do it all together, side by side... hearts connected, arms linked up, heads bowed down.  

Your people, whoever they may be... they are out there! Go and find them!

Even if for just one night, one day, one hour... invest in the Community that speaks your heart and remember that when we are alone, we can feel small...but together... well, together we really can change the world!

After such a short get away --one that included talking and relaxing and eating out, no real world problems were solved, no manifest Glory came down, and yet...

"Looks like tonight, the skies are heavy... "

On my drive home, as I drove right into the eye of the storm, I felt washed, renewed, refreshed... even with the unknown ahead and no answers tucked neatly inside my pockets... in quietness and rest, in laughter and shared stories, God came near... and He washed us me clean!

...and that, my friends... that is what Community can do!

Let's let this song be our anthem... let's let this be our hearts' cry!  Has your Summer been dry? "Back to the start, my heart is heavy.  Feels like it's time to dream again.  And I see the clouds, and yes, I'm ready to dance upon this barren land. Hope in my hand..."

It's time! It's time to dream again... it's time to find Community and dance.  Ask Him to rain down... to put hope in your hands and lead you (back) to Community!

Let's all lean in, take a risk, and invest in Community whatever that looks like for you,  and let's purpose to use our words to:

P.S.  I'm linking up with these lovely writers this week:

Kaitlyn Bouchillon  on Community

Jennifer Peterson for #NoWordsAreNeeded

Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory

Holley Gerth for #CoffeeforYourHeart

How do you find and build Community, friend? I'd love to hear!


  1. I NEEDED this post today! Thank you! Loved every bit of it. Your getaway sounds divine both literally and figuratively! <3

    I'm in the middle of rebuilding my RL community. Thankful for the blogging community, which I've been somewhat absent from, who have lifted me up in prayer when I've needed it most. Thanks for sharing this, Karrilee!

    1. Oh Chandra... I am so with you! and I am so glad this brought the encouragement you needed! I 'preach' to myself around these parts and it was good for me to remember too!

  2. You guys. YOU GUYS! I love every person around that table. This makes my heart happy. :)

    1. We love you right back and you and your own gathering was on our hearts that night! We plan on all sitting at a table again at JT... say you will join us! xoxo

  3. BAH! You were in my neck of the woods! I live about 45 minutes from that IKEA :)
    Love that you got some girl time and refreshment of spirit! It is something that is needed by all!
    Blessings to you #TellHisStory neighbor :)

    1. LOVE that IKEA! If only I had a truck! ;) It really is vital to our overall health! So glad you stopped by!

  4. Aw, I love seeing online friends get together in real life! So happy for you ladies.

    I spied you on Holley's link up today :)

    1. It is always such a blessing! (How are you doing, Mama? It's good to see you here!)

  5. Looks like a delightful time! I might be just a little bit jealous of your time together! :)
    I love the reminder that community was HIS idea... gives me the kick in the pants to make the effort to create community even when it's hard!!

  6. Anonymous4:35 AM

    What a fun weekend!! I think we're going to have to do the East Coast version of that soon! Thanks for linking up to Testimony Tuesday. Much love!

  7. Anonymous1:06 PM

    Looks like you had a fabulous time! I always feel sorry for my husband because he doesn't have close friends. I don't know what I would do without mine!

    1. I think in general, it is a bit harder for men to form and maintain those close connections! It's not impossible of course, but it does take a bit more intentionality! I'm with you - I am blessed and oh so thankful for my close friends and I am so glad I don't have to 'do life' without them! Thanks so much for stopping by!


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