(in)RL~ We Need YOUR Story!

It was early on a Sunday morning. Eight women had gathered from all over the city of Rochester to scrapbook and swim. One woman arrived in her red SUV. Another came in carrying a yo-yo. The women danced as they greeted one another. They charged as they ate muffins and drank lemonade. The women heard barking and knew that it was time for the hike to begin. They climbed to their seats and made sure their vases were close by.

One woman cried, another laughed as they watched the video conference. “I’ll be back”, someone shared and everyone ran. 

Everyone sighed. The fellowship was lovely, the food was slimy, the videos were beautiful. A rough time was had by all and as the clumsy women posed for a picture, the woman wearing a purple bra said, “When can we do this again?!!!”

Photo: There's a spot on the bench for you! Join us? #orchardcommunity #roc #inRL @incourage

This mad lib was the ice breaker for our (in)RL get together. (in)RL -which stands for in real life- is an online conference started by the website Incourage. The purpose is to connect women beyond blog posts and online interactions. Incourage provides video sessions and women gather in their own communities to view the videos together. This is the 3rd annual conference and my third time hosting or co-hosting the event.

As I thought about the theme for the weekend- We need YOUR story- it seemed like a perfect way to begin our time together. With a story. A story that all of us wrote together. A story that is better because of all of the women involved in writing it.

Although our story tells you that we had eight women at our meet up, in reality, there were 13 women who shared the morning together. We watched the videos together. We paused for discussion. We cried, we hugged, we prayed for one another.

 

I am always amazed when a group of women is able to share with one another on a heart level. These women shared a bit of their stories- the difficult, the messy, the beautiful- and the love that was extended was breathtaking. Some of these women are very close friends, but most were meeting for the first time or at least sharing a part of themselves for the first time.

We rejoiced with giveaways that seemed so personal as if it had all been part of God’s plan that these women would win what they did. The giveaways were based on each woman entering a drawing by sharing their middle name, the year they were born, their favorite subject in school and the farthest they have traveled.

Each woman seemed to resonate with a different speaker which is the beauty of presenting a conference that allows so many different speakers to share. I found myself nodding along as Jennie Allen spoke about trying to gain approval her whole life. And then finally getting to the place where she realized that she needed to wrestle with her sin and seek only to please God. It is the message that God seems to be impressing on my heart of late and I was so blessed by the challenge that she gave!

Being vulnerable. Opening ourselves up to community. Meeting hurts with compassion. Sharing a bench.

This is what doing real life with one another looks like.

While it might feel scary to open yourself up to someone else, it is always worth it. There are real, true, faithful friends out there, but the only way to find them is to be one yourself. And then to never give up your pursuit.

Step out of that comfort zone that keeps you from pursuing friends. Because those friends who you can call at any moment? The ones who will drop everything and be there in a heartbeat? Those friendships are worth so much more than any rejection, any hurt, any betrayal.

I don’t know anyone that hasn’t been wounded by community. But when we are able to move past the hurt, we discover that others have a story that just might encourage us right where we need it. Some may have a story that will move us from those stuck places and get us back on track. And others might challenge us to see the world just a little bit differently.

Have you shared your story in real life? Have you been willing to go deep with others? Are you willing to go beyond the shallow?

I hope you are able to answer yes! Because we need YOUR story. It matters. You never know who might be blessed because you were willing to share.

(in)RL. Imperfect. Inspiring. Incredibly sweet!

13 Comments

  1. tammy@meadowsSpeak
    April 28, 2014

    How true! It is scary to open up but it is worth it. I enjoyed seeing all your pictures and giving faces to what happened on Saturday. 🙂 Ps. Thanks for stopping by my place too.

    Reply
  2. Katie Reid (@ImprintsKatie)e
    April 28, 2014

    This happened to us too, “We rejoiced with giveaways that seemed so personal as if it had all been part of God’s plan that these women would win what they did.” I kept feeling impressed to buy the “Chosen” necklace from Dayspring for a giveaway and had a certain lady (who was coming to the Meetup) in mind for it. I let each lady pick their own gift as they won they giveaway and with only 3 gifts left, her name was picked and she “chose” that necklace- It was really awesome.:) Love your bench too!

    Reply
    • Becky Daye
      April 28, 2014

      That is so fantastic, Katie! I love when God does things like that. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  3. Solveig Anderson
    April 28, 2014

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12/1) – recently, God also reminds me that my race is not your race and I need to only focus on the race marked out for me by His loving hand! He wants me to stand before him. I don’t need to explain and justify in order to gain a better image before men.

    love your stories 🙂

    Reply
    • Becky Daye
      April 28, 2014

      So good, Solveig! YES! We must run our race, not anyone else’s!
      I kind of love YOUR stories too. Thankful for you!

      Reply
  4. ~Karrilee~
    April 28, 2014

    LOVE this… love that so many braved telling a piece of their stories and that connected and resonated and built community… I am praying that these friendships continue to grow stronger and stronger!

    Reply
  5. Jessica Wolstenholm
    April 28, 2014

    Becky, Looks and sounds like you all had a wonderful time. How amazing that these brave women would share pieces of their lives with each other. We experienced that same thing. So, so good. I pray he continues to continue you all in real life!

    Reply
    • Becky Daye
      April 28, 2014

      Amazing and beautiful! Thank you, Jessica. So good to hear that you had a similar experience. God is on the move!

      Reply
  6. AlyssaZ
    April 28, 2014

    It looks so lovely! What an amazing experience inRL has been!

    Reply
    • Becky Daye
      April 28, 2014

      Agreed! What a blessing!

      Reply
  7. Crystal
    April 29, 2014

    The mad lib was GENIUS! And hilarious…I love those 🙂 What a brilliant ice breaker idea (though I’ll be honest, I kept reading the lines and trying to figure out what in the world happened at your meetup! lol)

    Reply
    • Becky Daye
      April 29, 2014

      Ha!!!!!! Yeah, I thought about prefacing the story, but thought it might be fun to just dive in. Part of my story, is that I grew up writing mad libs and making my family fill them in. They are still one of my all time favorite things. And it really was a perfect intro.
      We were all blessed by your words, Crystal!! Thanks for sharing your heart with all of us!

      Reply
  8. Dawn
    April 29, 2014

    What a blessing this conference was! So thankful I did step out of my comfort zone this weekend 🙂 God is good!

    Reply

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