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Monday, April 28, 2014

Changed and Inspired: My Heart After #inRL

My home was prepped for last minute touches to come Saturday morning, before my doors opened for (in)RL. I sat snug on my couch with a blanket on my lap, my MacBook streaming video, and my phone in my hand {with which I tried to keep up with Twitter}.

About three quarters of the way through the webcast, I saw a reply to a tweet I had sent. Suddenly my heart forgot to focus on the webcast and focused only on pouring encouragement over a sister...someone I can't say I know beyond the realm of social media. That reply I sent led to her sending me a private message, and then an entire night's rest spent dreaming that I was able to sit down with this sister in person and talk to her.

Saturday morning came and I didn't get out of bed before reading the Bible. You see, God nudged my heart to start the day by encouraging this same person I don't really know at all. After landing on the one verse I knew I should share and sending it off with a short word of encouragement, I headed downstairs to tie up loose ends around my home for my meetup.

Everything came together just so. I sat comfortably waiting for others to join me and I couldn't wait to see what God was going to do. And they did join me. And with our hands wrapped around our coffee or tea or iced drink, we sat down to watch the webcast.

The first break came, an opportunity for discussion questions, and I could feel the silence in the room. "I'll go first", I said. And I couldn't help but cry as I shared how my story was relating to what I heard. After my story, another was shared...and another. Yes, this is the power of knowing that your story matters. This is what happens when we choose to believe our stories can help or encourage or speak healing to someone else. Our ugly or ordinary stories become a song of, "I once was lost but now I'm found...".

I learned some valuable things this weekend. I learned to allow God to interrupt what I thought I was supposed to be focused on to reach out a hand to someone else. Even if I never hear from that sister again, that time was worth it because it was all about HIM. I learned that I'm not the only one who has ever felt different or other. I'm not the only one who has cried out "God, please, please, please, me!". I learned that I'm right to bring the little girl I once was with me through life - that the pain of growing up being sexually abused is not something I need to feel shame for but something God will use to set other people free. I learned that if I choose to not share my story as God leads, I'm taking away from His fame and the glory due His name for what He's done for me.

I learned that it's worth it - every year it's worth it - to open my home and host a meetup {even if it's scary}.

Once again, I'm in awe of how wonderful the (in)RL webcast was. The women who sit on the other side of that screen and share their hearts are brave and beautiful. I don't know that I could ever be brave enough to do that myself but after this weekend, I know I couldn't tell God "No" if He asked me to. I'm grateful for (in)courage being intentional about inspiring women all over the globe. Won't it be neat to see what God does with all this inspiration over the next year?



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