Community

Perfectly Loved In Community: (in)RL 2013

I had been looking forward to this day since I registered.  Especially since I already new a few of the ladies who were going to be there. I felt safe, and knew they already loved me for who I was.

The night before I settled in on the couch to watch the very last showing of the (in)RL webcast.  And as I watched and listend to women sharing their thoughts on community, I could relate.  They talked of staying when it’s hard, of forgiveness, of how Christ is community and how we, the Body of Christ, need each other.  I shed a tear, yelled an AMEN and wanted to jump through the screen to hug these women — these women who I invite into my home on almost a daily basis, their words on a screen resonating in my spirit.

And so I went, and from the time I stepped out of the car, I could feel His arms of love beckoning me in.  I was greeted at the door by this one who I’ve grown to know and love.  As she extended her arms to me, I instantly felt gathered up in His arms.

She smiled big and was quick to give me that hug that I had felt before, like liquid love in the arms of the Father.  She wrapped me up tightly and I knew I was safe.

And this one, who I had not yet met in person, but who has made me feel welcomed and loved through our online spaces; always encouraging.  I extended a hug and she reciprocated. A new (in)RL friend!  I was so thankful.

A couple of others came, her, whose loving spirit I remember from once before.  And her, whose love for Jesus and for His girls was overwhelming.  One an acquaintance, one a stranger, but the three of us with a common bond, His love within.

We gathered around a table set simply, yet elegantly.  Fine china, for His Beloved daughters. Sprinkles of His love abounding all around.

We ate and were filled, and our hearts outpoured His love and grace.  We shared our struggles, our dreams, our thoughts on community.  We talked of our desire to be known, to be pursued, to stay when it’s hard.

And we all decided we should have a bench, to welcome others in, to share His love, to build community.

I received a gift, a beautiful mug hand picked just for me by the Father, because He knows exactly what I need.  And another gift, a reminder that I am redeemed and chosen, fully His. 

I didn’t want to leave these women who made me feel perfectly loved in community. But the beauty is that I can come back. These women who live just moments from my home.  It’s a choice to be in community, and I want to make that choice to gather with these women, with all of the women whom God has placed in my life.  

My life is richer, my heart full, because of community.

What are your thoughts on community?  What do you love?  What do you fear?  What keeps you coming back?  I would love for you to share in the comments below.

For more stories from (in)RL, go here.

 

35 thoughts on “Perfectly Loved In Community: (in)RL 2013”

  1. Rosann says:

    Oh, I’m so jealous. I totally should have participated in the (in)RL local meetups here. I’m sure there was one fairly close by. *sigh* Maybe next year… 🙂
    Rosann recently posted..Deny Yourself

    1. Barbie says:

      I remember feeling like that last year, because I didn’t go. You should definately try to go next year!

    1. Barbie says:

      You definately should! It was such a blessing!

    1. Barbie says:

      She’s a treasure!

  2. Amy ~ Seasons Change says:

    Fine china and community? What an elegant gathering God had prepared for you! I loved exchanging hugs with a new (in)RL friend too as well as seeing faces I had known for some time. I say we have (in)RL twice a year! 🙂
    Amy ~ Seasons Change recently posted..Perfectly Imperfect #inRL

    1. Barbie says:

      I say we have (in)RL once a month! Have a blessed week!

  3. Michele-Lyn says:

    There are so many lines of this I just love. I kept thinking, oh I quote that, and this or that. 🙂 I am so glad you were able to join in real-life community and feel the Father love your through His daughters, your sisters.

    I love this line and I think I’ll share it on Twitter, “It’s a choice to be in community, and I want to make that choice to gather…”
    Michele-Lyn recently posted..God Can Use Community to Heal Us [Stories from (in)RL 2013]

    1. Barbie says:

      I love you friend! Thanks for your encouragement. Some day I will hug your neck!

  4. Mel says:

    Reading this made me smile…thank you for sharing! It looks your group had a wonderful time. 🙂 Blessings on your week, Barbie!

    1. Barbie says:

      It was such a fun time! Too short though 🙁 I wanted to stay for hours!

    1. Barbie says:

      It was a great start to my week!

  5. Ann @ Christ in the Clouds says:

    I was planning on attending the {in}Real group in our area, but had a change in my schedule…my hubby and I had the opportunity last minute to go visit our son, who lives 4 hours away. Sounds like you had a wonderful time of sistership and community!!
    Ann @ Christ in the Clouds recently posted..A Weekend in Bloomington

    1. Barbie says:

      I am sure you had a blessed time in community with your son. Have a blessed week!

  6. Beth says:

    Thanks for sharing Barbie. I love reading these (in)RL stories. I was unable to attend the one in my area due to a leadership conference at my church, but did have the opportunity to connect online with the host and others attending and we are hoping to have another gathering over the summer. Love this beginning of new friendships resulted from simply the desire to be there. Blessings.
    Beth recently posted..For your Sunday

    1. Barbie says:

      We had a seminar at our church too. Since I am on staff, I am required to be at everything. But since I was already signed up before the seminar was scheduled, I was able to get the afternoon off. I pray blessings over you!

    1. Barbie says:

      Oh yes, “love soaked sisters” — sort of like the sisterhood of the traveling pants, except we wear Jesus and we don’t have to trade off!

  7. Jennifer says:

    Sweet Barbie, I am so blessed by you–and was so, so thrilled to be with you on Saturday. Can’t wait to see what else He has in store. XO
    Jennifer recently posted..Gather (an inRL story, kind of)

    1. Barbie says:

      Jennifer, thank you for opening your home and your heart to me, and so many others. Looking forward to seeing you again soon!

  8. Jennifer peterson says:

    Oh I love this and love these stories, even though I was gone I felt as if I were right there with you guys with all your pictures and posts. LOVE !!
    Jennifer peterson recently posted..He meet us…

    1. Barbie says:

      It was such a blessing to gather together! Love ya!

  9. Kristen Strong says:

    Barbie, what a stunning picture of community you create! I can see the Father nodding, whispering, “This is what I’ve meant for it to look like all along.” Sounds like a wonderful time was had by all.

    Lovely, lovely.
    Kristen Strong recently posted..Keeping It Real

    1. Barbie says:

      It was a beautiful time spent with beautiful sisters in the Lord. Thanks for stopping by Kristen.

  10. Frances says:

    Hi there! Ok, I loved this post. What beauty- both the decorations & those who attended. I love the quilt as a tablecloth!
    Frances recently posted..(in)RL

    1. Barbie says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by Frances!

  11. Janet @ Frugal & Focused says:

    Barbie, It looks like such a wonderful gathering. I’m so glad you all could get together and connect (in)RL.

    1. Barbie says:

      Thanks Janet! It was such a blessing!

  12. Stacey Thacker says:

    Ahh, what a sweet time on the bench{cozy couch}. Love that God used this weekend to love His girls!

    (P.S. I love that mug too!)
    Stacey Thacker recently posted..What I Wore: Stitch Fix #2

    1. Barbie says:

      Thanks for stopping by Stacey! I’ve missed you!

    1. Barbie says:

      It was truly a blessing! Love ya!

  13. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates says:

    I’m so glad you got to go – it sounds just lovely! Community is so important. I was so hoping to have some of my close friends over for it, but we just had too busy of a Friday/Saturday planned. Hugs! 🙂
    Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates recently posted..Key Lime Pie Parfaits

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