Friday, May 2, 2014

When a Weekend Away with Friends Is a Weekend Away with Jesus

A Weekend Away with Real Friends

...and Jesus

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:20

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been skeptical about the World Wide Web. I mean, are the relationships we think we have, real?

Plus, the World Wide Webwell, it can be a scary place, right?

We know there are predators “out there.” Our families can be overly exposed to news, trends, pictures, evil we fight hard to protect them from.

But the World Wide Web can expose us to good too.

It can open our hearts to receive.
It can help us make connections we would never make otherwise.
It can build bridges, where walls once stood. 

I have been part of an online book launch group of 99 women who gathered through Facebook and Holley Gerth’s blog. Together we discovered and explored our dreams, gained life coaching insights, opportunities for sharing our blogs, and a willingness to support Holley’s latest book, You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream.

No one could’ve predicted what would come of this online connection.

We made a limited-time commitment to help get this awesome book off the ground. And I know I figured that would be the end of it. An enriching experience, a pleasure, an adventure…a way to get a handle on my God-sized dream.

But God had much bigger plans. Now, more than a year later, many of the 99 still gather online frequently for fellowship. We gather because we have come to care for one another, deeply. We cheer each other on in our God-sized dreams. We exchange prayer, insights, and resources.

The bond has gone beyond online.

Many people have met at conferences and retreats for bloggers and writers.* Some have met over coffee. And some members of the group, well at least this member of the group, has been radically blessed by a newly forged relationship with a mutual God-sized dreamer and beloved friend, Circles of Faith contributor Chelle. She happens to be a formerly unknown neighbor.

Now, there is even a website called God-sized Dreams that casts a wider community net way beyond the borders of the initial book launch group.

This weekend some of this team met. We were extended boundless hospitality from our gracious hostess, who prepared a welcome nest for each of us, provided food that was delicious and plentiful, gave with warmth and generosity, made a place for each of us at her table…and kept us on track. We had tasks to complete, plans to lay out, futures to discuss.

But more than anything we met with Jesus. He sat there with us the whole time. 

Our spirits merged with His, as we poured out our stories. He was there in the love exchanged so freely, in the listening that went way beyond the words, in the encouragement that spurred one another on to more than we can ask or imagine. It was His hands laid, His prayers poured, as lives and spirits merged, understanding grew, hearts opened wide to the joy and the pain. My tears spill even now with awe.

We came with our lives willingly yielded to loving one another…and we experienced Holy Communion. 

Thank you to my online friends, who are very real friends, fellow travelers on life journeys of pain, joy, hope.

Thank you Jesus! You are with us, you always make a way, you care, and you prove you are faithful, time and time and time again.

God has shown me this past weekend and here at Circles of Faith, that in every story shared online and in-person, He is with us.

Where have you experienced God lately? Has God used the World Wide Web to forge an unlikely relationship in your life? I’d love to hear about it!

First appeared  @CirclesOfFaith...


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