An event, planned by a stranger whose heart I know, prompted a text from a new friend. We’d host together. She invited her friends. One of them thought she may know me – an email sent confirmed it. I had been her counselor at camp a hundred years ago. That week by the lake had been precious – sitting still in our hearts today – and now we bring our sons to the park together. 
She & I – we have an invitation for you. 
Community is – girlfriends are – something I long for, hope for, really really want. It’s a strange thing, making friends as a grownup. Moms are busy – bedtimes call, work commits, computers beckon… And those are the ones who reciprocate the desire for friendship. As a grownup, not everyone is kind, and they’re allowed to not want to be your friend. Phone calls, texts and tweets go unanswered, feelings get bruised, hearts harden. I wallow here, not taking a next step in a new friendship because of these hurts. I wait for an invitation, not choosing to take the risk and issue my own, and then feel sorry for myself when the invites don’t come to me but go to others instead.

And then we get lost. That’s what it is to be without friends, without community, isn’t it? Lost. I’ve written about this before, prayed about it for years, but still only taken baby steps to create community – both here and off the screen.

(in) knows community. Theirs is the only blog I receive in my email every morning and read faithfully right then (most of the time still in my jammies, in bed). They are pros at this building community thing – remember (in)RL? And did you know about their book club? These women are the real deal, welcoming us all into their virtualbeach house and remaining rooted in James 3:17-18

Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.’


That is what I long for. This is what (in)courage does. And God has been calling them to even more.

Enter (in)couragers community groups. (in)couragers are pairs of women, called together to create small communities of women who are in similar places in life. I am humbled and proud to be an (in)courager with Amanda {the lovely girl from camp} as we lead the (in)couraging Working New Moms (inWNM) group!

So what does this really mean? Here’s the scoop:
  •       If you are a new-ish working mom, this is your place. Click here to see the other (in)couragers groups and find the best match for you!
  •      Amanda and I will post weekly at our own blogs on a particular theme under the overarching inWNM umbrella. We’ve been praying over these and hope to encourage & discuss with you. So I’m posting today here, and Amanda will post next week there, and so on through early December.
  •       Join the Facebook groupto encourage one another, receive devotions, and cultivate community. This is where most discussion will occur (besides the weekly blog posts), so hop in.
  •     Use the hashtag #inWNM to connect with others in our group on Twitter. Also, follow Amanda (@aprihoda) and myself (@anna_r) to keep in touch.
  •      If you have questions or want more details, please email me! I’d love to help.

 You are invited. Let’s come together and create a community of moms balancing faith and family and work. We want to know you, to share the real everyday with you, to lift each other up, to rejoice and struggle together. Join us?

-anna & amanda

{girl with blog}

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