01 Feb 2012

Because sometimes empty is better than full {an invitation}

For a long time I felt like a pitcher.

Full to the brim. But with nowhere and no one to pour out into. I would wake up and get up and go to work and come home and make supper and love on my kids and my man and go to bed still feeling like my pitcher full hadn’t found the empty it needed.

It was a long frustrating two and a half years.

During that time I started blogging.

I started pouring out a few words a few nights a week and when I went to bed I discovered that I’d given away a little something.

After a while the words turned into a steady stream and some of them filled glasses at other tables. I was still working full time at a job that didn’t seem to fit me, but at nights I was pouring out the most satisfying encouragement into other women and discovering the wonder of being filled up by their words.

(in)courage was one of those places.

Holley and Stephanie invited me to write with them. To join them in their calling to encourage the hearts of women. To create a place where women could feel welcome, just as they are. Where we could all put our dirty, sandy feet up on the coffee table and tell our real, hard stories. A place where people would listen.

A place where women were brave enough to be vulnerable.

Pouring into (in)courage emptied me and left me feeling the most satisfied I can remember.

For nearly a year I wrote once a month for (in)courage. It gave me community, a place to dream, and the satisfaction of pouring out my ideas, creativity and passion for encouraging women.

Then in the summer of 2010 (in)courage and DaySpring invited me to join their team as the community manager for (in)courage and social media manager for DaySpring.

I jumped with both feet.

Since then I don’t remember ever feeling like my pitcher was an awkward accessory. It’s just that it’s not enough.

In June last year we felt the prickles of God telling us that one website couldn’t possibly pour out enough to fill up all the women coming looking for living water.

Instead He wanted to connect the women in real life community so they could pour love and encouragement and support and Jesus sisterhood right into one another’s parched cups. Without having to leave a blog comment. Without having to travel across the country to a conference. Without having to worry about baby sitters or days off work or plane tickets, hotel rooms or high heels.

He wanted to bring the conference right to the women He loves. We call it (in)real life or (in)RL.

This is me talking a bit about that dream. Click here if you can’t see the video.

You’re so invited you know. It’s this April 27 & 28 and only costs $10 to register and you get a free T-shirt and Simply Marvelous card pack with that.

On Friday afternoon we’ll kick things off with a community keynote {a lot like this awesome sauce trailer} that you can tune into from home.

And Saturday? Saturday’s the exciting one. Saturday’s the chance to step out and connect with local (in)courage friends you didn’t know lived nearby. There’ll be video content that meetups can tune into, which explore the topic of gritty, beautiful, messy, real life community together.

Can you imagine? Getting to connect beyond the blog box?

What a holy wonder.

Oh say yes – come and join us – nearly 500 women are already planning on meeting up in 250 cities all over the world! You can find the (in)courage meetup that’s closest to you right over here. And if you’re feeling brave, why not grab a girlfriend and host one yourself?

(in)real life. It’s what we’re made for, after all.

Messy, wonderful, redemptive community. All you have to do is pick up a pitcher.

And if I haven’t convinced you, tune into Bonnie’s place tomorrow – all 30 of us from (in)courage are gonna take turns sharing this month why we’d love to have you join us for (in)RL this April!


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    would love to do this!! not sure anyone in South Africa has signed up though :) Is it okay if I’m the only one??

  2. 2

    *This place* of (in)courage did that for me, too. It’s here where I truly found comfort in being me and in the words that I pour out, with courage that though they aren’t perfect they are for purpose. It’s safe here and it’s a place where women want to be encouraged. (in)courage truly changed my life (as I’ve shared with you before).

    What has been laid on your heart is so impactful. Though I struggle with choosing it for myself right now, I know it’s importance. As I see neighbors and local “friends” ignore each other and just hustle and bustle about in life, and then I contrast that with the time that blog friends take to comment and share, it just seems so…{what’s the word?}…counterintuitive?…sad?…

    Why don’t we deliberately choose to invest in the lives around us?

    Why don’t we set aside family schedules for just a brief moment?

    Why don’t we {try to} fill ourselves up (at least a little bit) with the companionship of relationships around us?

    (Now you’ve really got me thinking…do something about what I’m missing…invite my local ladies…get to know them…make the time.)

    Gosh girl, tea and chocolate with you would be wonderful! Oh how I’d love that!

  3. 6

    ps. I could listen to Lisa-Jo talk all the live long day. Amen.

  4. 7

    I am so in! I can’t wait!

  5. 8

    You wrote about me. I am right where you were during those 2 years.

  6. 9

    I’ve already registered — can’t wait! :)

  7. 10

    I so so so wish I could do (In)RL this year but my church is having this women’s conference at the same time. It’s kind of a big deal too because a certain lady by the name of Beth Moore is going to be there. But honestly, I have been plotting and scheming on how to join (In)RL during our session breaks ;). Maybe I can figure out how to make it work (Beth Moore won’t care if I’m watching streaming video while I listen to her too right?).

    I love the heart behind it and I love your heart Lisa-Jo! You are a gift and I feel blessed to “know” you on this online space.

  8. 11

    This is wonderful! So excited about hosting in Jacksonville–hoping to have a venue confirmation today! Woot for (in)RL!

  9. 12

    Man, I’d love to do this!!! Unfortunately there are very few (if any) bloggers here in my area…..I’ve searched and it appears they all prefer to live in big cities! (Go figure! HAH!) Maybe I can swing back to my hometown of Jax, Florida and join up with Misty (one comment up!)…..only a four hour drive…hmmmmm…..could certainly use the encouragement!

  10. 13
    Monica M Judd says:

    So, I have a question about signing up as a host for (in)RL. My husband and I lead a small group from our church, and we ladies have just started going through “Grace for the Good Girl” together…. it’s been rich already and we’ve only met once! We are so anticipating God doing big things in us, both individually and in community. We are so hoping we can begin to grasp what true, deep, authentic community not only looks like, but what it feels like…. we want to live in that place with one another. So, in signing up as a host for the conference and already having a group of women to join me, will it automatically be open for other ladies in and around our area to come, too?

  11. 14

    Thank you so much for this blog (and the two you’ve done since this one.) I am aching because I don’t have real friends in my zip code. I’ve been living in this city for nearly 3 years and I have lots of internet friends but don’t have any local good friends. We are moving on the first of April and I long so much to make friends when I get there. Real friends. I want to host one of these (in)RL conferences but I don’t even have a place to live in our new town yet and know no one. Thanks for encouraging me to be more intentional in making real friends.


  1. […] of us at (in)courage are sharing about real life community to inspire April’s (in)RL. Visit Lisa-Jo who kicked things off yesterday and be sure to catch Holley Gerth who will be serving up her words […]

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