Monday, September 16, 2013

Be (in)couraged!

She's been rattling around downstairs and is quiet now beside me, our bellies pressed along the counter, making dinner. This girl, my child always in motion, always with something to say, is silent. I rest with her there for a while, giving her undisturbed time to hear her own thoughts, and finally the thing she's been pondering releases:

"Mom, there are lots of pictures of Asher downstairs--where are the pictures of me?"

Pieces of her story are missing and maybe it's because hers is a story not worth celebrating? I rush in to assure her that this not the case.

When her sister was little, I explain, the only way to see the photos our cameras had taken was to print them, but by the time she came along, just a couple of years later, we were able to see and store our images instantly, giving us a false sense that they'd always be there. Many of her photos were lost when our computer went down, but their absence didn't make her moments any less worth remembering.

This conversation lingers with me long after I've tried to comfort her. I hear a hundred voices in my little girl's silence that evening because we all have those places, don't we? Areas that, for one reason or another, are hidden from view and cause us to doubt whether or not our story is really worth telling? Maybe we've started digging-- penning words or reaching out to others-- only to have fear immobilize us.

All of this may be true, but I want to tell you exactly what what I told my daughter, and I want you to trust me on this:

You are worth celebrating.
We need your stories.
Your voice and presence among us matters.

Today (in)courage wants you to know that there is a place for you to be you; they are opening up their doors to community

I have the privilege of co-leading a gathering of ladies who share a love for the overcoming beauty that grows tentatively in each jagged syllable of our lives put to paper. If you love words but are afraid to call yourself a writer, this is a safe place for you. If you are published and have been writing for years but find yourself in need of something genuine or new, come.

So if you’re clicking over for the first time from (in)courage or if you are a long-time reader, here’s what you need to know.
  • (In)courage has mad skills when it comes to building women’s community and one way they’ve done that is to form (in)courager groups.
  • It’s a way to break past the comments on blog posts, tweets, or status updates and go deeper with a small community who gets you.
  • There’s one that’s just right for you, even if this one isn’t it. So take a look at them all and if you want to join us, we’d love to have you.
  • As one of the (in)couragers writing groups, we’ll be connecting through a private Facebook page to maintain an intimate community where we can share our stories, our hearts, our dreams, and yes, our fears. We hope this will be a place of encouragement and growth for everyone God intends.
  • This isn’t meant to be a huge time commitment. We’re here for you and we know you have to live life to have anything worth writing about. There’s lots of flexibility.
  • This group will run from September 23rd through November 8th. No obligations and we’re not going to make you read aloud to the class. We just want you to know we have your back and we love that you feel called to write!
  • We’ll be offering 7 weeks of conversation around finding and using your voice to tell the story God has given you.
  • If that’s you, be sure to head over to (in)courage and sign up for (in)couraging writers.


If you want to know a little more about me, feel free to stick around and say "hello".

To get to know a little more about the absolute treasures I'll be co-leading with, you can visit Alia and Tonya's blogs by simply clicking on their photos. 
Alia Joy


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