From left to right: @orangelikejazz, @philadowlphia, @jenniekerns, @nrulason, @taymabelitini, @maggiehjohnson (not pictured: @a_twarek)
Yesterday I was privileged to be a part of a lunch/gathering of seven women from around the Midwest in an amazing day of friendship, laughter, and grace. I left the meetup feeling that I was overflowing with love, both of these women I had just spent time with and of the presence of God that permeated every space we occupied.
The first thing you must know is that we all participate in the online community Overcome The Lie and we live within a 6-hour radius of Indianapolis, Indiana. The idea started as a lunch, but it really became so much more – there was food, to be sure, but also sharing and bonding and lots of selfies.
The second thing you must also know is that the dress code of wearing a dress for the meetup was totally inspired by the amazing summer-like Indianapolis forecast and it snow-balled with fervor. (Pun intended – it was almost 80 degrees in April!)
And lastly, you must also know that we started to use our own hashtag leading up to, during, and now after the event: #OTLtakesIndy, on Twitter and Instagram.
On the schedule for Saturday was a mini-sleepover at Maggie’s house, a relaxing morning of muffins and bagels, a Chipotle trip for lunch, a walk around Monument Circle, baking oatmeal-cranraisin cookies, and reflecting on where Christ has brought us from to where he has brought us to over the course of our individual journeys.
If it sounds like a lot for 24 hours, I can assure you that it was, but it never felt overwhelming or forced. (Maybe this is just my extroversion coming out, but you can ask the others their perspective too.)
It felt like community – because it was.
I find it a little amazing that only 3 of us had met in person before this weekend, and we all parted for home as close friends like we had known each other for years. This is a testament to how social media is changing the way we learn about each other and form relationships but also serves as proof that being in the same room is a catalyst for growth. We exchanged phone numbers, posted selfies, ate more food than our stomachs could handle, and laughed all the calories away with some down-right crazy shenanigans. Above all, I felt the glue of Jesus drawing us together in a powerful way that transcended our personal struggles, situations, and schedules to offer us holistic spiritual nourishment while we “did ministry” together and to each other.
Quotes and conversations fill my mind covering scary pasts and current fears, difficult roads and spiritual highs, favorite TV shows and making meal stone-soup style. Moments of teaching from Maggie about feminism, all-around wonder at God’s creation and the imagination of man, learning where God is leading us next – these are the nuggets of friendship I will cherish.
Thoughts on thoughts, community, and friendship while on Monument Square.
So what’s the point of this ramble about my amazing weekend?
I’ve been ruminating on this since I left.
And this is it: God can use social media to build his church, but it’s still through the interactions with each other, online or offline, that we feel his presence move through us – the people. Online or offline, God is moving in our hearts and lives to bring us closer to him. Sometimes he does that by bonding over loving burritos or in wearing dresses – but sometimes he works in 140-character messages of hope, grace, and love.
There really isn’t much more to say but there is something I want to know from you:
If you could meet one internet friend and spend an entire day with them, who would it be, what would you do, and what would you say to them?
Follow us on Twitter: @orangelikejazz, @philadowlphia, @jenniekerns, @nrulason, @taymabelitini, @maggiehjohnson, @a_twarek) or join the community at @overcomethelie