Sunday, January 29, 2017

Are You Craving Connection? (Plus Giveaway!)

Hey Friend,

Ever since I can remember, I've always belonged to groups.  Whether it was youth group growing up or joining a sorority in college, I liked "belonging". Perhaps that's why I joined Newcomers groups when I moved around, MOPS when I was a mother of preschoolers, Bible studies, church small groups....

There has always been something deep inside me that craves community.  I find this kind of ironic because I was an only child who learned, early on, to be comfortable in my own company.  In fact, I like being alone in the quiet and still of the early morning.  

I am now in a season of life where I am working from home.  I head up a non-profit ministry - Redeemer Christian Foundation, Inc. that supports and fosters Christian education for the orphaned and destitute in one of the scariest places on earth - the Middle East.  How I got here is a story unto itself, but it all began through this blog. 

I'm up at 5 am. while it's still dark outside (revisit loving my alone time and quiet time with God).  I work pretty much non-stop all day, taking time out for lunch and perhaps a cup of coffee in the afternoon.  I'm pretty much alone all day (except for my beagle) until my husband gets home.  This is REALLY different for me.

I tried joining an evening Bible study, but since I'm up at 5 am. I find that my brain turns to mush and pretty much shuts down by 7:30 pm.  Not good for adding to, or deriving anything from Biblical discussions.  

I'm learning that at different stages of life, connection looks different.  

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

I'm learning to maybe put extra hours in one day so that another day I can meet a friend for coffee.  To be able to look my friend in the eye and pray with and for her is just good for my soul.  

The way the enemy prowls about, I know this time is not a's a necessity!

On a regular basis, my husband and I have one of my single friends over for dinner. After we eat, my sweet husband excuses himself for some hockey on the tube upstairs while my friend and I chat away.  I know we both need this community.  We are both dealing with some of the same trying issues with our adult children and it's good to know we are not alone.  

You know those ideas you get....gee, wouldn't it be great to invite a few of my neighbors over who I never get to spend time with?  One day I decided I'd share my coffee time with three neighborhood friends.  I kept it simple - just coffee and scones that I picked up at a cute little french boulangerie.  Can you say non - stop talking?  I admit my "coffee break" ran a little long - oh say 2-3 hours long. I politely had to show my friends the door as we could have easily sat and talked for a couple more hours.

And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him.  A cord of three strands is not easily broken.  (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

The next day I started my workday a little early and got caught up on the time I had set aside for community with friends. I needed that time with friends to hit the "refresh" button! 

I am learning that I NEED unity and connection with God, my friends, and my community.  

Community is not an option or a's a life source.  Cut it off and we'll soon perish.

God created us to be in community with others.  So where do I start....

I'm excited to announce the release of a new book "Craving Connection" which is a collaboration by some of the best Christian writers I've read.  They talk about:

* EMBRACING the desire God has given each of us for connection
* INVESTING in meaningful relationships, right where God has you
* BECOMING the friend you wish you had

Each segment, written by a different writer, gives you things to consider.  She'll also give you a challenge and ultimately a way to engage with others.  

Not only do I love the different writing styles, but I love the different ideas that I wouldn't have thought of - like this one:

**Set your phone alarm to remind you to pray for friends and family on your prayer list throughout the day.  **

The best news is:  I'm giving away a free copy of "Craving Connection" !!

To enter the drawing you can get one entry for:
1.  Leaving a comment either here or on   Facebook
2.  Another entry for subscribing to my blog

Drawing will be held on Feb. 6th so be sure to get your entries in.

If you aren't fortunate enough to win, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book online or at your favorite bookseller.  It's a must read!!

So, what's holding you back vs. what is there to be gained by making connections?  Who might God be putting on your heart to make a connection with?  How can you be an easier person to connect with?  

I also invite you to join our online connection group hosted by (in)courage.

We will be doing 5 sections of the book together starting on Tuesday the 7th.  For 5 consecutive weeks we'll read a section (about 8 pages) and then do the challenges together.  I think it will be great fun to learn new ways to connect.  I hope you'll join me!!

You'll be glad and blessed if you join us (yes, I'll be there)...