online community

My brain has been on overdrive this weekend. I can’t stop thinking about how we crave community and how God has blessed us with this really cool thing called the internet and how even though there’s an unhealthy, unbalanced way to use technology and it should never completely replace face-to-face interaction, isn’t it just amazing to think about??

We can “meet” people through our computer screens and share our lives with them and pray for each other and shower sweet words of encouragement all over each other at random times during the day and so on and on and on and on.

I told you my brain was on overdrive.

I’ve been scribbling furiously in an 8-cent blue notebook with one of my beloved purple pens for much of the past 30 hours. It’s hard to say whether or not anything will come of all this brain-churning-turned-pen-scrawling. Sometime God lights a fire like this under me and it means “book.” Sometimes it turns into something like this. Sometimes He’s just helping me internalize some kind of truth about Himself. Whatever it is, whatever it means, I can’t stop thinking about it.

Today I’d like to hear from you. Just a quick sentence or two (or 14) about how God has used some form of online interaction to bless you recently. It can be something really big. Or itty-bitty. (But please don’t make it about an interaction you had with me. I already know about that. I want to hear something new!)

Then take a second to think about the fact that that particular blessing never could’ve happened 10-15 years ago. Isn’t that complete craziness??

Thanking God today for my online friends! You’re such a blessing in my life!

p.s. Come back tomorrow with a story about a computer friend you got to meet face-to-face! Speaking of computer friends whose doorsteps I’ve shown up on, HAPPY 38th BIRTHDAY to my dear friend Joanne!

p.p.s. And a quick shout-out to my hubby who just spent a kabillion hours designing this sweet new site for our author friend Kary Oberbrunner. Check our Your Secret Name!

And in case you forgot the question, tell me how God has used an online interaction with someone to bless you recently.

22 thoughts on “online community

  1. Kelsie

    This is a late comment, as I’ve been out of town…But I went back and read the older entries, and I wanted to respond to this one. 🙂
    I highly recommend the Proverbs 31 Ministries Daily Devotions (! Everyday I receive encouragement through the writers sharing God’s Word and how it impacts their life. Not only that, but some of the comments left are incredible – women who are really struggling and crying out for help. To read their stories and understand their hurts is powerful, when we realize that we’re ALL struggling in some form or another…
    A personal experience of mine was the day of my sister’s car accident in December. I had spent that afternoon crying and praying over the ladies who left comments that day. It was an incredible devotion called “Where was God?” ( I know that God used that devotion to prepare me for that shocking phone call at 11pm that night…Praise you, Father!

  2. Ashley

    My online community of friends is my main connection to the outside world as a stay-at-home mom. God is using the ladies I meet via blogging and Twitter to challenge me in my walk with Him – especially in the areas of mothering and homemaking.

  3. Jennifer

    I love blogging and commenting back and forth with other ladies who have toddlers. It’s really encouraging to hear from others who are going through the same season of life, especially since most of my real life friends are well beyond those early childhood years.

  4. Lindsey

    A few weeks ago a sweet blog family invited me over for dinner and totally loved on me. My parents, sisters and niece don’t live close enough to grab dinner with…so it was an absolute blessing to spend some time at a house with kids!

    Made a single gal’s day for sure…and it would have never happened had it not been for the internet!

  5. AKat

    Meeting you through Kelli and the encouragement of a blog comment from you two. I know it sounds simple and doesn’t replace face-to-face interactions like you said, but on some long days, seeing “New comment from…” Marla Taviano or Breathing His Joy or those dear Anonymous ones just lights up my day!

    Getting to do an interview or a giveaway is a fun aspect of having a blog, too!

  6. amber

    I was the skeptical one. The one that scoffed in the face of Facebook and turned up my nose to Twitter. I thought blogging looked boring and thought chatting online was from the devil. No way. Not me. I would not fall prey.

    And then I did.

    And I truly count it as one of the greatest blessings that the Lord has ever blessed me with. My walk with Jesus is stronger than it has ever been because of the amount of GODLY WOMEN that walk this path with me everyday. Not only are we sharing the mundane pieces of our lives like dinner menus and lack of laundry-doneness, but we are praying for eachother and witnessing God’s presence in eachother’s lives and our eyes have been opened to the vast wonderful nature of God’s Body.

    I’d be here until three Tuesdays from now listing out all of the blessings that “social networking” has given me. Friendship. Prayer Warrioring. Therapy. Feeling needed. Feeling loved. Feeling like I’m a part of something bigger than smalltown Arkansas.

    It blesses my socks off

  7. Melissa Multitasking Mama

    I consider the internet my mission field. I would have never expected to minister to people this way but I love it. Every time I feel like I should give up on blogging etc I will get an email or a tweet that just reinforces that what we do in this crazy online space is important.

  8. Carla Burke

    God has always put people in our life when we need them. It is amazing that we can gain Christian friends through the internet. How great to connect with fellow prayer warriors whom we’ve never met in person. It’s so comforting to know that through the internet we can call our friends to pray for us when we need it.

  9. Denise

    Hmmm, well, I feel like I am just blessed to be able to go online at times and know there are people there to listen. I will be the first to admit that I hate talking on the phone, I always feel so weird.

    Anyways – I have been able to be blessed through my blog. I have made several great friends within the preemie community and I am so thankful for that. Recently I was feeling rough about Parker’s lack of 2-word sentences and one of my dear friends (who’s son is a preemie, but older) really just encouraged me to just keep on working with Park and not to push him, he’ll talk as much as he wants too.

    It just made me realize that Parker’s come this far, the only place he can go is up!

  10. Bethany

    Not a lot of time this morning but I jusst had to jump on here with this topic. I’ve been so incredibly blessed by the online community that I’ve discovered since reading the LPM Blog. That was the first blog that I started reading and God used it to bring me over to many other great blogs! Like this one!!! And to roll today’s questions nad tomorrow’s question into one….in January I was able to attend the SSMT Celebration in Houston and meet many of my “bloggie friends” face to face. Interestingly enough, I did not meet Beth but was totally okay with that as I met so many siesta sisters and was completely blessed by the body of Christ!

  11. Marla Taviano

    Cheryl–that’s exciting!

    Megan–best bygones ever indeed! When can I come see you again??

    Ali–very, very cool.

    Joanne–you’re welcome. Hope your b-day is just awesome!

    Sandy–praying for your granddaughter right now!

    Bethy–great point! There’s just no way to spend quality/quantity time talking to everyone. I love that you’re able to stay connected with your teens. Love you!

  12. Bethany

    As a youth pastor’s wife, I’ve been able to connect more, pray, encourage, and see what’s happening in our teen’s lives more through Facebook status updates!

    Stew and I have never been good at keeping up with a youth website, but thanks to Facebook, we have a One80 Student Ministries page! All our teens on Facebook are members and we can keep them informed about upcoming events, upload pics and videos, start discussion forums, etc.! One of our students actually started it, then let Stewart become the administrator. I’ve done the same thing with our women’s activities at our church! You never have enough time to talk to everyone you want to on Sunday mornings at church. This has been a way for me to stay connected to other adults since I’m usually with the youth group.

  13. Sandy

    I have been blessed through the internet by meeting people I do not know and yet they are willing to pray for my 3 year old granddaughter who needs a heart transplant.

  14. Ali

    Just this morning I was reading Jon Acuff’s blog and through that I ended up at The Village Church’s blog and then I wound up listening to messages by Matt Chandler. Without this online community, I would have no way of knowing these brothers-in-Christ, and I would be missing out on some very cool and powerful sermons.

  15. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    There aren’t enough sentences in the world to capture what online community has meant to me in the past five years. And I am totally serious about that.

    I will honor your request not to mention you because who wants to hear AGAIN how incredible and amazing it was to have you and your hubby and your darling girls stay in my house, and then to get to do the OKC zoo with you? I mean, really. Bygones. (Best Bygones EVER!)

    MOST recently, I would say the community at Gentle Christian Mothers has blessed me MIGHTILY. In so many ways, I feel like a square peg in a very round-shaped faith community. Because of GCM, I feel like I have a place to fit in and be true to the direction in which God has led me. I love it there. It feels like home. I can’t even pinpoint ONE interaction that has blessed me. Just the community, as a whole, daily, faithfully pours out blessing upon blessing on me.

  16. Cheryl Pickett

    Like you, I’ve used the Internet to spread the word about my books. So far, since Sept, it has enabled me to reach people in almost a dozen states and as far away as Australia. That can be done other ways, but I think the Net makes it that much easier. Probably the best example is one sale to a church bookstore started with Twitter, was worked out by email and now the manager and I keep in touch via Facebook.

    I’m old enough to remember the world before just about everyone was connected online. Things were fine then, simpler in many ways, but I wouldn’t want to give up any of my online friendships to go back.

    Have a wonderful week!

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