This photo has been sitting on my desktop for weeks now, and it brings a smile to my face each time I see it. The Influence Network put together a night of worship in July, and I got to meet several women with whom I’ve already developed relationships online. We chatted about the internet and babies and cooking and work and the upcoming conference (have you bought your ticket yet?). Of course, we worshiped too, and it was oh so good.
It was such a sweet evening, such a sweet reminder that online endeavors don’t have to work against real life. I know I’ve shared my thoughts on this before, but I’ve only recently begun to realize how well the internet can actually be real life. These women on my Influence prayer team? They’re right in front of me, tears rolling down their faces as I pour out my prayer requests to my computer screen during our online meetings. These women with whom I’ve helped build the network? They’re right in front of me, sending me encouraging text messages and emails and voicemails and inspiration at all the right times.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve got a great “real life” community, full of irreplaceable people who show up at my house and work and church, ready to love me well. I don’t take them for granted. But I also consider it a blessing to live in this day in age, where I can grab hold of a friend in the middle of the night while I’m hurting, or in the middle of a busy day when I’ve gotten good news. These friends maybe be all over the world, but they’re also just an arm’s reach away… ready to uplift me and encourage me and remind me that the internet is real life, too.