These community introduction posts are quickly becoming one of my favorite features here on the blog. Even though I forgot to write one over the weekend because..well..holiday. So we’re a few days late, but I think after my Tuesday-that-felt-like-a-Monday-but-worse, we can all just be okay with that.
Today I’m introducing you to my amazing friend Kris Camealy – not because she is a published author (she is, and her book will change your life), or because she’s a successful event planner (she is – the Refine Retreat was a labor of love and I’m so sad I couldn’t be there), but because she is who I think of when I write about authentic community. She is a brilliant writer and a phenomenal friend.
Kris was one of the first women I connect with on Twitter (are you sensing a theme? I like to start my real life community with a Twitter meeting) and she was one of the original founders of the Five Minute Friday Twitter party. Back in the day when it used to really just be a handful of gals hanging out for an hour to connect about writing and life and all the awesome that comes out when you’re up too late with girlfriends. I feel like our blogs and social media communities have grown up together – she gets me.
She is welcoming, encouraging, and a prayer warrior like none other. I don’t know if she’d consider herself prophetic, but she’s spoken a word over my life many times before that could only have come straight from God. This woman cares deeply for others, from her work as a Compassion Advocate to her commitment to her family. Kris and I have gone from Twitter friends to the kind of sisters who leave 8 minute Voxer messages for one another because we have too much to talk about and not enough time. In my hardest days, Kris has been there to remind me that if God is calling me to it, He’ll give me the way and the means and the words and the open doors.
And she was the first one to call me out in love when my struggles were because of my striving and she saw I wasn’t relying on God. It changed my life. We have walked some refining together, cheered for one another, cried with one another, and when I think about being called to community because “iron sharpens iron” – she is iron to me. Kris makes me a better person because she loves me well and sees God at work when I can’t.
These friends I’m introducing you to? It’s not because I want you to go follow them on social media, though I’m sure they would love that. It’s because social media and the internet can be a hard, dark place when everyone is promoting themselves and giving nothing back in return. I want to give back. I want to shine a light on someone else when I can, because all of this? It’s not ultimately about me. Community can’t be about one person, one project, one event, one moment. Community is a collective – and I want to be the curator. I want someone to know they’re important, seen, and loved.
Who can you shine a light on today?