Sometimes in this busy, noisy online world you find yourself surrounded by women who simply shine. They’re the kind of women who can sit in a circle and share one word God is using in their lives and make you laugh and cry over the glory and grace of it all. They’re storytellers, world changers, generations of women who are doing what God has called them to do in the big and brave and the small and scared. These are the women who walk and live and breath the Gospel.
And sometimes when you’re in a room full of women like that, it’s easy to feel small. To feel like your voice is too quiet, too harsh, too unfocused. It’s easy to wonder what part of this race you’re really in – are you on the track, ready to take the next baton, or are you on the sidelines cheering and watching it all pass by.
But if you pause long enough you’ll catch the little moment. The one where those race runners look over and give you a little nod, a quick smile, a reassuring hand squeeze as they pass by. The kind of assurance you could miss if you’re focused on the big and the loud. These women run their race and hold out a hand to bring along the next group simply by taking two minutes to whisper “You’re doing a great job. We’re so glad you’re here.”
And those women? The ones with a wealth of knowledge about writing and speaking and leading out in community? They teach me. They show me what it’s like to finish strong, to be willing to pass the baton of leadership and ministry to someone new because they know in their heart that it means someone else can run faster and further than they could have ever gone on their own.
These are the women leading their generation and teaching the next. These are the women who show me what it means to be generous, to live a life that is inviting and inclusive. They teach me to value the differences in my sisters and to pursue the opportunities God has given me with courage. These women? They make me brave, and they encourage me to finish well this part of the course God has me on before throwing it away in favor of the next newer, shinier, fancier thing.
And to Lisa-Jo, who dreamed and created and loved on this rag tag community of five minute writers – thank you. Thank you for leading out in your strengths, and for teaching us how to do it well. Thank you for every word of encouragement, every affirmation, every call to be brave when we feel the most scared. Thank you for giving me a reason and a place to write in the hard seasons. And thank you for showing us all what it looks like to finish beautifully – I can’t wait to see what new baton God lays in those open hands, my friend.
Thank you for this!! Loved it!
Oh friend! I just love you and your words and your creativity and your precious, precious heart! You summed up so much of my feelings here with this post and you were that sweet encourager to me so many times on that trip and in the blog world.
Ruth Tacoma says
This was so good!!! Thank you.
I love this… and you… and this amazing Community… and (of course) Lisa-Jo!
I always look at you as one of the leaders – you inspire me and encourage me here and elsewhere without even realizing it. I appreciate your willingness to be true and honest because it helps my scared heart be just a little more brave. I just like you. 🙂
Angie Ryg says
Your openness to share the quiet wonderings, the small passing thoughts that come into my mine as well is what makes you such a wonderful writer and women of God. Thank you for your encouragement and beautiful smile! XO
Flower Patch Farmgirl says
So much beauty in our small places, Sister.
Gobs of love to you and your smokin’ hot fauxhawk today.
Jolene Underwood (@Faith_Eyes) says
Beautiful capture of the moments, the community and the life breathed through it all by our Creator. Thankful for the FMF community and for the beautiful women gathered together online, and occasionally in person. At Declare I’ll meet blogging friends for the time. So excited! Many blessings on your continued journey Crystal! Your smile captures a joy of Christ that emanates freely out of you.
Crystal you have been such a source of encouragement and a place of welcome to so many here and at incourage. Thank you for being a smiling face.
Holly Barrett says
How grateful I am for this online community and my IRL friends who offer those hugs, and winks, and squeezes of encouragement. Without all of you, I’d not be me! Crystal, you are a great encourager and a wonderful voice in this community. Much love to you!
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. As a newbie to the blogging world, I am so overwhelmed with the love and encouragement of my sisters in Christ like you. Just last Saturday I had my best friend of over 20 years sitting in a hospital bed, and all night I read her blogs of ladies like you who write, who uses the gift God gave them, that uplift and encourage those who need to feel loved, included and encouraged.
Alia Joy says
I love it. And you. Those hand squeezes sure do mean a lot, don’t they?
I love this Crystal. And the part where you wonder if you fit there, and then there is a moment shared, a touch on the arm, a smile cast your way, a kind word…oh yes friend, THAT. I am so glad that you are part of (in)courage and this place and FMF and for the way that God is using you to make a difference in other’s lives. you are LOVED my sister
I love this line: “The moment where those race runners look over and give you a little nod, a quick smile, a reassuring hand squeeze as they pass by.” The Five Minute Friday has been that community for me, and for that I am eternally grateful to Lisa-Jo, you, and others.
Thank you for showing us what it’s like to be a humble learner and a willing teacher along the way.
How beautiful when we realize that anything we’ve been given is a grace … and we pass those gifts on to the next one …
And then sit back and cheer, watching what God is going to do!
I could not love you more – for how you are the most willing learner, the most eager champion, the most wildly creative social media magician. Thank you Crystal for always being a safe place for me.
Sarah Knepper says
Isn’t it amazing when women support one another with truth, love, and laughter? I love this community and am so thankful for my online and in-real-life friends. Thank you for sharing!