Recently I joined an online community called “The High Calling”. Soon after I joined, I received a welcome e-mail from Dena Dyer, the High Calling’s “Welcome Wagon”  (and author, speaker, blogger) 🙂 , and one of the things she asked me to do was to write a blog entry explaining to my readers why I joined this group. The purpose of this blog entry is to give the answer to that question, and I will also explain how I found this group.

I began blogging over two years ago because I enjoy writing, and blogging seemed a good fit for me. The blog journey began. As I continued to write, though, I longed to connect more with others online and spend more time on my blog.

Some months ago, as I was reading Beth Moore’s blog, I noticed other readers mentioning a book called One Thousand Gifts. I was intrigued by their comments and interest in this book, so I did a google search for the book and found Ann Voskamp’s beautiful blog. I was captivated by her story and her writing. From there, I read her first chapter, and then ordered my own copy of the book.

On her blog, I noticed she offered a place for bloggers to join in and give thanks and write about faith—so I began linking up at her site each Monday and Wednesday. It was through Ann Voskamp’s blog and links that I found The High Calling. I began poking around the High Calling site, and reading articles, which I found both practical and inspiring. Here is one article in particular I enjoyed about a month ago “Mary, Full of Grace”  (in which the author meets a poor lady from India named Mary, in Texas…beautifully told), and here is an article  posted yesterday Mama! Are You Coming? (in which the author has a book published and her celebration is a mere 27 seconds…read why in her wonderful article!)

From there, I began reading a few of The High Calling blogs, and gradually started participating, by commenting and eventually by taking the leap of linking up at a few places, such as with Laura at The Wellspsring, L.L.Barkat’s Seedings in Stone, Michelle deRusha’s site Graceful, and Emily at Imperfect Prose. I enjoy each one of these lovely places, and I am inspired by each one of these people and their blogs. Even if I don’t link up each week, I find something that encourages me, truth to spur me on in my own journey of faith, and examples of fine writing. In addition, I have a long list of others I am beginning to read and getting to know. Lately I’ve been checking out Glynn Young’s favorite picks on Saturday at Faith, Fiction, Friends and my “blogs to read list” has grown that much larger. It’s a feast.

I joined The High Calling because I wanted to be a part of a bigger community, part of a larger conversation, and not be the lone anonymous blogger anymore. I was thrilled to find an online community of people who love the Lord, and write about it– and I wanted to be part of it. I feel as if I have found a group of mentors and colleagues, living out this life of faith; talented, passionate writers who challenge, encourage, inspire… who share their stories and ideas, and share them well. I want to be part of this kind of group in the blogosphere. The High Calling is a “safe” place online, a place I know I can find solid truths to read daily. The editors and contributors are a group of people who are tremendously gifted in writing and who are using this gift to write about faith.

It is nice not to be a “lonely blogger” out there anymore. Honestly, it felt risky to start linking up at first. After having been a lone blogger for so long, I felt timid, like a little water girl who wanted to try out for a Major League team; however, I long to walk in community online just as much as I long for this in my person-to-person, walking everyday life. And I’m still stepping out, getting to know people out there and letting them get to know me (online and in the face-to-face world). Stepping out is far more rewarding than blogging alone. I’ve “met” amazing people and read incredible stories and fabulous writing I’d probably not have encountered otherwise. This is yet another facet of the wonderful journey of faith the Lord has me walking.

I love it. I’m having a blast blogging and reading others’ blogs. I do a little cartwheel in my head when I see a comment. It is thrilling to me when people actually read my blog– and then also leave a comment. (Isn’t that thrilling, blog-writers?!)

And finally, one more thing. Through following a few of the links on some of The High Calling blogs I’ve read, I even started posting a little bit of poetry online. I found a couple of sites that offer poetry link-ups, where I’ve found other High Calling participants (and other faith-inspired writers) — and that has been exciting for me. I didn’t envision I’d be posting poetry online (it’s been confined to journals, never online until recently), but I’m immensely enjoying this unexpected part of the journey. Again—it was another leap, and it was risky (and still is) to put my work out there. But, at what other point in time have writers been able to get this kind of feedback from one another? Share with one another? I’m even starting a separate blog just for poetry and creative writing. And once again, I can say—I’m loving it.

Thank you, High Calling, for providing a place of rich content, a community to connect with, and a place to participate in the conversation of faith and life. I look forward to journeying with you.