My First Connection Group

When I heard registration was opening up for Connection Groups, I was intrigued by the invitation and decided to sign up. I’ll admit that it felt a bit risky, considering there were a lot of hypothetical scenarios running through my head of how a random group of women meeting and connecting virtually could actually pan out.

“What if it feels awkward? What if I don’t relate to anyone in the group? How are we going to connect on a personal level via Skype if we’ve never met in person?” These were some of the thoughts and fears that went through my head that almost kept me from signing up…but I’m so glad that I went for it anyway. After spending the last few months getting to know the amazing ladies in my group, I can honestly say it has been one of the highlights of my year so far!

In our group, we had six ladies all serving in different countries, some single, some married, different ages, different seasons of life, that’s a lot of differences, isn’t it? But what a privilege it was for me to get to know each of these women and to journey with them over this past season.

I was amazed how we meshed together so quickly and became a supportive community to one another. Despite our many differences, we actually have more in common than not. We talked about everything from the ups and downs of language learning, to the grief and celebrations of frequent transitions of life abroad, to singleness and marriage. I relished our weekly time together, not just because it helped me reflect and grow personally (which was a huge blessing in itself!), but because I felt a sense of belonging to this life-giving community of women.

Often times, living abroad feels like I’m continuously looking for where I fit in.

I’m American, yet I’m trying to fit in to Cambodian culture. I’m trying to fit into Cambodian culture, yet I’m also trying to find my place in the expat culture here. Relationally, I find myself craving normalcy and familiarity. One thing I realized in joining this group is that the weekly Skype calls with these ladies were one of the few moments in my week that felt “normal” in the midst of navigating life abroad. I got to speak my heart language, talk about aspects that are relevant to my life and where my heart is at in this season, and I resonated with my sisters over anything and everything related to living out our callings abroad. I got to hear these like-minded women share about their lives, and I was moved and encouraged by their honesty, wisdom and their hearts for the Lord.

Not every conversation our group had was deep and personal, we laughed a lot too. In the midst of so much personal transition and cultural adjustment over the past year, I did not realize the energy it was to process life abroad and “get my heart caught up to my feet.” Or how much I needed a time to actually laugh. Having the space in our conversations to laugh and talk about lighter things was also really life-giving for me. We exchanged book, music and podcast recommendations; we shared funny stories; we sent each other fun everyday life pictures. Without knowing it beforehand, I think my heart needed the light-hearted banter just as well as the deep life conversations that we had.

What I originally feared could be an awkward group conversation via Skype, actually turned out to be some of the most connecting and meaningful conversations that I had throughout each week. It’s hard to summarize how God has used this group of ladies in my life over the past few months because there are so many things I could say. The thing that I am most thankful for in my experience in being a part of this group is how God orchestrated for us to journey together in this season, to bond as sisters, and to be an encouragement and source of life to one another. The gift to see and be seen, to know and be known.

What helps you feel understood? Have you signed up for a Connection Group? We still have openings, Facebook, for Facebook Live Chat and for Boarding School Moms. Register here.


  1. Renee September 12, 2018

    Wow. These words are exactly what I have felt the last two days as I just signed up for my first connection group. I have been longing for a place to belong, in a culture where I don’t seem to fit in. I’m excited to have women to resonate with. Thank You Lord for Your goodness in providing just what we need to fill our cups!

    1. Elise September 13, 2018

      Thanks for your comment, Renee. So glad you signed up and are taking the plunge! I hope it’s a great experience for you and a rich time of connecting with a wonderful group of ladies each week! I am excited for you!

  2. Janet (Jan) H. Krauss September 12, 2018

    Renee’s thoughts startled me, because they also are mine. I want to “fit in” into the world which I’m now in, but when I’m asked, which is daily, where I had just lived, and why was I there, and usually they had smiled and turned away. I am looking forward to this group of women who also want connections with other believers.I

    1. Elise September 13, 2018

      Thanks Jan. It turns out we’re not alone in wanting that sense of belonging and connection as we navigate life abroad, which is comforting to know. So glad you’re joining a connection group, and I hope it will be a life-giving and fun experience for you!

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