When it comes to social media, I’ve always been late to the game. The first time I logged on to Facebook was after moving to a new state, and a friend asked me to make a Facebook profile so that we could stay in touch more easily. She was my only friend on the site for quite some time, and I rarely ever posted. Instagram wasn’t much different. My college roommate suggested I download it and helped me decide what to upload for my first post. Again, about a year went by between that post and my next. It wasn’t until I left to go study abroad in London promising people back home I would share what I was up to that I started to realize how fun social media could be.
In the years since, social media and particularly Instagram has become a creative outlet for me. I love putting together stories about my crazy life in Southeast Asia and fun moments from the classroom. My feed allows me to think imaginatively and intentionally with the words and pictures I post. It’s a space that not only allows me to share these small moments of my day but to share what the Father has been teaching me and His goodness with those around me.
I once heard someone give a talk about the why behind posting on Instagram. It may seem kind of over the top to put so much thought into a picture and a few words, but the idea of having a why behind what I share resonated with me. I want my Instagram to leave people scrolling feeling encouraged and not drained by comparison. So before every post, I’ve started asking myself that question “why”. Why do I want to post this? Is it because I want people to think my life overseas is cool or because I think others could resonate with this or at least get a good laugh out of it?
That’s why I was so excited when the opportunity arose for me to join the Velvet Ashes Instagram team. It was my chance to encourage this community. Our team is made up of a small group of expat women living across the globe. We are the ones who get to answer your DM’s, create fun templates, post polls and question boxes, and lift up each prayer request you send in. I asked the others on our team their favorite part about volunteering with Velvet Ashes and here’s what they have to say.
“Instagram was the place where I found out about Velvet Ashes. It is my hope to bring that connection and encouragement to others.”
“I love encouraging the community through comments and prayers.”
“What I like best about being part of this team is the team itself and getting a front-row seat of all the connection that happens between women through VA.”
Social media often gets a bad rap and though I was admittedly slow to jump on the bandwagon myself, the beauty of it all is that it allows for spaces like the Velvet Ashes community. It brings together women from across the world who are living and serving for His glory. It allows us to meet a friend we would never have otherwise known and connect with them over a photo and a caption. The value of an encouraging comment or a tiny heart that says “I get it” is not to be underestimated. The Velvet Ashes Instagram community reminds me that even when I don’t feel like it, there are women out there who get it. They get my language struggles, they have relatable bug-eating stories, they know how lonely it feels on the hardest of days, and the joy found in the best of days.
How has social media been an encouragement to you? Have you connected with other expat women through the Velvet Ashes Instagram, and how has that online friendship been rewarding?
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