Friday, September 4, 2009

Are Online Relationships Real?

Ten years ago, I joined an online homeschool community. As a busy work-at-home mom of 3, I didn’t have a lot of time to forge relationships outside of my home, but by golly, I could surf the web! And surf I did.

I have to admit to some awkward embarrassment when friends and family discovered my plan to get into a stranger’s car in Dyersburg, Tennessee, and ride all the way to Kansas City for a conference held by the homeschool community’s owners. “You met her where?!?! On the Internet?!?!” (By the way….It was a lovely experience.)

Over the past ten years, this online community has shared so much. We regularly laugh together, sharing kid funnies and inside jokes. We’ve had some heated discussion on hot button topics, always under the moderators’ watchful eyes. We’ve held the hands (in spirit) of scorned wives during failing marriages. We’ve rejoiced over healing miracles-both of heart and of body. And we’ve grieved. Oh.how.we’ve.grieved at times over the years.

The past 48 hours were spent in a prayer vigil for one member and her family as their two year old lay broken from a horrible accident. He was hit by a car in front of his home. Little Armondo is with Jesus today-Hallelujah! (No more pain and suffering...) But we mourn for and with his mother, our friend, as we remember her difficult pregnancy and the short life of her little "Candy Bar Suit".

All these years later I am no longer embarrassed to admit that my main support over the years has come from this wonderfully diverse group of women. These strangers on the web.

When I needed prayer warriors during my son’s heart surgery, these women were there. Some wrote encouraging emails and forum messages. Others called, keeping the community informed throughout the surgery and recovery period.

When I asked for prayers of provision just last week, not one but two, TWO of my FIAR sisters put checks in the mail. Two strangers sent me money. Why? Why? Because God prompted them to plant a seen in my life. That is so very humbling and so….profound.

So, I ask….Are online relationships real? Judging by my tears of grief and thanksgiving of late, I’d say yes.

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