This past weekend about 25 local Christian women gathered at Old Hand Coffee in Abbotsford to talk about their faith and their online lives.

A handful of them were there to be part of the panel or part of the hosting. All of them were there because they were stepping out of their comfort zone. They were willing to come out on a Friday night to a place they may have never been and sit in a room to chat with women they likely didn’t know well, or at all. As I sat amongst all these talented and interesting women, I didn’t take it lightly that they were the ones who said YES to our first ever event, because they did more than just say yes to eating tasty food and drinking top notch drinks in a dreamy little space. They were saying yes to our question ‘ do you local ladies long to build a community online and offline?’

Because we all share something unique.

We all are using social media. We are all looking for ways to be creative and bold with our gifts. We are all struggling with the questions we face as we navigate our online lives and our faith. We all want to hear some encouragement and insight from women who have been there.  Deep down, we know, we just want to know that we aren’t alone. We want to know that there is a sister down the road who also faces these doubts, and questions, and hurdles, and opportunities we find as Christian women with online platforms.

For me, this event was all I could have hoped it would be. It was a lovely space, (delicious food and drinks), a relaxed setting and my favourite thing – – the constant din of conversation. We opened with an icebreaker that instigated a lot of fun, interesting, and sometimes deep conversations amongst the women. I could have chatted to these ladies all night long (in fact I attempted to!). Then we featured the panel discussion.

I had an amazing time last night hanging out with some incredible women, some whom I have met online at @alittlelightca, some I’ve never known. (And a couple that turns out I did know! Bonus!) It was an “out of my comfort zone” type of thing. Meeting new people by myself can be incredibly challenging, but one of my goals this year is not only to say “yes”, but “and”–to try and do something more. So, I said yes to come, AND I went by myself. Which, doesn’t seem like a big thing, but to me IT IS. And I’m so glad I did! Thank you Shawna and Rachel for dreaming and doing! Also, @oldhandcoffee is amazing and they make a DELICIOUS latte that kept me up till 2am, and I have zero regrets about that. ☕️👌🏼 #alittlelightpanelmixer #alittlelightcommunityA photo posted by Brandi-Lee Doucette (@doucey) on

The discussion was facilitated by JenniMarie, who was equal parts sassy and introspective with the answers our panel had to offer. Our panel featured Kim of She Is Clothing, Louise of Talk Nerdy to Me, Stef of ECE Mom and Lynnelle of Tiptoe Meadow.

Each woman has a unique angle to her online work and it seemed like each one had their own message of encouragement to offer. All of them were vulnerable and open with their answers, which made it such a valuable discussion. They offered insight on everything from social media platforms, to stepping up in your local churches, to listening to those nudges from God that take you out of your comfort zone.

Each woman inspired us because they are following these bigger dreams God places in their heart – even if it scares them. These women are definitely trailblazers for us fellow BC women looking to use our online platforms with more meaning.

Conquerors, victorious, created in His image. Cliche? Yes. Truth? Absolutely. At the #ALittleLightPanelMixer organized by Shawna and Rae at Old Hand Coffee in Abbotsford, I had the privilege of talking with four ladies who are using their online platforms as a way to share God’s love and its impact in their lives. Prior to meeting @hi_ecemom, @sheisclothing, @louisechappy, and @tiptoemeadow, I browsed stalked their online platforms for glimpses into the world of these four successful, competent, beautiful women. From remarkable loss, intense insecurity, deep pain, crushing failure, I saw lovely women sharing hope and living victoriously. Talking with them in person? I am encouraged. Thanks, @alittlelightca for a spectacular #alittlelightpanelmixerA photo posted by @thejennimarie on

We also featured door prizes that were generously donated by Claire of The Gift of Writing (a free online course! and both of them look unique and worthwhile) and Rose of Simply Rose Photography (a free headshot session in a casual timeless style that Rose makes look effortless and stunning).

Katy from Elsie Road Magazine helped close our night with a message that is a good reminder for many of us online. It was around feeling like you haven’t ‘arrived’. I don’t know about you, but I often find myself hustling to this mystery destination called ‘arriving’ and I need to step back and remember Katy’s words, “as creatives and Christians, we can build, create, strive and grow, but we don’t need to worry about arriving. Our arrival is something Jesus has already covered.” 

The night was also made complete with the treats made my Katie-Sue at the Sweet Baker and a special gift for each attendee hand-lettered by Colleen Pastoor of Lemon Thistle.

Hosting this event was a mission of A Little Light since we started last fall. We believe community is where life happens, love happens, serving happens, growth happens. We believe in community, online and offline. Meeting these women face to face, watching them get to know one another continues to reaffirm our need to step out of our online bubbles and make our online lives tangible and fruitful with offline community.

Thank you to each woman who attended the Panel Mixer. We can’t wait to see what is next for this community!


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