About the Author

Sara Frankl entered into the arms of Jesus on September 24, 2011, but her legacy of choosing joy lives on. Her blog, Gitzen Girl, is about her commitment to embracing the story God had for her. Her illness stripped her of the potential for a job and family and status,...

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  1. I wait for your blog at (in) courage every month. And you are right the online friendships are just as important as are friends who we see in person at least once a week (or if some are lucky every day). I have been part of Beth Moore’s Living Proof Blog and thru it Beth told of another person who has a blog that had a stroke last Jan. and ask that you pray for her. Well, Joanne is recovering (slowly) from her stroke. Her husband Toben kept her blog going and it’s been a blessing to me because everytime I read about her or even yourself I feel God has blessed me (even though I have had cancer some 21 yrs. ago) and allowed me to find something to be grateful for. But I love reading about you, your dog, your family and how you have been dealing with your illness like nothing is so bad that you can’t go on… May God Bless you and have someone come the day of the party…I am sure there is some type of surprise for you in the works.

  2. so well put…its hard to realize that there are others…we you are surrounded mostly by your own four walls….I too….isolated due to illness. Thank you for the heartfelt reminder.

  3. Lovely post. I get so much encouragement and support from my online friends. I live out in the country and don’t have much contact with people on a daily basis — so it means alot to me. 🙂

  4. i love to read your posts, they always warm my heart. i believe God uses every opportunity to show us His love. it’s amazing to me how He uses something as seemingly simple as facebook or a blog, to unite people, to allow them to feel whole, to let them know that they are not alone. He is forever watching, forever loving, forever wanting us to know that we are not abandoned or forsaken. though our trials at times seem to overwhelm us, He has a way of using those very moments to save others and at the same time to save ourselves. He is an awesome God!!!

  5. I absolutely love reading the posts on this site, I look for them every morning when I drink my coffee! What I like about being online with friends is that it is so much easier for me to express my real feelings, hurts, desires etc. Its easier for me to be on this side of the screen to let others know how I really and truly feel because to me-I am hidden, I am protected as I say what is really hurting me. And I am accepted. The fear of opening up in person to someone is completely shadowed with the fear of them walking away once they hear what I’ve said. I’ve been working on these fears for 4 years now and I have overcome them to a degree. But it is still present. I am determined to keep working on them so that I am just as real in person as I am online to be able to speak my thoughts and feelings out loud just as easy as it is for me to write them out!

    Thanks for your post Gitz! I love reading them!

  6. What a wonderful story of gratitude! I’ve, too, found this community to be embracing, accepting and just what I need at the right time. Such a blessing.

    You make a difference in my life, Sara–your enthusiasm and contentment is humbling. Rich blessings as your relationships draw you ever nearer to Our Father…

  7. Great post. I have gained so much support through friendships built online. It is amazing how you can feel so encouraged and loved by someone you have not ever met in person although it just goes to show just one of the wonderful ways our Lord works.

  8. Hi. This is my first time here. I came across it last night while I was on another site. I am so touched by this post. To know that people care that much that don’t even know you is very moving. I have some friends online, but none that have gone to the extent to drive to me or visit with me. That amazes me. I have had a difficult year, my Dad passed away unexpectedly two days after Christmas, and have felt very alone. Maybe because I haven’t reached out enough to my friends. I just wanted to thank you for this post and for the encouragement I got from reading it.

  9. Thanks Sara!!! This site give me something and someone to listen to and talk to every morning. Thank u so much for your sharing. God bless!!!

  10. I’m pretty new to the blogging world. Am just learning about “community” in the blogosphere – & enjoying it! In the deepest places of my heart, I believe God places us in community because he knows our needs (life is full of challenges) and he is so very good to us (he gives us what we need). Community will become increasingly important as we move closer to His return. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25

  11. It’s like coming home. I love the threads that bind us together, the common things that make us feel connected and the distance that doesn’t separate. I have met a few of my online friends (in)RL also, and it just gets sweeter. So thankful. And your story, your message, your life,…is always such an inspiration every time I read…it’s your heart poured out, and it’s real.

  12. Due to work schedule, kid hauling, taking care of my granddaughter when her mom works, etc., I had not been in a small group or Bible study at church for years and really missed it. At the beginning of this year I joined an online Bible study community and as you say, they are truly that. I’ve come to regard them as real friends even if we only meet online. I trust them with my heart needs. We pray for and encourage each other and I’ve learned so much from their collective wisdom. Yes online friends really can become sisters in Christ!

  13. I am only just beginning to understand the dynamics of an online community and must admit, I have been a little hesitant to expose my heart. However, (in)courage seems to be such a genuine gathering of Christ-loving, encouraging friends. I am looking forward to finding online friends with a heart like yours, Sara.
    God’s blessings!

  14. Wonderful post, When I started blogging, I never dreamed where it would take me. I am so amazed at the friends I have made and have never met, face to face. I hope and pray I may have that opportunity one day, but I know also if not here then in paradise. Caryn

  15. I so enjoy reading your posts. I share many of them with my friends. THANK YOU for letting God use you right where you are!

  16. It’s given me a community when I didn’t have one before. I am a mom of special needs kids and none of our friends around the neighborhood or at church have that going on. I felt isolated for years – so much so that I didn’t even know how much that hurt. It had just become the normal. Then a year ago, I started “blogging” (rather than just updating my blog randomly and never visiting/commenting on others’ sites). I found literally THOUSANDS of women like me. A few have become amazingly dear friends and we talk on the phone, visit each other when we’re anywhere near where the other lives, and send each other little bits of encouragement via twitter, etc. Online relationships totally blessed my life!

  17. I’m so glad you have found community here at (in)courage, Sara. May the community continue to bless and encourage you!

    Online relationships have truly been blessings to me. As someone who is mostly homebound, I have very few in real life friends. I simply cannot go out for walks with other moms, take the children to the playground, or even sit outside when it is too noisy or above 75 degrees. All of this has been very isolating in real life. I am so thankful for the online relationships God has given me. Some of these online girls have become my closest and best friends! Some of us have met in real life and have discovered that the friendship is indeed real and goes beyond words on a computer screen.

  18. I have never met my bloggy friends INRL. I may meet one of them at this year’s Women of Faith and I know another who lives in Apache Junction. We keep talking about meeting because we’re only two hours away. I’m looking forward to hosting INRL group in Prescott, AZ. It’ll be fun.

  19. This is so new to me – all of it. I still do not even understand the whole internet and blogging process lol! The truth is this online community is impacting me very much if only as an observer. In many ways and for certain reasons I have been isolated from forming true friendships for years. I do not have a physical illness preventing me but spiritual and emotional bindings I am learning to break free of. You, Sara are one of the most encouraging women to me, because you prove to me that my excuses for not living well are a lie. There is so much that I cannot say in a paragraph. I am excited to think that real relationships and friendships can form for me through my reaching out to connect. So many dreams are being stirred. I have cried to God to rescue my heart and I know I am in a new process like never before. The greatest thing I am realizing is a new hope to become all He meant me to be and that includes being able to offer the life He has given me to others in the form of “Christ in ‘me’ the hope of glory”. I am considering the possibility of even hosting an INRL group – I tell you it would be a real work of God in coming to pass and I know of no one even near my area who follows along or how to work out the details. And because timing is important too, its not even so important to me at this point as just allowing God to teach me from the women whose blogs I tap into and making a personal commitment to continue to open my heart for the Lord to speak to me (I have even left a few words of encouragemnt myself hoping to be a blessing). I am so happy to be reading your post tonight and am praying for you often. You are one person I would definitely love to meet…

    Lovingly, in Christ,

    Marla

  20. It’s funny you should talk about online friends. People I’ve never met before feel like such a kindrid spirit to mine. Women who think and feel things that I have thought and felt; with all of us speaking truth into the other one’s life. Life was meant to be shared with each other, not painted white and called perfect. Perfect is when the imperfect intercets with the perfect and becomes one by blood. And we all need to share that journey with each other.

  21. I really enjoy this online community. It’s where people write their thoughts, thoughtfullly and elegantly (sort of). We can come to read when we have a moment in our day, enter the conversation as able. I joined up by starting a blog on wordpress in July, and have had a lot of good reflections in writing, linking up. I live sort of on the edge, among people more “liberal” than I but whom I love. The truths written in this community are blessings to me, stabilizing, helping me to love from a grounded place. I’d like to (help) host inRL here in Santa Barbara, CA.

  22. I so appreciate all the opportunities that we have online to read and grow and comment and glean from others. I love the insight that I’d probably never get any other way. There are a dozen or two blogs that I love to read and comment on and link my own blog to. And how affirming it is to see our name right up there on the screen, linked to our blogs, our comments, our presence!

    But an online community just can’t replace face to face connection with those in our flesh and blood world. So many of us are losing touch with the family and friends around us because we are spending hours each day typing away, staring at a screen.

    I know this is true, based on endless posts I’ve read in recent months … where men and women are waking up one morning and realizing that they’ve lost touch with the ones who mean the most to them because they were too absorbed in their own online presence.

    I know this is true because I’ve had to pull myself up short time and again for spending way too much time online instead of focusing on my husband, waiting for me to join him in the other room. My daughters, my parents, my sister, who might have appreciated my full presence on the phone instead of having one eye and both hands on the screen. My friends, who might have enjoyed meeting me for a cup of tea.

    I know this is true based on countless conversations with counseling clients who are out of control in their online interactions.

    So I speak from the heart, having been there and done that. Most of us will never meet the ones we interact with online. And, truth be told, if we vanished from the online communities we believe we’re a vital part of, few if any would notice.

    Meanwhile, I believe that our full, attentive presence is missed by those who live with us, who mean the most to us … and we don’t even realize it.

    I pondered this all in WE’RE SO OUT OF CONTROL.
    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2011/07/we-are-so-out-of-control.html

    I surely hope I haven’t offended a single woman who’s read my observations today. I can only share what’s true for me. As a pastoral counselor and life coach, I simply believe that we are slowly but surely becoming addicted to this whole online world, while the “real” world goes on by without us. And some of us have choices we need to make on how we’re going to spend our limited energy and minutes.

    Blessings as we continue to navigate all the opportunities to connect …

    • Dear Linda,

      Thank you for your comments. What you say here can be certainly true if we use the online community to fill our hearts where the Lord wants to be. He won’t tolerate us asking him to move over for online connections any more than real flesh relationships should have to. And we are not only in danger of online addictions but “relationship addictions” that we may have in our “real” world that can be the underlying driver in our temptation to get out of control or obsessive with online connections and looking for significance or affirmation through these connections instead from of the Lord.

      I definitely agree we need to seek God’s wisdom for the use of this “vehicle’ and create healthy boundaries with it. I also realize if used properly the things we write can be a way that the Lord helps us make personal inner connections between His truth and what we believe in our hearts and bring healing into areas where we have held onto a false beliefs and prayerfully others may be blessed in the process. Listening to others grapple with the truth of God’s word and what He wants for us as the individuals He came to set free can definitely have a wonderful impact – like Sara (Gitz) for an “example”. God has used her to work changes in my thoughts, heart and life but my “focus” is on my relationship to God and pleasing Him – not Sara.

      For each one of us it has to begin with God the Father, Jesus our Savior and His precious Holy Spirit….and that is an all-encompassing statement for every area of our lives. And getting ahold of and grabbing onto what God thinks and believes about us and getting into this same agreement and belief about ourselves with Him is required. Then we can truly begin to accomplish things for Him in our lives – His power is released when we can do the work of believing in the all-powerful One! This is the key for my own life and the hope I have personally found in reaching out in the flesh and online.

      For those who have issues with becoming out of control in their use of connecting online it may require backing off. Creating a journal between oneself and the Lord -in a sense a “blog” between an individual and the Lord only could be the best thing any of us could ever do.

      I hope my response comes across in a loving manner and as an added perspective to your observations.

      Lovingly,

      Marla

      • I hear your loving, gentle, wise heart! And I so appreciate your Christ-honoring response!

        I’m sure we’ll bump into each other again here at incourage!

  23. I’m glad you feel this way about online friendships and community, Sara, because I have met friends with whom I have more of a heart-to-heart connection online than I have “in person”. There is a mysterious and spiritual dynamic which takes place when you have an in-depth communication with kindred spirits online. I know I have experienced it.

    And I have also been blessed to meet a few of these online friends when they came to my area, and it was so wonderful to see the body which houses the spirit I love so much – to see body and spirit linked-up together.

    I often have wished I could sit on your sofa with you and talk all day! With Riley!

  24. I love this. You took words my heart didn’t know how to write, and put them on this page. Online has given me a community when IRL could not, and I’m grateful that (in)courage and you, Sara, are a part of that!

  25. I love your view of community. For me, online community has opened up my world. I treasure my offline friends, but being online has introduced me to so many wonderful sisters in Christ whom I treasure. Just as with offline friendships, I look forward to building those relationships and hopefully getting to meet some of these folks IRL someday.

  26. Brought friendships into my life and encouragement beyond what I could imagine. Just want to meet some of these wonderful friends in real life.

    Blessings to all who make this a wonderful community to be part of.

    Janis

  27. Oh my goodness, my emotions are all over the map at the moment. I’m sad, happy, overwhelmed, afraid and comforted. This is the first time that I have really taken the time to read an entire post on (in)Courage. For the past months I have been reading a few of the individual blogs of contributors. All roads lead to (in)Courage. Sara, I’m so glad that I chose yours as my initiation. I am not without people in my life. I am not alone. I have family, close friends and my beloved, but I still frequently feel isolated and lonely. I feel that this could be a safe place. Unconditional acceptance…no judgement, no critiques. It’s quiet place where it’s OK. I look forward to making friendships and contributing in whatever way I can.