About the Author

Crystal is passionate about cultivating a community where faith, fitness, and friendship come together. Author of “Creative Basics: 30 Days to Awesome Social Media Art,” Crystal is a writer, speaker, host of the Write 31 Days challenge, and coach who shares encouragement at her blog, crystalstine.me. Connect with her on...

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  1. Crystal (the Community Builder) 🙂
    Thank you for your tips and your encouragement to take the friendships we have developed online one or two steps further. It does come back to basics – love like God loves us (extravagantly)! You bring hope and inspiration to all of us little bloggers out here in cyberland!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. Crystal (the Community Builder) 🙂
    Thank you for your tips and your encouragement to take the friendships we have developed online one or two steps further. It does come back to basics – love like God loves us (extravagantly)! You bring hope and inspiration to all of us little bloggers out here in cyberland!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  3. Very encouraging, I’ll be stepping up my encouraging efforts , I love to send cards so its time to get back to basics !!! It’s all about LOVE …. Thank you … God is so Good

  4. Oh girl… I love all of this – Every. Word. I can not imagine my life with out this community and so grateful that God has opened up these doors in my life. There is something special about waking up to tweets, prayers and encouragement that poured in while you slept… just something about that make my heart sigh with content. God is so good, so, so good.

  5. Oh girl I so so love this! Love how you encourage others to love the body of Christ well! Thinking I might need to send some letters myself… 🙂

  6. I love these tips, Crystal! I was especially convicted about celebrating with my friends… it’s easier for me to encourage my friends when they’re down sometimes, but so important to cheer them on when they’re doing well too. 🙂 Reading (in)courage has turned me into a card-sender, and I love that my friends have started sending them in return too! Thanks for your encouragement, and your leadership to the (in)couragers. 🙂

    • It kind of reminds me of how I tend to approach prayer – things are a little rough? I’m on my knees in seconds. Things are moving along smoothly? I can be honest enough to say I’m not as quick to go to the Father. It’s the same for me with encouraging others & that consistency is something I’m slowly working on 🙂

    • It kind of reminds me of how I tend to approach prayer – things are a little rough? I’m on my knees in seconds. Things are moving along smoothly? I can be honest enough to say I’m not as quick to go to the Father. It’s the same for me with encouraging others & that consistency is something I’m slowly working on 🙂

  7. Crystal, friend, lovely! This bench I’ve been brought to and found a comfortable spot on is amazing and wonderful. The women I have met, and those I continue to meet, bless me up and down and sideways, and I strive daily to be that same blessing to them – whether it’s answering technical questions about HTML/CSS, or it’s offering prayers for someone I barely know… or that extra email sent off after reading a post and leaving a comment simply to reach out a bit further. I have seen these small gestures grow into amazing friendships. Cannot wait to meet you, friend — big smooshy hugs all around!!!

  8. I just caught up on Part one and then dove right into Part Two… I have always prayed for the “workbook” so to speak, on how to be a better friend and encourager. Wondering how do I do this and why is it so tough?
    I am learning, in this season of rebuilding new friendships and community, that it doesnt need to be so tough. It really doesnt. Thank you for sharing these words… HIs timing is perfect for this heart of mine!

    • It can be very hard, especially if you’ve been hurt by community. And I think we all have. But you’re right – sometimes it just takes one, little, simple, small step. Praying for you in this season, that God would guide that first step.

  9. I just caught up on Part one and then dove right into Part Two… I have always prayed for the “workbook” so to speak, on how to be a better friend and encourager. Wondering how do I do this and why is it so tough?
    I am learning, in this season of rebuilding new friendships and community, that it doesnt need to be so tough. It really doesnt. Thank you for sharing these words… HIs timing is perfect for this heart of mine!

    • It can be very hard, especially if you’ve been hurt by community. And I think we all have. But you’re right – sometimes it just takes one, little, simple, small step. Praying for you in this season, that God would guide that first step.

  10. If there really is a “return on investment,” then how is it that I (and other women that I know) could pour into others for 20 years and then, when we needed it back, not have it given to us?

    I know some reasons for that (inability to be vulnerable, feeling responsible to give but never allowed to receive, much less ASK FOR what I need), but sometimes, even as I move back into community and find good things there, the act of investing in others terrifies me. I did it for so long and ended up completely empty. I don’t know how to avoid having that happen again.

    But it’s a journey, isn’t it? Even if what you say was not true for me in the past, perhaps it can become true in the future.

    • It’s a journey, definitely, and maybe that “return on investment” won’t be seen on this side of heaven. It sounds like you have a heart to pour into others, and that can shine beautifully for Jesus. One thing I’ve found is how important for me is to take time away to refill, to spend time with a very small, close group who know what I need and can keep me grounded in God. You can’t pour out when you’re running on empty. Praying for this season, this journey you’re in, that you would find hope and joy in the investment.

      • Thank you. Yes, I’ve been learning to try and not run on empty–even if refilling means saying “no” to people and backing away when I know I need to. I am not God; being there for others 24/7 without regard for my needs is not my job. 🙂

  11. If there really is a “return on investment,” then how is it that I (and other women that I know) could pour into others for 20 years and then, when we needed it back, not have it given to us?

    I know some reasons for that (inability to be vulnerable, feeling responsible to give but never allowed to receive, much less ASK FOR what I need), but sometimes, even as I move back into community and find good things there, the act of investing in others terrifies me. I did it for so long and ended up completely empty. I don’t know how to avoid having that happen again.

    But it’s a journey, isn’t it? Even if what you say was not true for me in the past, perhaps it can become true in the future.

    • It’s a journey, definitely, and maybe that “return on investment” won’t be seen on this side of heaven. It sounds like you have a heart to pour into others, and that can shine beautifully for Jesus. One thing I’ve found is how important for me is to take time away to refill, to spend time with a very small, close group who know what I need and can keep me grounded in God. You can’t pour out when you’re running on empty. Praying for this season, this journey you’re in, that you would find hope and joy in the investment.

  12. Love to see this conversation. I’m a recipient of some great online encouragement and have seen the online friendships turn into true life friendships. We live in an amazing time when we have so many new ways to overcome isolation. Yay for encouraging relationships!

  13. Crystal,

    Great words of wisdom. I find myself an encourager all the time. I love sending
    e-cards and have started sending “Snail mail cards” also. I find there’s nothing better than a hand written note: “praying for you”, etc. Also our women’s Bible study has a prayer time before we begin and I write down all names and pray for them.

    All this blesses me as much as it does the receiver. It makes me realize how fortunate I am to be where I am at this point in life.

    Blessings!

  14. Crystal,

    Great words of wisdom. I find myself an encourager all the time. I love sending
    e-cards and have started sending “Snail mail cards” also. I find there’s nothing better than a hand written note: “praying for you”, etc. Also our women’s Bible study has a prayer time before we begin and I write down all names and pray for them.

    All this blesses me as much as it does the receiver. It makes me realize how fortunate I am to be where I am at this point in life.

    Blessings!