About the Author

Jessica Leigh Hoover is a wife, mama, writer and grace lover. She lives in the hills of North Carolina where she writes and serves with her husband training and sending overseas workers. She loves {hot or iced and always sweet} tea, and heaps of good conversation. She blogs about her...

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  1. Jessica,
    Greetings from another NC gal who knows how to sit on her porch and drink sweet tea. I have moved around a lot in my life and at first I expected the world to get off its porch and come to meet me. I quickly learned that that doesn’t happen. If I want community, I have to take my tea with me and move into the uncomfortableness of the unknown. I take comfort in knowing that God always goes before me and prepares a place for me…I just need to take the first steps of going forward. I may not “click” with some I reach out to…but if I keep at it long enough, the Lord always has a way of bringing along a kindred soul.

    I am really looking forward to the (in)RL meetup! I have met and made friends with some wonderful cyber-sisters-in-Christ through (in)courage and I look forward to meeting some more in person. Thank you for the encouragement to get up off my porch. It is certainly worth the effort! I raise a glass of sweet tea to you!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. Beautiful, Jessica. I’m so with you. We have got to get off the porch and start trying to be that one friend that so many people wish they had. That’s why Jesus tells us to GO – to GO OUT and compel them to come in… not just to sit around and wish they’d come in! If only we could each get that heart for people. God, start it in me.

    • Jamie, that is the truth! It only happens when it starts with us. We can’t assume others will or that it is someone else’s job. Praying for the courage to step out even when it isn’t what I want to do.

  3. Jessica, let’s make time to come sit on each other’s porches okay? Love this post! And so grateful that we got to spend a little time together last week. Looking forward to doing it again soon.

    • Yes friend! I would love to do that! Hoping to have a real life porch soon, lol! Oh, and how much did I love that our posts were like kindred spirits today? LOVE!

  4. YES, YES, YES!!! So many times we want to sit comfortably on our front porch sipping our tea from the mason jar and feeling sorry for ourselves instead of getting out there and *being* that friend. We expect the world to come to us, but if everyone thought that way, we’d all be in our own little bubbles, alone. I want to be that one who gets off my porch and hold out the hand to others. Thank you for the loving push, friend. I may need another reminder once we’ve moved in June. Otherwise I might be sitting in my morning room crying into my coffee cup. 😉

    • How about we be the reminder we each need to get off the porch- even when it is hard and crying in our coffee is easier? You are such a sweet one friend! I know that so many are going to be drawn to your light! Be bold to shine it!

  5. I. LOVE. THIS. You always share your heart so transparently, and I wish I could share a sweet tea with you on a porch (I’ve always wanted a porch, with a rocker on it…) and stay up long after the fireflies are asleep and our kidlets are in bed, and the crickets accompany our conversation. Your post, coupled with this AMAZING video is the perfect fit and introduction to (in)RL. Love you, girl.

    • Anna, you know how to encourage friend. Yes, let’s figure out a way to do what you said. I’m working on getting a porch of my own and we would stay up WAY too late wouldn’t we? And the music video? What a fun surprise!

  6. Love your bold and sweetly direct message. “get off your porch”. We’ve lived in a apartment building complex for the past 9 year. 10 floors and 8 units per floor. I havnet been inside anyones apartment…they havent been in mine. I want to be more intentional about putting myself out there. Heres to taking the first step. Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Lisha, I love that you shared that. I think a lot of us are like that and it isn’t because we won’t to be, but it happens and then we feel like it has to be that way or that it just IS that way. I’m cheering you on as you stretch yourself to be more intentional with those who live on the other side of the wall.

  7. Some are called to a place of pure intimacy and in this place …. it is perfect …. perfection being found only in the Christ ….. MESSIAH ……. a calling …… depending on the upbringing ……… a life prepared for ……. Christ and Christ alone …… HIS and HIS alone …… this solitary warrior bride …….. lifts up her sword ….. given by the LORD ……. as a gift in 2004 …….. to plunge into the darkness ……… to bring JESUS’ LIGHT ……….. forward and upwards towards my PRIZE ……. Christ JESUS our LORD ……… 🙂 know the vision and the calling ………. 🙂

  8. Jessica, thank you for sharing your heart and reminding us to look for those Ebenezer stone moments.

    Love the video, love the lyrics. May inRL burst forth with great and mighty love and hope for women desperate for community.

  9. So this year we had bench necklaces, I guess next year we’ll need to start a charm bracelet with rocking chairs & mason jars? hehe..I kind of love that idea…

  10. I’m a self-professed serial mover. I’ve had my share of porch sitting and stares from other porch sitters. I’ve learned to decide to make the first move. The amazing surprise and blessing is when someone else has made the same decision and beats you to it. Glad we could make our own porch and neighborhood to walk through even if it was an hour away for each of us. 🙂

  11. We’ll be moving soon to our twelfth home, over 1000 miles away. But it’s not just a new state that makes this move different. My pastor husband is retiring, and for the first time, we won’t be the clergy couple that people go out of their way to meet and greet. Actually, it’s not the meet-and-greet stage of relationships I am concerned about. I don’t have difficulty getting off the porch and introducing myself. My question is, “How will it be trying to make friends in a new community? Many of them will have well-established circles of friends.” Then the Spirit reminds me: He’s already there, preparing the way. And He used your post today, Jessica, to offer further encouragement: there are plenty of road-weary women looking for a “home.” Thank you, Jessica!

    • Yes! I think that we can’t take it for granted when we come into a new place that even if people look “connected” they might not feel connected. Our role is always the same. Offer authenticity (the real stuff that comes from knowing Jesus) and don’t let outward appearances determine how you approach a new relationship. I’m cheering you on as you step into a new community and role. Glad my words could push you on a bit further in this new part of your journey.

  12. Oh, my. This spoke DEEPLY to me. It’s the story of my life, and something that God’s been working on me in. Part of me is learning to “get off the porch,” part of me learning that not everyone has to be a BEST friend, and part of me is learning to be content (and THRIVE) in my loneliness. Even at (well over) 50, I’m learning. Moving every 3-4 years of my 30 year married life has left me a little gun shy and awkward when it comes to making friends and building relationships. My dearest ones have traveled with me, and I’m grateful for that.

    Loved “We’re not looking for perfection; we’re looking for connection.” – AMEN!!

    Thanks so much for sharing your heart.

    (and LOVED the music video!!) 🙂

    • Marina, all that moving and rebuilding community time and again can weary a heart, can’t it? I’ve been living that for a long time it seems. I think it makes the relationships that we do establish all the more deep even if it feels hard fought for. Thanks for sharing that part of your story here. It encourages me.

  13. Oh, Jessica, did I ever relate to this today! I find myself at retirement age in a new place yearning for community with Christian friends my age. Honestly, this is the first time, ever, that I have had to make new friends. I grew up and went through all schools living in the same house, always knowing somebody when I moved up in school. I followed my best friend to college where she’d already made great friends, so I fit into her group. I married a boy who grew up in the town where we lived, so his friends and their families became my new friends.
    Now, at retirement we are living and moving around with my daughter’s military family. Our latest move has the friendliest neighbors ever…many related to military jobs. They poured out of their own houses the first day we arrived. The only problem is that they are mostly my daughter’s age.
    Of course, I know what I/we need to do…we need to find a church family…and I need to find a small group within it. This is no fun! As you mentioned, visiting new churches is truly not something we look forward to. So…we, meaning my husband and I…have “sat on our porch.’
    Thank you for this push! I DO need to take charge and get out there to discover a Christian community. I hope your excellent description of what it means to not have a permanent home will spur me on. God bless you for it.
    On a funny side note: A great friend of my family has just moved to Germany. Rather than living on post, they are living the life of real Germans. This friend is very outgoing and has invited neighbors nearby to her own house for a meet and greet. Most have lived there all of their lives. Most had never met the others!!!! I think they do not quite know what to do with my adorable, vivacious, young mother of a 3 year old who is flitting around their neighborhood breaking down privacy barriers. But, they are all enjoying their newfound friendships. My friend does not know how to “sit on the porch!”
    Have an awesome day.
    Gretchen

    • Wow, we could all take a page out of your friend’s book! What a brave mama! I LOVE it! I am cheering you on as you get brave and seek out the community that God has for you. That’s the thing. God wants us to live in community with one another. I believe if you reach out that you will find those who are reaching toward you.

  14. I am with you, girl! I love to sit on the porch/patio and enjoy the day with a nice cool drink and a good book(or two!).

    I love when you say, “The beautiful thing that I have found is that when we move toward others open handed and without expectation they move toward us. Our porches get shared and expanded and those fences that we used as defenses come down.” You have encouraged me to get out there,without expectation, and say “Hi!” to someone new. Here’s to new adventures off the porch!

  15. Sometimes it is dang hard to get off the porch for whatever reason. But, as we move towards serving and loving others, we forget our apprehensions…Every time becomes just a little bit easier.

  16. Jessica, this was beautiful! Over the last year we brought our fourth child into the world and so came the months of adjusting to life with baby once again. Before baby was born, we were right in the middle of such a community of people, however, after the birth it seemed like that adjustment kept me in the house with the door closed. For quite some time I think I forgot that it was I who shut that door. In my mind, I half expected people to be constantly reaching out to us during this time.

    After so many months, we’ve begun to step outside and welcome others to the porch. It’s amazing how often I now hear comments such as how much we’ve “been missed” and “never thought we’d get to enjoy [our] company again.”

    Reaching out is so simple, yet we tend to make it so hard. Thank you for sharing. These words resonated with me in an astounding way.

    ~Jennifer

    • I completely get what you mean. It is easy to have these expectations of others, but not have them of ourselves. Cheering you on as you look at ways to get off your porch- especially with four amazing kiddos trailing behind you. What a great family adventure?!

  17. The music video is so much fun with such meaningful words – allowing God to be EXTRAordinary in our ordinary lives! This can only be done in community with others because others must SEE God at work in our lives. I so relate to staying on my porch. Anytime I encounter a new situation, I tend to just stand back and watch the conversation and the interaction – sometimes for a long time. Soooo, even commenting on blog posts is stepping off the porch for me:)

    • Mei, I’m grateful you stepped off your “porch” to leave this comment. We need those who observe, but don’t be afraid to speak up and be a part. You have a story to share and I believe there is someone that truly needs it!

  18. Oh I know the feeling of wanting people to come towards me!! It’s a blessing that God made me outgoing and I always step up to people and talk to strangers. The downside is that sometimes I really want others to come up to me, I don’t always want to be the one to go. But maybe that is just what God wants though. He didn’t make me like that for nothing. And He is always coming towards me!!

    • Yes, keep doing it! Maybe you are a teacher? What I mean is that folks that this comes easy to are such a good thing for the rest of us. You are a shining example.

    • It can be a powerful thing to move toward someone. It can be powerful in ways that we can’t even fathom. I’m so glad that woman got off her porch and moved toward you friend.

  19. I so desperately need to connect with others. I found a meetup in my area and will try to get up the nerve to go. I am middle age and everyone seems to be so much younger than me. Is this site for anyone no matter what their age? I have been dealing with foot surgery that did not go well and has left me having to use a walker to walk. I get through the day at work and come home. I need fellowship but am scared to open myself up to others. Pray for me as I step out of my comfort zone. Thanks for today’s message.
    Kathy

    • Hi Kathy! Absolutely – (in)courage is “home for the hearts of women” .. all women 🙂 We will be praying for you and are so grateful to have you here! I just know the other women at that meetup will feel exactly the same way!

    • Oh, this is definitely a place for women of all ages! I am reaching a pretty significant age milestone this summer (but we’re not going to talk about that) and I did notice at first that many of the lovely (in)courage ladies are younger than me, but certainly not all of them. Not that I would allude to anyone’s age – I am a Southern girl and that’s just not done. 😉 I’m not dead yet, and that must mean I still have something to offer the world. We need ALL stories, not just those of a particular generation. Praying for you as you get out of your comfort zone and off your porch next weekend. I just know God has something special planned for you.

      • Kathy, you are unbelievably welcome here. Though I am one of the younger women I adore older women, especially some of the ones that are a part of this community. Truly glad you commented today and cheering you on as you reach outside of your comfort zone and trust God to bring you just the community you need.

  20. Since my ministry is called “Front Porch Ministry” I was really anxious to read this! We have lived in our house for 15 years, have seen a few neighbors come and go, but I guess I really have been expecting people to “Come on over” to my porch instead of going over to theirs! My prayer today is that Jesus will open up my heart even more for the people that are right in front of me!

  21. This is beautifully written, and the message comes thru loud and clear.

    I’m the “new kid” where I live, but I’m finding that people these days don’t always come to US…even in our “Christian” community. Sometimes WE have to go to OTHERS. It’s so hard!

    But so worth it!

    Thank you for sharing!

  22. I don’t have a porch…not even a stoop…and at first, I kind of thought I’d miss it. But I’m not really a porch-sitting kind of person. I’m more of a ‘run out and meet folks’ kind of girl…and offer cookies.
    And I did…for years…but too many cookies ended up in the trash, so I stopped. How could I take time away from my own–the little ones God sent me to care for–while my time-laden gifts to others were tossed aside?
    I loved reading how a handmade gift was heart-healing for you…how wonderful that the maker’s need to bless and your need for care intersected so sweetly! I pray that some of the gifts I have made in the past may have had similar impact.
    But for now, I’m not on the porch…or out meeting and greeting…I’m just being Mom.

    • As dear Lisa-Jo would say there is no such thing as “just” being a mom. Don’t discount the value of your littles coming along with you as you get off the porch. I am sure that those cookies weren’t as wasted as you think they were.

  23. I live in Indiana and love to sit on my front porch of a morning and evening and drink sweet tea and look at all the beautiful flowers,birds,trees and grass that the Lord has made. I learn that if I want to meet my neighbors and people in my community, I have to get up off of my chair on my front porch and take my tea with me in my neighborhood and community. I take great comfort in knowing that God always before me and watches out for me. He prepares a safe place for me. I just need to take the very first steps of going forward and helping my neighbors, people in my community and introducing myself to them. I may not click to some that I reach out to,but I know the Lord has a place and reason for this. I will keep at it as long enough,the Lord always has a way for me to be a kindred soul to others. I really want to me that one friend to someone who wish they had

  24. I love sitting outside on my back porch or front stoop. Hubby and I enjoy the cool weather and quiet. I’ve learned in my years that to have friends/community you have to be a friend. That involves getting to know people.

    I have started saying hello to people at church. Making sure they know we/I appreciate them being there. I try to do a “southern” hello glad to have ya.

    I live in upper E. TN near the NC border. Can’t wait for IN(RL). Although I may have family here dealing with my dad’s recent hospitalization and rehab.

    Blessings to everyone 🙂