Monday, October 17, 2011

Soli Deo Gloria Thoughts & Party



I've been thinking about us lately.

I've been marveled by your sharing.  I've been amazed by your prayers, your perseverance, your willingness to truly be there for people that you probably have never met in your entire life, except through this world wide web.  I've seen you give your time, your money, your prayers, your hope, your encouragement, and your love to each other and to me.

Marvelous.  In every sense of the word.

I love this community.  I look back to the debut of us, November 16th, 2010.  For the first link-up, we were 16.  Since then, we have grown.  Our largest party?  We had 83 people attend.  If I was good at math in my head, I would tell you what percentage increase that would be, but alas, I am not.  Any whizzes out there?  You can tell us in the comments.

I give God all the glory for this.  What He has done in us and through us is amazing and wonderful.  And I believe He wants to expand this community even further.  I think there are more people He wants to bring into the fold.  But, in order to do this, I have to get out of the way.  You see, God knows that I am loyal and steadfast and fulfill every obligation that I possibly can.  But, as this community grows, it's getting really hard for me to visit all of you and plan for my class at church, volunteer at my kids' school, run my house, study the Word, and be the mom and wife He has called me to be.  I'm getting this nudge that maybe, and literally I am cringing at the thought of this idea, I need to not have this expectation of myself.  Maybe, I need to listen, just as you do, to God, letting Him direct my mouse over your sweet faces, clicking where He wishes me to go.

Oh, this is hard.  My heart is heavy.  But the journey of Soli Deo Gloria began with me laying down, surrendering to His pruning, and so it must continue.  What I just love is how when He prunes, it is to allow new growth.  I think He is taking us to a whole new level of nourishment, of community, of enfolding those who need help to stand, to share, to love.
The only thing that is really changing is that I might not appear on everyone of your blogs every single week in the comment section.  To understand the precursor to this decision, read this.  Soli Deo Gloria is going to continue on as usual in every single other way...and maybe God will surprise us and do something else amazing!

If you are new here or have ever been discouraged about the lack of comments on your blog, I hope these words will comfort you.  I had this revelation while talking to a friend over a Starbucks chai latte.

I used to think that the purpose of linking up with another blog was so that I could receive something -- more comments, more followers, higher stats.  But God has shown me, instead, that linking up is an opportunity to give first.  When I link my post, I want to people to be encouraged, to know that they aren't the only ones is a bad place or a good place or a whatever place.  I want my posts to be a reflection of what God is doing in my life -- hard or easy.  It is my way of saying, "Here I am.  Walk with me."  It's me extending a hand, reaching out.  One never knows the life that can be changed with His Holy Spirit speaking through these keyboards.  We cannot limit our voice or limit where our voice may be heard just because of the number of comments we have received.  Even if only one person reads your post, that one person could be forever changed.  

This week, as you read SDG posts, know that your heart-sharing matters, whether it is on your blog or in the comments of someone else's.  Know that God is using your voice and your life to do amazing things for Him and for His Kingdom.
"Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near."  Hebrews 10: 24-25
Alright, girls.  Go out.  Spread the encouragement.  Spread the love.  Spread His Word.  Amen!


photo source

38 comments :

  1. Thanks for hosting this link up - I really do appreciate it!
    Stefanie

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  2. "Here I am. Walk with me."

    I really love that, Jen.

    I am so blessed by this community, truly. I'm amazing, and I guess didn't realize that you visited every single blog that links up here. Wow. That's very impressive. Truly. Because, I can only speak from my own experience, each comment you've ever left on my little niche of the internet has been so thoughtful, intentional and sincere. I'm sure that takes an incredibly amount of time.

    I speak for myself, but I'm sure others agree---grace to you, friend. You can only do so much blog time, and still be present to the other things you have going on in your life.

    Grace to you. Breathe it in deep and full.

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  3. Julia -- you have made me cry. Happy, blessed tears...

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  4. Jen.. hahah it looks like i really want you to read mine because i accidently somehow posted 3 times.. forgive me :-) maybe just to make you laugh.. i agree with Julia.. you are such a kind thoughtful person and I have been soo blessed by this community.. and I feel like you are a friend :-) I want to someday meet you. I love reading your journey and what God is doing. I am praying blessings over you as you rest in His spacious place~

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  5. I second what Julia said. You're intentionality is really a blessing, but completely understand that the time commitment may be too much. Blessings to you for sharing with us all these months.

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  6. Jen,
    Wise lady you are to know GOD can, and will use us for His Glory when we are obedient to what He has given and lay down our will for His.

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  7. Jen, you are such a sweet and sincere spirit. I love that WANT to read all the links, but you know how to choose the best over the good. You're leading by example, girl.

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  8. Well, I am new to your blog, and I am glad that I found it. I just wanted to let you know that it has been a blessing in my life thus far, and I pray that it will continue to be a blessing. :)

    I really like what your friend said about comments, followers, etc. It can get so easy to get "caught-up" in all of that instead of realizing the important part of reaching-out to others. It happens to me, I think, all too often.

    At any rate, thank you for sharing your heart. Take care Dear Mother. :)

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  9. Jen...your faithfulness is amazing....thank you for allowing us a place to gather as friends in Christ...what more could we ask for.

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  10. Thanks so much for hosting, Jen. You're such an inviting person and God's love shines through your comments. Wow, you really have invested time, and the time you've taken to encourage and leave comments has truly blessed me.

    Be free to love on your family. I know the Spirit will guide you.

    Blessings,
    Mel

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  11. Jen:

    I totally understand! Each week for me, it is becoming harder to visit everyone and I want to be known as a "friendly" blogger, but I cannot neglect my other obligations.

    I am grateful to you for hosting each week and I consider it a blessing to be a part of this.

    Many blessings,
    Joan

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  12. Jen, you can't haul water for everyone. As it is, you've already given us a great community gardening patch right here. We can haul some of the water too.

    xo
    c

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  13. this is a blessing, jen. <3

    also, i posted the wrong link first. can you please remove it and leave the second one?

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  14. I have been so blessed by your consistency, your faithfulness, your giving in taking the time to visit each one, each week. And every time, EVERY week, I wonder how you do it!

    It is hard to say "no," to set boundaries, to let go ... it takes faith ... and walking by faith PLEASES Him. I'm praying that as you obey and by faith take this step, you will know His pleasure!

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  15. Don't feel bad, Jen. It's amazing enough that you host each week. Thank you for your consistency.

    And I SO needed to hear your thoughts about linking to memes. That blesses my heart.

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  16. Jen...be free...you are under no obligation to comment on everyones...duty will drain us so quickly...praying you will receive the grace He has for you to take this step...
    Blessings~
    ps. I am trying to link but it won't let me...don't know if others are having trouble as well...

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  17. It is disappointing, isn't it, Jen? I have not been able to read and comment on all the blogs either, and some weeks I haven't even been able to read them.

    I liked reading and commenting on each post . . . but growing pains . . . I am happy for each new blogger and hope to get around to everyone . . . eventually.

    You are a hostess with the mostess.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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  18. I totally get this, Jen, and I applaud your efforts to truly listen to God and focus on him. It's hard, I know, not to be able to visit and encourage everyone. But we know your spirit, we know you are with us as we write, and that's more than enough.

    (BTW, I just love the way you wrote about this).

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  19. Goody, goody girlfriend:} and thanks for sending out our prayer request to the group...that was extra time and extra sweet.

    yes, pride is what i wrote about this week and He's definitely been dealing and all that you say about comments {esp. posting every day like I am this month;}...I just love that He does the best stuff when we can't see it! and love this group! and yes, you!!!!!!!!!xoxo

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  20. Oh Jen...God has used you to create such a special gathering place. No on here expects a visit each time...one of the things that first drew me to this spot, was how you explained the visiting of blogs, how you spoke of listening to God's promptings and allowing Him to nudge you to the places you were "meant" to visit.
    That whole process is beautiful to me.
    I'll be happy and thankful if you come visit, but also very much understand and LOVE that you are trying to follow His lead in this...

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  21. Thank you for this blog. For me a good lesson and encouragement. Occasionally I needed. It surprised me that in the English speaking world, many Christian bloggers are. Much more than in Europe.

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  22. I never expected you to visit everyone - so I've been pleasantly surprised to see you in my blog every time. But I'm still not expecting it! That would be totally unfair :D

    Often linkings like this one tend to form kind of "inside circles" of people who every time visit the certain blogs - and that makes it a bit difficult for a newcomer to blend in. But I'm hoping this isn't the case with SDG :)

    Anyway, for me SDG is an inspiration, a motivation to blog about something else than "my pooch threw up this morning". I need deadlines to get anything at all done...

    As for the comments - I'm not good at leaving them myself even if I do visit other blogs. I guess I'm what they say us Finns are: Silent and no-chit-chat or smalltalk. My old blog was called "invisible", so just do the math :D

    It's great that you're prioritizing. We all should do that!

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  23. Jen, I love your words of wisdom and encouragement this morning! Be blessed, sweet sister. :)

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  24. "Even if only one person reads your post, that one person could be forever changed." Amen to that! It's not about numbers. It's about hearts being touched, changed, challenged, encouraged, inspired. Thank you, Jen for stepping out each week and going first! Love you. :)

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  25. First of all thank you for all your hard work in starting this and maintaining as much as you did. We certainly understand. I think it helps us have ownership of this too by trying to do our part in visiting other blogs. I usually try to visit at least five from your list and often many more. You are great, Jen!

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  26. I would like to thank you as well for this community! I love it, and I feel precisely the same way about linking up and hosting a link-up! Blessing!

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  27. So true, Jen. It is not about the comments but about spreading God's Word and encouraging others. I think we are all learning and growing. Thank you for your faithfulness. I'm so glad I know you :) Love, Shelly

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  28. Hi Jen - You cannot do everything all the time, so ask God to show you who needs your response and respond to that person or persons. Your link up has been a huge blessing to me. I have found so many other bloggers here - its almost as if its way bigger than you - no offense meant. Just, God is using you and your blog even if you cannot get to everybody all the time.

    Rest in the knowledge that you are used of God and maybe He is just showing you to not be 'blogged' down - so you can attend to all the other parts of your life.

    God bless precious lady :)
    Tracy

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  29. Jen, I just found you recently. Really touched by your genuine heart after God. Thanks for listening to Him first and for providing this community!

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  30. He'll lead. You follow. Great post today! Thank you!

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  31. Thank you for your heart, Jen. You inspire. Your authenticity exudes. And your love for your sisters is invaluable.
    But we don't expect you to visit our blogs every week. Most of us understand what a challenge it is to even post a blog 1 or 2 times a week, much less visit and comment on 65 others!
    Just realized you commented on mine already...and I just linked up! You are really a gift and God is using you immensely.

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  32. No worries, friend. You do what you feel is right for you, for your family, for your obligations. We know you love us ;)

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  33. Jen, wait... you're not superwoman?! Can I just say... I'm so glad! It's so hard for me to get around to all of the lovely bloggy people in my life each day, so I can only imagine how very difficult it is for you! Indeed it's easy to get caught up in our value based on the # of comments we get... really easy, but I just continue to remind myself that it's so not about that! What it is about is God inspiring and working through our words to not only encourage others, but to change us as well. Your site is a wonderful place that we also grow... to meet new people and share what the Lord is doing in our hearts and lives... that's quite enough dear sister :) Blessings to you and thank you for every-thing you do in His name!

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  34. Oh, dear Jen,
    You have been so faithful. I admire you in so many ways...
    Growth is painful, is it not?

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  35. I always like coming here and reading about where others are in their lives. It opens my eyes, mind and heart to see beyond my own life.

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  36. Jen- I'm so proud of you for pruning. I know how hard it is for you. I'm lucky to read 5 blogs, much less 60+!! Just don't prune our long runs together. ;) You are doing such a great job with your online community here and with your class on Mondays. You are right, you can't do everything. Even Supermom can't do that much. ;) God will lead you to the blogs that you need to read either for your own spiritual growth or because your comment will enrich someone else's life. Love you!

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  37. Jen - I didn't get to link up this week so I'm just now checking in. But I wanted to tell you that I 100% support your decision! I always wondered how you ever found time to visit everyone. Those visits mean a lot, yes, but it shouldn't be about the comments for us. This is all about the Holy Spirit working, and look what has already happened here - bravo! I'm so glad that you are listening to God's nudge to rest a bit and focus on the many other things on your plate. Well done :)

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  38. Jen, you had me slightly nervous that this community might be too much to keep up with, but no! The comments. Phew! I am a mother of four and have no idea how you possibly managed to read and comment on every post up to this point. *Thank you* for your heart and commitment. I expect nothing more than for you to go where the Lord leads you. Blessings friend!

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