Monday, July 8, 2013

Are You Tasting Freedom? and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood Party!
I am incredibly glad you are here.  If you are new, you might want some details, yes?  Click here to find out more about us.  Also, be sure to read the end of the post today for some important announcements.
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I'm not even quite sure what to say.  This is a dilemma when one is a blogger, yes?  I wish I could just paste my heart onto this screen so you would know.

So you would know that my heart beats for you.

It beats for women, for community, for the hope that God can somehow transform these words into something He can use for His glory.  It beats for authenticity, a love that builds up, and for the tangible gift of freedom.

And so many of us need freedom, yes?  Even those of us fully in love with Jesus, we still find ourselves in chains sometimes, don't we?  They sneak up on us and before we know, we are trapped.  Trapped in fear, performance, anxiety, addiction, fatigue.

At Speak Up 2013 (thank you, dear friends, for praying for me), I had an amazing time connecting with SDG sisters, making new friends, leading a breakout session, worshipping, and learning.  I literally felt the breath of God pulsing through me, empowering me to smile at strangers and introduce myself in love to people who hadn't even glanced my way.  (If you are an introvert, you know this is atypical behavior.)

I was able to give and receive.  And it was good. Glorious.  Eye-opening.

The last session I attended was about preventing burnout and I learned I am on the edge, perched in a precarious position, knowing but only a slight wind may send me toppling over.  And I heard Him whisper words of return...returning to Him for some rebuilding, for some rest, for a realm of freedom I have not yet tasted.

And I ask Him, "What if...what if I lay down down this space, this small room of internet, and I return to You and then, they do not return to me?"

I know.  It's a stupid question and I have the right answers near to my heart, but there is a fear of desertion.  There is a longing for rest, but a greater (?) longing for the continuation of community.  I simply don't know how to let go well.

But I think, How many times has He gone before me and it all comes back in some form of goodness?

I remember --

I can trust Him.  Even when life and words do not flow in their appropriately scripted manner.  Even when the worldly rules say: You can't do this.  Even when it seems like the most backwards decision, He goes before me.

And this has to be enough.

Life, unscripted, has amazing potential doesn't it?  Because it's free.  And things that live in the freedom of Jesus, they flourish, don't they?

During my breakout session (entitled Building Authenticity and Trust in Women's Ministry), I went along my scripted Keynote presentation and handwritten notes.  And when I caught my breath to pause, I heard Him speak to me:

"Have them write down the one thing they know I want them to share, but that which they are too afraid to do so.  At the end, ask them if they want to share."

And I ended my talk fifteen minutes early to share and in those precious minutes, one-third of my class shared the hard. Not only did they share the one very painful thing, but they were then encircled by 9 other strangers who soon became friends, as we prayed for them, loved them, accepted them, chains and all.

They tasted freedom.  They gave up the self-protected walls they had worn for so long.  They traded it for the armor of God.  They trusted Him to go before them and He did.

He's trustworthy like that.

And so, I trust He will hold this community in the palm of His Hand.  I trust He will continue to knit us together in ways we haven't yet imagined.  Because this sisterhood is bigger than me. It's bigger than a blog.  It's bigger than words, scripted or not.
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Logistically, here's the plan:
{1}  We will visit each other this week during our SDG party.  Will you commit to visiting at least 2 people while you are here?
{2}  The SDG party will take a hiatus through the rest of July.
{3} Mark your calendars: We will restart the party with Across the Kitchen Table on August 5th.
{4}  We will still keep in touch via the weekly prayer requests (let me know if you are not on this list but would like to be), small groups, and our SDG Facebook Page.
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Are you new here? Welcome! We'd love to shower you with some love and encouragement, so if this is your first time linking up, will you put "I'm New!" as your caption under your linky picture? Want more info on what this sisterhood is all about? Click here.
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Want to show a sister some love? Tweet her post using the Twitter handle #sdgsisters. Make sure you check the # later for some great posts to read!
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Did you see?  SDG Retreat Registration is LIVE!  Click here for more info & the link to register.
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Linking with Cindy for the Speak Up! blog hop.


20 comments :

  1. I totally understand about not being able to put your experience in words! I love how you were able to flex when you heard God speak to you. Thanks for being such a great role model! Hugs, Michelle

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  2. I know your heart beats for community, Jen. I have heard it over and over and it is so beautiful. I'm so glad you had an uplifting experience at Speak Up. I'm certain you were such a blessing there.

    I admire your decision to take some time to recuperate. I pray it will be life-energizing! And we'll look forward to meeting together in community again in August. It will be here soon enough anyway! Blessings to you in the interim.

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  3. I am trying to figure out just which sisters are in the photos. So glad you had such a great time. Bravo ... for time off.


    Fondly,
    Glenda

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    1. Counter-clockwise: Cindy Bultema, Amelia Rhodes, Donna Faegerstrom, Jenn Hand, JJ Landis, Julie Sanders, (and then me and Carol Kent).

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  4. Jen, I believe God holds you, this community, this ministry in the very palm of His hand. I know that you are doing the right thing by taking a rest, taking time with God and with your family. God will show you His plan for you and that is what is important.
    May He hold you closely throughout this month and may you sense His very Presence at every step.
    We love you and are so grateful for you always. You are a blessing.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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    1. Amen! Linda said it so much better than I could.

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  5. wow what a witness your faith is to me, Jen. I don't live that far from the speak up location and if we hadn't be on vacation would have loved to hear you once again. Hope you come back!

    Have a great rest of July. Yes I will continue to visit other blogs. I love this list. Rest well, my sister!

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  6. I'm a competitive person. I want to hold on tighter, longer - and I love winning - though I really only win most often in chess with my boys - but I have learned that I win more in the letting go - grace soars often in the letting go - praying this month you have soaring moments with your family, with just you-time, and with Him:)

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    1. Your words are so encouraging to me. I am so competitive, too. Praying for this grace in the letting go...

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  7. Always so fun connecting with other bloggers in person! Looks like a great time! :)

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  8. So hard not to put ourselves out there and not look for validation in the number of people who follow us or leave a comment, etc. But if we're after the real community that we talk about we have to be willing to not care about those things...to do as you said and just trust Him.
    How wonderful for you to have such a time! Looking forward to how God will allow it to spill over and bless the rest of us :-)

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  9. Oh how I understand this need for silence as I've just come back to "the land of blog" after a 4 month absence from my personal blog. May GOD show you wondrous things as you draw near to Him.

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  10. I would love to have been there, Jen! Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us. Enjoy your July!

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  11. It was such a joy to meet you in person at Speak Up! You inspire and encourage me more than you could know. I know that God will honor your heart for Him and for community. I'll be praying for you as you make this final writing push, and then rest. Yes, sweet rest in Him. ((hugs))

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  12. I can only imagine the trust, faith, and ultimate joy and relief in that room as the women shared. What an incredibly powerful moment you facilitated! Hearing His voice, and then taking action can lead to such amazing things.
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Jen.

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  13. You're such an encouragement. Thanks for always sharing your heart.

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  14. Your heart for community is felt! Thank you for how you encourage and inspire, Jen.
    Much love,
    Beth

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Don't go yet! Leave me a note with your thoughts.