Monday, May 5, 2014

A Birthday Month {Giveaway!}, Playing Pick-up Sticks, and the SDG Party

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria!  This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts.  Want to learn more?  Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.
Some things to know:
1.  It's important to take some time to visit a friend.  SDG is about relationships.  If you decide to link up a post that reflects your heart, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place.  We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!
2.  We are a safe place to be real.  I deeply cherish your involvement in the community.  Consider answering the question from "Let's get real" at the bottom of the post in the comments section.
3.  I'm slowly updating the SDG retreat page.  Take a second and check it out?
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My first zucchini!
I don't really like to read directions most of the time.  As such, sometimes my projects tend to go awry or completely fail.  This year, I was determined to try my hand at growing zucchini again, even though the last two springs saw zero veggies.

I did all more normal prep work. Adding soil and compost.  Weeding.  And then I read the planting directions..."Plant each zucchini plant 36" apart."

I realized I had  planted my zucchini in previous years in the same bed with six other tomato plants.  They didn't have enough space to grow.  There were too many other things competing for the same nutrients.  

The squash was squashed. {So sorry, I couldn't resist.}

God has been talking to me a lot about the future of the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood and how all the different aspects of it have been a bit draining.  The nutrients have been going so many different places that perhaps there hasn't been space and nourishment for the fruit God wants to develop and grow.

He's been speaking little words here and there, but truthfully, I hadn't really been willing to fully focus on what He was saying.  And then, last Friday, I was in critical danger of losing my domain name for this blog {a very long story I will not rehash}. I began to think worst-case scenario: What would happen if I lost my blog?  

I had a 10 mile run to do with my running partner, so I started processing it all with her. God had my attention, I was listening, and I was open for Him to do a new thing. It's amazing what can happen when I am no longer tied to things I once claimed deemed of utmost importance.

I feel like God has asked me to play a game of Pick Up Sticks. Every aspect of SDG was laid out on the floor, but there were only certain things He wanted me to pick back up.

As such, this morning, I asked God what He wanted for SDG at its very core.  We collaborated and came up with this:

The Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood is:
  • Accessible
  • Authentic
  • A praying community
  • A place for connections
The Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood is not:
  • Contrived
  • Numbers-driven
  • A heavy burden 
Perhaps our new mission statement would be something like this: The Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood is an accessible, actively praying, authentic community of women who desire to deepen their connections with Jesus and each other.  

I would love to know your thoughts and ideas on the new mission statement (I'm open to tweaks and changes!) and if you'd like to be a part of a core leadership team for this community.  

There were so many things I was doing with SDG out of my own brute strength instead of being powered by the breath of the Holy Spirit.  As such, here is where I see God pruning and sowing for the month of May:

Pruning
1.  Disbanding the SDG small groups.  {The leaders are tired and in need of a break.}

2.  Ending the weekly SDG link-up. {May 19th will be the last week. I have some fun giveaways stretching the next 2 weeks after this one.}

Sowing
1. Getting to know each other in an active settings through our FB page and our SDG email group.  God has specifically placed on my heart for us to really come together both in FUN! and prayer.

2.  Creating a new blog called The Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood where we can focus on connecting with each other in real and fruitful ways.  {I'd like to move to Wordpress and have zero dollars to paying someone to set up a site for me. My husband can help some, but if you are a Wordpress wiz and would like to assist, I'm grateful for help.}

3.  Creating a leadership team that will commit to praying weekly for the prayer requests and helping me facilitate meaningful interactions between sisters online.  {If you are interested, please pray and reach out to me at jenfergie2000@me.com or in the comments.}

So, that's all I have for now.  I'd love for you to continue to be a part of SDG as we grow deeper and I cherish your thoughts and ideas about how to help SDG fulfill its new mission.

NOW, time for a FUN! Giveaway! It's May, which is my birthday month, so I'd love to shower you with some neat gifts!  My sweet friends from high school, Erin and Candace, have started a new online auction business with some amazing clothes and accessories.  You can win this cute shirt by using the Rafflecopter widget below!  (Shirt comes in Small, Medium, or Large)
www.boutiquechicauctions.com a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Time to link up one post that shares your heart. Please make sure to visit your neighbor {and any other SDG sister} and leave an encouraging word for her!

19 comments :

  1. You encourage me with how you collaborate with God. I'm so thankful for your friendship and excited to see what happens with SDG from here.

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  2. Jen, what you have done with this community is amazing. I haven't been as active as I used to be (had to draw some boundaries of my own a while back) but I love getting your email prayer requests and keeping up with SDG that way. I think everything you've laid out here sounds wonderful and I know God has amazing plans for this group of ladies.

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  3. Jen, wow! So much going on...and I have a zillion thoughts and a hug for you as well. First, I really, really appreciate you and the sisterhood. The past year (plus) has been a challenging time and God has blessed me with both online community and a handful of faithful praying sisters who are a blessing to me. How God handpicks, and cultivates the right relationships at the right time is something that is an amazing work of grace. Whetehr online or in real life. Hmm..like the garden analogy? God also uses our writing opportunities and endeavors in ways beyond what we may know. I believe seasons, like squash are sensitive to the planting but ultimately God grows those he wants to grow. OK, I am done with the gardening references. I think one of the lessons God has been speaking is to prioritize HIm and let all else settle- sounds easy? NO, daily this prioritization of hearing Him before the many other voices gets challenged and squelched if I don't put up some firm boundaries...which for me especiallly in light of the current challenges with our daughter has meant ordering and reordering some of the wonderful good things He has given to fall lower on the priority list so that time with Him would be maintained above all else. My online availablility and blogging presence has had to be less. And I feel badly as I have had less chance to see some of the SDG sisters I am grateful for...but knowing even still there were prayers, community and grace has been blessing. All that to say, I will pray for this transition, what (if any) part God would have me in and for the details of your ongoing friendship and ministry. I know that SDG Retreat and Jumping Tandem are two things I would love to do...but we will see the when. Right now, it's so hard to know. But, appreciate you and this online group of sisters! Forgive my rambling...lol. So much for letting my words be few. ;)

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    1. I second what Dawn said: "How God handpicks, and cultivates the right relationships at the right time is something that is an amazing work of grace."
      Jen, thanks for listening to and following His leading!!

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  4. Jen,
    I have always appreciated how authentic you are in your writing and how you encourage us with your example...Thank you so much! ((hugs))

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  5. Jen!! this all sounds really, really good, right & true. I still love the larger blog world & linking up, thinking of the sweet friends I found here first. But now link-ups feel so much less personal. I want to know other people & feel overwhelmed in the midst of so much else going on...as I have been re-engaging my own blog & writing, I've been asking the Lord to help me take each step. The theme of embracing what he's given like sdg :), also my fellow writers at Missional Women {I could see sdg doing really well as a contributor site, ask Laura from Missional Women about it:} & many facebook friends from all across life. It's been so freeing & centering & ultimately it is where the Spirit will work as I allow Him to direct me more & more & continue to surrender, free the idol. I, just, love you. Think that you are awesome & have Phil 1:3'd you every time I think of you as you were the first to really draw me into blog 'community'. Much love always, abby :)

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  6. Jen....I love how you have been able to draw an online community over the last few years. You are a natural at drawing others in and discipleship seems to be in your heart. I have to agree with the commenter above about sdg being a potentially great platform for contributing writers. This probably takes more time than I'm aware of but perhaps it would be a possibility. I feel like blogging is changing for some reason - maybe it's because people are having a hard time building community both online and in their communities. Face to face community and online community are two different worlds - both requiring energy, time, and prayer. To do both can be difficult at times. I am praying for you as you continue to think on the next steps.

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  7. Jen, wow, when God pushes us to the edge, well what're you gonna do but throw your hands in the air.
    I have sensed some of what you shared in the way this community (and you!) have grown and changed. It is a good thing--all of it. (I would like to be on your leadership team if there's room, btw.) And I like the idea of a Soli Deo Gloria Blog. Wonderfulness.

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  8. Praying for you Jen! :) I have been so blessed by SDG and look forward to whatever community God has in store. Thank you for being obedient and transparent as He leads you.. and He is definitely leading you.

    Bless you!
    Dawn

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  9. Jen, it has been a delight to come to "know" you a little bit through the recent book launches. May God continue to guide you as you move forward in these changes. Knowing He is leading you, how can you not go? For where He leads, He will give you favor & blessing. Before leaving this comment, I prayed for you and I am looking forward to seeing all our God has in store for you. Blessings!

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  10. Thank you for this breath of fresh air in the blogging world! I agree with Abby that link-ups are feeling less and less personal, and maybe not the best way for us to connect. That is why I've given up on all link-ups except for yours! This is the first place I felt community and it has lasted for many years. I am inspired by the way you listen to God and collaborate with him. Thank you for being so honest about it and sharing your process here. I look forward to seeing (and being a part of!) what is to come . . .

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  11. I'll be praying for you, Jen, as you follow the leadings of God. It's always a good thing when God makes the plans -- even if we don't see it at the time. i love my Soli sistiers and am thankful to be a part of it all.

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  12. Jen, this is a beautiful example for us of how this is all about Him and to make it all about Him we need to spend time listening for His wisdom and guidance and then moving forward as He leads. Praying for you and excited about what lies ahead for you and your beautiful place. Many blessings.

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  13. While I'm sad to see one of my favorite link up go away, I'm excited for you and the changes that God has placed on your heart.

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  14. Whoop dep whoop for listening to God's leading-- This kind of thing can be hard, to lay things down and pick others up. BUT... Obviously God is behind it so I have no doubt in my mind that this is the right direction for SDG. (Although I will sorely miss the link-up... Although you are probably one of my favorite parts of it, so I am glad you aren't going anywhere! ;-)

    As far as moving to wordpress.org... Sister, I VERY not technical and by the grace of Jesus I was able to switch my website over BY MYSELF (with lots and lots of prayer.) And I only almost panicked/cried twice. If you want some more insight from a non-professional, shoot me an email and maybe we can chat (or even connect via phone.) Praying for you in this new season... And congrats on the zucchini. YUM.

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  15. You can't get rid of us, Jen. We will follow you wherever you go. :) We love you and our Soli Sisters.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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  16. Jen, I have met so many wonderful people through your Tuesday link-up I am a bit sad to see it go, but I can't wait to get a look at your new fun space on the web. Yay! :)

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  17. Want you to know how much we appreciate all you do for this group. I too will miss the link up as I think it is one of the best ones. I find the greatest blogs listed here. sounds like your heart is really listening to God. Thank you Jen.

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  18. I just want to say that I am very proud of you for letting go of some things and really looking at the big picture. God has so much more in store than you even know right now. It's so great that you are listening and pruning as you are growing and changing and as this community is growing and changing. I know you well, so try not to stress about the logistics (switching to WordPress and getting the design just right). I know you've already encountered a few hiccups, but that's all they are....hiccups. God will see you through to the other side! Love you, friend. :)

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