Risky business....

Risky business....
Hi, I'm glad you're here. This is the second post of my Trust Series, where we're exploring what trust looks like. Why? Because trust scaffolds every decision you make. If you're interested, here's the first post in the series: 5 Benefits of Trusting God. Photo used with permission of Flickr User: Ryan G. Smith (“Trust” is an ongoing learning process for me.) Twenty-three years ago, I wore a white Cinderella-like dress and stood with my husband before family and friends to make my second biggest trust decision. Trusting God with my heart was my biggest trust decision.  ***What does a child learn about trust from a parent who promises to do something but doesn’t...again and again? *** You board a plane, most likely flown by a pilot and maintained by mechanics you never met. Yet you trust they will safely take you to your destination.***   To read the rest of my post, please visit my friend Charity Singleton Craig's blog when the post goes live on 9/4/14 at 6 am PST. I hope to see you there. Thanks. For my third post, I'm leaning towards tackling some of the obstacles to trusting God. Praying for wisdom and trusting God to lead. Linking with encouraging friends Jennifer Dukes Lee, and Lyli Dunbar of Thought-Provoking Thursdays.

What are Five benefits of Trusting God? (& P.S.)

What are Five benefits of Trusting God? (& P.S.)
Dear Friend,  I'm excited you're here as I begin a new series exploring the idea of "Trusting" God and what it can look like. "Blessed are those who trust in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.- Jeremiah 17: 7-8" Photo via Flickr CC User: Marina del Castell Trust can seem like a sword when you find your spouse cheated or your best friend lied. But trust in God is life giving. The Hebrew word "batach" translated "trust" in Jeremiah 17:7 can also be translated "to confide in, to set one's hope, confidence upon.(See Blue Letter Bible here)." Jesus exemplified trust as he faced then suffered on the cross. He had to trust His death was not the end. Resurrection was. Jesus's trust and obedience bore fruit in the lives of others: his disciples, others and myself. I saw the benefits of trusting God in people who placed their confidence in God through trials (loss, chronic pain and illness, suffering etc.). I'm privileged to know some of these saints in real life and some of them via blogging. What are the benefits of trusting God according to Jeremiah 17:7-8? Connected to source of life: Jesus is the Living Water (John 4:10). Rooted: stable, which allows the next three benefits: Doesn't fear heat, i.e., hardship; Isn't anxious about drought - harsh living conditions; Continues to be fruitful despite hardship. I have seen the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) in these saint's lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. Trusting God doesn't mean we avoid heat and drought. It does mean we can supernaturally produce the fruit of the Spirit when we're connected to God's Spirit. It seems too incredible, but I recently saw this lived out in a friend who received devastating news. Trust begins with our connection to Jesus, the Living Water, our soul craves. If you're like me and feel like a young sapling when it comes to trusting God, don't despair. It takes time and nourishment for a tree to grow and develop deep roots. So we learn, over time, to sink our roots deep into God, His love and His promises. We grow in our relationship with God. As our relationship with God grows, our faith grows. We learn God is not distant but closer than our next breath. Please be patient with yourself because God is patient. (Also telling myself this.) God is love and love is patient. Soul Stops Moment: Want to memorize Jeremiah 17: 7-8 this week with me? (I have the verse posted on my refrigerator.)  What does trusting God look like for you today? Which benefit resonated with you? Thanks for reading and being part of the conversation. I always appreciate your insights. P.S. On Thursday, I will be writing more on "Trust" in a guest post for my friend Charity Singleton Craig's blog. Once the post goes live 9/4/14 at 6 am PST, I will include the link here. Later, I'm leaning towards writing about obstacles to trusting God & maybe sharing some of my trust struggles. I don't have it all figured out. Trust me. I'll be asking God for the words to write. And I'm trusting He will. Oh, and somewhere in there, I want to introduce you to Scott Grant and host a giveaway of his book. Linking with encouraging and gifted friends: Barbie of The Weekend Brew and Kelli of Unforced Rhythms. and Lisha of #GiveMeGrace.Also linking with super-encourager Holley Gerth     

What if you stopped trying to be an extrovert?

What if you stopped trying to be an extrovert?
Dear Friend, After I read Holley Gerth's post about how she used to force herself to act like an extrovert and how she's learned to accept and affirm herself as an introvert and a highly sensitive person (HSP), I felt relieved. It explained much, such as my aversion and avoidance of certain movies. My husband is an introvert but not an HSP so he can watch a movie like Band of Brothers and not flinch during the battle scenes. Photo used with permission of Flickr User:snikrap   "And when I try to fight this part of who I am, I always lose. Because it’s essential to the purpose God has created me to carry out. I’m also just flat-out, worn-out from trying harder. I just don’t have it in me anymore. And I’m discovering that when we stop striving there’s finally room for grace." - Holley Gerth I understand what Holley means. Yes to grace. If you're an extrovert wondering how to love the introvert in your life, Holley Gerth gives seven tips based on her masters degree in counseling and her own research, here. Holley's first tip: recognize introversion is not about liking or not liking people; it is about how your nervous system is wired. Read more tips here. *Here is a link for a test to see if you, your child or a loved one is a highly sensitive person. I didn't know I was an HSP until spring 2013. And here is little quiz to help you decide if you are more of an extrovert or an introvert or some range in between. I am an introvert with extroverted leanings sometimes. (Thanks Trudy for this link.) I keep thinking about how Paul compared the church to a human body (I Cor. 12: 12-27) where each person has different roles but each is important. What if we really embraced the truth of what Paul said in 1 Corin. 12: 12-27? How would our relationships change? Praying we can receive God's grace for how we're wired (introvert or extrovert) so we can extend grace to others and to ourselves. Love, Dolly I'm linking with these encouraging friends: Holley Gerth, Jennifer Dukes Lee,and Lyli Dunbar of Thought-Provoking Thursdays.   Soul Stops Moment: Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Do you love someone who is an HSP? How do you honor how God has made you as an introvert or extrovert? (Hint: regulating your people-time without guilt.) How do you affirm a loved one who is wired differently than you are? Thanks for being here. I always appreciate your thoughts. P.S. Colleen, an extrovert, wrote a post on seven ways you can love an extrovert. This is for my extroverted friends or if you love an extrovert.

You are not alone (a song) & a visit to...

You are not alone (a song) & a visit to...
I know some of you are going through deep waters right now. Praying this song comforts and encourages you: "I Am Not Alone" sung by Kari Jobe "When I walk through deep waters I know that You will be with me When I'm standing in the fire I will not be overcome Through the valley of the shadow I will not fear." Photo used with permission of Flickr CC User: Jenny Downing Subscribers, listen here for the rest of the song. God promises expressed poetically: Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,    I will fear no evil,for you are with me;    your rod and your staff,    they comfort me.  - Psalm 23:4 ESV When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.When you’re between a rock and a hard place,    it won’t be a dead end— Isaiah 43:2 MSG       "The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail your or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." - Deut. 31:8 Prayer: Dear God, I pray for each person who feels as if the deep waters will overcome them. Give him/her strong assurance that s/he is not alone. You are with him/her. May s/he press deeply into you and cling to your promises. Be their strength. Be their defender. Be their refuge. Let them trust you enough to let You be their strength, defender and refuge. Thank you for your faithfulness. In Jesus' name, Amen. P.S. It is time for my monthly guest post at Tweetspeak Poetry...hope to see you there. Thank you. Here's a teaser: "Docent Martina G. of the San Jose Museum of Art held a mini iPad as the tour began in the museum’s light-filled lobby. Her blue eyes sparkled next to her buzzed blonde hair. Martina strolled to the front entrance and asked us to look up at the cathedral ceiling. Above us hung three different Chihuly sculptures with their waving sinewy glass tentacles, which we hadn’t earlier noticed. The largest one was mostly a pale baby blue and evoked a cascading waterfall. A young boy thought the red bulbous one looked like an octopus. A woman said the yellow one reminded her of Medusa." Read the rest at Tweetspeak Poetry Tweetspeak Poetry.

A Postcard (Of Sorts) To You because I appreciate you!

A Postcard (Of Sorts) To You because I appreciate you!
Dear Friend, I've missed you. Your kind e-mails, prayers and comments have deeply touched me during my short blogging break. To let you know your prayers are making a difference, I wrote you a postcard of what God has been saying to me. Praying it will encourage your heart. Photo used with permission via Flickr User: Fred Moore On Saturday morning, I listened to a webcast by Lysa Terkeurst about her latest book, The Best Yes, which felt like a big hug from God. It felt like God telling me my "best yes" was to take a week off from blogging and to make more time to listen to Him. I fought feeling guilty and indulgent. I fought to hear God saying, "I accept you - just as you are - gifts and weaknesses, so you need to do the same." I believe, help my unbelief, God. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the webcast: To pray each day to find my "best yes": "I want to see you today, God. I want to hear you today. Help me to pay attention." "The more we do battle on our knees [in prayer], the less we battle in our flesh [with fleshly sins like pride]." "Every decision will point your life in a particular direction." But we don't need to feel overwhelmed about a decision, as Liz Curtis Higgs reminded us: we can ask the Holy Spirit for discernment. We each have a different level of "full" so we don't judge what someone says "yes" or "no" to...For me, it was to not judge myself harshly because my plate gets "full" faster than another person's plate. No comparing. No judging. Grace for others. Grace for myself. "Not every assignment is my assignment." (For us over-responsible types...) "Overwhelmed schedule=underwhelmed soul." "Don't confuse the command to love with the disease to please." Every "yes" requires a "no." Practical tip from Lysa on what to notice: If saying "yes" to something makes me feel dread, drama or see disappointment in my kids' eyes, then it may be a warning sign, telling me to say "no." From a wise friend of mine: Try not to make any major decisions when you are "HALT" - which stands for "Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired." Hope these little nuggets also encouraged you. Love, Dolly