Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Listening Life #5 * The Giveaway Continues!

Everything we've read so far in The Listening Life aims us toward the powerful chapters we're focusing on this week.

For when we're truly connected to God and our own spiritual wells are filled to overflowing, we are able, by His grace, to authentically love others and have the miraculous ability to be fully present in their yearning and pain.

A core need of every person is to be heard, validated, and accepted right in the midst of their own messy unsettledness, confusion, or grief.  To have another sojourner faithfully walk with them over the long haul with no other agenda than to love and to listen ... while refusing to play God, offer pat answers, wave some kind of magic wand, or lob Scripture like a weapon?

This is sheer grace indeed.

Chapter 6 - Listening to Others
Let's head right over to page 139 to focus on one of the book's highlights - How to Be a Bad Listener.

Adam writes, 'Let's be honest: there is some bad listening going on out there.  The bigger problem may be that it's masquerading as good listening ... Here are a few of the usual suspects ...'

the one-up

the sleight of hand

the inspector

the reroute

the projector

the interrogation

the password

the hijack

the mechanic

the bone of contention

the deflector

the boomerang question

When you're done laughing at the sheer absurdity of it all, which of these twelve culprits do you find to be most irritating?  And which of these transgressors might you have unwittingly morphed into along the way?


'If you are using your silence to dwell on what is happening internally - to listen to your own inner monologue, to come up with more questions, to form a critique or a rebuttal, to prepare your own story or to otherwise focus less on what the other person is communicating and more on your thoughts about what the other person is communicating - then you are not listening well.'


Chapter 7 - Listening to People in Pain
'I once heard a ministry colleague say, "I'm going to be with a person in the hospital tonight.  Time to speak some truth."  This idea prevails in many Christian circles, that preaching is the healing balm for suffering.  Whether it's sickness or divorce or job loss, a crisis calls for some sound biblical exhortation.  I have a number of issues with this.  

First, it assumes that hurting people do not believe the right things or believe with enough fervency.  They may end up receiving the message that their faith is not strong enough for them to see their situation rightly, or that something is wrong with them because they are struggling.  

Second, preaching to people in pain preys on the vulnerable.  It's stabbing the sword of truth into their wound or doing surgery without anesthesia.  Unwelcome truth is never healing.  

Third, "speaking truth" into situations of pain is distancing.  You get to stand behind your pulpit or your intercessory prayer that sounds a lot like a sermon, and the other person is a captive audience, trapped in the pew of your anxious truth.  Suffering inevitably makes a person feel small and isolated, and preaching to them only makes them feel smaller and more alone, like a scolded child.'


The Giveaway
Our esteemed author is giving away a free signed copy of The Listening Life to one reader who leaves a book review of The Listening Life at

Click here and scroll down to Customer Reviews to share your perspective.  {You need to have either purchased the book at or spent $50 at over the last three months.}

And then be sure to say 'hi' to Adam in the comment section of one of The Listening Life posts and let him know you left a review.  The giveaway winner will be selected on Wednesday, May 30th.

If you've been following the series but haven't purchased the book, it's not too late ... go for it!

P.S.  Having trouble leaving comments?  A few readers have let me know that's been their experience.  Simply email me {lindastoll @ juno . com} whatever you have to say and I'll be oh-so-happy to post it for you.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Because Mother's Day Isn't Always What It's Cracked Up To Be

To those who gave birth this year to their first child - we celebrate with you

To those who lost a child this year - we mourn with you

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains -  we appreciate you

To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away - we mourn with you

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment - we walk with you.  Forgive us when we say foolish things.  We don't mean to make this harder than it is.

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms - we need you

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children - we celebrate with you

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children - we sit with you

To those who lost their mothers this year - we grieve with you

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother - we acknowledge your experience

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood - we are better for having you in our midst

To those who have aborted children - we remember them and you on this day

To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children - we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be

To those who step-parent - we walk with you on these complex paths

To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren - yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year - we grieve and rejoice with you

To those who placed children up for adoption - we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart

And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising - we anticipate with you

This Mother's Day, we walk with you.  Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst.  We remember you.
- An open letter to pastors {a non-mom speaks about Mother's Day}
  Amy Young, 2012


Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Listening Life #4 + A Surprise Giveaway!

Well ... listen up, people!

{No pun intended.}

My friend Adam McHugh emailed me a few days ago with an offer to send a free signed copy of his book The Listening Life to one of my readers.

That could be YOU!

All you have to do is: 
1.  Leave a book review of The Listening Life at

2.  Say 'hi' to Adam in the comment section of one of The Listening Life posts and let him know you left a review.

Our esteemed author will select the giveaway winner on Wednesday, May 30th.

I couldn't be happier with his offer.

Because I'm pretty confident that each and every one of us knows at least one person who really needs to read this book.

Chapter 4 - Listening to Scripture
 ' ... Our goal is more than intellectual understanding.  We work, pray and wait for understanding, but we do not treat it as the ultimate prize.  If we seek more of the Bible, then we must bring more of ourselves to it. The "tools" that we use in interpretation are expanded: we do not require just a concordance and a Bible dictionary but humility, surrender, trust, hope.  Along with our minds and our reasoning abilities, we bring our hearts, dreams and imaginations, and all the light and dark parts of our personalities.  If we submit the deepest parts of ourselves to our listening, we have reason to believe that God will reveal deep parts of himself to us.'

Chapter 5 - Listening to Creation
'Something else drove me out into the wilderness: exhaustion.  If you think you get tired of hearing your pastor preach, then imagine how tired your pastor gets of hearing himself preach.  Being a pastor is a noble calling, yes, but it can also be a soul-draining one.  On some days the bride of Christ seems more like the bride of Frankenstein.  I know that human beings are the pinnacle of creation and that our fullest experiences with creation involve community.  Feeling closer to God in nature than in church is an authentic feeling but not ultimately full biblical spirituality.  Yet there is something healing about retreating into nature when the church has worn you out.'


Click here to leave your book review to get in the running for the giveaway!  Scroll down to Customer Reviews to add your two cents. {You need to have either purchased the book at or spent $50 at in the last three months.}

And be sure to say 'hi' to Adam in the comment section and let him know that your review is up and running!


visiting with Holley
every week