Friday, July 19, 2019

On the Porch * Dear Linda

Welcome back to the porch, friends!

Your response to our first On the Porch gathering last weekend was warm and kind and enthusiastic.  If you missed the big debut, click right here to see what happened.  Good stuff.  Exactly what I want On the Porch to look like!  You and me together, hanging out on a random weekend.

Thank you.

We put our feet up, we chat about whatever's on my mind ... or yours.  You might find a bit of Scripture, a few snapshots, links I love, or some kind of 'aha' moment I just can't wait to share.

And if you're a blogger, this is where you link up your best and brightest post of the past week ... be sure to offer readers a bit of a trailer {ya' know, like at the movies!} to entice them to visit you.

They're an enthusiastic responsive bunch, for sure.

Or you might find a Dear Linda letter like I'm sharing with you today.  It's where you ask me a question about relationship challenges, social media stuff, ministry leadership, homekeeping quandaries, healthy living issues.  And I respond.

Dear Linda-- how does one best reengage with the social media and writing world after she did so well at disengaging and struggles with feeling worthy of connection? Heavy question. Oh this return to writing isn't easy but as I told my therapist this week-- I'm committed to this regardless of the numbers but because I believe God has a purpose in bringing me back to my writing home. Thank you for your encouragement ... always!! 
Beth @ Simply Beth

Dear Beth ~

Thanks for being the brave one, the first to put a question on the table.  It means alot to me that you'd be vulnerable enough to say 'this is where I am.'

First of all, I'm so glad you're talking to a professional about this season you find yourself in.  I admire that you're sharing with your readers what you're going through.  That kind of writing is courageous and bold and likely to touch hearts where they are ... wounded, hurting, broken.

You become a safe harbor for your readers because you truly understand where they're coming from.

I love that you say that you're committed to writing because God has a purpose in bringing you back to your 'writing home.'  That vision will keep you focused because you're playing to an audience of One, aiming to honor and please Him.

You mentioned the numbers.

Completely ignore those pesky numbers, the stats.  They are a side show that does nothing but make us feel like we're on a roller coaster.  When they're up, we feel on top of the world and when they're down, we feel like losers.

This craziness does nothing but distract from you want to do which is share your heart, spark conversation, and build community.  Back when I started blogging, I'd often pray that just one person would be blessed by what I had posted.

Just one.

It takes the pressure off you to feel like you've got to perform or achieve some kind of goal.  And it invites you to simply be who you are ... Simply Beth.  Lovely, tender, and gracious.

Speaking of social media, I'd encourage you to pick just one venue and not spread yourself all over the place.  You want to be fully engaged in living your life well, not glued to a screen.  It's such a trap.

You're building relationships.  That's the key ... and it's a delightful one.

You bring up a good point about feeling worthy of connection.  I guess none of us feel truly worthy without Jesus' kindness, His sweet grace.  Without His presence alive and active in our lives, it's too easy to look at the places where we've erred, fallen, or disappointed.  That's so like the enemy to distract us, to keep us looking back instead of looking up to the One who gave Himself, who offered us eternal connection in the first place.

Jesus defines your identity, your worth, your very being.  Keep your eyes on Him ... the author and finisher of your faith {Hebrews 12:2}.

Bless you, girl ~


Let's show Beth some love and a warm welcome back to blogging in the comment section.  {Email readers, click on the title of the post to bring you to the party.}

And be sure to visit Beth's site and leave an encouraging word.

If you have a Dear Linda question, please send it along in the comment section {yes, you can be anonymous!}

Or email me at linda stoll @ juno . com

Please keep in mind that I'm a board certified pastoral counselor and a certified life coach ... not a doctor, lawyer, magician, biblical scholar, miracle worker, or licensed mental health professional.

I do love that you're here!
Go ahead!  Share your week's best writing ... or an encouraging word.

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visiting with
Mary & Sue


  1. Today it is not going well.
    Every breath is like a knife,
    and movement is a walking hell;
    what happened to my life?
    The question's really tongue-in-cheek,
    for clearly, I'm still living,
    and while these times have left me weak
    there's strength yet for the giving.
    God knows the number of our hours,
    and the bright mosaic of time.
    We can live like sun-kissed flowers
    to be cut down in our prime.
    To die upon the brightest day...
    if you have to go, that's the way.

    1. Hey, man ... I'm thinking you've got another book here, a compilation of your end of life poems.

    2. It'll happen, Linda. Perhapsnot by me, but it will.

      There are something over a thousand from which to choose, all written since the beginning o the year.

    3. 1000!

      Oh my!

      Best therapy ever ... and incredible lifeline ... and a huge ministry to countless others who are suffering as well as those who love them.

      You know I'm cheering you on.

    4. I feel the cheers, Linda.

      That I could reach people and somehow touch their hearts, and help them, it's the biggest privilege o my life, and I would not have missed it for the world.

      What's happening to me now, it's worth it.

  2. Thanks for asking your question Beth. I agree with what Linda wrote - my response to your question is just follow God's leading to write - He will bring the people He wants to read it! Just remember He gave your the gift of writing to be used by Him!

    1. Marilyn, you're so right. Following God's lead to write is a huge factor in moving ahead in blogging ... not sticking to a certain schedule or setting great big goals or feeling like you should follow a certain path just because some self-appointed expert gave some advice that doesn't work for you.

      So very applicable in every area of life, this following His lead. Thanks for taking us there this afternoon ...

    2. Hello Marilyn, thank you for your encouragement and the reminder to just keep following His lead. Blessings to you. SimplyBeth
      (Linda, I can't figure out why I show as Unknown!!)

    3. I was wondering the same thing about the Unknown!


  3. Thank you, sweet friend, for all that you said in response to my question. Those reminders are very much especially as this season of healing is still fresh and new. I am in a place where I need truth spoken back to me! Thank you for always being a safe person, and for creating a safe space here, for me (and so many others) to share their hearts. You are a blessing to me. All my love, Simply Beth

    1. I love how you put it, Beth, 'this season of healing.'

      May it be a sweet time of refreshment, new perspectives, and far fewer 'shoulds' and 'oughts.'

      It's my joy to connect with you ...

  4. I so admire your courage in writing to Linda, and her answers are spot on. Yes, write for Him and Him alone, and everything else will fall into place. And I'm going to check out your blog, that's for sure!
    God bless!

    1. Yes, it's courageous to put your question out there for all the world to see. And what a gift to be in community where people are safe and kind and loving.

      Martha, thanks for being such a faithful part of what happens around here. I appreciate you so!!

  5. Good advice. Balance in all areas of our lives is so hard to maintain. Once we think we get it worked out satisfactorily, another factor comes in. But that keeps us constantly dependent on the Lord, so ultimately it's a good thing.

    My post is on knowing God as He really is, not for who we think He might be: It's not surprising that the world would invent its own version of God. But even within the umbrella of Christendom, we can hear people quote God or advocate His position about something that's not in line with what He gives us in His Word. We know a little how that feels. We want to be known for who we really are; we don't want people to make assumptions about us or misrepresent us. But making the wrong assumptions about God can have far worse consequences, for us and for people who listen to us.

    1. Barbara, I'm so glad you've shared your writing here today!

  6. Wonderful response to Beth! In Canada, Instagram is doing an experiment by not showing the number of likes on posts. It just says 'others.' I hope it stays this way! I'm still figuring out social media, and have hope for the next generation who may navigate it better than ours from the learning over time. Kind of like our generation evolved to seat belts and child car seats, from children sitting in laps. Have a wonderful weekend, Linda!

    1. Yeah, there is an evolution to all we're being exposed to ... makes you wonder what social media will look like 50 years from now.

      Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

  7. Like everyone is saying, I appreciate your response too, Linda. For the most part, I quit looking at the stats too (except occasionally I still peak!): "They are a side show that does nothing but make us feel like we're on a roller coaster."

    One of my posts this week was about accepting our weakness as strength in Christ. It's a hard thing for me to do! And included quotes from Alia Joy's "Glorious Weakness".

    1. I just finished Alia's book this week, Lisa ... one of my favorites this year. I'll be talking about her soon ... and a beautiful quote from her is now at the top of my counseling page.

      She's quite a woman, isn't she.

  8. I like this post and the back and forth communication it inspires. I’m off to visit with Beth.

  9. Let your blog be the one Jesus would want to read.

    Mine is

    God bless.

    1. WWJR.

      What would Jesus read?

      That's good ... so good.

  10. Hi Linda! Enjoyed my first visit to your front porch immensely. Such a lovely spot and so many new people to meet! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Nice to meet you, Beth, and thanks for asking this question! It is so easy to let numbers and social media distract us from our writing and take away the joy.
    Linda, I love your response! I agree, the relationships are the main thing and if God can use our words to encourage one person it's worth it.

    1. Just one. A special soul who comes thirsty and in need of connection. God knows who that is.

      I love that ...

  12. Perfect advice to Beth, Linda. I have had to learn not to look at my stats - they are not important, not the reason I write. The relationships I have developed over the months I have been blogging are the most important thing. I have learned so much, received such good encouragement, and read such a variety of viewpoints through blogging. As you said, if God can use our words to bless and encourage ONE person, our writing has purpose and meaning.

    1. I like how you put it, Laurie ... we have to learn not to look at the numbers. It took me quite awhile to put them in perspective.

      They inform us but don't define us ...

  13. I've been taking more breaks from writing than usual this summer, and it's been redemptive--especially because they've been taken in order to make room for hands on, IRL ministry opportunities. It's so easy to fall into the trap of serving the numbers instead of serving our readers, and I appreciate Beth's transparency in getting this conversation going!

    1. In real life. Yep, thanks for that gentle reminder to keep our online perspective balanced and sane, friend.

      I'll be bowing out for a bit after another couple posts ...

  14. Great advice, for all of us! Focusing on and being obedient to God is all we need to focus on. (I'm reminding myself here!)