Tag Archives: #OneWord365

#Choose

Choose One Word 2016

I wasn’t sure I wanted a One Word for this year. The past several years I have picked a word and then at the end of the year I found myself frustrated at my lack of growth in that area….I am one who can be easily discouraged so I thought that maybe I would skip out this year.

If you read my post about the word Depend for 2015, you will know that last year pushed me to limits I didn’t like and in many ways I felt initially like I had failed once again. But I couldn’t put the idea of not having a word for the year to rest so I have been thinking about it for the last few days.

And then this morning I sat down to read a book I was sent as part of another book launch team. Choose Joy – Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts was written by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver. It is available for purchase on Tuesday January 5th and I guarantee this is a book that you want to read to start off the new year.

Choose Joy Cover

I read it in 3 hours, straight through, and have underlined so many sections so that I could read and re-read the truths within the pages.

It is so simple really and yet something that I struggle with in a deep way. How do we choose joy when life hurts?

And then I read these words from Sara….“I made a decision a long time ago that I was going to choose joy. I even painted a big rectangle on my wall and printed it in big letters so I wouldn’t forget to make that choice every day. The major word in that rectangle isn’t joy; it’s CHOOSE. It’s looking around me when life is difficult and trading every complaint I have for something beautiful in my life that far outweighs it. I know, it’s that Pollyanna thing again, but living joyful beats being cynical any day of the week” – Choose Joy

I had been thinking up until then that maybe my One Word should be truth or freedom…things I really want for myself in this coming year. But at that moment I knew that #CHOOSE was the word I wanted to start my 2016.

It is something that I can apply to any area of my life really. And it is so simple, I just have to Choose.

Choose to seek joy even when I feel unhappy.

Choose to find truth, my truth, and live in a more honest and transparent way.

Choose to see others for all of the good things that they embody, instead of focusing on any negatives.

Choose to be grateful for the growth in my life even if it is painstakingly slow at times.

Choose to trust God with the big and the small.

Choose to make time for a relationship with God.

Choose to be more patient and kind to those closest to me.

Yes it seems so simple, but for this human girl with her need for control as well as pride and anger issues….if I am being honest, at times it seems like I don’t have a choice.

But that isn’t true.

Sometimes I have to fight for it….but I always have a choice at how I am going to respond to the life I am living. For a long time I have played the victim. Poor me and how I have been hurt by someone, or life didn’t turn out the way I thought it might…boo hoo. If only things would have gone this way, then my life would be perfect. I have had unrealistic expectations for myself and others and when they aren’t met (because they can’t be) I find myself unhappy and discontent.

And then these words again from Sara – “He used the circumstance of my life to help me grow. He used those circumstances to change my heart. We are here to be changed, to be made more like God in order to prepare us for a lifetime with Him. And more often than not, being changed hurts. I’ve come to understand that the only thing I can control is whether or not I open my heart. Open it to embrace circumstances. Open it to be who He needs me to be in the here and now rather than assume happiness can come from the “If only…” and “When I get…” Open it enough to let Him in to change me here so I can be with Him there.”

Talk about a a smack in the face moment…such truth there!

I know that when I place my feet firm in the ground on a truth like this I am bound to find myself in situations in the coming weeks and months that will challenge my desires to choose well.

Maybe that’s one reason why I didn’t want to pick a word…because I have seen it happen to myself and others and I am so weary from this past year I don’t know if I have the fight in me to walk forward well.

But I realized that in this too I had a choice. I can choose faith or I can choose fear.

So today I choose to trust that God will be walking with me in 2016, guiding me, refining me and helping me to shed some of my old baggage so that I can better be used by Him.

I can’t say it any better than Sara did herself…“But what I have is a mission. A purpose. I am here to live the best life I can with what I have been given. I am here to live out this human existence as a spiritual being – a servant to God and His people – before I head back home to Him. I’m not worried about starting over in a new year. I’m not worried about what this year might bring. I am simply keeping in mind that this life isn’t about me and my goals and my wants and my worries. I am here to fulfill His purpose for me, and my job is to keep my eyes open so I don’t miss it.”

Yes it is simple if we let it be. What will you choose for this new year friends? It is my prayer that we choose to seek God and try and be the best we can be for His glory.

Did you choose a One Word for 2016? I’d love to hear it!!

OneWord_letterpressgiveaway_promofinal_2016

Linking up with Bonnie and #OneWordCoffee

 

Backup Singer, Comedic Relief and Why Dying to Oneself is So Hard

Sheet Music

I have always loved to sing.

In the most difficult times of my life, singing praise and worship songs, belting them out in my car as my cry to God,  were my lifeline.

When I didn’t feel able to praise God in spite of my circumstances with my own words, the lyrics to my favorite praise songs did that for me.

I haven’t ever taken lessons, and in junior high I was always jealous of those girls that were a part of the jazz or swing groups. The would sing and perform on stage and had such confidence.

I tried out for concert choir in high school and while I felt like I botched the audition, I made the group and I loved that time learning and singing.

When we moved to Marshall almost 4 years ago we found a church that we loved right away. I remember seeing the worship team lead and wished I could be a part of it…half hoping that someone would hear me singing and tell someone that I needed to be up on stage.

It all happened a little differently than the magical way I had dreamed of, but about a year and 1/2 ago I started singing on our worship team.

It terrified me.

I am not kidding, like all out body shaking, voice quivering, terrified.

Don’t get my wrong, I equally loved it at the same time too, but it was all I could do to not run off the stage on the Sunday’s that I helped the team.

We have some really great, strong singers on our team and as we practiced my confidence grew a little. I started learning how to hear and sing harmony on some songs (which has completely wrecked my ability to NOT sing harmony on most songs I hear on the radio) 😉 But the one thing that terrified me more than anything was the possibility of leading.

As the person leading the song, you have to know when to start, when to come in, you need to sing strong and know all the notes…you are leading and the rest of the group depends on you.

So clearly my scardy-cat self was not prepared for a job like that.

You see I joke that I was hired for background vocals and comedic relief. Now of course we are all volunteers and don’t get paid…but if we did that is what I would be paid for. I would not be paid to lead. At least not in my mind.

And then this week I was asked to lead. Sometimes leading means everyone on the team sings with you, and as the lead your mic is just turned up a little louder than the rest. Other times when you lead it means that you sing a solo for a time before others join you.

The latter option is horrifying to me. Horrifying.

And so, of course, THAT was the option for me this week.

I didn’t feel confident and the song felt to high. Do I try and sing it strong with the risk of straining my voice, or do I revert to the falsetto high voice that I need to reach those notes that are waaaay up there?

Switching between the 2 wasn’t coming smoothly. I practiced throughout the week. I listened to the notes on CCLI, and I begged God that He would impress on the team that someone else was better equipped for the job.

Clearly I struggle with a few self-confidence issues.

And here is the deal. I KNOW that I sing because God gave me a voice, and I do it for Him. But the voice in my head tells me that if I don’t have it perfect, then I will be a distraction to those trying to worship.

If I can’t sound like Natalie Grant or Kari Jobe…then I shouldn’t be leading.

Dominic told me to sing loud and proud. But as we approached the song in practice yesterday morning I just knew that I couldn’t do it. I tried and it sounded awful, there may have been a few tears too…I was so mad that the whole thing was such a struggle for me.

It is embarrassing to feel that emotional about singing a verse and a chorus by myself. Our team is amazing, and they came in early and sang the chorus with me…and one of the WT leaders talked to me before the service started.

This too is like labor. A process we must go through, and in the end there is a reward. We get to honor God with our voices – even if they aren’t perfect.

Because it isn’t about me. And yes I KNOW that…but boy the physical reactions that I feel in that situation say otherwise.

And I am not there yet. She said that this too is a process of dying to oneself. Of getting to that place where we are leading in worship, unashamed. I can’t and won’t get it perfectly. I am not Natalie Grant or Kari Job, and the people at my church don’t expect me to be.

They all give me grace but I am unwilling and unable to give it to myself.

And she also said that my perception of the situation and the reality may just not be the same. (Who knew?! 😉 )Which is unfortunately the case in so many areas of my life. If I really sounded as terrible as I felt I did, they wouldn’t have me up there.

So this is a process that I am going to have to walk through. I will be honest it would be easier to just ask to never lead a song again, or to quit. Because it is my nature to flee from things that are difficult like this.

But God doesn’t want us to run from the difficult. He calls us to walk through those things, and promises that He is with us.

I don’t know when I will get over the fear. But I know that I want to honor God with the voice that He gave me…so regardless of how I feel on the inside, I will choose to keep trying, and will trust that He will refine this area in my life as well.

What do you struggle with that God is calling you to walk through? I would love to pray over you this week!

Photo Credit: Marcin Wichary

How I Got My Hope Back

Hebrews 6 19We are studying Colossians in our Hello Morning study right now and the question today asked how did the text talk about instructions for walking with Christ daily. Our leader shared that there is a woman in her church who is struggling to get pregnant and has lost hope in that dream being fulfilled.

There is a darkness that seeps into the empty spaces when hope is lost. (<====Click to Tweet)

I have been there.

I lived years in a struggle of trying to find and keep my hope. Years where my husband and I walked apart from God. Stubborn and selfish and sure that we could “handle it”….we stumbled along life, limped is more like it.

I cried out to God in those times that I felt completely alone. Where was He? I wanted Him to fix my problems, make it all better…but He didn’t, and I was angry.

When life started to change for us, when we recognized the need for a Savior in our lives, I started to feel that hope returning. Maybe this time things would be different.

We started going to church, we were baptized and rededicated our faith. We said prayers together as a family in the morning and shared our faith with others. We were doing all the “right” things.

As things started to change we talked about trying to have another baby. We had struggled with getting pregnant with Gabriel, but now…it should be easy. We were doing what God wanted. We were on His path so surely He would “reward” us.

And for 18 months we tried, and each month the hope that I had in the goodness of God faded a little.

You see I walked through those times believing that because we were finally making Godly choices, that somehow we deserved all the good stuff. Alll that God had to give us. I deserved it after all those years of struggle, didn’t I?

And then one morning, 2 faint pink lines.

Finally! I rejoiced in the goodness of God and my hope in Him swelled.

God is good when He allows good things to happen….

And then one morning the cramping came and I knew. I fell to the ground that day in my bathroom and begged God to stop what had already started. I believed with everything in  me that He could save this baby if He wanted. You can do this God – I will proclaim Your goodness if you do. Please God.

But it didn’t stop…and in those moments my hope was once again gone.

How could God allow bad things to happen to “good” people?

It was a question that I wrestled with for 6 months.

Honestly friends, it is a question that I still wrestle with…bad things happen to good people ALL.THE.TIME.

But I was lucky because I had some faithful people that surrounded me during this dark season of my life. Women that knew the Lord and openly shared their faith with me.

They prayed for me. They told me that God could handle my anger and my questions. They shared their own stories of loss and frustration, and then they shared the hope that they had in Jesus.

It didn’t come overnight.

I wasn’t sure it would ever return. I seemed surrounded with people pregnant with life, while I felt a barrenness in my own. I wanted what I didn’t have and I wouldn’t allow myself to celebrate with those who did.

I saw a counselor and she encouraged me to write a letter to the baby we had lost.

Looking back on it, it was one of the first things that led me back to writing in 2008. And so I penned the words I had for that child. The child we had prayed for and loved from the first moment we knew they were ours. I cried ugly tears through the process but found healing. I had written my love letter and I wanted to hope again.

And one day I found the blog of a woman walking on her own dark path.

And yet she had a faith that was strong and sure.

“Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday…”

As I read her words I felt my faith changing. I wish I could say that it came back because of my reading the Bible, or my prayer…but it didn’t.

I needed to see the faith of another, played out in real life in front of me, to believe again.

And that is exactly why I write today.

If I can share my testimony, a piece of my story and bring hope to even one person…it is worth it.

Angie did that for me…she walked the hard road with faith and my life was changed because of it.

Life isn’t going to be easy. Even when we are doing all the right things. I know that now, but today I hold onto the hope that it is all for God’s glory. That our messes and weaknesses and then our subsequent muddling through them might someday offer another hope.

I don’t do it perfectly, but I don’t have to.

Today I read my Bible in the hopes of knowing more of who God is. I know that difficult times could be just around the corner. I know that I am not promised tomorrow so I try and live today fully aware of His grace and mercy in my life.

I have so much to hope for, even when life is tough. (<====Click to Tweet) And I am called to share the peace that I have found in depending on God through it all.

So I write on. And I hope. For you and for me I hope. And for each woman out there that is at the end, on that cliff…feeling like all is lost and God has abandoned them…I am praying for you.

God can handle your questions, your anger and your fears. And He won’t abandon you just because your faith isn’t strong right now!

No in hindsight, I can now see where in those weakest of moments, He was carrying me…and He is doing the same for you.

Today I have confidence that He will return your hope back to you as He did for me. Hold on sweet friend, it is coming….

It Is Well

It is WellI decided on a whim to do a makeover on our toy room. Call it fresh starts, or Dominic’s absolute distaste for the clearance red paint that I put on the walls over a year ago….it felt like it was time to liven the space up.

I love it already. Seriously, I may go missing and be found hanging in the space. I still have so much to do and now have run out of time…but I am excited to see the progress happen!

I spent the better part of the day on Saturday priming and painting. And I just listened over and over to the Bethel Music – You Make Me Brave album. My favorite song thus far is “It Is Well.”

YouTube Preview Image

Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
It is well with me

Through it all.

I felt God calling me to depend on Him this year. I didn’t really want that to be my word because it scares me a bit. What might He call me to? What may He ask us to walk through?

And as I thought of these things on Saturday, the words of this song flooded my spirit.

Through it ALL. My eyes are on you Lord, and through it ALL, it is well.

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Even when I can’t see the whys, even when I don’t know the future, when there are trials and unknown….even when my eyes can’t see Lord, it is well.

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name

Yes THIS – let go my soul and trust. Trust in God, trust in His plan for me and my family…He has control over all, the waves, the wind….He has it all.

It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul
It is well with my soul

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You Lord
Through it all, through it all
It is well with me.

Most of our lives we deal with the unknown. We can’t see what unexpected circumstance may come our way. We don’t know how our children will go through life. For someone like me who deals with fear and worry about those unknowns, this can be debilitating.

But God.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

God goes with me in each moment of my day. And through it all, it is well.

I find comfort in those simple words this morning. While today I am not faced with a major crisis, or decisions (except for maybe pink eye, which is another post all together…) I can trust that whatever I face in my day to day, God is going with me.

Through it all, my eyes are on you Lord and it is well with me.

Depend – My One Word for 2015

Depend

Can I be honest with you? I didn’t really want a “One Word” for 2015. Because finding Balance was such a BIG failure for me last year…I just felt like I would be setting myself up for failure once again if I joined in.

For a few days I thought maybe I would choose a word and that would be “intentional”, because seeking to be more intentional with my family, my writing, my quiet time etc., were all good things. Right?!

I even had a beautiful graphic made from a FB friend…but something didn’t seem right.

And late in the hours of the final days of 2014 I knew that God was speaking to me. Sometimes He does that through a thought, a prayer request when I am in the shower….but this time it was through the voice of my friend Christine.

I was struggling with something and asked Christine and Gindi for prayer. They have become mighty prayer warriors in my life. Voxer has been a gift and has allowed us to communicate daily and find ways to pray for and encourage one another.

So this particular morning Christine left me a message with words I felt God wanted me to hear. Where and with whom does my dependence lie in? Is it in things of this world, of people?? Or is my full dependence on God?

I struggle with fear and worry. I let little things become big things, and always assume the worst. When I depend on people, places and things for my security, I often find myself let down. And it is a part of my nature to just take control and “manage” my life on my own…because surely I won’t fail if I handle it all! 😉

Christine’s words hit home because I knew that I had been trusting God with SOME things, but not everything. Can I place my full dependence on God? For everything?

And so the journey this year begins.

To seek Him, dive into His Word, to know Him and try and understand His plan for my life. To give Him my everything. My hopes and my fears, my worries and my doubts. My joys and triumphs.

I want to surrender my control and fully depend on God.

Writing those words are scary.

What path might I be taken down to test my faith, my dependence on Him?

I have a feeling that this year will be one of growth and change, and while it is scary I am committed to seeking the One who has already brought me through so much. In every trial, every blessing, God has been there. So even if I am certain of only one thing right now, it is that He IS with me.

And that truth is enough to start my journey of depending on God in everything.

Did you choose a One Word for your new year? I’d love to hear what it is if you did!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...