One Word for 2016

I’ve been pondering on my resolutions / goals / hopes / dreams / (whatever you call it) for 2016 for a while now.

Towards the latter half of 2015, I wrestled with the reality of “letting my ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and my ‘no’ be ‘no’” in my own personal life, thinking about the importance of speaking the truth in every possible way on a daily basis.  I am all for making goals, lists, plans of actions, etc.  But there is something sacred about committing to one thing, even a small thing, and carrying out that commitment with grace.

I was reading my friend’s blog today (she writes with such honesty, grace, and beauty…you need to read it for yourself) when I ran across the concept of One Word 365 (or I suppose it’s 366 this year since it’s a leap year!).

It is utterly brilliant.  Instead of having all of these resolutions, you pick one word that sums up your various goals, dreams, and hopes for the year, and you live with that one word in mind every day.

The funny thing is, I had already had one word floating through my thoughts and popping into my head at random times throughout the last couple of months.  I suppose this is best evidenced in my last blog post.

So here it is, 2016… Read more…

Advertisements

God With Us // Reflections on New Year’s Day

It was just short of a year ago, on January 10, 2015.  We had finished a week of honeymooning in Cabo San Lucas and it was on the plane ride home that this then two-weeks-a-bride wrote these words with a bit of fear and trembling in her journal – “Lord, as we are on our way home, starting this new season of life…please, please…be with us.”

It wasn’t until this afternoon, finally winding down from the joy and celebrations around our first anniversary, Christmas, conferences, and the New Year, that I finally read through my journal from 2015.

Sometimes weeks had gone by without a single word.  Other days, there were pages and pages of thoughts, wrestlings, tears, and fears.  But the common theme that kept reoccurring through my weak words was that despite our track record or our circumstances, somehow, we would love Him more.  That we would know His presence in our daily lives.  That we would trust in Him.  That we would know that He was present with us.   Read more…

The Greatest Gift of All

As fall fades into winter the sometimes cloudy, gloomy days are the best kind of weather for curling up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book.  I recently indulged in Francine Rivers’ “A Lineage of Grace” series of five novellas, each portraying a fictional perspective based on the biblical accounts of the five women named in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

Besides the fact that Francine Rivers is an amazing author, it was beautiful to read this book and ponder upon the reality that these five women were real women who faced real issues in their day.  In the midst of the messiness of life, they played a seemingly small yet significant part in bringing forth the Messiah.

But most of all, the novella about Mary was my favorite.  Although the major events are formed around the narrative written in the gospels, Rivers took some creative liberty to imagine what it would have been like to raise Jesus as a baby, child, teenager, and young adult.  He truly was the fullness of God and man in one human frame without sin.  What would it have been like to interact with Him, fully God yet fully man, perfect yet so real?

This quote from the book captured it so beautifully (p. 527) – Read more…

Hearing God’s Voice

There have been a few seasons in my life when I have found myself asking the familiar question, “God, how can I know what Your will is for me?  How can I hear Your voice?”

For some funny reason, my little mind thought that once I made those “big decisions,” like college, a career, a spouse, and a family, I would be set for life.  No more “quarter life crisis” moments, no more pondering upon that fateful little question, “God, how can I know what Your will is for me?  How can I hear Your voice?”

So…joke’s on me.  Yup, there’s no such thing as being “set for life,” particularly if you’re living for Jesus. Read more…

Longing for Home // The Importance of Knowing the End from the Beginning

It’s been one of those weeks.  Nothing feels right.  Everything around me is the same as usual, but somehow, nothing satisfies.  I’m missing…something.

Could it be my family who seems miles away?  Could it be my “history friends,” those I can go to and I don’t have to explain anything but they already know?  Could it be a semblance of my old life, the way things used to be?

Part of what I’m feeling could be some of those things.  Yet last night, as I stood worshiping with hundreds of others at our weekly gathering, I felt it.

That yearning, longing.  For home.  For a place I have never been before, but deep within me, my heart instinctively knows what that place is like. Read more…

Did Jesus Have to Die? // Remembering the Truth in the Midst of Darkness

It’s a cold, grey, chilly Monday morning in the Midwest.  It was a long weekend full of heartbreaking headlines, from the recent terrorist attacks to hit first Beirut, Lebanon and then Paris, to the violent political protests filling the streets of South Korea.  My mind is still swirling with unanswered questions, just as my heart is reminded of the power of prayer in the face of evil, darkness, and the unknown.

I am likely one of many, thousands if not millions, reflecting on the fragility of life and asking the hard questions – “What really is important in this life?  What is worth living for?  What is worth dying for?”

As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of the one Man in history who chose this life, broken as it may be.  He chose to be born, chose to live on this earth, and chose to die.  Why?  Why choose to be a part of this world, with all the joys and suffering?

Did Jesus have to live on this earth?  Did Jesus have to die? Read more…

“But First…” // A Look at What Is First On a Daily Basis

If you have an Instagram account, you may have seen the hashtag #butfirstcoffee floating around.  As of 3:55pm CST on October 31, 2015, there are 161,203 posts on Instagram with that hashtag.  That’s a lot of people who really like coffee.

Here’s the thing.  This post really has nothing to do with coffee, but the hashtag got me thinking – what really is first?

I ran across this quote earlier this week from an article referencing Tim Keller –

“Sin isn’t only doing bad things, it is more fundamentally making good things into ultimate things. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything, even a very good thing, more than on God…” 

And as my eyes read those words, I instantly had a choice.  I could turn my eyes away and pretend like I hadn’t read what I just did…

OR

…I could face the truth and ask myself the hard question.  “God, please show me…is there anything, even a good thing, that I am building my life and meaning on more than You?”

I’m a practical girl, so that meant asking the Holy Spirit to help me look at two areas of my life – (1) my daily life and what I do first and (2) my thought life and what I think about most.

Here’s the honest truth of what I’ve discovered… Read more…