Wednesday, February 6, 2019

My Word for the Year

There is a trend that has been online for the last several years of picking a word for the year. I don't usually participate because, well, I often don't know how to define my vision for the year by a single word and I am usually too indecisive to pick just one.

Well, this year I have been praying for weeks asking the Lord if He had a simple word for me to designate as a word for 2019. We are in such an interesting transition that seems to be akin to the "Waiting Place" Dr. Seuss described in his book Oh, The Places You'll Go! We have had so much happen in the past 6 months that led us to this place of hurry up and wait. We have had some miraculous provision from the Lord that is a story for another time, but absolutely beyond anything we even asked for, and yet the Lord has been pretty silent when asking Him for specific direction and His voice to speak to us. I wondered if wait was my word for the year, but my heart didn't feel settled when I would try it out. Other words seemed to be possibly appropriate as well, but nothing would settle in with my heart as the word that God was speaking to me, and I couldn't get to the place of saying yes, this was the one, but my heart really desired to have a word, as silly as it might be.

As I thought and prayed and asked, one word would pop up in my mind as a possibility that I would quickly push aside. It is a great word, but it didn't seem like appropriate to what I see as the season we are in. Yet the word kept coming up in my mind, and I realized it was what my heart desired of this season most of all: joy.


I am someone who really desires to be at peace with all my relationships and circumstances and find general happiness regardless of what is going on in life. I have lists and lists of thanks written down - mostly written in times when my heart is feeling least thankful, in order to point myself back to seeing the overflowing faithfulness of God in my life and redirect my moods and emotions. But even deeper than thankfulness and happiness and peaceful relationships with people and circumstances, I am desiring that deep, overflowing, abundant joy that God speaks of in His word. Like, true joy that causes me to laugh at the days to come. I don't want to be moved by mere circumstances or transition or my emotions. I want joy that is bigger and deeper and wider than the emotion of happiness, though I love to be happy. I want the joy of the Lord to be my strength and my anchor.

Isn't it funny how sometimes we have this deep desire but we wonder if the Lord wants it for us as well? I think that was what I was wrestling with - joy is my desire, but I asked is it His desire for my year as well? Quieting my busy mind and thoughts to actually ask myself what I was wanting and ask the Lord what He was saying about this year, I finally found this place of settledness in the word joy. I believe that funny that in the middle of my current unsettled life - almost all my worldly possessions in a storage unit and no place to call my very own - He is calling me to discover abundant, overflowing joy. I am so curious and excited to see how He plays this out in my life this year and what it ends up looking like.

Jesus had no home to call His own when He was ministering on this earth, something I have come to really appreciate and relate to over the past three months of looking and waiting for the right house, and I love how He has showed me that He really does understand and know all our temptations and weak places in our lives. He is acquainted with all our ways and He is so very near. He also was filled with joy above all His companions, says the writer of Hebrews, so I know that Jesus wasn't just content with life or thankful for what He was given but had this amazing joy that was so far beyond what was in front of Him. I press in and pray for God to do amazing things in our lives, and He really always does, but I am so excited to discover and experience joy that is so far beyond. I want to know this joy of Jesus and have it overflow from me onto others as well.

Do you have a word that you feel will define 2019? I would love to hear yours and what significance you feel it holds.


Friday, January 25, 2019

The Tease of an Early Spring

I saw these flowers when I was on a walk yesterday and they grabbed my attention. Technically, it is not spring. But here where I live, we have had a couple teaser 70 degree days where the earth dared to come alive with the brightest green hues and the early blossoms of bulbs.

I think the season I am slowly emerging out of makes me feel very akin to the bulbs. There is a time of year that bulbs look like that had that short enthusiastic bloom, but then there really seem like that was it and they died for good. I even remember in our very first home, there were some random bulb in the middle of our grassy lawn and we mowed them down to have the uniform lawn look. But even though we weren't desiring them there, as soon as a little warmth and sunlight kissed the ground the hid beneath, the came up from their seeming grave and show new vibrant life and joy and popped up their lovely flowery heads in the middle of our grass before we could push them back down.

I have been through it. Some of you know parts of my offline story, but I would venture to say no one but my husband has really witnessed what felt like a slow death of so much of what I considered to be so defining to who I was in almost every area of my life. I felt like all my dreams and desires and vision died and was buried deep under the ground in a slow and drawn out letting go. I still loved God, still loved my family, but just felt so much like I had let go of so much and really believed it would never resurface - some of it I think I purposefully mowed down because I just didn't want to see it anymore, quite like those bulbs in our first house's lawn. But, it feels like a subtle tease of a season shift - like there is just enough warmth and light hitting the soil of me that there are things started to sprout up, and dare I even say flower, that I thought were gone forever.

I don't know what this is all going to end up looking like, but I just wanted to acknowledge it. I am not picking up where I left off on this blog - it is like a fresh start with a bunch of archives that I don't regret at all because they are a part of me. But so much has happened, so much tearing down and letting go and refining over the past several years of not writing much, and I really do think it is going to bear fruit that I have yet to see.

Since I have so very few readers left, it feels like a good time to just work it out on paper, or blog posts, right now and see where it all takes me. I am thinking I will give an updated simplified look to the blog as well. I am wanting to write again. I want to share what the Lord has taught me along the way because He has always been faithful, even when I couldn't understand His ways.

More to come.


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

You Can Do Hard Things

I asked on my personal Facebook page a few days ago what people would want to see me write about. A longtime friend mentioned I should write about balancing all the different parts of life and finding peace in the midst of it all. Really, that is so humbling of a request because finding balance in life as a mom, wife, and adult with all the different hats to wear and things to do is very hard. So often I feel in the middle of the moment that I am failing and that it is just too hard to do. But there is a statement that I have been fixating on in teaching my kids to be overcomer in their own lives: You can do hard things.

I can do hard things.

Such a simple statement with so much power, and quite honestly how I have tried to live my life over the past 6 or so years when life simply seemed too much and too hard and a big blur of overwhelm. You see, it first acknowledges that it is true that what we face is indeed hard. Life is hard. Hard looks different for each one of us. There is the daily grind kind of hard. There is the huge obstacle kind of hard. There its the chronic type of hard. I could probably write a whole chapter of a book on each specific kind of hard we as women might face. Life can be so very hard.

It is okay, and actually vital, to acknowledge what we face is hard. I don't know about you, but sometimes I have this little voice in my head, the voice of the accuser, who whispers to me that it is just me - that others would be able to do whatever is before me easily and there must be something wrong and broken about me that it feels hard. Listening to that voice long enough, I will start to agree with it and belittle myself for not being able to "live up." "What is wrong with you?" On and on the accusations flail. But quieting my mind and just saying, "No, this is actually hard, even if everyone in the world could do it easily, it is hard for me... but I can do hard things." 

You, and I, my friend, can do hard things. Life might throw so many various curve balls at you, sometimes one that threatens to take your very breath, and hope, away. But you were made to be an overcomer. You can do hard things. One. day. at. a. time. Sometimes one moment at a time.   

And so today I want to just leave you with that - you can do hard things. Whatever it is you are facing right now in this very moment, you can access the Spirit of the Living God and ask Him for His strength and then you can do that hard thing before you. 

I will leave you with a Martin Luther King Jr. quote that I read this week that just resounded with me: 

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Being Reawakened

So here I am writing again for the 2nd time in one week. That has got be a record of sorts for me in the last several years. Hahaha!

I have things being reawakened in me that were dormant for so very long. Things that I had desired to do, or used to do, but had let go of are just starting to poke up their head and say, "Hey, remember me?"

I have 7 kids. I have been married for almost 17 years. I am nearing 40 years old this spring. I am not the same girl I was when I was turning 20. And yet, I kinda am. I still have hopes and dreams that I haven't accomplished, that still feel out of reach, but I have a bit of maturity under my belt to realize that things take time. Often the journey is very different than we thought it would be, but it doesn't mean it isn't the same journey we were always on just because it looks different. Different isn't bad. In fact, it is what brings interest to this life that we are living.

I want to go with what God is doing. I was in a season of letting go for what seemed a long time.  Being pregnant and having new babies over and over again for so long felt like I had to let go of so many many things and just focus on what I had right in front of me - the beauty of brand new life and yet all the intense work and energy that takes. I could not handle even thinking about all the things that used to bring me joy and life, let alone do those things.

Then my dad died, and it felt like a part of me died with him. Grieving took time and looked different than those around me and different than I expected it to look. I felt lost. I didn't know who I was anymore. I didn't enjoy the things I used to enjoy. Things that used to bring me joy, just felt like they fell flat. And honestly, I felt very guilty about that - like maybe I was supposed to be processing it all different and maybe just more than I was versus letting it all affect me in ways I didn't understand. I don't know if I have fully pulled out of that, but this is the first time in these almost 6 years that I feel like I might have a tiny bit of vision coming back and desire to do what I used to enjoy doing. I don't mean to make it sound like I was just down in the dumps all the time for the past 6 years, but I would say that I think I have struggled with a mild form of depression that is probably very normal for someone losing a parent. Well, at least that has been my story.

All of this is to say that I have the desire to write again, but I don't know what I want to write about. Since I am pretty sure no one ever saw or read my last post, I think it is safe to just slowly process here before I start really writing for others to read. I want to put one foot in front of the other and let my heart start overflowing again into words, words into ideas, and hopefully write more than ramble like this.

Life is short and goes by so very quickly. I want to choose to take steps forward and not let life happen to me and just survive. I want to thrive in the place that God has put me and the wonderful full, oh so very full, life He has given me that the 20 year old me could have never even imagined. He has been so very very good. All the hard parts, the beautiful parts, the tiring parts, the thrilling parts, the painful parts... they add up to my good. Hopefully I can start sharing some of that again in writing because with 7 kids, well, there just isn't time to sit down one on one with each of you and share from  my heart how God has taught me to trust Him and how it is okay when your path doesn't look how you thought it would. He is always faithful and we can learn so much from each of us sharing our story of His activity in our lives.


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Where to begin again

So, after frustration with the technical stuff when I last opened this blog to write well over a year ago, I just didn't come back for a while. Honestly, it has been years since my heart has really been here to write and to share with you all my journey. It is hard to know where to start again. I am sure those who have followed along from the past can tell that I am capitalizing my I's now. Well, it isn't that I am opposed to my former poetic way of having God be the only truly proper noun (still a beautiful thought to me)... just got a new computer and it defaults to capitalizing all my I's whether I like it or not, and I decided to not fight it but to go with it for now.

So, I am way out of practice with writing and blogging. I have had so much happen in my life since I was last writing here that it really is hard to know where to start again, but I wanted to at least give it a go and maybe try to drop in here now and again to share little things on my heart and that God is teaching me. Why? Well, after trying to push away from writing for so long because it just stirred up pain I didn't want to deal with, I have felt the stirrings again of really wanting to write a book. But why would I even write a book if there was no one who was wanting to read it? So, I come here to write again. Mostly to work out the muscle of writing again, to find what it is that is even stirring inside to write a book about at all, and because if there is anyone who still reads what I post here, you might be the ones who would be interested in a book if I indeed write one someday.

This morning as I was asking myself what I would even want to write about... the thing that kept echoing in my mind was "there is value in the journey." So, I am thinking that is what I will start sharing here when I can, and we will see where this things goes.

If anything I write resounds with you, I always value your comments. You are also free to share this place with people you think will be encouraged by my simple words. I also welcome ideas of what you would be interested in reading if I were to write a book (or even a blog post more regularly).

Bless you all and I am hoping that I will be here more often, sharing the overflow of my heart.

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