One Word 2018 – Peace

Last night I reflected on my One Word for 2017, and today after more thought and prayer, I have finally selected my One Word for 2018.

Peace.

And I have some specific reasons why this is my One Word for the upcoming year.

The main reason is because of 1 Peter 2:11 – Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. (NLT).

This was something Lysa TerKeurst talked about in her book Made to Crave, and it’s something that has stuck with me for years. I know what it’s like to have a “wage war within my soul”, and I’ve come to realize it must be treated as an alarm to danger. Ignoring it means I am refusing to heed the Holy Spirit, refusing to exchange my will for the Father’s. In my experience, this has always been a path that leads to chaos and despair, never peace.

So this year I want to walk and grow in true peace. I believe true peace is something that comes only from the Lord when we are obeying His commands to love Him first and love others second. I believe it doesn’t fit any human definitions, and can be obtained regardless of outside circumstances.

I know what my struggles are. Over-indulging in food and desiring to be lazy with my physical body. Depression and discontentment, especially in winter. While these are not my only struggles by any means, these are the re-occurring ones where I seem to struggle the most with being at peace. I praise God for how far He has brought me in these areas and the victories He has already given me. Now I long to continue this path with Him because I know I’m not done yet, and having tasted some victory I long to drink of His peace.

Additionally I want to have peace this year when it comes to serving. The last few months have left me frazzled and I’m not sure if it’s an issue of poor time management on my part, or if it’s an issue of over-committing myself. However, THE issue I KNOW I have is not spending serious time in prayer with God seeking HIS will in this area of my life, and as He is the only source of peace, it’s time I really lay down at His feet and ask for His direction.

Redeemed. Mending. Discipline. Hope. Focus.

Peace.

Thank you Lord for another year to continue in this journey and this life.

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One Word 2017 Ending

I just went back and read my blog post where I shared my One Word for 2017. The neat thing about blogging, which in many ways for me is therapeutic and encouraging, is that it helps me to see a bigger picture I might have otherwise forgotten about.

In this case, looking back has encouraged me this evening.
You see, this morning at church I was struggling to focus (no pun intended here) on the sermon. My mind was wandering and my thoughts seemed frazzled. Certain words from my pastor would break through the tangled webs of my mind, awaken me and encourage/convict me.
And then my mind would take the words and wander away again.

This all naturally led me to think about my One Word, and with it being New Year’s Eve, reflect on my One Word choice. Focus.  And this morning, in my spider web of thoughts, I was beginning to feel pretty discouraged about how miserably I had failed at my One Word goals.

Until tonight when I sat down and really took the time to reflect on those goals…

  • To focus on where and how God wants me to serve my immediate family, my church family, and others. 
    • I feel I have found victory while still having struggle. I am more aware of some of my strengths, gifts the Lord has bestowed on me that I can use for His people and His purposes. Simultaneously, I still struggle with feeling inadequate. I find myself feeling more compassion for Moses standing before the burning bush. Those questions of who am I and but what if bursting from my lips, my heart at times slow at soaking in the truth that God is with me. The thing is, God IS WITH ME, and as a result I have stepped out into ministry I never thought I would have, and have been blessed even among the struggle of inadequacy with it.
  • To focus on my dream to write a book from start to finish. 
    • I have dreamed this story. Literally, I dream about it at night. I dream the next chapter and the characters and the story line. I am genuinely excited to write it. At the same time – it’s time that I lack. I find myself thinking of it daily, yet struggling to find the necessary time to get it all written out. Tonight however, I am reminded that I have written several chapters. That I haven’t given up. So I am encouraged in the New Year I will continue to work on it, until finished.
  • To focus on His Word daily, to continue the habit of personally meeting with Him.
    • Praise God for His faithfulness in this. In 2017 I read the Bible chronologically. The experience was good, and it kept me constantly coming back to His Word, which kept me constantly coming back to Him, and thinking of Him, and praying to Him. However, as with the book situation, these last few months I have felt scattered in this area as well. Scattered with being intimate with the Lord, with being His bride instead of a distant second cousin. I think the difference is that in 2016 I journaled through the Bible, where as this past year I just read through it. So in 2018 my intent is to journal through it again. This year I was also encouraged by my husband reading through the Bible at the same time. It was sweet for us to discuss what we were reading at times and to know someone else was facing the same time struggles and falling behind struggles, and also getting the same encouragements and convictions.
  • To focus on preparing my nest as my son is a sophomore in high school, and in a few short years my husband and I will have the house to ourselves.
    • In this I give great thanks. How ironic it is that today of all days, is a day that my marriage has come under spiritual attack. Why do I say that? Because now that I am taking the time to sit down and truly focus on reflecting over the last year, there is SO MUCH PRAISE to be given here. My husband and I have had an “off” day today. Yet, this year, has truly been a blessing. We ENJOY one another’s company. We have rekindled a romance, and a deep friendship this past year. Praise God for His mercies and His leading in our marriage, and for the fruit He is helping us to produce, and for the rotten branches He is faithful to continue to confront and trim away.
  • To focus on my health and wellness, and continue to put into practice truths God revealed to me through my Made to Crave journey.
    • This is probably where the last few months I have lost the most focus of all. I’m realizing in this life, this is an area I only experience victory in when I am actively walking the path of victory. What I mean by this is that I must actively be in some sort of study, a spirit of conviction, to continue to honor the Lord with my physical body by not over-indulging in food and laying around in laziness. People struggle with all sorts of different sin issues, I struggle with ungodly over-indulgence in food. Yet, even in this I find encouragement, because this has really been bringing to life the words of Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9. It is in this weakness that Christ’s power may be made perfect and work in me.

In addition to all of this, this year I also learned a new phrase. “Imperfect Progress”. It’s a concept Lysa TerKeurst talks about in her book Unglued. I find that this phrase, along with a description she gives about God being the master chiseler, chiseling me into a finished sculpture, have really grabbed hold of my heart. And I think it describes my One Word journey the best.

Imperfect Progress. I have made some imperfect progress with my One Word – Focus. I have found some direction, and where I have scattered and struggled, now as the year ends I find even the struggle is helping me to re-calibrate so that in the new year, I can continue moving forward. Which is my biggest blessing of all this year. I look back on 2017 as a year of moving forward. Maybe not as much as I had originally hoped, however, moving forward none-the-less. For that I am truly thankful.

I’m taking a little more time tonight to prayerfully consider my One Word for 2018. I’ll be back tomorrow to share what it is, because I know that as part of my new year, I want to pick up my blogging again. It’s my way of sharing my heart, and reminding myself of God’s goodness.

I pray my friend that whereever you are, you can see the imperfect progress of your own journey. And that you can also remember God is with you, calling you into an intimate relationship with Himself through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who loves us more deeply than we can ever fathom.

I pray that we can all learn how to live the abundant life in Christ as part of our 2018 journey.

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One Word 2016 – 2017

One Word 2016Last year my One Word was the word hope. I shared in that blog post that 2015 had been an extremely difficult year. So it’s not surprising 2016 began with us still climbing out of the difficulty.

And God is faithful.

He worked in 2016. Sometimes in totally unexpected ways.
Wounds remained from the previous year, yet they were being healed. Even now there are days that my family feels the effects of the wounds and the healing. It’s a hard process, yet I’ve come to accept the hard process is the refining process and it is a good thing.

I didn’t blog much in 2016. Instead, I allowed myself to be vulnerable to a few trusted women, and they walked with me during the difficulty in truth and love. I continued to seek personal Godly counsel for myself. I recognized areas in my life where I needed to grow, where I needed to turn away from sin, and where I needed to forgive.

Then as 2016 continued, and the healing, I traveled. I spent some wonderful time with family and strengthened relationships. I started to find deeper peace and contentment. After being away from home for nearly a month, I looked forward to returning. God was at work. He spoke into some of my fears, He stirred my heart to recognize and appreciate what He has provided me with at home, and He gave me back my voice that I had somehow started to lose along the way. As the year went on, I continued to feel closer and closer to God and Jesus.

20160620_070518I know one of the reasons for this was I was consistently in His Word. Last year for the first time, I read my Bible cover to cover. I eventually ended up using the Quieting Your Heart: 6 Month Bible Study Journal to help me really chew on what I was reading. I used up two of them over the course of the year. The daily habit of reflecting on God’s character, being intentionally thankful, and prayerfully asking what He was teaching me/revealing to me through His word was a blessing I can’t put into words. I realize now the necessity for a Believer to dig into God’s word personally. Not just in a class, not always with a group of people, and certainly not just at church on Sundays.

And because my word for the year was hope, it meant every day I was eagerly searching for hope in His word. I have come to believe that hope is not an emotional feeling. Hope is much deeper than that. It’s a reality. It’s a truth. A promise. It’s something I can rest securely in, even in the midst of a difficult trial. There are so many four letter words that try to destroy our hope. Fear, Loss, Need, Hurt, Pain. My heavenly Father was slowly and lovingly teaching me that in the midst of those words, I could trust Him. I could still place my hope in Him and Him alone. When everything around me fails, He is unfailing love.

I’m thankful to say that by the end of 2016, we had grown as a family. Our difficult days have become difficult moments. There is more laughter. More peace. It’s not because of us, it’s because of the One who has lifted us up as we have submitted ourselves to Him.

With hope in my heart, I prayerfully considered my word for 2017.

one-word-2017-mine

This year I am looking to focus.

To focus on where and how God wants me to serve my immediate family, my church family, and others.

To focus on my dream to write a book from start to finish.

To focus on His Word daily, to continue the habit of personally meeting with Him.

To focus on preparing my nest as my son is a sophomore in high school, and in a few short years my husband and I will have the house to ourselves.

To focus on my health and wellness, and continue to put into practice truths God revealed to me through my Made to Crave journey.

To focus on blogging where I feel inspiration to share, because I believe God has given me a gift of writing, and I want to use it to encourage others, even if I never know who or how I’m encouraging.

 

Here is to 2017 Friends.

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One Word 2016 – Good bye 2015

One Word 2016“The world is full of broken people. 
And I am one of them.” 

A few years ago I wrote a New Year’s Eve blog post with that statement as my opening line. This New Year’s Eve I found myself thinking of those exact words again.

For some people 2015 was a spectacular year full of accomplishments, wonder, and memories to cherish for the rest of their lives. For others, it was nothing more and nothing less than another year gone by.
And for the rest of us, there were beautiful moments we hold closely guarded in our hearts, and moments that nearly broke our hearts and left them shattered.Read More »

Mary’s husband had a name….

A few years ago I was slowly blogging through the Bible with the aide of Max Lucado’s “Life Lessons Study Guide“* books. At the time, I had started the journey as part of my one word challenge that year, “Redeemed“.

Now I’m starting again with a friend. She was looking to read her Bible more, and I had recommended this study series and then thought “why not go through it all again myself?” Additionally, it seemed very fitting to get back into a disciplined habit of spending dedicated time in God’s Word and in prayer through His Word. And go figure, my one Word challenge this year is “Discipline“.

I started back with Matthew, reading over Chapters 1 and 2 slowly, intentionally, and prayerfully. And again, Joseph really stood out to me.

Joseph is referred to as a “righteous” man (HCSB). Matthew 1:19 specifically shares “So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly”.Read More »

One Word 2015 – Late to the Party and Still Made It – FREE GRAPHIC!

I was introduced to the “One Word” concept a few years ago, and my first year participating was 2013.
I have to tell you, I LOVE “One Word” as a New Year’s resolution.
I may not blog about it a lot, however, I do think about it. I see it. I notice it. I become more aware of it and that awareness is the first step in growing.

I had this great big plan to share my One Word, find a link up, and intentionally blog about my One Word once a month for 2015.

Yea. About that.

This post was originally drafted on January 7th. Maybe I should update the title to “Extremely Late to the Party”. Hee hee.

one word mineWell, let’s dive in NOW.
I did choose a word.
I have thought about it. Been aware of it. Rebelled against it. Refused to acknowledge it. At times all out tried to forget about it.

My One Word for 2015 is “Discipline”.Read More »

And The Snow Outside Is Still Falling

It has been too long since I’ve sat down at the computer and written a blog.
With the death of my laptop came the struggle to find alone time to write. Not only that, life has been insanely busy in my little corner of the world!

My grandson (yes, that’s right, I am officially in the grammies club!) was born five days before Christmas. Before you question the possibility of this I will share the secret: he is the first born son of my step-daughter. And he is absolutely precious.
As if that wasn’t enough, my sister-in-law came to Maine with my one year old niece I had yet to meet. I got to snuggle her in the mornings and catch up with my sister, moments to treasure for sure.
To add to this, my brother and his girl friend came to Maine for the first time! Our time together was absolutely wonderful and I am so thankful he came.
We were also dog sitting so we had an extra puppy in the house. He was a huge snuggle bug and fit right in my lap to cuddle which I loved. (maybe I can convince the hubs another puppy should be in our future…hee hee)
In all of this we’ve had ice storm after snow storm and bitterly freezing temperatures (today the high has been -1). While the short days and cold temperatures usually get me down, I’ve been focusing on the fact that we will be gaining a half hour of daylight in the month of January. THAT is EXCITING.

Also Exciting – I have a new laptop! (Thanks Mom!) Today has been the first day I’ve camped out at the kitchen table, raspberry tea in my “shoe and leopard” cup, blinds opened to the falling snow outside, and looked here at the blog.

I decided a good starting place would be my One Word for 2014. Of course, to bring in the New, let me take a moment to look at the past.

OneWord2013_RedeemedLargeSize

 

In 2013 the Lord taught me some important things through my one word choice.

First, a redeemed life is a life lived under His Grace. I will always be growing, falling short, and needing the cover of His Grace.
Christ is the only one who could pay the debt for sin, and in humility He came from Heaven to Earth to accomplish it. Through it He brings glory to God the Father and provides us a way to true salvation. Christ is what the redeemed life is all about. 

I also learned it’s about community, seeking wisdom, being transparent, forgiving the past and seeking Him to heal old wounds.

As the year came to an end, that last part lingered.
I felt the Holy Spirit kept bringing me to the lesson I’ll never reach the finish line until Christ calls me home. My goal is to press on until then.
Now He seems to be bringing me to a more specific lesson: in a fallen world I might never be “healed” yet will always be “healing”. Old wounds can run deeper than we realize and when one layer is healed another can be revealed. In a world full of sin new hurts await around the corner.
The beauty is that we have a Healer always waiting for us to lay our cares on Him and place our trust in Him to heal and transform.

As I thought about the journey of forgiveness, healing, and God as our comforter, none of those words seemed to fully capture on their own the idea brewing in my mind. I turned to a thesaurus and then to a dictionary, and that’s when I came across these definitions:

– to make (something broken, worn, torn, or otherwise damaged) whole, sound, or usable by repairing
– to remove or correct defects or errors in
– to set right; make better; imporve
– to progress toward recovery
– to grow back together; to knit

The word was “mend”. I choose the word Mending because it’s a journey that doesn’t reach completion until we are with Christ. It’s ongoing, it’s now, it’s tomorrow, it’s part of a daily walk with the Lord. It’s His Work in my heart, my mind, and my soul.

OneWord2014 BIGSIZE

 

What else might you find going on here in 2014?

The Luke study! I have been completing the study with a friend, so I may do things a little differently than the last two studies.

Weigh in Wednesday! As a sneak peek, the hubs and I started our committed Round Two of the Whole30 on January 1st with many others.

Five Minute Fridays! To pick back up poetry and photography.

Book Reviews! Expect two this month for sure.

Selling! Some of my knit and crochet wears – nothing extreme. Just to see if I can make a little extra yarn money here and there.

And whatever else the Lord may lay on my heart in the moment.

This New Year is going to be a big one. I’m going to focus on enjoying it and being content in all things.
I’m turning 30, my son is becoming a teenager, I have some out of state trips planned that I’m both excited and anxious about, and I’ll be celebrating my 5 year anniversary with my best friend!

So here is to the New Year!
In Love and Faith,
RaZella