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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Refinement Hurts Before It Heals

5_Habits_Woman-195x300I just finished Week One of the #5HabitsBook study with #P31OBS. This week we were focused on the first Habit which is The Assignment of Refinement. 

In addition to the book itself, I also invested in the “A Woman Who Doesn’t Quit” study guide. Everyday there is a “Quit Quitting Verse of the Day”. Two of these versus stood out to me more than the rest because of the word “HOPE”, my One Word for 2016.

 

Hope.

Accepting the Assignment of Refinement is easy when we see the hope attached to the assignment. The difficulty comes with “life”. This world is an incredibly messy place. It’s messy for men, for women, for children, for families, for everyone.
I watched a video recently where the speaker said something to the effect of “It used to be parents had many children, now children have many parents” commenting on marriage, divorce, re-marriage, etc. Life gets messy, right within our own four walls, without everstepping outside.

This ties directly into my assignment of refinement.
As wife.
As mother.
Big titles with great responsibility, and yet, it really is about how I handle all the little things in life as wife and as mother. The day to day stuff that matters a great deal.

Oy. Vey.

When I first read our verse of the week and the first few chapters, I was inspired. I was on fire. I was all about making it to the end!

Bless my heart, I’ve struggled just making it to the end of this week.

Refinement is hard. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful, it’s wonderful. It’s what we need. In my mind I see myself standing, stripped down to nothing, my hair pulled back, the Lord taking a heavy and coarse brush and literally scrubbing off my hardened, dull, dying, decaying pieces so that something new and soft and beautiful is left behind.

I mean, let’s be real ladies, we love it when we get a really good pedicure. We leave and our tootsies are smooth, soft, freshly painted and ready to say hello to the world! The harsh winter toughness is literally soaked, scrubbed, and buffed away! This is what I envision the assignment of refinement looks like for my very soul!

But it hurts before it heals.

The Lord starts opening our eyes to where we have emotionally checked out. To where resentment has layered itself on thick without us fully realizing it. We see hope, we get excited and inspired, but the truth is our hope is in shallow soil. Affliction comes and burns our hope away because we had no root. No endurance. No proven character. So no hope.

So the real question is, at the end of this week, can I be determined like Ruth?

Determined to look at my Jesus and say to Him:

Where You lead me I will go.
And where You plant me I will stay.
And the family You love and have given to me,
I will love truly and deeply,
with the same truth, compassion, mercy, and forgiveness
that You Love me with.

I’m in a season of life where a lot of days are hard. Tough. In the process of being scrubbed. Praying others will submit to being scrubbed too. Praying we can all walk through this painful scrubbing together so that once all the dead, decaying, infected junk is scrubbed off, the soft pink skin underneath can be truly healed and transformed.

I think HOPE is found in a beautiful cycle. We Hope in Christ. We face afflictions. Hard, unexpected, tough stuff. We determine ourselves to endure it by depending entirely on Jesus. See it through to completion. This allows Him to scrub us down, and prove our character. This gives us Hope, grows our faith as we can see our character transform. So We hope in Christ more, and the cycle continues until we are on the other side of heaven.

We determine ourselves to endure by depending entirely on Jesus.

And that’s the truth of it sisters.
At the start of this week, I was depending on Jesus.
By the end of this week, I started depending on myself.
This Assignment of Refinement will hurt before it heals.
But the hope is,
It will Heal.
It will Transform.
Because We Can Trust God.
We Hope In Christ.
With Hope as our starting point and our ending point,
We accept our assignment of refinement.

Lord,
I want Hope to be rooted deeply within my heart and soul. To be a woman determined to be faithful with the little things you’ve given me. The day to day things. The mundane things. The things that create my character and make up the reality of my life. Forgive me this week where I have been unfaithful. Where I have inquired of myself instead of inquiring of you. Where I have been unforgiving, bitter, and quick to judge harshly. Thank you for your compassions which never fail. Your mercies which are new every morning. Your patience and your great Faithfulness. I am accepting Your assignment of Refinement. I am ready to be healed by your scrubbing grace. I am ready to be like Ruth, a woman determined to follow even when it may look hopeless to others.
Amen.

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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. Continue reading “One Word 2016 – Good bye 2015”