[hello 2017]

New beginnings, a blank slate, a fresh new journal to document a life to be lived…

I’ve never been a resolution girl because unfortunately after about day 3 I’m done. This year I want to focus on making habits. Not a check off list of things to do each day, but habits that will develop me spiritually, physically, and emotionally. 

This is the year I turn 50. I know it’s hard to believe.  I can’t believe it. I have never dreaded a Birthday before, but this one…this one has me really thinking about my life and how I want to spend the next decade, Lord willing. 

I have been praying this last week over what my word for 2017 would be. God has been laying two words on my heart but He really solidified it during Church this morning. Not because of the sermon but because of the faithfulness of one family who has lived the worst nightmare that could ever happen to a parent…the loss of a child. She was in a devastating car accident on Christmas Day and her parents made the decision Friday to donate her organs.  She passed into the arms of Jesus yesterday. 

The faith that sustained them this week as her life hung in the balance and the decision to let her go was beyond amazing. Through it all they glorified God and surrendered to Him whatever the outcome. The father was in church this morning and I cried as we sang every song because I can’t imagine the pain and how their lives are changed forever. They impacted a community to unite in prayer for God’s will to be done and a heartfelt plea to put our faith in Jesus Christ. It was beautiful to watch. 

So God impressed upon my heart the word prayer.  To be more intentional in my prayer life, to keep a journal to record prayer requests and answered prayer. To pray harder for my husband, my children and unsaved family members. To spend more time getting to know my Savior and listening more to what He has to say to me.  

Life will be chaotic as I complete my Master’s degree, we help to build a new ministry, Basketball Church 23860, as well as building a ministry to internationals in our community. Throw in a trip to Africa for me and a trip to Pennsylvania for my husband and two of our kids to minister to inner city kids through basketball. 

Our lives are full and we are so blessed and grateful for the opportunities He has given us. 

 Blessings. 

[saying goodbye to 2016]

2016 has been a hard year. It brought many changes and circumstances that have caused me to look deep into my soul and really assess what I’m doing and who I’m doing it for. 

I have had to assess broken relationships and really ask God to show me what He wants me to learn through them.  He has shown me how I need to change, to focus on that and to let go and rely on Him. 

He opened the door for a new job opportunity that I wasn’t really looking for but then He closed it pretty quickly or at least put it on hold. 
He has really worked on this problem I have of FOMO (fear of missing out).  My FOMO is directly related to letting go of some responsibilities that I used to define me. He showed me that my identity is in Him, not the activities or duties I perform. 

And although anxiety kicks in every once in a while, He has given me a peace about the direction He wants me on. 

I started grad school this year and it has kicked my butt at times. 2017 adds in a 300 hour practicum I need to finish by August. It will be tough and it will definitely impact my family but after this and four classes I will be done!

2016 had some great momemts with new relationships, new ministries and the opportunity to open up to another through our weekly meetings. If she reads this she will probably laugh because she may not think I’ve opened up much, but for me it’s a big deal!

I cherish the time with my children, even as they get older and our relationships are changing. I have had to let go more than I want to and my heart hurts sometimes when I see choices they make or don’t make. But I know God has them tightly in His hands. My prayer is that they will seek His will and follow Him all their days. 

My husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this year and 32nd year as a couple. He loves, cherishes, protects and provides for me. What more could a girl want?

So goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017.  I’m excited to see what it brings. 

[end of summer]

I’m not one to start the next season before it actually begins.  I’ve tried to live in the moment and enjoy the season I’m in.  While Fall is my favorite season of the year, it will come like it always does the third week of September.  I refuse to order a Pumpkin Spice Latte before Fall actually arrives.

It seems like once July 4th comes and goes I start to see posts and tweets longing for sweatshirt weather and football.  The first day of school definitely ends the summer social season.  But I am holding on to this season because of the many wonderful things (and not so wonderful) that happened over this summer.

For a long time now, God has been calling me to disciple other women.  I’ve led a ladies Bible study for years and while I love these ladies with all of my heart there hasn’t been anyone that I’ve created a one-on-one relationship with outside of our weekly meetings.  I had been praying that He would send me someone local that I could pour into and who would pour into me.  He did just that in June and every Tuesday night we meet at Starbucks and talk about life, struggles we are going through and what our hopes for the future are.  It has taken me out of my comfort zone but it has encouraged me to reach out to other women as well.  For this introvert, it can be difficult to take the first step.  It’s even more difficult to open up and really trust someone with your heart.

The summer has had its challenges. He has taught me through a relationship at work that isn’t going as I’d like, how to communicate, to be bold and have hard conversations even if the relationship can’t be restored.  I read a post by Dr. Tony Evans this week that when a broken relationship cannot be healed, we need to seek healing from that broken relationship because it could harm future relationships.  It breaks my heart when relationships cannot be restored but God can renew our hearts and move us to a place of healing.

He has renewed my heart and awakened in me a joy and expectancy that I wasn’t sure would return.  He has been faithful and has even sent us three families that have become near and dear to our hearts.  He has given us new ministry opportunities and ways to serve that I didn’t even dream of.

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I am thankful for the opportunities He has provided and the struggles that I have had to navigate.  I am thankful for a renewed joy and expectancy He has given me.  I am soaking up these last couple of weeks of summer and I will NOT order a Pumpkin Spice Latte until after September 22nd.

[five minute friday – alive]

I’ve been sick all week and I am just starting to feel ALIVE again after a bout of bronchitis and a sinus infection.  I am finally getting some of my strength back but nothing I had planned to get done this week actually happened.  And here we are at Easter weekend and I am feeling a little overwhelmed.  Even though my kids are teenagers I still make them a basket each year but this year their gifts will be a little late.  My house is a mess and the laundry continues to pile up.  I’m supposed to cook on Sunday, maybe.

But as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, we know that He is not dead but ALIVE and we are ALIVE in Him. I am excited to celebrate that He is ALIVE at our Sunrise Service bright and early on Sunday morning.  Watching the sun rise in the background as we sing praises to the God who created that Sun, the One who overcame the grave, overwhelms my heart and sometimes its more than I can comprehend.

Sickness, a dirty house, unfilled Easter baskets don’t mean anything compared to what He did for us and what we have to look forward to in eternity.

Happy Jesus is ALIVE Day!

Easter

 

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[five minute friday – present]

In today’s fast and busy life it is so easy to get caught up in what is going on right now and think we are living in the present. But what does living in the present actually mean? Emily P. Freeman, in her book “Simply Tuesday” says that “the road to the kingdom is lined with invisible benches where the great work of love, service, listening, community, prayer, change, and transformation will occur.” Living in the present means being available (a plug for one my 2016 oneword365) and stopping for at least a few minutes to listen to God as He shows us the benches where we can love, serve, listen, pray, change and stop focusing on the urgent versus the important.

Will the urgent still pry us away from the important? Sure, it will. But if the urgent is what consumes all of our time it may be time to find that bench and sit for awhile and look for Him in the present.

 

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[resolutions…or not]

I have decided not to set any New Years resolutions for 2016. There is so much pressure and let’s be honest 2 or 3 weeks into the year it’s a bust anyway. I am choosing to look at life differently this year. For the last couple of years I have participated in the oneword365 project. God has laid the word available on my heart for 2016. Available to whatever He has in store for me. Available to Him, my family, ministry, relationships…whatever He wants. For so many years I have focused on my goals which may or may not have included His plans.

It’s time to leave the past in the past and focus on the future. It may be fun or it may not. It might not be pretty all the time and it may be hard but we were never promised an easy road (I’m hoping for more fun though 😉).  My prayer is that in all things I will praise my God.

What’s your one word for 2016?

 

[five minute friday – endings]

As 2015 comes to a close, I have been reflecting on all that has happened over the last 12 months.  I’ve written before on how God has me in a new season that I am still navigating.  My commitments at church changed significantly.  My full-time job changed significantly.  My spiritual journey changed significantly. I can look back now and see God’s hand all over it but during it I wasn’t sure what He had in store.  Only in the last two months has He revealed new opportunities, new friendships and a new ministry focus.

Even through all of the change and uncertainty I am peaceful.  There is more joy in our home. I am thoroughly enjoying my life as a mom of teenagers.  I haven’t conquered getting my house uncluttered and clean but maybe in 2016 I’ll figure that out, or maybe not.

I am excited for all that 2016 will bring.  My prayer is that all that happens He will be glorified and that all I do will be done in worship to Him.

Merry Christmas!

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[five minute friday – seasons]

I have been through many seasons during my 48 years…childhood, teenage years, college years, newly married, mom of littles, mom of teenagers (eek!). But the one thing I’ve tried so hard to do is to enjoy the season I am in. I remember when my babies were little and I was exhausted all the time and it seemed like we were going on a week’s vacation with all the stuff we had to carry just to go to the mall. I remember ladies smarter than me telling me to enjoy this season because when it’s gone you will miss it. I remember telling my husband when one or more kid would end up in our bed, that they won’t be doing this when their 16. And guess what, they don’t. And yes, sometimes I miss it. But I am really enjoying this season of teenagers. Yes it has it’s moments as they mature and assert their independence but the conversations we can have are awesome. And I don’t have to carry a ton of stuff just to go the mall.

 

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[five minute friday – dwell]

Dwell – it’s just a word but it can bring about so many different feelings, both positive and negative. How I choose to react to it can be the difference between giving up or pressing on.

It’s been a rough couple of years at my church. Some things I contributed to, some not. I easily could have chosen to leave and no longer dwell in my unhappiness but I choose to dwell and worship my Lord with a group of people who are near and dear to my heart. I choose to continue serving although in a very different capacity. I am following God’s guidance and life is so much better when I listen to Him over my feelings.

There has been a lot of change in my job this past year. Some good, some not so good. While it would be so easy to leave I choose to dwell and finish the race I have started. God has me there for a reason and I will continue to try to glorify Him in all I do. He has taught me so much already.

I am in a very different season of my life right now and honestly when I entered it I was not completely comfortable with it. I’m not completely there yet but God has given me a peace and He has taken away my desire to go back to it and to no longer dwell on what was but to dwell on what is and what will be.

He is pointing me in a new direction and I am dwelling on the time I get to spend with my husband of almost 25 years and our 3 children. He even put on my heart to go back to school to get a Master’s degree. Just a couple of months ago I would have said it was a crazy idea but I am all registered and set to go in January. I will definitely be dwelling in His presence over the next couple of years.

These arrived in the mail today.  My heart is happy.

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[five minute friday – weary]

Weary…it brings up feelings of tiredness, hopelessness, anxiousness. I am not in a season of physical or emotional weariness right now but I have been there. The weariness that I am in right now is spiritual.

Not feeling like I spend my time well with God. That my prayers are not good enough, that my journaling (when it happens) is not good enough. When I see prayer journal pictures on Instagram or quiet time spaces in people’s homes I feel inadequate.

But does God keep a scorecard on how well we “do” quiet time or is He just excited that we actually choose to spend time with Him? Talking to Him like we would our best girlfriend about our day. I choose to believe it’s the latter.

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