I apologize for leaving you hanging on Advent posts. I ran into some snags but nothing too bad. We celebrated Christmas with little stress and though I was sick, joy grew. I pray it grew in your heart in your little world.
I want to thank the new subscribers and, I hope you are blessed by the Spirit-filled Victory study. I am trying to film videos for the series. Once available, you can find them here.
I am not a goal-setting type of person. Why? Because all my resolutions are fake. I never really resolve to do anything different, even though I may say that I am making a resolution. So — I don’t make them anymore.
Choosing a Word for 2018
I do, however, choose a word for each year. This word is its own type of resolution. Last year my word was PURSUE, and of all the words I’ve ever chosen, it was my favorite. I would say I needed a bit of an up year as I’d had several down years, but God took me down paths and places I never thought I’d go.
This year, I will celebrate 10 years of blogging (assuming I am still living in May). 10 years! In all that time, one of my favorite phrases that just won’t leave is Deeply Rooted. Last year the Lord took it upon Himself to Deeply Root me into Himself using Romans 8. I thought I was rooted, but not to the same extent. Because I wanted to become the person I already believe I am, but because no one really saw me to be that person, I challenged myself to live what I believe I am. That’s a post for next week.
I traveled to Houston to see Beth Moore for LIT; it was a blessing that still motivates me to this day. Beth called us her LITles and sent us regular, intimate emails for a time. She invited us to a taping of her Quest study. At the last-minute, because my word was “pursue,” I threw my name in the hat. I got on a waiting list. On the day of the taping, I was asked to be a part, but it was too late for me to make it. Still, it made me smile.
I traveled overseas on a mission trip. Of all the loving and tender things God could allow me to do, He allowed me to see His Word go forth and salvation received by people desperate for Him. I think sometimes I was only there for Him to tell me that He loved me in a very intimate way. I don’t know that I actually did anything productive. I prayed Revelation 7:16-17 for the people I was going to, which says,
“They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
I saw Him answer that prayer for the people and maybe also for me. It brings tears to my face and the mystery of Him awes me. I turned 40 with a bunch of unknown 20somethings who probably in all honesty (just like me) didn’t know why I was there. They made me laugh deep and hard, and I made some friends from all over the country – just because we loved God. Mission trips always open a gateway to see the beauty of heaven-made relationships. His allowance of me being there first-hand was rather like Scrooge being carried around by one of the spirits to see the past, the present, and the future – dreamlike. My presence in that time and place will always be a mystery and a gift. I didn’t even get to share about it publicly until 6 months later, and then — I didn’t have enough time. I truly got to behold things the eyes don’t usually get to see.
He used me to write the Spirit-filled Victory study. I am trying to steward it well, but I really don’t always know what I am doing. I often find that I need more resources and support to steward it as well it could be, but I give him what I have. His word does not return void, and Romans 8 was the best answer to prayer I could have ever gotten. I had drifted into defeat and when I asked Him to guide me out, He did. I wanted to help people like me who’d gone adrift and to bring them back to the gospel. The more I studied this little gem, the more I grew deep, deep roots of faith, finding hope I didn’t remember losing. Like Sarah from the movie, Labyrinth, I could now say to Satan, “You have no power over me.” I wrote it, led it, edited it, and published it. Now, I am trying to finish the release of it into the world.
Along the way, I developed new friends and reconnected with old ones. I got to lead girls (and now even boys) in youth group. Sadly, I stopped homeschooling and my kids went back to school. I spent half of the year a little lost without them keeping me busy. There is talk of returning to it by the kids; I have yet to see where the Lord may lead.
At the close of the year, I decided to pursue one more ministry opportunity, and to my shock and surprise, I kept advancing through each stage of the way. Now, I will be part of that particular ministry mastermind group. The Lord has been so faithful, and I have experienced His abundance this year. He has truly enlarged my territory.
I haven’t talked much about my family, mainly because I value their privacy, but also because this is an area that sometimes feels stagnant and plain hard. I know I have probably made you sick to hear the words, Romans 8, but Romans 8 made me a better wife and mom, more steady. Even though I am not strong of my own accord, Romans 8 gave me the strength to weather the hard days and to be more present to the life God’s given me.
On to 2018
As I was thinking about the coming year, I began seeking another word. I didn’t really feel like the Lord led me to a word like He did last year. Because last year’s word was so successful, I wanted to make sure this year’s was also heaven-sent. I wanted my word to be “finish” since I need to finish stewarding Romans 8.
However, in my mind, I would get a picture instead of a word. A picture of me, my feet, walking focused on Christ alone, not necessarily knowing where she is going. As I think over the things I wanted to grow in or change and do better about for 2018, I wanted to keep pursuing Christ in whatever ways He leads, but also I wanted to cut out the ways I wasted time when the kids when to school. I have found that I am happiest when I am productive or busy, not too busy, mind you, but not sitting around and watching Netflix either. The more I pursued a word, the more, “Nothing Wasted,” seemed to rise to the top. I want to live in such a way that all of it is used for Him, but loosely holding it because He Himself wastes nothing, even my messes, folly, and sin. I thought of a straight path, a curved one, and myriads of words came to mind, but the one that won out was this, STEADFAST.
The truth is I have only the goal of finishing Roman 8 (the videos and leading it online), of memorizing Galatians, and of wasting less time. I don’t have any plans or dreams for this year, another than to stay steadfast, to continue walking with my eyes on Him. Here are the verses He gave me for this word,
Really all of Psalm 119, but especially these verses:
Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes! (verses 1-5)
I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
I do not turn aside from your rules,
for you have taught me.
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path. (verses 101-105)
My foot has held fast to his steps;
I have kept his way and have not turned aside. (Job 23:11).
Do you choose a word of the year? If so, what is yours?
How have you reflected and seen the goodness of the Lord in 2017?
P.S. If you made it here, you should get a prize. Reply and let me know. 🙂