Word of the Year

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It’s January, so of course the long list of “I want to accomplish _________; My new year’s resolution is __________” is all over social media, the blogs we read and the sermons/ podcasts of our favorite pastors/ teachers we follow. I don’t see anything wrong with setting goals, but I wonder how realistic and honest we are with ourselves when we set these goals? Is there any intentionality in our goals? Do these goals allow us to get to where we want to be when December 31st rolls around?

I am a member of an incredible group of women on FB. This is a group who started off as launch team on FB, but once the launch was over we never left the FB group that was created. This is a group of women I have come to love and cherish. We come from all walks of life, different denominations and hold a wide range of views. The cool thing? The main goal is to support each other and I have watched this group walk alongside women walking through all sorts of life issues. This is an encouraging and praying group of women. Some I have had the privilege of meeting in real life and others I hope to one day meet. I share all of this to say we want to see each other grow and succeed.

One of the things we have been encouraged to do the past couple of years is to pray and ask the Lord to give us a word for the year. Last year my word was “Restore.” All year the Lord put verses on restoration right in front of me. There are areas of my life He is still breaking, only to restore. I look at in the form of a remodel. You can’t have the new unless the old is torn out. It’s a process that goes hand in hand. The restoration process isn’t over. The Lord is still working in my life and will be for a while.

When praying about my word for the year, the Lord kept bringing the word “Courage” to mind. Most people who know me, would say I am a picture of confidence and maybe even come across as a little cocky and arrogant. Y’all this is so far from the truth. When I left my full time position back in spring of 2013, a part of me shattered. I felt like I had failed my husband, my children and myself. I didn’t see how the Lord could take that hot mess and make anything of it. Even though the Lord opened an incredible door for me to walk through in our own church and allowed me to land in a position that fits my talents, skill sets and spiritual giftings, I still managed to lose my voice. I have stayed quiet when I should have spoken up. I shrunk back, when I should have squared my shoulders and stood up.

My husband and I experienced a great deal of life in 2017 and the second half of the year was rough, to put it mildly. When everything started happening, I stopped writing. It’s been roughly 6 months since I’ve had a blog post. I stopped because life was hard, but I also stopped because I didn’t think it mattered. Y’all, I love to write. The one thing I could have kept going, I allowed to come to a screeching halt. Fear also played into this. It took me a while to realize how many areas of my life I allowed fear to takeover and to silence me. It wasn’t anything any one person said or did, it was allowing satan to claim space in my head he didn’t deserve to have.

The verse the Lord has given me for the year is Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it shall be given unto you. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you.” This is KJV, but it’s way I learned the verse back in middle school. It seems to be a weird verse to go along with courage, but how much have you or I missed out on in life because we were too afraid ask? I think too many times we feel like things/ opportunities are given to others, but we aren’t worthy of receiving them ourselves. I believe the Lord will open all doors He sees fit, but I have to wonder how many more would be opened if we approached Him with confidence and asked? When we get into situations, do we truly seek the Lord’s hand and wisdom? I don’t think this means if we ask for a million dollars and a lavish beach house, He will grant it because He isn’t a genie in a bottle. I do however believe if we are truly seeking His face and living a life He called us to live, He will provide and open needed doors.

Walking into the first part of 2018 my goal is to find my voice. This is both physically and in the written word. I know the Lord has put more inside of me than I have shown or given over the past several years. This means stepping forward with courage in spite of the fear I may feel. It may mean having hard conversations. It may mean taking steps I never imagined taking. I pray when December 31st rolls around, I will see a bold, new person when I look in the mirror. I pray the Lord will do as He did last year and put verses on courage in my path throughout the year. I pray He will take and destroy the fear I have allowed to build up over the years.

As you walk into the the second week of 2018, I hope you will pray and ask the Lord to give you a word to focus on for the year. I pray the Lord will bless you beyond measure in the area He is showing you that needs to grow and/or change. I pray 2018 is life changing for you and the Lord takes you to places you never imagined you would go.

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A Lot Like Moses

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Hey y’all. It has been way too long since I put up a new post. Confession, I have been living in fear of just about everything. The fear has been so bad that I have not even been able to write. I love writing, but my fear prevented me from writing. The fear also sent me into hiding. I don’t mean I have refused to leave the safety of my house, but I have not reached out to friends and basically stopped doing some of the things I love like hitting the greenway and the gym. The Lord is slowly bringing me out on the other side of this, but it’s a process.

This is the last blog post I started back in March, but never finished and hit publish. I have edited part of it because some of the timelines have changed.

If you asked me who I most relate to in the Bible, I would answer with Jonah, Peter and the task driven Martha. Our church is currently reading through the F260 reading plan and back in March we finished up reading about the life of Moses. While I grew up hearing and reading stories about Moses, I never really made any connections to my personal life until now. Ok, well, maybe I haven’t killed and Egyptian solider, nor have I seen a burning bush, but there are several other ways in which I can relate to Moses.

After Moses killed the soldier he fled into the wilderness to basically start life over. He walked away from a life of prestige and comfort. What he didn’t realizing by running off to hide is that we can never hide from the LORD. We often think we can hide, but reality is that He knows where we are at all times. When the Lord decided to confront Moses, it was in a way Moses knew it was really the LORD. I can’t imagine staring at a burning bush and hearing the LORD saying “Take off your sandals for the place you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5). I can’t even begin to imagine what Moses was thinking as all of this is unfolding before him. I think most of us have had moments where the LORD made it clear as to what He was saying to us, maybe not like this, but still clear.

Then we hear Moses say “But God” for the first time. Y’all he says this multiple times throughout the remainder of his life. If I am honest, this past year has been a year of me saying the exact same thing. You see I know there is something specific the LORD has called me to, BUT I don’t feel qualified to do nor do I really think anyone else would want to hear what I have to say. I feel like it’s time for the dream He gave me in college to come true, but I am terrified to step out on faith and do it. For me, the LORD typically uses people as my “burning bush” moments. I have 3 people in my life who have encouraged me like crazy in the past year. Several months ago I was basically called out because there is something I typically do and this person noticed I hadn’t done it in a while. The next day a sweet note was written about me and the same area was addressed. I mean seriously, how many times does the LORD have to put people in my path to get the message across. Y’all, I am great at saying “But LORD.” I think like Moses, there is truly a feeling of inadequacy and fear involved. I don’t see it as a rebellious spirit and not wanting to obey, but more being afraid to take that step of faith.

Because Moses liked to say “But God” so frequently, Moses was reminded that he had Aaron. Every person needs at least one Aaron in their lives. I have a couple I would consider to be the Aarons in my life. Some of the people in the paragraph above fit into that category. An Aaron keeps us grounded and is by our side. In modern day terms, these people would be considered our “tribe.” My tribe is amazing and has walked through the mountain tops and valleys of my life. They have been there when I have admitted that I was having a “But LORD” moment. They’ve held my up my arms. They have prayed with me and over me. My tribe is small, but exactly what I need it to be. Even though they have not always been able to prevent me from having Moses moments, they have been there to help pick up the pieces or encourage me to follow the LORD’s leading in my life.

As I continued to read through the story of Moses, there are many times when I really feel like he rolled his eyes at the Israelites until his eyes hurt. The people he was leading were really ungrateful and complained a great deal of the time. They forgot he had led them away from slavery in Egypt, but because they were so ungrateful and disobedient, even after experiencing the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14: 15-31). While I have never led a group that large, we all have those people in our lives who rub us the wrong way. They are never happy. You can point out all of the positives the LORD has done for them and it’s just never good enough. Admit it, you have that person’s name at the forefront of your mind. I struggle to be around people who are like this. I can also imagine that sarcasm was a favorite form of conversation for Moses. I have often joked sarcasm is unappreciated spiritual gift and something more people should understand and appreciate, but I digress.

While my temper has definitely cooled over the years, I can see and relate to this trait in Moses. There are 3 times when I see that Moses really lost his cool. First, he killed the Egyptian soldier (Exodus 2:12). Second he broke the original stone tablets which held the 10 Commandments. (Exodus 32). Then, there are several more eye roll moments. Just before they are to finally head into the Promised Land, the LORD tells Moses to speak to the rock an water will appear, but Moses, being frustrated strikes the rock twice (Numbers 20: 1-13). While I believe there are healthy ways of letting out anger and frustration, going against the LORD is not something I recommend. Even when anger isn’t physically taken out on someone or something, it can still cause issues when done verbally. While I wish I was the quiet type, I’m not. Like the meme says “I always mean what I say, I just don’t always mean to say it out loud.” This is where my temper and my love of sarcasm can cause issues. There are also days where the greenway gets to feel my anger. Last summer I had an issue that brought my blood to beyond boiling point, so I laced up my running shoes and hit the greenway. During this run I knocked a full minute off of my mile. By the time I returned home I was drenched in sweat. Running or other physical activity is something I would highly encourage when you are angry and that way others around won’t feel the affects.

All throughout Moses’ story you can see how he has gained favor with the LORD. About the time you think the people are going to be destroyed Moses displays his faith and the people are saved. Several times throughout his story, you read about how his face “shone” because he had spent so much time in the LORD’s presence. This is a trait I would love to have. When I take my final breath on this earth and step into eternity with the LORD, this is what I want said about me.

I am grateful the LORD takes us good, bad and ugly. I’m grateful He sees through the mess, the doubts, the fears and the “But Lord” moments in our life. I’m grateful for a Savior who leads me and allows me to be used. I’m grateful He looks at me and calls me “Redeemed” and “Worthy.” I have grown to love the story of Moses because he a sarcastic hot mess and the LORD still used him to lead and the relationship Moses had with the LORD was sweet.

I have had many Moses moments in my life and will more than likely to continue to have them. If you haven’t read his story, you need to. I pray the Lord will continue to use me in spite of me. I also pray that I will find the courage to continue to write. If you are one who actually follows me on this blog, please feel free to say something if you notice it’s been a while since I’ve posted. My goal is to get back on track with my blog and my book. I’m as much a work in process as they are. It’s ok if you are as well.