One Word 2014

Fireworks.

Explosive excitement.

Radical inspiration.

Epiphany.

Yeah….none of this happened when I chose my word for 2014.

Last year I felt led to make my word “thankful”, and it really didn’t even hit me until February or so.

I thought for sure my word would be write…because I’ve made it my business to write by any means necessary this year.

After watching yesterday’s “100 Life Goals” presented by Shaun King, I was more than ready to begin focusing on my goals for 2014. One of those goals includes writing at least 500 words a day (inspired by Jeff Goins – I’ll write a subsequent blog post on that later).

I also toiled with the word “believe”. As easy as it is for me to see the best in someone else’s life or situation, I sometimes struggle with doubt and unbelief in my own life. These last few years have been hard. I care not to go into details, but, there have been many times I’ve thought of walking away from life and taking a sabbatical from marriage, motherhood, and ministry. I have toiled with the idea that my shortcomings, expectations & my persona as a whole is often too abstract for people to “get” and as a result, I’m better off in solitude.

{Let’s just take a detour for a moment. What a boatload of foolishness! This is the kind of trumped up garbage the enemy has fought me with over the last few years because of the various trials my family and I have endured. If you have found yourself in the midst of a heated battle which seemingly has no end, let me encourage you right now. You’ve already won. You don’t have to turn to the last page of the bible to find out what happens. If you have accepted Christ as your personal Lord & Savior, you are a joint heir with Him. Old things are passed away. 10 years ago…passed away. 10 mins ago…passed away. There is NOW NO condemnation, because you’re in Christ Jesus. On your worst day, you’re STILL WINNING. So please, don’t let situations tell you who you are and what you’re worth. You’re worth dying for. Paid in full. Done deal.}

Last May at a women’s retreat, I realized that I had actually stopped believing for certain promises. I worshipped God. I read about HIm. I knew aspects of Him. I taught about Him. Sang about Him. And I genuinely believed in Him. The problem was, I believed He was only who He was & could do what He’s able to do FOR EVERYONE BUT ME. I was tired of doors slamming in my face. I was tired of being overlooked in ministry. I was tired of struggling with housework. (Can I get a witness?) I was tired of just enough. I was tired of always taking the high road while others seemingly walked all over me. I was tired of being laughed at for the way I dressed (a whole different blog post) because I don’t make a grand amount of money and spend most of the money I do make on my children. And then….I was tired of pretending that I didn’t know that people were making fun of and laughing at me. I stopped believing that anything good was going to happen for me.

During the last 4 months of 2013, my heart really began to change. Over the course of the summer and into the fall, the Spirit of the Lord really began intricate surgery on me. A process of restoration had once again begun.

So….OF COURSE my word should be BELIEVE (insert bells, whistles, & confetti)….right?

No.

My mind drifted back to a moment I had with the Lord a few days before Christmas.

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I sat here at one of my favorite spots and I prayed a desperate prayer.

“All I want is you. I just want to know you in every area of my life. I don’t want do anything without you. I don’t want anything more than I want you. ”

{I recorded it so that I could re-live that moment over and over}

No booming Wizard of Oz voice came out of the sky. No hand began to write within the stream in front of me. There was just a peace and a knowing that being in that moment and praying that prayer had released something dynamic in my life. It wasn’t conjured up or complicated. It was my heart’s cry. It was my prayer.

PRAY.

That’s my word.

This morning during my quiet time I felt in my heart that this is a year of prayer. I pray pretty regularly. But, I don’t always pray as a first resort. I pray to calm down. I pray to complain. I pray to get answers. I pray to feel better.

But this year, this season….I’m going to pray just to know Him. There will be a set time that I make a part of my every day just to seek Jesus. I will endeavor to know Him in prayer. I will save for my requests, and needs, and worries for another time. This time will be just for us. He & I.

I will also PRAY about things much more than I TALK about things. I saw many things come to fruition for people and situations that I prayed for and about this year. Too often I was willing to pray for others, but didn’t pray enough for my own situations.

There is something sacred about this season in my life. There will be triumph, gain, and promises fulfilled. But none of that will overshadow the joy that will be birthed out of this new depth of knowing Christ….in prayer.

Tell me….what is your one word for 2014?

Blurred Vision

We made it.

It’s a new year, a new season, a new day.

Some of us have no doubt made resolutions, set goals and created lists to assist us in keeping on task this year. Others may have prayed specific, detailed prayers entrusting their direction and endeavors to the Lord. In our house we’ve done a bit of both.

Last week when driving back from visiting family, I purposely took a back road , out of the way route through Worthington/Delaware, Ohio. I’ve fallen in love with ¬†stretch of narrow road that runs along the Olentangy River. There are homes that span across acres of land, housing horses, stables, farm animals, country churches and roadside markets. If I could pick an area in which to build a home, this would be it.

As I was driving the rain began to come down a bit more steady than it had in the previous hours of my drive. To the right side of my car, the Olentangy River rushed at an enchanting speed, carrying the tempo of a bass-line driven melody. The river had risen significantly since I’d driven this same road just days prior. So much so, that one home sitting on the water’s edge, was covered in water up to it’s yard, and inching towards it’s front porch.

I couldn’t look away.

Before I could think about how much danger I was putting myself in, I looked in front and behind me to make sure there were no cars coming or following me. Then…I did it.

I snapped this picture.

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What you cannot see is that just beyond this lining of trees (on the right) is the raging Olentangy River.

When I initially shot (or so I thought I shot) this picture, my windshield was clear of rain. But in just that short amount of time, my view was blurred.

Blurred vision.

One of the greatest obstacles to achieving our goals : no matter how great or small , is a lack of vision or in some cases blurred vision.

Blurred vision is when we keep in our eye’s view the issues or problems that we contend with, rather than focusing on the supernatural ability and clarity that comes with knowing, abiding in and seeking Christ.

When I pray for others I like to use scripture. God’s word is alive and active. Often when we don;t know the words to say, God’s word will speak through and for us. Since He and His word are one, I believe it’s like literally making room for God to make His word real and tangible in our lives.

This scripture is one that I use regularly when praying for others.

“I ask – ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory – to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him – endless energy, boundless strength! ” (Ephesians 1:16-19) message translation

SAY WHHHHHAAAAATTT?

I love that this passage is CLEAR about the fact that God has the ability to make us INTELLIGENT, DISCERNING & FOCUSED!!! So often we rely on 5 hour energy drinks, coffee (errr’yyy day y’all) , and anti-depressants (let’s keep it real) to keep us balanced or focused. (Listen, if it works for you…bravo, hear? Do what works for you.) But, SOMETIMES our lack of focus and direction is birthed from our continual reliance on everything but the Holy Spirit, the word of God, and His presence. Do you truly believe that the answer to every need, desire, issue you could ever have IS and will always be JESUS???

As we begin this new year and season, let us all take a moment to reflect on this passage. It’s the perfect time to make an appointment and get our “eyes” checked.

As Paul says (in the ESV) version “may the eyes of your understanding be enlightened”.

That is my prayer for us all.