Tag Archive | New beginnings

One Word 2016

By now you guys know that I don’t do New Years resolutions and instead choose a word to help guide me through the year – or I should say, I pray about a word and, eventually, God will lay a word on my heart with so much gusto that I couldn’t shake it if I tried.

I’ve struggled through 2015, definitely not leaving it behind feeling very “victorious” and that was my word for 2015. I didn’t know if God wanted me to redo the word or start over. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t want to even talk to Him about it. I felt a little bit bruised about the whole thing. We’ve all been there.

Finally, I relented and just spent some time with him on New Years Eve and so many things became clear. I realized that I might have still been riding my high of the new life/move transition when choosing my word last year, without taking into consideration a lot of different factors. So while last year didn’t seem victorious, I felt victorious on NYE for figuring some things out. And if that’s what I have to take away from my 2015 word for the year, then I’m happy.

On to 2016…

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One of the problems I’ve been having is my inability to commit to anything since I’ve moved. It’s weird for me – I’m the queen of overcommitting myself. I will commit to everything and do my best to do it all. I will say “Yes” and volunteer for everything! However, nowadays, I can’t even commit to a knitting project. I’ve become consumed with circumstances around me and I’ve allowed that to make me hesitant to commit to other things in my life that are important.

So, 2016 – the year to live out my word by choosing to commit to things, outside of my present circumstances, in ways that are fulfilling to the path God has called me to walk.

How about you? What’s your word?

I find that sharing my word is helpful and it keeps me accountable. Let me know your word and I’ll poke and prod you all year, I promise. =]

 

 

 

 

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Singing A New Song

One year ago… today…  I drove away from home. It’s the second time in my life when all my possessions were tucked away into a truck to be hauled miles and miles away from the place I called home.

When I left Michigan, it was hard, but it was for work. I didn’t have a lot of options and that seemed like the best one. When I left the eastern panhandle of West Virginia/northern Virginia area, it was a totally different move.

A kicking and screaming move.

An exciting move.

A “I’m scared to death to do this” move.

A “I have peace, but no understanding” move.

A fully surrendered move.

Now, here I sit, one year later, and I’ve gained no more understanding than I had a year ago. I almost wrote this post with the intent to write about all the things I miss. The people I love. The job I left. The church that welcomed me into her arms every week and the hugs that embraced me – tightly and with a depth of love I long for today.

I can’t go there, though. It isn’t healthy for me and that isn’t where God is calling me to focus. He doesn’t want us looking back and living in the place He no longer has for us. When Christ calls us to Him, it’s important to keep our attention on the road ahead, no matter how frustrated we are with the process. No matter how foggy or dimly lit that road might be.

So, as you can imagine, I’ve been pouring over different scriptures to walk me along this path, looking for ways to intentionally seek after God’s direction, and turn into myself to see how He’s trying to transform me through this process.

Here are some things I’ve had to cling to during this process:

Connect. With God. With people.

Be useful. To God. To others.

Learn. More about God. More about others.

Love. Intentionally and completely.

No matter where we are in life, the road less travelled or often travelled, those things listed above will always be important. When things might not make sense to us or our world is confusing, those things above will always remain. They allow us the chance to step outside our own self and look at the bigger picture. The fullness of Him and His purpose.

It’s easy to sit in our puddle, pool, or pit of self-pity or doubt or funk. The truth is, though, that we need to be running harder and faster after Him. We need to have a circle of people surrounding us. I have a small group of ladies that I’m constantly throwing out prayer requests to because I trust them and love them. I know they feel the same about me. We all have the same goal when we’re living in community together – even if it’s 1,000+ miles apart. We’re called to walk life with others, be prayerful for others, and help those God puts in our life to know Jesus a little better every day.

Tonight, I will be hosting my first book study here in the great state of Texas, with a small group of women I’ve come to know. While I did not schedule it to begin on this day because of the whole “one year ago today” thing… this morning I’m sorta sitting here in awe at how God works out these little confirmations and reminders for us to hold onto.

He is good. All the tinewsongme. All the time. He is good.

***

You’ve brought me to the end of myself
This has been the longest road
Just when my hallelujah was tired
You gave me a new song

I’m letting go
I’m letting go
I’m letting go
Falling into You

I confess I still get scared sometimes
But perfect love comes rushing in
And all the lies screamed inside go silent
The moment You begin

I’m letting go
I’m letting go
I’m letting go

Falling into You

You remind me
Of things forgotten
You unwind me
Until I’m totally undone
And with Your arms around me
Fear was no match for Your love
Now You’ve won me

And if I lived a thousand lifetimes
And wrote a song for every day
Still there would be no way to say
How You have loved me

Oh, how You love me
And that’s how You’ve won me

 

Hope is Him…

The fact that I wrote about hope last year, on this Saturday – the in-between day – and that God is prompting the same topic on this Saturday – the in-between day – a year later shouldn’t surprise me.hope-is-not-a-philosophy

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks. I’ve been writing, but not really, a post about my man child leaving home for a couple weeks now. I just can’t seem to get it done. I can’t put my feelings of joy and sadness into words yet. I try. I can’t.

This week has been especially difficult. You see, I received some bad news on Monday. It sorta rocked my world, definitely shook my confidence, and just crumpled my spirits. I was sad, bummed out, and feeling pretty defeated.

It took me all of half the day to get over it, though. The defeat was momentary. I can only give praise to Christ for that. I have too much faith in His call and purpose for me to sit and question anything for too long. I have to trust that what He says and does is for my very best.

I am living out a year with victory in mind, a year of expectation, and big, big hope. When something comes before me, I get SUPER excited about it and have a hope that seems larger than life. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty all-consuming hope. Driving to work one day, a couple weeks ago, I was so overwhelmed with hope, joy, and expectation over this particular thing that I just sobbed big, fat happy tears for how GOOD God is to me!

Imagine my surprise when that door closed. God, remember that morning we were driving? Remember how happy I was that You WERE going to make this happen? Remember how excited I was about it? He remembers. And He knows better. He knows me better. His plan is always better than my own.

Where I was stumbling, though, was how to continue standing in hope and expectation when there’s a good chance defeat will be on the other end. How do we expect the Lord to do something and not be so sad when He doesn’t do what we’re asking? When I brought this up, in my small group, I received the best, most quiet reply. “At least you still have hope.” Ahh… I DO still have hope. Lots and lots of it.

Her answer reminded me how many people walk around feeling hopeless, never expecting their lives to change or become different. Even those who know and trust Christ, fall into the enemy’s pit of hopelessness. I think back to Joshua 1, when the Israelites were told to cross the Jordan – without any clue about how or what would happen next – they were told that all things promised to them would come, they need only take the first step without seeing the big picture. It’s Hope! And it’s Faith!

On a day like the in-between Saturday, we’re reminded that when things seem bleak or hopeless, we can’t even imagine what’s on the other side of this day.

Hope Risen.

Risen Hope.

If we have the ability to believe and know that Christ was slaughtered for us. Died on the cross for us. Was buried in a tomb for us. And then rose from the grave so that we might be able to have life and HOPE in Him, then we have to continue to stand in the promises of Him.

He is good.

He is alive.

He is our hope.

Seeing me through His eyes

About ten days ago, I was given a challenge at my bible study. Of course, since one of my mottos is to never do anything alone that I can do with someone else; I challenged some of my friends to do it with me. And now, I’m sharing the challenge with you.

The leader of the bible study asked us, “what is something you wish that other people knew and understood about you?” I didn’t even have to think about it. My answer to this question is easy. I wish people knew and understood how badly I want to share my life with someone. Many of my friends compliment me on my strength, independence, courage, ability to “do it all,” and how confident I am to tackle the world.

No. I mean yes. I would like to think that God has given me some really great opportunities to grow and handle business as a mom, an employee, a student, in ministry, etc… But really… I’m mostly a mess.

I try to figure out ways, in my head, that I might be more approachable or more attractive or more looked upon or more desirable or more open and vulnerable or blah blah blah. I feel like I spend so much time trying to see me the way others see me so that I can fix whatever is so broken in me that it makes me unwanted.

Yeah.

I didn’t share all that in my bible study, but oddly the assignment I was given spoke right to that nasty place in my heart. The leader asked me if I would consider taking a few days to get still before God, just me and Him – and a pen and journal – and ask Him simply, “God, what do YOU think about me?” and be prepared to write down the things He reveals to my heart.blog-el-roi

I am open to ask God anything. Where should I go? Who should I talk to? Should I be part of this or part of that? Asking Him what He thought about me, though? The thought never crossed my mind. It’s like sitting in front of my mom and asking her the same question. Scary.

Naturally, I shouldn’t have been surprised when the conference I attended the weekend right after this assignment was given was all about what God thinks about us. It’s like He lined it all up – just so. Isn’t that how He always tends to do things?

I confess that I haven’t done it yet, but I will this week. And I’d like to challenge you to the same thing. Take a few minutes, over a period of a couple of days, and just sit before God and ask Him – what do You think about me? And wait for Him to reveal His vision OF you TO you. Write these things down and at the end of the days you set aside to do this, go back and read all the things He’s shared with you. I’m pretty sure we’re all going to walk away seeing ourselves a little bit differently.

God saw us precious enough to send His own Son to the Cross for us. I’d like to see myself that way for a while. And I bet you’d like that too. Let’s do it!

Being Victorious… and that’s okay.

2 Corinthians 2:14 (NASB) But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.

Our founding pastor gave us a project this morning. Write.

Well, okay. That’s easy! His purpose is to start writing down things that are a vision for us throughout the year. Once they’re on paper (or blog), then they become easier to realize because they aren’t thoughts that are just trapped in our head. We are allowing others to see our vision and to support us until the vision is brought to completion.

I have so many visions, friends. So, this post won’t be about those, but about me and the vision I have for myself over this coming year. Because of my becoming, though, I hope that some of the other visions start to take shape and those things that make up my heart dreams will come to life in a way that I never even hoped or expected.

I’ve shared my word with all of you – victorious! I am in *love* with that word, y’all! And I am working in quite a few areas in my life where I want those victories to shine. This morning, though, another thought came to mind (thanks, God!). Not just being victorious in things and certain aspects, but really BEING victorious. Wha?

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Here’s the thing, we all know it’s a really – really – fine line between being humble and being proud. Being sanguine and being haughty.  I like to accomplish things. I feel like God has gifted me with the ability to lead. I like to know that goals are being met and I had a part in doing it. However, I do not like the limelight or the public recognition of it all. I prefer a quiet “atta girl” and being done with the whole thing. I feel like God has given me some really great gifts, but I want to be mindful to not take those for granted or to come off as being boastful and arrogant. But I do want to be confident.

I remember teaching a lesson once about accepting compliments and recognition. I taught it because I struggled (still do!) with it myself. I hoped that by teaching it, I would get better at it. I maybe did, a little. But I also didn’t, a lot. Just a couple weeks ago, I had to go to my manager, who had graciously handed me a few very nice compliments within a matter of a couple days and I ungraciously deflected them, and apologize for doing that. She was being kind and I was unaccepting. Ugh, I hate that about myself! Humble, proud, humble, proud… it’s like my head spins.

Because of the message I heard at church today and one I saw on Facebook after church today, I had to realize this is still something in me that needs a lot of work. The Facebook message was a full-blown encouragement to me and my walk over the last year. I was complimented on my courage and told that I was an inspiration. And that I was loved. My first thought was, “whatevs… I’m just doing what God wants me to do, no big deal! It’s nothing really.” Instead, I typed, “I love you,” and left it right there. It all kinda came together, in that moment, that people (not a lot granted, but a few solid ones! lol) are watching me. They are watching my journey, watching my faith being walked out, and looking at me in a way that’s a little bit scary for me.

And that’s when it hit… God is trying to make ME victorious! Say whaaaaat? He is using me in a way that I didn’t consider before today. Man… part of me has been so confused about this whole journey and how it was supposed to work and why it had to happen this way. And, gosh, if ONE person can see courage in what the Lord has brought me through this year, then it’s all worth it. Every hard thing. Every scary thing. Every challenge. It’s all worth it.

But the very best thing for me to know and to walk in is that if He wants me to be victorious, it means He also wants the very same thing for you. Each of us is being equipped to walk out His mission for our lives, to find the victory He is calling us toward. It isn’t prideful. It’s not being arrogant or conceited. It’s being confident in the work He’s doing through us for His Kingdom! Now, go get all victorious and stuff! :p

1 Corinthians 15:57 (ESV) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Finding Financial Victory… or really trying to anyway.

Financial victory is amazing, right?! Well, I’m about to find out! A few weeks ago, Dave Ramsey offered a great deal on his total money makeover package and I grabbed it!

Since it’s been delivered, it’s been sitting on my dining room table.

Box opened.

Just sitting there.

Like, I know Dave… I know. Stop bossing me!

It’s funny because I’m not one of those people who has debt racked up in credit cards or anywhere else for that matter. I have one secured credit card for the sole purpose of renting a car, if I ever need to.  And that’s it. The last time I went over my finances with anyone, and I was clearly distraught about them, the couple took one look at my “sheet” and kinda looked at me like I was crazy. Their words, “you realize you have no debt and you’re really not in a horrible place, right?” Well, no. I feel like I’m in a horrible place!

In reality, I’m not in a horrible place. However, I do live paycheck to paycheck. When I moved, I was hopeful to secure a job so that I’d have a bit more breathing room financially, but as of now, that isn’t the case. So, while I’m not worse off than I was prior to the move, I’m really in the exact same place I was before. Paycheck to paycheck. I’ve sat back and asked God about this…”why can’t I be in a place with more financial stability? Why can’t I feel what it’s like to not have to live paycheck to paycheck? Why can’t I just have a wee bit more, God? Not a lot, just a little.” Doesn’t that sound so whiney?? Like, “hey, God, thanks for that job you provided me. But could You please do a little better next time?”

Ugh. I’m an awful person sometimes.

So here I am, trying to find my lesson in all of this. I feel like I’ve cut out lots of things that weren’t necessary, but I’m also holding onto things that I “deserve” because I work really, really hard and NO ONE is gonna take it away from me! *stomps feet!!* (insert awkward, in my heart temper tantrum)

Back to finding that lesson…a890fb13f5cdbe263bd0df1267049d77

How and WHY would God give me more if I don’t always manage well what He’s already given me?? It’s not even that I’m frivolous or living outside of my means because I don’t think I’m either, but I’m clearly not a good manager. In fact, I would say a good bit of my financial stress is brought on by my generous heart toward others and not wanting that person (or people) to want for anything. The problem is that I don’t have the kind of income to do that. But I really try to live like I do. I’m really trying to get a grip on that. I am. (I know my friends reading this are giving me the eye roll, like yeah yeah… heard it before. I’m totally serious this time, guys!)

In the end, today, I know this is one of those areas in which I want to become victorious. It’s one of the areas in my life that God doesn’t want me to struggle and He’s just waiting for me to learn this lesson. So today, as soon as I pay my bills for this month, I’ll begin a new journey to financial freedom.

If you’d like to do the same, so many people I know have gleaned great wisdom and tools from Dave Ramsey’s ministry. Check him out here. Let me know what you think!

One Word 2015

The last post I wrote feels like a lifetime ago. It was a hard post to write and I’m thankful that so many people were touched by it and shared it with their own friends. So, thank you. I appreciate that support and the love that was shown to me because of it.

Since then, I’ve started a new job, added a new addition to my home – a living, breathing, human girl! It’s so rare that girls come into my home, it’s usually the boys – and been in a place where I am chasing down peace in my heart. It’s meant taking time away from certain things or places or even people when I don’t feel peace in the middle of it all. So, naturally, when I started to pray about my word for 2015, peace was the first one that came to mind. I assumed that God would lead me in the same direction. But, alas, as He so often does, He pulled me into a whole ‘nother direction and pointed me to HIS word for me. Isn’t that just like Him? 😉

I have to say that this is the first year I am doing my word alone. Without my FCFC girls walking it out alongside me. It’s going to be different because they helped me to be accountable and helped me when I wasn’t putting my word into action. They would remind me when I wasn’t being “better” or remaining “constant” or finding “serenity” in my life. Each year, those ladies held my hand. And I suppose that’s part of the reason the Lord walked me into my word for this year. He knew that while I’m not totally alone (I mean we all love Facebook, right?), I will be more alone on this than I have in years past.

The choice of my words this year was hard to whittle down into “the one.” Here was my list that He kept running through my mind… Expect, Shine, Possible, Victorious, and Conquer. Really? Really. I mean those are ALL great words. I prayed and prayed. One by one, they were crossed off the list until only one remained. Let’s look at why I even thought about my words…0c767df21111c6ab1cf9f8f3ad73a931

Expect – I wanted to live a life of expectation that God WOULD show up. Every single time. He promised me that He would and I need to walk in that and remain in that.

Shine – I wanted to live a life that shines with His love to everyone around me. I don’t want to be in situations where my sparkle gets dulled.

Possible – that’s pretty self-explanatory.  With Him, all things are possible. Right?

Conquer – I want to live a life that conquers the things that God puts in my path and the things that aren’t easy to overcome, but they are possible to overcome.

And, finally, the winner, folks… Victorious. That’s the one. The word. His word. I suppose it’s coupled with conquer or conqueror because in order to be victorious, we also have to be conquerors. I feel like a little bit of a cheater because I have a two for one here. I’ll take it, though. He gave it to me! Free and clear, y’all!

There are so many areas in my life in which I want to feel and be victorious. There are so many small things that are begging for me to find victory over them. There are areas in my heart that long to be conquered and come out victorious on the other side.

I’ll be hurtling, head-first, into my own junk to find the places the Lord is calling me to be victorious through Him and with Him.

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How about you? Do you have a word for the year? Tell me about it! I wanna know. =]