At the start of this new year, it’s good to look back and see what we learned in 2015.
Arise and Build
Our One Word (two words) was Arise and Build. When I chose this word, I had a feeling that God wanted me to be faithful to do what He had set before me but the results of building were up to Him. I was to arise and He would build.
In 2015 we bought a home and God surprised us with a pregnancy.
He is definitely a good builder. He tore down some things that needed to be renovated and remodeled—like my priorities (still working on that). He showed me weak spots in the foundation, like anger. He strengthened problem areas by teaching me about boundaries and healthy relationships.
God met me in lonely places and provided some wonderful friends to encourage and cheer me on.
He closed and opened doors with writing and speaking and also showed me the importance of rest through the RESToration Project.
I like to choose One Word each year to focus on, but often I don’t keep it in the forefront of my mind.
I found a solution for that this year. My friend Krafty Kash sells custom-made jewelry, so you can wear your word.
I am thrilled with my “Listen” necklace. It is a conversation piece and a great way to remember that I want to listen close and listen well this year.
Between now and January 18th you can receive 20% off your One Word item by using code: oneword16 at checkout. Use my affiliate link to order your one-of-a-kind necklace or bracelet. The code will work for any of the One Word necklaces (regular size, verse, and mini) and the One Word bracelet.
I am curious about what God will teach me as I focus on listening.
You see, this tightly wound woman has a thing or twenty to learn about letting God write her story. I have tried to control it for nearly four decades. Oh wow, I just remembered that I am turning 40 this coming year. Hmm, I definitely want to set some goals surrounding that! Poor hubby, I keep changing my mind about the kind of celebration I want. First it was nothing, then it was a huge party, now it is an outing with 10 of my closet friends. Yes, I think that last one sounds just about right.
Another way that I’m keeping “listen” in the forefront of my mind is via this pretty graphic created by Traci Little.
For only $5 she can custom-make one for you too. Click here for details!
In December I shared the most visited posts from last year, but today I wanted to share 10 of my favorite posts. They might not be the most popular, but they are the posts that I like best and that reflect important lessons learned.
Favorite Posts from 2015:
This was a guest post for Wendy Speake as part of the 40 Day No Sugar Challenge (she beautifully edited my words):
This time I’m not standing at the kitchen basin with anger coursing through my veins. I’m not throwing anything now but my sin down, my angry woman down at the foot of the cross. I’m here at this metaphorical sink full of hot soapy water, ready to roll up my sleeves and let His kind and shame-free cleansing leave me white as snow.
I want to lay down the rock that rages and lay upon the Rock of Ages.
I need to be brought back—away from sinking sand and onto the Rock that is steady.
I have let my feelings determine what is true. My perspective is often skewed as I rely on it to guide my steps.
I have been out of balance more than I care to admit because I let my feelings topple me over in a heap of hormones.
I need an adjustment—to be realigned so that I can stand up straight. I have been living under the weight of heavy emotions and have neglected crucial weight-lifting exercises.
But it’s time to get into shape.
Thousands of years ago God’s people longed for a King, to rule and reign and establish peace on their behalf. God answered by sending them a baby. And many of them missed the answer because they expected Him to answer in a certain way.
This was published on God-sized Dreams where I am a regular contributor.
I lose sight of His love when I start loving the work of my hands more than the One who formed these hands.
I want to be like the wise men. They knew who they were yet also sought to know the One that was greater than they. They didn’t lose sight of the end goal.
This was published on iBelieve.com
There are life-giving qualities that tightly wound women possess as well. They have a tenaciousness that makes things happen. I know many wound up women who rally around causes, accomplish difficult tasks and inspire others to take the next step towards their goals.
Wound up women can make great advocates, managers and organizers as they utilize their God-given strengths for the betterment of others.
You have a grit and grace that can make a positive difference in many lives.
This was a guest post written for Grace Table.
The open-handed home is one that remembers Jesus’ nail-scarred hands open to receive them. It is a home that extends grace because its tasted the sweetness of being forgiven. It’s a safe place for hearts to laugh, reveal scars and be filled.
When we open the doors to our homes and hearts we invite others to step onto holy ground—sacred gifted space, where they feel welcome and valued, a picture of what’s to come—even if that ground is covered with orange shag carpet.
This was a guest post for (in)courage:
Since I walk on a high tightrope of unreasonable expectations, I am positioned to topple at the smallest criticism.
The kids disobey. I slip.
The laundry isn’t put away — ever. I trip.
The book proposal is rejected. I limp.
I fall from the heights and land hard.
This was a regular contributor post for Kelly Balarie’s Purposeful Faith:
It wasn’t my place to be my friends’ savior. It wasn’t my job to try and carry them. My part was to lift them up to Jesus and let Him take it from there.
As I raised my arms to reflect what He was showing me I felt the weight lift. He took me from a place of pain and enabled me to rise up—crippled no longer.
I am not responsible for the outcome of my friends’ decisions. My part is to be a good friend and lift them up in prayer, to the One who can make all the difference.
This was written for Bethany Christian Service’s blog (about adoption):
We wanted to wait for our “Isaacs,” and trust God to grow our families in His timing.
It’s easy to say that, but much harder to live it out as you wait month after month and experience “no” after “no” in your adoption journey.
This was published on my ibelieve.com blog:
Grief is complicated. It’s a tug of war between what was and what is. Crying over the past doesn’t mean you aren’t happy in the present. But, I think we do ourselves a disservice when we write off our grief, explain it away or pretend it didn’t hurt like hell.
God got us through the anguish of that hour in the hospital lobby, and beyond. I can’t imagine facing that kind of pain without the One who is the same—yesterday, today and forever.
I hope you enjoyed these Favorite Posts from 2015.
So, what’s next? Some exciting things!
You can purchase Tales of Our Lives: Reflection Pond by Matilda Butler (the anthology that I’m published in) for a discounted rate for a very limited time. It will soon be regular price. If you have already purchased a copy, would you please leave an honest review of it on Amazon?
The book is in Kindle form, but you can download the free Kindle app for any device and read it that way.
On Wednesday announced the gender of Baby Cinco. If you didn’t catch our Periscope of it you can watch the hilarious replay here!
If you didn’t read the post behind “Listen” you can do so here. Starting in February I will be hosting a series, Listen Close and Listen Well. I have invited some special guests to share accounts of how listening closely to God has impacted them. I know we will be inspired as we grow closer to the Lord, together.