My Word of the Year

I’m a little late to be posting about my word of the year when it’s been all over blogland.  It’s not because I haven’t been thinking about it, rather it’s just been hard to find a word that sums up what I want or need this year.  None of them felt quite right.  I had considered dream, intentional, dare, believe, renew, focus and even outloud.  I didn’t want to casually pick a word, rather I wanted it to be meaningful and prayerful.

Well, this is it….  PURSUE.

It fits in so many ways.  Let me share a little…

My Dream Job – I need to build and grow my hobby from finding treasures and selling in the little space I rent to a whole new level.  I want Farm Girls at Heart to be a brand that becomes bigger than the little antique store I sell out of.  I want to sell more on etsy, I want to do shows in different states.  I want to step out and make my dream a reality.  In order to do that, I have to pursue my dream and not wait for success to find me, I have to pursue it.

Healthy Lifestyle – I am tired of ever changing 15 – 20 pounds that I am constantly losing and gaining.  I don’t want to focus on a size or weight goal.  I would rather focus on eating healthier and being intentional with the food I eat; and to move and exercise more.  Diets don’t work for me, but healthier eating will benefit everybody.

Righteousness – I want to pursue righteousness.  To dig into the word more and grow in my relationship with God.  I want read the Bible more and to continue to journal regularly.  I want to be a good example to my family.  The hardest thing in this one is the the tendency for me to talk negatively.  I am generally a positive person (I’m even criticized for it), but I can’t seem to help but to share my thoughts and feelings about things that happen or my opinions about them.  This may not seem bad, but then I hear my children parrot my previous conversations and I realize that is not a good thing…

Boldness – I want to pursue boldness in my Christian faith.  I have been a believer all my life.  I love God with all my heart and if you ask me, I would love to share my faith with you. Did you notice that I said “if you ask me”.   But for some reason, I can’t seem to step out of my comfort zone and initiate conversations about church and/or God.  I wait for people to ask me questions rather than asking them anything related to church or God.

Why?  I’m not sure and that frustrates me.  I don’t ever want to seem pushy or make people feel obligated and that has kept me from reaching out to people. Often times, I fear being judged and that fear keeps me from stepping out.  That is one of the reasons this blog has never been posted on my Facebook or Instagram because I fear judgement or criticism from people. I would rather speak to a faceless crowd where people don’t know me personally.   I need boldness in this area too, that this blog can be another platform to share my faith.

Authentic Relationships – I want to pursue real relationships with women.  I want to build a small group of ladies where we can share our deeper feelings and hurts and desires without fear of judgement or criticism.  I need to be more open with sharing my home and time with others.

That’s my word of the year.  It has lofty goals and lots of avenues to be used this year.  I pray that this word will weave its way through my heart and life this year; that changes will be made and lives improved as a result.

Do you have a word of the year?  I’d love to hear about it!

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A New Year, a New Beginning

Each year I think of goals and resolutions. I am just like everybody else and I make a list each year of what I want to accomplish.    I keep some of my resolutions and I forget about most of them.

Beginning image

Source: quotesonimages.com

I  think about my new goals for 2015 and I think about how exciting it is to have a “do over”; a chance where we can start fresh and have a new beginning.  That made me think about what a new beginning is all about.

When I reflect on 2014, I tend to see my failures and regrets.  I remember the the things that I didn’t do, the mistakes I made and the missed opportunities.  Reflection often brings shame and overshadows the many joys of the past year.  Because really,  2014 was a good year.  It was a year of healing, growth and redemption.   It was a year to be celebrated.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.

The old has gone, the new has come.”  

2 Corinthians 5:17

Paul wrote these words.  He believed these words.  He experienced these words.  If I can think of any biblical character that experienced a new beginning, it is Paul.  Paul knew.  Paul knew the redemptive power of Christ’s love and sacrifice.  He felt the change from his past to his beginning.  Paul was able to overcome who he used to be to who God called him to be.  Paul didn’t let his past keep him from being used by God.  He didn’t let public opinion make him want to keep his story a secret.  He didn’t let shame and regret from past behavior keep him from God’s purpose.  Instead, he used his past to share the power of God’s forgiveness.

God used a man that used to kill Christians and changed his heart and gave him a new beginning that he became one of the most influential man in history.

Our past does not have to define our future.  Our shame does not have to continue to be carried; our fears do not have to hold us back.  Our regrets do not have to be larger than our intentions.  If we believe these lies (and that’s what they are); than we are not acknowledging the full redemptive power of God’s grace.  God is bigger than our past.  He IS our future; He IS our hope.    He IS our new beginning.  The consequences of our past may still be there, but so is God.  And God can use each one of us right where we are.  Even with the garbage that we have created with our choices.

What is holding you back this year?  I encourage you to keep the past from influencing your future.  Join me and let’s make 2015 a new beginning….

source: inspirably.com

source: inspirably.com

Send me…

“Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people?  Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am.  Send me.”

Isiah 6:8 NLT

A reminder that God's blessing rests in our home

A reminder that God’s blessing rests in our home

This Christmas season has been one of reflection for me. I am experiencing all sorts of emotions that are whirling within my head and heart and robbing me of the peace that this season should provide.  I started the month of December with a prayer that I would truly experience God’s great love for me in a new and meaningful way.  I believe that God has answered that prayer but along with it brought confusion and questions that are still unresolved.

I work in our Children’s Ministry department on Sunday mornings.  We have three age divisions and I wanted to teach the importance of giving to others during the Christmas Season in a way that all the children, regardless of their age would be able to participate and understand the concept.  The curriculum we are using emphasizes generosity and to help put generosity into action, I chose to partner with Innercity Church in Oklahoma City with their Christmas program called “Christmas in the Hood”.  To help with this project, we filled shoe boxes with all sorts of goodies including candy, school supplies, toothpaste and toothbrushes, socks, gloves, hats and toys.    My two sons went with me to the church to deliver 50 shoeboxes.

My trunk was completely full of shoeboxes!!

My trunk was completely full of shoeboxes!!

As I was driving to Innercity church and driving in the neighborhood it was easy to notice that this is an old part of the city that is long neglected.  I drove past run down businesses with bars on the windows, abandoned buildings, neglected houses that are not taken care of, and children roaming the streets.  It was not a safe area and it made me a little nervous. As i approached the church, it also showed the same wear and tear.  It was an original brick structure with lots of buildings added on to it or adjoining it.  We parked and went in and met with the people to deliver the shoe boxes.  The inside of the building was a stark contrast to the old exterior.  The inside was clean, well taken care of and warm and inviting.  We unloaded the shoe boxes with the help of 4 men.  The four men were of various ages and ethnicity and their faces were a reflection of a life of hard work, poor choices and most importantly the joy of Jesus.

I was only there for less than 10 minutes, but that experience haunted me for the remainder of the week.  As I was driving away, I felt very aware of the difference of myself living the gospel contrasted with these church members living the gospel.  While neither is better than the other, it opened my eyes to what else I could or should be doing.

My sharing Jesus is based on teaching  children about God in a small rural town.  I help with the Women’s Ministry, I serve as a youth sponsor in our Youth Department.  Our family helps feed the homeless and needy at the City Rescue Mission.  Several times during the year, the kids and I load up and drive up and down the streets of downtown Oklahoma City and pass out bottles of water and crackers or granola bars to the homeless people on the streets.  It’s one of our favorite things to do (except for one of the kids – they are a little scared by it all).  We give to missions and pick tags off the Angel tree.  I enjoy each of these things and believe that they have great value and meaning to the people that I am reaching but it still doesn’t feel right.  It doesn’t feel like enough,

What Christmas is all about...

What Christmas is all about…

Innercity Church’s Christianity is being the  hands of feet of Jesus every day to the needy.  To the people that don’t have enough food, they may not have a loving family or a warm house or a clean bed.  It seems wrong for me to go home to  my spacious, warm house that has plenty of food and lots of love to share.   My emphasis is getting great presents for my kids and family members and buying cute decorations for the house.  My Christmas seems so shiny and bright while the needy is so painful and raw.  It seems so selfish….

So I am struggling with where I fit into this picture of being Jesus’ hands and feet and knowing what else he wants me to do. My heart says “Yes, Lord. Send Me.  Here I am…. Use me”.  But I don’t know what that looks like other than what I’ve been doing.  So I’ll keep doing those ministry things and wait for more opportunities to share the love of Jesus.  I don’t ever want to get comfortable with where I am at and what I am doing.  So use me Lord, even if it’s messy or uncomfortable.

Jesus is the reason for the season!

Jesus is the reason for the season!