For the last several years, I have chosen a word to focus on for my year, to pray, to meditate on and to encourage me through the tough times on a specific goal. 2014 was a year of Direction. As a family we were saddened by the move of our best friends and ministry partners, and had to decide where God was moving us to go, to do, to be. Simplify was my word for 2015. I read all the books on minimizing our lifestyle, but the biggest things I cut out was toxic people, and saying no to good things in favor of saying yes to the best things. If you haven’t read “The Best Yes” by Lysa Turkeurst then do so. Life changing, especially for those of us that are knee deep in ministry.
2016, my year of Freedom! Which was followed quickly by my year of Grace for 2017. Freedom and Grace will forever go hand in hand for me. I have grown so much these last 2 years and really truly have been released from a bondage. The destruction in my past doesn’t follow me in my future. You will never know how much God’s grace has permeated your life until you have to forgive people that aren’t sorry for what they have done to you, and have to teach your children to forgive them too. But where there is forgiveness, there is freedom; where there is grace, there is forgiveness; and where there is freedom there is grace! God is the one working these miracles, nothing is impossible for Him!
2018… As I was praying and seeking God about my word for this upcoming year I just felt so overwhelmed. I am going back to college next week, full time. I am going to be homeschooling my 4 children still, full time. I was blessed with an amazing ministry that wants to partner with me and I will be able to use my gifts of writing and teaching to help families and individuals grow deeper with God, specific to this creative bible art journal space. And all I can think of, is I am not enough. Those voices that I heard my entire life, tearing me down are trying to get the upper hand. They are telling me to run and hide until my life looks less crazy, less hectic, less shameful… And it is all lies. God uses the broken parts of my life to let His light shine through.
God spoke into my heart, “Remember to stay alert and hold firmly to all that you believe. Be mighty and full of COURAGE. Let love and kindness be the motivation behind all that you do.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 (TPT). Courage means the ability to do something that frightens one; strength in the face of pain or grief. Valiant, a synonym, means brave or determined, especially when the conditions are difficult or dangerous; worthy or excellent. 2018 is going to require much valiant courage. More strength, more determination, more grit, more love and compassion then I posses on my own. But it is in my weakness that I am made strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Courage. Courageous. Valiant. Brave. Standing tall, wearing the crown of God’s glory and facing down the enemy. Doing all the things I am called to do, in-spite of the circumstances. It shall be epic.
And in case you are still here for the joy… Joy is still at the heart of my ministry and my life calling. It is a very courageous thing to choose joy. To believe and hope for the goodness of the Lord in the middle of the battle.(Psalms 27:13) To know that the victory is already won, during the darkest of nights. (Psalms 23:4) God does work all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28), and that includes me, at this time, for this season and reason. (Esther 4:14) The joy of the Lord will be my strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)