My Word for 2016

My Word for 2016

You know how when you get a new car, you suddenly notice that car far more than you did before? I remember when I got my black Volkswagen Jetta my senior year in high school. Suddenly, I noticed every Jetta, every VW logo, every flip-out key. (I loved that flip-out key.) It seemed like they were everywhere. That’s how I feel when I pick a word for the year. My eyes are alert to the word. I can see connections I wouldn’t have noticed before, lines drawn from one verse to another like doing a connect the dots picture. At first, you only see a bunch of numbers but later after the lines are drawn you can see the whole picture.

A few weeks ago, I was writing a new verse in my prayer journal. As I wrote I stopped at the word dwell. As I looked through my journal that day, I realized this word was in many of the verses I pray. And I knew it was my word for 2016. In her book The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp says, “We can have as much of Jesus as we want.” That’s what I think of when I think of the word dwell, and that’s my prayer for 2016.  That I would want more and more of Jesus every day.

dwell \ˈdwel\ – to remain for a time, to live as a resident, to keep the attention directed, to speak or write insistently.

I will make my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. Leviticus 26:11-12

But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built! 2 Chronicles 6:18

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible . . . all things were created through him and for him . . . For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:15-17, 19-20

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. Colossians 2:9-10

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 1 Timothy 1:14

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:5

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19

New Year, New Word

New Year, New Word

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetLast Saturday was a dreary day–wet and rainy–as we made our way back home. The younger girls were asleep and Lydia was listening to the story of The Horse and His Boy from The Chronicles of Narnia. I was thinking about my word for this year. I had one in mind, but it didn’t seem quite right. As I was listening to the story and staring out at gray interstate, I heard it.

“‘Child,’ said the Voice, ‘I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.'” ~Aslan in The Horse and His Boy

And that was my word–Story. The word has much meaning to me because I love to write. I have a sweatshirt that has the words “Be True” on it, and that’s my greatest goal with writing–to be true. But when I heard that quote from The Horse and His Boy I was reminded how much I struggle comparing myself, trying to prove my worth by stacking myself against others. And how often I feel like I fall short. This year I want to enjoy the story God is telling me with all its plot twists and story lines. I want to cherish the characters in my story, those unique people who make up my village. I want to face my fears and take risks because every great story needs a protagonist who puts it all out there. And I want to live a story that compels my girls to want to know their Author. A life that beckons them into its pages and gives ink to their own stories.

“He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. And He said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.'” Isaiah 49:2-3

Cheers to a new year and the story it holds!

My Word for 2014

My Word for 2014

IMG_8572[1]Last year, after seeing several people choose a word for the upcoming year, I decided to choose one too. My word for 2013 was treasure. With that word in mind, I had three goals for the year. My first goal was to treasure and take care of the body God gave me and train myself to run a half-marathon. For my second goal, I wanted to treasure my mind and creativity by learning how to use my new DSLR camera and shoot manually. And my last goal was to treasure my heart and soul and learn twelve new Scripture verses/passages, not just memorize them, but know them deep in my soul where their truths could change me. And above all else, I wanted to treasure the people God has put around me, treasure my husband and strengthen our marriage, treasure my girls and my new opportunity to be home with them, treasure my friends and intentionally encourage them. I found my word for 2013 in Mary’s story in Luke 2. While everyone was talking excitedly about the Baby, the Messiah, “Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Mary knew the Gift she had been given.

Ironically, my word for 2014 came only one chapter earlier in Luke 1. A couple months ago I was writing in my little red Moleskin journal working on some writing for a future project, and I couldn’t get away from the word behold.

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. “

Behold. That little word captivated me. It’s a strange word, not one I use often, but it’s used 1326 times in the King James version. I dug around a little and found that behold means to see or observe, especially a remarkable or impressive event. It was used when the writer wanted to grab our attention, cause us to truly see and understand the words and events that would follow. This little word behold introduces the news that will change everything. After all this time, after all this waiting, the angel adds a metaphorical exclamation point to his declaration. Behold.


Be. Take in what He has for me right now, even in the wait. See and observe the gifts all around me, what He is doing in me, what He is showing me about Himself. Lay my agenda down and worship Him for who He is.

Hold. Hold on. Don’t give up. Wrap my arms around Him. Wrestle with Him. Be it thin as dental floss or thick as nautical rope, be always tethered to Christ.

I’m still working on my goals for this year. I know one of them is to continue to write, edging myself to the crest of honest and vulnerable. And I know another is to continue running. Most of my behold moments come when I’m running, leaves littering the path like fall confetti or sunrises painting the pastel sky, or when I’m writing, pen feverishly moving in my little red notebook, heart cracked wide open.

And I can already sense another one will be to literally hold on. I have a tendency to run, to find another solution when things don’t look good, which is to say I have a tendency to control. There is much up in the air with Ethiopian adoptions right now, more news coming each day and most of it I don’t understand. I’m glad the angel mentions that Mary was afraid. I wonder if waiting is always threaded with filaments of fear.

But right there in the middle of her fear, behold. See and observe the Lord. For when I stop and look around, He is always there. I pray this year I am more intentional, more purposeful, more trusting, heart awakened, eyes wide open, ready to behold.