Word of the Year ~ 2017


I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and I kept coming back to “rest”. I liked it, it sounded easy (but it’s really not), and I mastered the getanapineverysingledayofChristmasbreak thing this year.  So.  Natural choice – right?

But over a conversation with a new friend, I just can’t get another word out of my heart.  It keeps rolling around and popping up in all kind of ways – and well it’s kinda the exact opposite of what I thought my word might be.


It’s kinda overwhelming to type it.  I imagine this fierce person who is bold & courageous – outfitted with this incredible heavy duty & shiny armor…and well it’s intimidating to think that I’m supposed to be that person.  That we are each as sons and daughters are called to be that person.

But what I’m loving about it is that I really think the Lord is beginning to show me how interconnected warrior is with rest.  The Word says that our mind is stilled when solely focused on Him.  Rest comes through time with the Lord.  He even says that if we would only be still – that He will fight for us.  But there’s also the time that we are called to be in action.  It’s through rest and in preparation for that time (of action) that we are able to adequately cover ourselves with the Armor He has made available to us.

Getting dressed in armor is not a simple or quick process.  You can’t throw open the closet door and just grab it off the hanger.  It takes being intentional.  It takes time with the Lord…quality time.  It takes spending time on your knees instead of running everywhere under the sun. #preachingtomyself

The warfare around us is undeniable.  It surrounds us.  Angels & demons are fighting…and we would be believing lies if we turned a blind eye to it.  And it would also be incredibly unwise to immerse ourselves in this war without being dressed for battle.

So…this year, my prayer is to dress better…to daily put on the armor my God has sacrificed His own Son for…to know His Truth so that I may gird every choice & action in it & to hide His words in my heart so that I may use it to destroy the lies that the enemy will surely whisper and shout on any given day.

I am praying for rest – yes…but rest that is spent in Him – asking that even as I sleep He is renewing my mind and transforming my thoughts in preparation to be a warrior for Him.  This year, I desire to have the wisdom to know when to fight and when to be still & daily ready for both.For His Glory,

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Ryleigh Elizabeth ~ 6 years old

Ryleigh, dsc_0395

You are the one that made me a momma.  I’ve experienced so many firsts with you because of that, but also so many others.  Living internationally, learning a different language, extended camping trips, and the list could go on and on.  You are no doubt one of the most flexible, go with the flow, kiddos that I’ve ever met.  I see so much of myself in you (for good and bad) and while you love a list & a schedule – you’re A OK when that changes.  You love traveling and you love being at home.  Learning to read has been a highlight of the year and you are always wanting to pick up a new book and figure it out.  I do love that you still want to be read to though too!

He has given you such a compassionate heart (just usually not towards your sister).  I’ve seen it from the beginning of when your personality began to emerge but even more so this year.  There’s not a time when an ambulance or police car passes us that you don’t voice a prayer for whomever they are on the way to help.  img_8926

Anyone who knows you, knows you are a talker – but you are also an excellent listener and that shows up in how you pray for people about things that I didn’t even know you were aware of.  I’ve loved teaching you in VBS and Bible Buddies this year and seeing how you make connections to what He is teaching you through your friends, worship songs, and our devotionals.

Of course, this past year, the highlight has been that you are now my sister in Christ and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  Your concern and passion over praying for your little sister to also become a part of your eternal family has been such a sweet thing to be a part of.

You love your people fiercely and have a boldness for Christ that would be hard to rival even by someone 4x your age.  Some may say you’re bossy but I’m praying that He will conform that into leadership skills that will honor Him in magnificent ways.  We talk alot about how when you grow up that you can be anything you want to be only for you to remind me that it’s anything He wants you to be – and you are SO exactly right.

I’ve prayed from the beginning that He would use you to glorify Himself.  He has proven faithful to that request in ways I never imagined and I just can’t wait to see what He has in store.

There’s not a night that we don’t sing your goodnight prayer together and our mornings this year as we travel to school have already become such a sweet time of memories for me.  Your silliness keeps us laughing and your request for “cuddle time” is one of my favorite things.  img_9001

You love peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, pickles, and black olives.  You’re addicted to cran-grape juice and you’ll pick a kit-kat over any other candy.  You still love a bowl of rice with nothing else on it and you can put a bowl of beans away in a hurry…I guess raising you in Madagascar has influenced your palette.  Which also is probably why you have a love for animals just like your daddy.  Right now you think you’ll be a veterinarian -but you want to work at a zoo because you like all the “crazy” animals…or at least that’s what you say.

Your life verse from before you were born is Zephaniah 3:17 –
The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

I truly believe that His way of reminding me of that verse all the time is by giving you a love of singing.  I don’t remember a time when you didn’t love making up your own songs and singing & dancing to each one.  His joy is evident in you and it is a beautiful thing.dsc_0378

I love you Ryleigh Elizabeth and I am so grateful He chose me to be your momma.

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the ellipsis…

ellipsisanyone remember when you had a limit on the number of texts you could send in a month?  how about when unlimited texting became a thing?  who would have ever imagined how much we would communicate without ever talking?

and then they came out with the ellipsis in texting.  you know what i mean?  those 3 blinking dots that let you know that the person on the other end is texting you back.  anyone ever get impatient with the other person?  ha.  I mean, if I don’t see the dots – you can take 3 days to text me back…but if those dots pop up, then suddenly I’m ready to know what you are about to say.

as I was staring at these blinking 3 dots recently, the Lord began to speak to my heart.  How long do I sit and wait for Him to speak?  I’ve been reading Fervent and asking for the Lord’s leadership in a specific prayer strategy over numerous areas of my life.  It’s been such an incredibly humbling journey and so so SO good for my soul.  I am far from what someone might consider a prayer warrior but He has been teaching me much about prayer, the power that we have in coming to His throne room, and the importance of being intentional about scripture being a major part of these prayers.

However, I confess, that there are times when I sit and wait staring at my phone screen until the 3 dots disappear and words appear.  I wait to formulate my response or delay making a decision until I hear from whom I am corresponding with.  Sometimes it’s a few seconds, and other times it could be minutes or hours.

I’m not so sure that I am that faithful with waiting on Him.  There are times that I am guilty of praying to Him and instead of saying Amen meaning “let it be done”, I use it as “I am done.”  That’s all I wanted to say Lord, I’ll get back with you later.  I forget that it’s an ongoing conversation.  That sometimes there are situations where I do need to wait and see how He responds.  To take the time to pause and let His Spirit speak to me through His words, through a worship song, through whatever means He chooses.

I need to remember that even when I can’t see the ellipses, He’s there wanting to speak to me…but I do have to stop long enough to listen.

For His Glory,

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learning to lean


off balance.  that’s the first thing I think of when I hear the word “leaning”.  I picture some building in my mind that actually looks nothing like the actual “leaning tower of pisa”.  And, well, I think of myself because if you know me at all you know I’m not the most graceful…I tend to get off balance quite easily.  Feel free to ask my friend Natalie how many times I have fallen going UP her stairs.  Yes.  Seriously.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5

I really think it was a verse in my first ever round of Bible Drills in the 3rd grade.  I remember thinking it was a parent verse.  Like something a parent would pray for a child…because isn’t that what children do?

Over the years I’ve seen that this verse is definitely for children…and I am a child so it applies.  Regardless of how old I am on my birthday, I still think that I know best about certain things.  Oh how grateful I am that the Lord perseveres.  He doesn’t give up on me no matter how hard headed or near sighted I can be.

When I do get off balance – emotionally/spiritually/physically…I like to be able to lean into something/someone though.  I like explanations – reasoning for whatever is going on…or simply the knowledge that I won’t fall down – something is going to hold me up.

It seems so smart at first to trust myself.  Go with “my gut”.  Follow my heart.  Ha.  It’s truly almost comical if it wasn’t so destructive.  The Word says that the heart is deceitful above all things. And well – it’s pretty difficult to lean against yourself isn’t it?  I mean have you tried it?  Yep…you’re bound to fall.  It’s physically impossible.

I absolutely love when the Lord speaks new things through words I’ve read numerous times.  He’s telling us not to lean on our own understanding because it’s NOT WORTH LEANING AGAINST.  It can NOT HOLD US UP.

But.  BUT. When we lean into Him.  Into His truths.  Into His wisdom.  Into the Biblical counsel of friends who are intimate with Him – whom He sends to equip/encourage/reprove/rebuke/exhort us.  Then our paths will be straight.  Even if we are leaning…feeling a bit off balance and sideways…His truth will hold us up.  He will keep us exactly where we need to be.

Yes, I pray daily that my girls and the my friends’ kiddos will learn to lean.  Lean on Him.  But also…I’m intentionally praying that I will do the same.  To live by example – to allow my babies to see me leaning…to honestly talk with them when I fall about why I did.  I don’t want to dismiss it.  I don’t want to brush it under the rug and shrug things off.

Let’s open up – let’s share with our children – with our friends -with our family about when we are feeling off balance.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to the One who will support us.  We are explicitly told to not do this on our own.  We must trust Him.  We must learn to lean.

For His Glory,

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