Tag Archives: love

My Word- 2017

one-word-2017

Every year I get a word that is ‘my word’ for the year. It’s like having a theme-something specific you know the Lord wants you to focus on. It has helped me over the years to have a specific word because my word serves as a guide when life gets overwhelming and I’m struggling to figure out if this thing I ‘could’ do is lining up with my season and what I feel like God wants me to focus on.

Here’s some I found from the past few years:

2014- Authentic Faith

2015- Digging In & Dreaming

2016- Learn

And as I prayed about this year’s word I thought it was intimacy, but then after further study and prayer, I have my word for 2017….Drum roll please……

Relationships. That’s right, relationships. That’s the direction I feel like the Lord is leading me for 2017. Growing closer to God, with my spouse, and my kids. Growing in relationships with our Big Red family- so that we feel more like a family. Growing in relationships with my friends so that I learn how to walk out what it looks like to get closer- like being okay with no make-up days, when I’m overwhelmed days, and overall just being more true to who I am with others and not worrying about if I look tired (because maybe I am) or if I look put together or whatever it is. Authentic and transparent. I want that. Sometimes I stay safe and hidden because it feels easier and it’s less work (I said it)- but I crave closeness. I know that’s how God has wired us.

Hebrews 10:24-25- 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Here’s 3 ways I hope to put my word into action for 2017:

  1. Invest. I always say people before projects but I don’t always live it. People are the most important thing and I want my life to reflect that. I want to invest in the lives of others around me, because I know the investment is worth it. Investing in others produces a closeness with others, a bond, trust, and it just feels good. Sometimes we get so busy and distracted with ‘life’ we often find that we don’t have time for others… but what if we go into 2017 with the mindset that people are life? Same with my kids- I want to be intentional about investing in them this year, not putting everything else the world deems as important in front of them. And my daughter is going to be a senior next year! I won’t get this time back.
  2. Intentional. I want to be intentional about making the phone calls, stopping by for the visit, inviting others over for the coffee, or sitting down and doing something with my kids. I want to ask the Lord each morning, “How can I be intentional today and put others first?” I want to stop making excuses because I‘ve gotten stuck in my comfort zone and set out to connect with those around me.
  3. Initiate. Have you ever been scrolling through Facebook and saw pictures of ladies just having fun together and thought to yourself, “I wish I had a few girlfriends to go see a movie with or have coffee with”? If we want to have better relationships in the new year we need to learn to initiate. We need to stop sitting around waiting for someone to invite us and be the one doing the inviting. Initiate and ask someone to join you for a fun outing. I know it can feel awkward or it might be a stretch outside your comfort zone, but you’ll be so glad you did! You and I need to reach out and initiate that get-together or coffee night, friends game night, family outing, or date night. And if you’ve gotten in a rut at home, initiate a game or movie night or maybe have a night where the kids pick a meal and then they get to cook it. Initiate change!

I know I’m not going to get it right 100% of the time. I’m going to have my days where I just have to follow through on deadlines and get things done. But I also realize that any steps towards bettering the relationships in my life and making them a priority are far better than no steps at all. And I believe that God will honor that and meet me in that place.

I encourage you this year to invest in others, be intentional in putting others first (especially your time with God), and be the one to initiate some things instead of just waiting for things to happen. There will be no greater joy for me than to get to the end of 2017 and know that I have put first things first. When we get to the end of our lives, we don’t get to take any of our things or accolades with us. The most important things that I believe will last for eternity are our relationship with God and our relationships with each other.

Here’s to a brand New Year!

What about you? What’s your word for 2017? I would love to hear it!

At the end of your life you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent.” Barbara Bush, Reflections: Life After the White House

 

 

 

Your Words Matter

Mother talking to teenaged girl

 “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo F. Buscaglia

 It was a warm fall day. My boys and I participated in a run at the local college. We waited until the end to hear the awards given. My boys, especially my oldest wanted to win 3rd place in his age bracket. He’s in cross-country and he’s been training. He sprinted hard at the end and passed up two other people. I let him know that trophy or no trophy, I was so proud of him for running his own best race. I told both of my boys that. Is it fun to win a trophy? Sure! Why not?! But we don’t run to just win a trophy- we run to push our bodies, to prove we can do more than we give ourselves credit for, and to better ourselves. We make our own personal goals and try to achieve them. And always be proud that you’ve tried! So, no trophies on this morning for my boys, but they had their finisher medal and I reminded them of how proud I was of them for doing their best.

As we crossed the street, what I heard next from a mom to her son broke my heart. “Mom, where’s my trophy?” The young boy was maybe ten. She looked upset. She said, “You didn’t run fast enough. You have to run faster.” With bitterness in her every word and disappointment in her voice, I watched this young man put his head down, completely deflated. I could almost imagine the record going on in his little brain… “You’re not enough… you’re not good enough… you’re not fast enough… if only you were fast enough, then your mom would be proud of you.” And a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach arose. I felt like I was going to explode. As calmly as I was able, I said to the boy, “Hey, you should be proud of yourself, you woke up and ran a race when a lot of the boys your age are still sleeping, so way to go!” And the mom just tried to smile, while probably feeling slightly embarrassed, realizing I overheard her conversation with her son.

I got in the van and wanted to cry. If only she had seen his face and realized the power in her words. Maybe I’m more sensitive to this because of my own memory of words that hurt and discouraged. I was in 9th grade. I was never in any sport, never encouraged to try any sport, and didn’t really have the support at home (financially or physically) to join a sport. I was a troubled teen with a very dysfunctional home life. I don’t remember having a desire to even try a sport. Because of never trying any type of sport, I never got to see my potential. I never got to see what I could really do.

It was just another day in 9th grade, and they made us run for P.E. The running team was also out that day practicing on the field. As I ran by I overheard the coach of the team say to one of the runners, “Go run with her.” Honestly, I don’t remember his exact words, only the runner from the team running beside me, pushing me and encouraging me to go faster. And I did. The coach recognized something in me no one had ever noticed. I could run and I had potential. He asked me to join the running team. No one had ever asked me to join a team before. I remember feeling so proud and excited. “Wow, me, a part of a team?” “He thinks I’m fast.” I remember training with the team. I did long distance. I remember the joy I felt running and how good it felt to be a part of something; to be wanted. It was getting close to competition time. I had some old tennis shoes. I never had to buy anything for a team or a sport. The coach wanted us to all have a pair of good running shoes. I went home that evening and let my mom know we would need to buy a good pair of running shoes. “Why do you need that?” “You’ll probably never finish.” And deflated I walked away, the record played in my head, “You’re right mom, I’ll probably never finish.” The next day was picture day for the team. I didn’t go, so the coach sent someone to look for me. I told him my mom said my grades weren’t good enough, so I couldn’t be on the team. (In truth my grades were terrible, practically failing everything, but this wasn’t the reason I stopped running with the team). And that was it. The quickest sport I ever played growing up, in the matter of a few minutes and a few words… over.

I share this story because I have seen words destroy families, I have seen words crush dreams, I have seen words break hearts, and I have seen words completely shatter self-esteem. It’s taken a lifetime of God’s Word over me to counteract the sharp words spoken over me as a child. And I wonder if we realize the power we have with our words? I wonder if we realize the power we have to lift up or tear down? In Proverbs 3:27 the Bible says, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.” When is it in our power to help & encourage someone? How about every time we open our mouth?

Proverbs 18:21- Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Ephesians 4:21– Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Proverbs 12:18– There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Matthew 12:36- I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.

As parents, we have the power to bring life or death in the hearts of our children by the words we say. I want my kids to know that no matter what, I am proud of them and that I will support them in trying new things. We are the little voice in their head. When they are older, they’ll hear a record playing from their years of growing up. First and foremost, I pray they’ll have God’s Word in their head (and hearts). And secondly, they’ll have ours. I pray that the words they hear are positive, encouraging, uplifting, truth in love, and that they’ll know that no matter what, we love them, even if they mess up, and that there’s room for failure here. And that when times get tough, they hear the record playing in their head, “You’ve got this… you were made for this… you can do this…we believe in you…greater is He that is in you… you are loved no matter what….”

Lord, help us to never be stingy with words that can build someone up. Help us to freely hand out encouragement to others whenever it is within our power. As we read Your Words, help our words to others flow freely, bringing life- with our spouse, with our kids, with our friends and family members. Help us to take any opportunity to celebrate others and speak into their lives. Lord, forgive for times when we’ve withheld our encouraging words for others because of our own insecurities. Today is a new day. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Here’s a great video to bring home my point by Toby Mac, Speak Life

Love Letters

I read a love letter today. I’m still thinking about it. He loves me. He’s crazy about me. He believes the best in me, even though He’s seen me at my worst. His words make my spirit come alive; they bring me hope in a dark world. In His letters to me, He always reminds me that I’m not alone; that I can run to Him and He will protect me. He promises a great future for me. “Just trust Me,” He says.

Morning after morning I pour over His letters thinking of them throughout the day. Whenever I’m having a hard day, even just a few words from His letter seem to make it better. Sometimes my own words even feel inadequate to express the significance of His words or do them justice. Because you see, His Words were written with me on His heart– still not sure if I fully grasp that.

Go ahead, open your love letter today from Him. He’s written it with you on His mind. He promises to love you, build you up and esteem you. Not because of anything you’ve done or will do- but just because you’re you and He loves you!

Lord, thank you for Your written love letters to us, the Bible. Reveal yourself to us as we read it and come alive in our hearts. Let Your Word penetrate anything that would block us from receiving all that You want to say to us today. Amen

1 John 3:1
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

Psalm 52:8b “I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.” (NIV)

Jeremiah 31:3
“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”(NIV)

Psalm 48:9
“Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.” (NIV)

Zephaniah 3:17
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” (NIV)