Friday, January 8, 2016

Receive (My #OneWord365 for 2016)

It's been one year since I last wrote on my blog. I hadn't planned on taking a sabbatical.

I don't think it was a coincidence that my last post was about the word I chose for 2015 -- WAIT. It was a beautifully hard year unpacking the word and understanding its impact on my life. Even now, I wouldn't say that waiting is my favorite thing. And certainly my blog suffered for it. But waiting is a necessary skill, drenched in patience and trust. Both of which I struggle with.

The do-er in me tends to jump in and take care of business, but as I practice boundary setting in my life I realize I need time. I'm allowed time -- to think, listen, and wait.

There were times I thought about blogging last year, but I felt an overwhelming sense that I should just wait. I'm not sure why. Maybe I'll never know exactly.

It's now the first week of January 2016 and the freshness of the new year has yet to wear off. I wondered if I would choose a word this year and what it might be. So I waited. And all I heard was silence.

I was toying with a few different words, but nothing seemed to fit. Until today.

It came wrapped in a beautiful package of tears and trepidation, and I knew as soon as I heard it that this was my word, part of my journey for the year.

Receive. This is the word God chose for me. Joining fruitful, esteem, and wait in the line of words God has used in the past 3 years to show me new things about myself.

There is a thread of doubt tangled up inside my heart. It wonders if God will take care of me. It questions whether I'm even deserving of it.

The receiving of grace. Of provision. Of love.

The price He paid -- the hardest of all blessings to receive.

In the everyday, in relationships, when I'm in need -- do I ask for help? Do I deny others the opportunity to love me in real and tangible ways?

Receiving is hard because it's inconceivable to me that people would care that much without reciprocation.

I deflect compliments and minimize my needs. I'm blinded by my perceived self-sufficiency.

Receiving carves away that pride. I have to humble myself in order to receive. And believe I am valued, not because of what I do, but because of who I am.

I want to learn how to receive well. To be better at saying yes to love and care and good gifts. Without strings or IOUs.

But instead with open hands. Open hands. To simply receive.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

RECEIVE: (by Merriam-Webster)
  1. to come into possession of, acquire; to assimilate through the mind or senses; to welcome, greet; to accept as authoritative, true, or accurate, believe;  to support the weight or pressure of, to bear; to suffer the hurt or injury of

What's #oneword365? Click the pic to find out more.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Wait (My #OneWord365 for 2015)

I fidgeted in the saddle, my knees still aching a bit from the ride a few days earlier. My horse shifted its weight impatiently, swishing flies away with his long, black tail. It took awhile to get everyone mounted and the horses were anxious to get started, each vying for a position near the front of the line.

It was warm and dry when we started the trail up through the valley, along the mountain stream surrounded by fields of tall grass. I had no idea what was ahead, only that it would take several hours to reach the peak where we were to eat lunch.

We had begun the slow climb through thick forests when we heard the first rumble. A Wyoming thunderstorm pops up quickly, blowing over mountain ranges and through valleys, ending as fast as it starts. The mountain trail was damp and dreary as the horses slipped and clumped along the muddy trail.

As we ascended past the tree line, beautiful views surrounded us as mountain ridge after ridge created an unbelievable backdrop. The higher we went, the closer we came to the storm brewing overhead and the thunder clapped its threats to turn back.

We reached our stopping place as fat, cold drops of rain began to fall. We huddled under a pine tree canopy, eating our sandwiches and wondering if the storm was moving on. The corral was hours away, the only way back was the way we came.

Down the muddy mountain trail we clopped, wet and cold and longing for home. And it was on this trail, with a thunderstorm booming and rain pelting, riding a stubborn horse down sometimes steep mountain switchbacks, that I was reminded, once again, that I am not in control.

Feeling vulnerable I did the only thing I could do in that moment — I trusted, I prayed, and I waited.

By the time we reached the thick forest again the thunder and rain had stopped. Once in the lush, green valley the sun broke through, warming and drying us out. We reached the corral as expected all in one piece, tucking the ride away with the other memories from our Wyoming adventure.

I have been wondering if God was going to prompt me to a word this year. I have been participating for the past two years in choosing a One Word, instead of making resolutions.

Last year, my word was "Esteem" and the Lord used it to show me how little I thought of myself and to teach me how to "be loved" and valued. And the year before my word was "Fruitful" which really changed the way I approach ministering to others and how I participate in and understand the purposes God has for me.

In some ways I think I have been hesitant to ask God about a word this year. It didn't seem obvious right away and I have been writing here less and less (as you may have noticed).

But today it came, wrapped around several other words I feel like God is nudging me about…


I don't know why this word makes me nervous. I wasn't good at "esteem" when it became my word last year, but it was a journey God took me on and I feel like I am better for it.

A few years ago I would have said waiting, for me, was impossible. It wasn't in my genes to wait. I am a do-er. End of story.

But the last year or so there has been a quiet pull. A deep prodding to stay and wait — in the valley, in the storm, in the darkness. Like the seedlings we plant in May growing and blooming and producing fruit in July, God has been asking me to wait and see.

So when I prayed this morning about a word for this year God simply said, "wait."

I am already asking, "What does waiting look like?"

And He reminded me about riding horseback in a thunderstorm on a mountain in Wyoming when there was nothing I could do, but trust, pray, and wait. I am quite sure I am embarking on another challenging journey that I trust God will use for my good.

"I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope."
Psalm 130:5

What word does God have for you in 2015? (Might you share it with me in the comments?)

Also linking with the #GiveMeGrace community over HERE.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

People Can Help You (31 Days of Healing in Him)

People hurt people. You have heard that before, I'm sure.

We have been talking about healing and I could guess that most of us are healing from something someone did to us. So it would make sense that you might be wary of trusting another person again.

I know, because I have been there.

Trust is a complicated thing, especially if you've been hurt.

Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?, writes, "Trust requires a track record."

At some point, in order to trust someone, what they say and what they do have to line up. Their words and actions will reveal who they are and whether they are safe and trustworthy for you.

In spite of the fact that people have hurt me in the past, healing that hurt actually happens best in relationship with people.

Whether it is a close friend you can confide in or a group of people who have experienced similar pain, having a place to share your story, your honest feelings, disappointments, fears and doubts without judgement is cathartic.

I've had the privilege of walking alongside such a group of women since May. To watch how God can work and heal in this kind of environment is an honor. It has been a true testament to how feeling connected and safe with people can encourage and break down the walls we build to protect ourselves.

God uses the "right" people to help you. They will hear you, affirm you, and love you no matter what you share. They will pull up a chair or "sit in the mud with you" because they care that much.

And they will be a healing balm to the wounds other people have caused.

A relationship built on a loving foundation won't be perfect. It might even be hard sometimes. But it is one on which you can rely.


I am in no way an expert on this topic. For more information on finding safe people you may be interested in reading the book, Safe People (How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t) by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend.

This is a post from my 31 days of Healing in Him series. You can find all the posts in this series here, updated each day in October. Category: Inspirational & Faith #write31Days

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hope in the Wilderness (31 Days of Healing in Him)

I have been fortunate enough to have done a lot of traveling and I have been in many a wilderness.

Anyone who has visited Death Valley in California can attest to the literal nothingness that surrounds you. This barren land is my best visual for the wilderness described in Exodus 16.

And God led His people there — on purpose.

Moses and the "whole Israelite community" were brought out of slavery and bondage. But before they would arrive in the "Promised Land" where they could settle and thrive, they were led into the wilderness — a barren desert without food or drink.

The land was harsh and as you might imagine, it was difficult for them. They were hungry and thirsty and didn't know how they would eat. So like any of us would, they began to complain.

"Why were we led out of slavery and into the wilderness," they demanded. They had been rescued and yet they still struggled. It wasn't the "freedom" they had in mind.

“If only we had died by the Lord's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death” (Exodus 16:3).

They reminisced about the "good old days" enslaved, but not hungry. They were disillusioned — no longer slaves, but not living in that freedom. Do we live in that freedom?

Moses and the Israelites were saved, by God's grace. But they were completely and utterly dependent on God to provide for their needs — and He did. But even then, they continued to quarrel, complain, and question the Lord.

Last Sunday, my Pastor talked about how God had a purpose in leading them into the wilderness — it was for their good, to teach and train them.

"It's a process to learn how to 'not be a slave' and it's in the wilderness that God can show us our own heart" (Tony Taylor).

The healing path can feel like the wilderness to me. It's hard and lonely, sometimes.

God provided food in the desert for Moses and the Israelites. Their only job, besides obeying and trusting God, was do the work to gather it. In the same way, God provides for us in our healing, but we have to be willing to do the work.

Instead of the wilderness being a punishment, it is a means for God to help us break the chains of bondage we still hold onto.

We are free people. But there are things that keep us stuck.

The path may feel unending. It may twist and turn and seem like it isn't leading anywhere at all.

But take heart, your time in the wilderness, ultimately, is the road — to the "Promised Land."

Art Journaling by Christy Mae Willard


***My Pastor, Tony Taylor, preached this sermon, Desert FoodExodus 16 (Oct. 19, 2014)which inspired and directed this post. You can listen to it HERE.

This is a post from my 31 days of Healing in Him series. You can find all the posts in this series here, updated each day in October. Category: Inspirational & Faith #write31Days
Related Posts with Thumbnails