Tag: One word (page 1 of 5)

Four Words About One Word and Spiritual Growth

 I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first dayuntil now,  being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6

Are you ever a little spiritually ADD?

Feel like it’s one step forward and two steps back in terms of spiritual growth?

Have you forgotten your One Word ? The one you prayed about and was sure God was going to use to make 2017 the year of AMAZING JESUS AWESOMENESS?

Well sister, here are my three words for you. YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE.

I checked in with some from our blog community about how their “One Word” focus is going this year and thought I’d share their thoughts with you.

Meghann: My word for the year was, “NARRATIVE.”  I really regret it now because this looks like it’s going to be a long road to travel, to trust, and really listen to a different narrative about myself.
I know the truth is that I’m not “weak and pathetic” because I’m really broken down, and I’m not “making it worse” by not just pushing past it.  But, ugh.  Would be nice if I could just wake up one morning and say, “What was that?  Moving on…”


A reader who lives in the mountains in the middle of Jamaica sent me a note after my last post on my “one word” .

“My 2017 word is LIGHT and I am not doing too badly with it, trying to be intentional at least once weekly.
I chose to use a separate journal and am glad I did. Using the word in my centered prayer practice which I’m just learning, is helpful too. He is truly the Light and brings light to my understanding as I seek Him.”

Heather: My word is BRAVE – learning what brave looks like when I need to say “no” even to good things or when it means disappointing someone…Learning that brave looks and feels different than I sometimes think it will/does, and learning how to be brave in situations that are beyond ME.

Carrie: My word(S) (because you know I can never choose just one) is “YOU WILL”. I need to be steadfast in that God will provide, God will fight for me, God will lavish love on me and those around me, God will move among our students and our church, God will meet me wherever I’m at.

To me, it is more than “God can“. I need to believe and live out of the truth that he will because he is FOR me and good to me. I’ve struggled with believing that over the years. I’ve thought He was good in nature and good to other people and good for me but not always good to me. The verses that I was drawn to on this were Mark 11:22-25 and Ephesians 3:20-21.

Theresa: I couldn’t decide on a word…I’m in such a period of survival. But I do feel now like I’m almost to the top of this mountain and looking forward to what God has in store!

 Molly: I got a pretty notebook and I chose a word but I don’t remember what it was! 

Jesus is about infinity do-overs!

So you see?? You are not alone! It’s ok if you didn’t choose a word and it’s ok if you want to start now! It’s ok if you’ve stumbled a bit this week.
 What about the rest of you? Share your experience in the comments.

One Ridiculous Secret & 2 Questions to Revitalize Your One Word 2017

What’s your One Word for 2017?

It’s March. Do you even remember it?

Don’t have one? No worries.

I thought it was a brilliant idea the first year I chose One Word instead of making a New Year’s resolution. God used the word Fearless powerfully to form me that year, but since then?  Not so much.

I tend to choose a word and then forget it. To figure God will magically do something without my attention.

Hashtag fail.

The difference is that first year I truly showed up. I invested.

This year my word is STRONG.

I put a prompt on my calendar once a month to review my word, but honestly, other than listing some verses, I’ve ignored it…

Until the other day when I stumbled across a video post from another writer who had struggled similarly. She suggested what I’ve also done (VERY inconsistently) – going through Scripture, using Bible Gateway to check out passages with her word, BUT….(here’s the ridiculous secret part):


So I did too.

Sound ridiculous that that should make a difference? Well sometimes we’re ridiculous people!

So the other day I showed up with my pretty new journal (separate from my ordinary one). I started with the first verse using the word STRONG I found with Bible Gateway and I asked 2  questions:

  1. What does this verse tell me about God?
  2. What does this verse tell me about myself?

And then I journaled a prayer about applying it to my life.

A couple of days later I was sitting with a friend who is in the depths of despair. As I listened to her, my mind went to my one word. I silently prayed for God’s strength in her weakness, in my weakness.

Strong. Not me alone, but God in me. Not you alone, but God in you.

What about you? If you’ve chosen a One Word how have you engaged with God around it? What has He been teaching you?

Soul Food for a Holiday Hangover

One of the things I hate about post-Christmas is the disappearance of shiny things. I texted my daughters that I wish twinkle lights were appropriate decor year round. Maggie replied that if I lived in a dorm room they would be.

Since I don’t, I like to try to think of what will cozy up our home after Christmas and not leave it looking so bare.  Candles, soup, snowmen, mittens, fires in the fireplace… I’ve collected plaid scarves on sale to use as a runner down the middle of my table, and cross-wise instead of place mats.img_2203

Tonight I’m trying a recipe for Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup. If I don’t kill anyone I’ll share it next week, but for now…

I didn’t ever try brussels sprouts til a couple years ago, but I adapted a recipe at Thanksgiving and could probably live on it alone all winter. Here you go, and you’re welcome!

Bacon Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

  • 6 Slices Bacon
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Rosemary, fresh
  • 2 shallots chopped
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. On a large baking sheet, season brussels sprouts, bacon, and garlic with salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil and toss until combined.
  2. Bake until brussels are tender and charred, 30 minutes.
  3. Drizzle balsamic glaze over roasted brussels sprouts and serve.

We saw several movies over the holidays, including Lion, based on the true story of a boy in India who gets separated from his family as a 4-year-old. It is intense and slow towards the end, but also very moving and beautiful. Michael Gerson wrote a fantastic article here on the story and its parallels to spiritual homecoming.

I’m trying hard not to buy as many books this year, so one of the eleventh-billion books I got on reserve is Wonder.


Loved this book that is really probably for pre-teens, but is amazing – about a 10 year old boy with a facial deformity. One of my favorite quotes from this book is:

“Everyone deserves a standing ovation once in their life.”

Another book I have on hold at the Library (that I’m still waiting for) is Chip and Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Story.


I loved this blog post that Chip wrote about living a restoration story!

If I misjudge people and am wrong, I want to be wrong having assumed the best about them. Chip Gaines

I wrote Tuesday (?) about my One Word for 2017. If this is something you’d like to explore further you might take a look at the YouVersion 4 day Bible reading plan around discovering your word for the year.




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One Word 2017

I’m pretty type A. I like goals. I like lists. I especially like crossing things off my lists.

But for the past few New Years, instead of focusing on goals or resolutions, I’ve prayerfully chosen One Word that is both aspirational in a way, and also helps me to focus on the work of God in my life.

“Our lives move in the direction of our strongest thoughts.” Craig Groeschel

As I choose One Word each year I look back over where God has brought me, what I think He’s been birthing in me, and what lies ahead (as much as I know).

What of God’s character have I counted on?

What does God want to teach me?

What do I need more of?

What should I remember?

What do I want to learn more about?

As I look back over the trajectory of 2016 there was movement from discouraged and uncertain to stronger in Jesus. I feel grounded, equipped, empowered as I head into 2017 and I want to continue to learn more about the strength that comes only from God and isn’t blown about or vulnerable to the recognition or disapproval of others.

As I wrote yesterday, I preached on Joshua Sunday and was reminded of Joshua 1:9

“Haven’t I commanded you be strong and courageous? Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go.”

So I look forward to 2017 embracing my One Word – Strong.

What about you? Have you chosen a word for 2017?


Choose Your Own Adventure??

Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books maybe you read as a kid ?

In each story, you, the reader, get to make choices that determine the main character’s actions in response to the plot and its outcome.

We like Choose Your Own Adventures because we have control, right?

But real-life God capers aren’t necessarily like that.

ADVENTUROUSLY EXPECTANT is my One Word for this year.

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” Romans 8:15


Recently I received an invitation to participate in a trip and project with World Vision. It was totally unexpected. I was grateful for the invitation, but I wasn’t sure I was the right person for the project, and it is at a very inconvenient time when I’ll have to miss out on some meaningful events at home.

This isn’t just about me. Our two daughters recently had new job opportunities to consider. A young friend of mine is trying to discern where to go to college, and another started her own business.

When an invitation comes or a new opportunity presents itself (think new job, new project, new challenge), consider these steps:

  1. Ask friends to pray and give feedback.
  2. Ask questions:
    • What are the expectations of me before, during and after? (Every time we say “yes” to something, it means saying “no” to other things)
    • Are my gifts in line with this opportunity? Will I potentially add value by saying yes?
    • Is this opportunity or move likely to draw me closer to Jesus, or distract me from following Him?

3.  Pay attention to the promptings of the Holy Spirit (not your ego).

This recent invitation made me think of the story in the Bible of Paul and the man from Macedonia. Take a look, and try not to get bogged down in all the weird names.

Acts 16:6-10

6-8 They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas.

9-10 That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. 

It’s not wrong to make plans as long as we’re paying attention to the ways the Holy Spirit may want to tweak, refine, or change them.

Like I wrote at the beginning of the year, I’m trying to learn more about my “One Word”, so I read this and I reflect…What can I learn about God and myself?

  • God’s adventures are sometimes often inconvenient. I like convenience.
  • God’s adventures require open hands. I like control.
  • God’s adventures need us to pay attention. I am spiritually ADHD.

Sometimes the adventure lies in saying “no”, sometimes in saying “yes”. After prayer and counsel, I said “yes” to this opportunity. What about you? Where are you in the process of being adventurously expectant?

Mamas in Pajamas Who Wannabe Wave-Walkers

“Adventurously expectant”  is my “one” word for 2016. As I sit here in my pajamas I don’t look or feel it.


I wrote earlier that this year I am going putting some practices into my life to help me pay better attention to what God might want to teach me through this “one word”.

One practice is looking at places in Scripture where these words are fleshed out. Peter is certainly one I think of as “adventurously expectant”. i can’t picture him sitting around in his pajamas, so I decided to look at one of his “moments”.

When I look at a passage, I always try to look for (at least) 2 things: Continue reading

4 Ways to Help One Word Make a Difference in 2016

If you have chosen One Word in the past I’m curious what your experience has been like. How meaningful or transformative has it been?

Honestly, my experience has been varied. “Fearless” was a good, focused year. “Choose life” was a little too broad.

There is certainly nothing magic about choosing One Word, or making resolutions or having goals with strategies. Don’t do it if you feel it doesn’t work for you. There are different seasons of life that make this practice more or less do-able. Read my friend Maggie’s thoughts on No Word 2016 here.

I love this line I ran across by Alia Joy  : “No resolution will ever complete what grace has already done for me.”

But  we do see in Scripture, the value of paying attention, the value of leading an examined life, of keeping step with the Spirit as we cooperate with God’s transforming work in our lives. How we do that can be as individual as we are, but I’m giving One Word another go for 2016.

This year I have been so captivated by the Message translation of Romans 8:15 and the phrase “adventurously expectant”, that I was tempted once again to choose two words. But as I studied the verse further, it struck me that the only way we can truly be “adventurously expectant” is if we trust our Abba – our “Papa”.  And the only way to trust Him is to know Him.

So I’m choosing the whole verse, AND the two words – “adventurously expectant”, BUT if you force me to conform and choose One Word, maybe I’ll say “Papa”. Call me a rebel.


In the past I haven’t been super clear on how I wanted to interact with the whole One Word thing, so this year I want to put some  commitments into place.

Here are 4 ways I’m investing in One Word that I hope will make it more impactful. Maybe they’ll help you too. Continue reading

What’s Next Papa? part 2


Monday I posted about looking back over the past year, and looking around at where we are now. But what about our “What’s next Papa?” from Romans 8:15?

Often we set goals or make resolutions at this time of year which is great, but in addition, three years ago, I started choosing “One Word” for the coming year.

One Word” is a lens through which we may view the coming year. It’s both inspirational and aspirational.

If you’re interested in choosing One Word, here are some questions that may help you as you reflect and pray about what yours might be:

  • What character quality do you think God wants to nurture in you?
  • What does your soul long for and what do you need?
  • What challenges are you aware you’ll face in 2016 and how might they inform the word God might have you choose?

Regardless whether you choose “One Word” for your 2016 or not, there is a word in Romans 8:15 that I hope will encourage you in the new year.


 “Papa” – do you realize all that is behind that one word? Continue reading

What’s Next Papa? part 1

A few weeks ago a reader posted Romans 8:15 in the blog comments:


I love this Message rendition and it’s been playing on repeat in my brain since I read it.

It’s a good verse to reflect on in this in-between time. The now and not yet. You know what I mean.

  • You’ve now eaten your weight in Christmas cookies, but have not yet started your diet yet.
  • You’ve now stretched your credit cards, but have not yet started your new budget discipline because, HELLO! there are all the great sales going on.
  • You’ve now opened your presents, but the tree is still up and you have not yet cleaned your house.

We’ve celebrated Christmas, but it’s not New Years yet.

It’s a great time to look backward, for God-sightings, and forward with the assurance that He is with us and has good plans for our future.

We pray along with the psalmists:

Ps. 139: 23, 24 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

Ps. 90: 12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

In the week between Christmas and New Years we want to ask, “What’s next, Papa?” But before we ask what’s next, we need to ask where we’ve been and where we are now.  Continue reading

Stronger Together

Where are you right now, as you’re reading this?

I picture you, like one of my daughters – a 27 and 29 year old, scanning this on their iPhone in a coffee shop or in front of their computer at work before they start their day, maybe needing a reminder that they are not alone, that they are part of God’s larger story and what they do today matters.

Or I see one of the young moms I mentor who may be scrolling through a post while they’re in the bathroom, because those are the only moment she has without kids clinging to her. And she too, longs for perspective in the midst of chaos and the reminder that God sees her and what she’s doing has eternal significance.

But the survey that many of you took the time to fill out (thank you so much!) says that while these are typical profiles, there are women (and men) of all ages who are joining us here. Teachers, businessmen, missionaries, students… And while most are here in the U.S., there are others in Uganda, and Israel, New Zealand, the U.K., Switzerland and Singapore…

But as different as we are, we share oh so much in common. I don’t know the details of your unique story, but I do know this…

We all long for safe places to be our totally messy selves and know there is grace enough for it all. We want to be honest with each other and know it’s ok. We want the reassurance that we’re not the only ones who often feel clueless or lonely or confused about our purpose. We struggle with the “shoulds” and fight not to compare ourselves with others.

We’re tired, busy, bored, seeking. We yearn for a date or a spouse or healing in our marriage. We all show up with our own brokenness, longing for redemption. We are precious. We are capable of more than we think. We are enough because God is enough, but we often forget that.

I believe that God has given us to each other. We need to tell each other the life-giving truth when the voices “out there” are shouting bad news and death. We need to say to each other, “me too” and “I’m listening”, and “you’re doing just fine.” We need to search together for those hidden moments of grace and redemption masquerading as everyday life.

So, this is what I want to say to you today… You are not alone. Whether sitting together at the long harvest table in my home, passing bowls of pasta around candlelight, or finding your voice in this virtual community, your story matters. Your voice is important. We need you because we are stronger together. God has given us each other.

We’d all love to hear from you, either here in the comments, or on our new Facebook Page.  If you haven’t subscribed, you can do that by filling in your email address in the sidebar. If this community is valuable to you, sharing posts on FB will invite others in.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for showing up here!

By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.Ecclesiastes 4:12 MSG



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