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One Word for 2019: More

Instead of writing out resolutions that become forgotten by the end of January (if that long), I’ve chosen One Word to focus on each year since 2009. I focus on these words in every area of my life. Here are my past One Words:

2009—Changes—Hubby lost his job due to the economic downturn. Our oldest graduated high school. I graduated from college. Our oldest son left for college. So. Many. Changes.

2010—New Beginnings—Hubby went back to college. Our oldest son moved three hours away.

2011—Intentional—I received my first book contract!!! Lakeside Reunion released that November.

2012—Faith—My mom had her first heart attack that required open heart surgery. My second book, Lakeside Family, released. Our youngest son graduated high school and left for college. My first book, Lakeside Reunion, won a major writing award. Hubby graduated from college and started a new job.

2013—Believe—My father passed away. Our youngest became critically ill and spent 10 days in a hospital three hours from home. My father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. My mom had another heart attack. My third book, Lakeside Sweethearts, released.

2014—Simplify—My fourth book, Lakeside Redemption, released. My father-in-law passed away from cancer. We added Penny, our chihuahua-mix dog, to our family.

2015—Restore—We needed some healing after our tumultuous 2013 and 2014. Our oldest son moved home.

2016—Thrive—My fifth book, Lakeside Romance, released. Life settled down for us.

2017—Anticipation—I retired from my 19-year career as an early childhood educator to become the Operations Manager for My Book Therapy, an online writing site & school that helps writers to learn how to become published, stay published, and build brilliant careers. Our oldest son moved three hours away.

2018—Linger—I wrote Season of Hope, which releases in March 2019. Our family expanded with our son’s girlfriend and her beautiful daughter. Our youngest son started a new job. I became a daily caregiver for my niece. 

As I look back at each of these words, which are always chosen in late December for the new year, I’m amazed by how God has used different circumstances to strengthen my faith and keep my walk with Him in alignment. Going through some of these experiences were the toughest in my life, especially losing our fathers and nearly losing our son. But through it all, God was there. Every moment. Every day.

During the month of December, I had been pondering my One Word. A few words tossed around in my head—prayer, health, trust…all great words, but none of them seemed to be the right one.

While reading a devotional from Praying for the Impossible on YouVersion Bible app, I read this section:

God declares through the promises in His Word that He is going to take you and make you into something much greater than you are. It’s the visible testimony God gives to His church that you and I are made into much more than we could ever hope to be in our own strength. We change by the Spirit of God, Paul says, from image to image and glory to glory.

One little word jumped out at me as if it had flashed in neon pink. A word I use all the time, but it’s not one I expected it to be a One Word for my year. This word settled in my heart with the coziness of a puppy on my lap. The word I feel God wants me to focus on for 2019 is More. Not more stuff, but loving MORE, living MORE, and focusing MORE on the things that matter—especially MORE of HIM. And His ability to do the impossible in my life.

I’ve chosen 2 Peter 1:5-8 as my One Verse to meditate on throughout the year: And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

What about you? What word will you choose for 2019?

Lisa Jordan
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Freedom From Crashes: A God of Second Chances

Psalm 51 graphic

 After our youngest son had learned to ride his bike, he earned the nickname, “Crash.”

One afternoon, he and Hubby had gone for a ride down the main drive in our neighborhood. Our son wiped out on a patch of gravel alongside the road, resulting in bloody gashes on his knee and elbow. 

Hubby helped him to his feet, dried his tears, encouraged him to ride home and tended to his wounds.

Christians can experience crashes in their spiritual journeys. When we take our eyes of Jesus and focus on the gravel patches that life puts in our paths, we are apt to spin out and crash. 

We land crumpled at the feet of Jesus in the most humblest of positions. We cry out as our hearts ache from bruises and bloody gashes. He offers His hand to lift us to our feet. He cradles us against His chest and dries our tears. He cleanses our wounds and renews our spirits. Then He returns us to the path He’s laid before us. 

We serve a God of second chances. No matter what past mistakes we’ve made, He is willing to create in us a pure heart just for the asking. He longs to restore the joy of our salvation. 

Your Turn: Are you feeling bloody and bruised by life’s crashes? Share a time when you’ve needed God to help you to your feet and tend to your wounds. 

Lisa Jordan
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Calming the Child

IMG_5049He who He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—the Lord God Almighty is his name. Amos 4:13 NIV

Sunday morning I awoke to the sound of the wind gusting and branches smacking our metal roof. I hate storms, particularly anything involving wind or lightning. When I was a child, a tree had fallen on our house. Even though I had spent the night with my grandparents, who lived down the road, that accident created a domino effect of events that changed my life forever. 

As the wind howled and prevented my return to Dreamland, I prayed and asked God to calm the storm. And if He wouldn’t do that, then would He please calm this child. 

For the next two hours, my mind drifted to my current WIP, the previous day’s activities and the week ahead. For the most part, I didn’t focus on the wind until it picked back up again, then I repeated my prayer. 

These gusts of wind are nothing compared to storms others have endured, but they caused anxiety and sleeplessness in me. For me, for that moment, the wind was troubling. God heard the whispers because the wind died down at times, and I managed not to dwell on it. 

Wind can be cool and refreshing on a hot summer’s day. Or it can be devastating and wreck havoc. Even the strongest tree can crack if the wind is strong enough. 

My friend Dee (Delores Topliff) wrote a great post on our group MBT Ponderers blog a couple of weeks ago called Lessons from Aesop, talking about how adversity allows us to lean on God. 

God stays constant, never bending or breaking. And no matter how small or heavy are the wind gusts in our lives, He hears every prayer, every cry of our heart. Sometimes we may think He can’t hear us, but not only has He heard, but He’s at work calming the storm…or the child. 

Your Turn: Does howling wind comfort you or keep you from sleeping? How to you handle adversity in the storm?

Lisa Jordan
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Freedom to Change

DowntonAbbeyI started watching the first season of Downton Abbey on Netflix. If you’re not familiar with the show, you can read more about it here: Downton Abbey.

While watching a scene with Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, I paused to write down something Mr. Carson told Mrs. Hughes. He said, “What would be the point of living if we didn’t let life change us?”

His words of wisdom struck a cord with me, especially since I marked 2013 as my Year of Freedom

Let’s face it–all of us have faced life-changing events in our lives. Whether it’s changing our relationship status, losing or gaining family members, new employment, or even dreams coming true. Those events prevent us from remaining stagnant.

Imagine if life didn’t change. Imagine if we woke up at the same time every morning, wore the same outfit, ate the same breakfast, styled our hair the same way, went to the same job…yawn, just writing that sentence is boring.

Change is so necessary to embrace the blessings God has in store for us.

I have friends who are resistent to change. One hesitates to try new foods. Another resists visiting new places.

Often, fear is a reason why many are afraid of change–fear of the unknown. And I totally get that.

Before Thanksgiving, I did some devotional reading and came across a verse in Psalms 112:7-8 that reads, “He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.” 

That verse struck a cord. You see, I struggle with bad news, especially when things are going so well. I guess you can say I can be an optimistic pessimist at times. When things are going so well, a tiny thought in the back of my mind wonders when the good will come to an end. 

I can’t live my life in a bubble, hoping and praying nothing bad happens. 

All of our life events–even the bad ones–change and shape us into the people we are today. God can use those dark times to shine His Light. When our hearts are steadfast and we put our trust in Him, He will guide us during those life-changing events. 

After all, life happens with or without our consent. I encourage you to find freedom in living–freedom to face the future with boldness and courage, freedom to trust, freedom to embrace God’s blessings without fear, freedom to change.

Your Turn: Are you a Downton Abbey fan? Do you have a favorite character? How has life changed you? How do you face the future?

Lisa Jordan
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One Word for 2013: Freedom

In the debuting hours of 2013, I had a dream. A group of people who have been in and out of my life had gathered for some event that I don’t remember. Just that singing was involved. That part of the dream stayed with me.  

We were about to sing a song about God. Someone asked if we were singing about God or a god. I stopped everything and pronounced, “There is only one God. We may have other gods in our lives, but we must embrace the one true God with freedom.”

Since 2009, I’ve chosen one word to focus on for that particular year:

  • 2009–Change
  • 2010–New Opportunities
  • 2011–Hope
  • 2012–Believe

Each of those words builds upon the previous year’s word. As I look back, I’ve seen growth in myself as a Christian, a wife, a mother, a childcare educator, a writer. Every area of my life has been affected. 

Around the beginning of fall, I began pondering my word for 2013. I had just bought Debbie Macomber’s One Perfect Word. Then, in November, Beth Vogt hosted a My Book Therapy Monday Night Chat about choosing One Word for 2013. Rachel Olsen visited the chat and mentioned her new book coming out in December called My One Word (co-written with Mike Ashcraft) 

When I attended the ACFW conference in September, my favorite workshop was hosted by Allen Arnold and Jim Rubart about writing with freedom. As I pondered my books to write in 2013 for my Lakeside series, freedom became a core theme.

I felt God was guiding me in that direction, so for 2013, I will be focusing on Freedom. Freedom from past regrets. Freedom from bridled guilt. Freedom from fears that hold me back from change. Freedom to embrace what God offers me. Freedom to be His daughter with abandon. 

During yesterday’s devotional reading (At the Feet of Jesus), I read Joanna’s words:

“Maybe you’ve discovered, as I have, that most New Year’s resolutions have little effect on day-to-day life except to add a burden of guilt and a feeling of failure. Continually striving, yet never arriving.” She added verses in Hebrews for reflection. 

I wrote out Hebrews 4:16 in my prayer journal: “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

What a great verse to celebrate the debut of 2013!

Whether you choose to make New Year’s resolutions, choose One Word to focus on, or do neither, remember God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear, but one of courage. As you plan out your year, consider how you will embrace what He has to offer. Approach Him with confidence and know He is with you always.

Your Turn: Did you choose One Word for 2013? If so, how did you determine that word? How will you use that word to gude you through 2013?

Lisa Jordan
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Holding Hands With God

As a mom, my greatest fear is losing one of my boys. Sometimes my fears will smother my faith and twisted thinking will fill my head. I’ll pray for God’s protection over my boys, then stop. I don’t want to pray a certain way because what if God allows something to happen as a way of testing my faith?

Twisted thinking that allows Satan to get a foothold in my spiritual walk. 

After Hubby left for work this morning, I grabbed my tablet and crawled back in my warm bed to do my devotions.

I read about a single mother whose family lived in a poverty-riddled neighborhood. She put her children in God’s hands. Even while attending her one son’s funeral, she said he was still in God’s hands.

Holding hands with God can be tough, and it’s a growing process for everyone, including Christians. Fear is a great motivator for wanting to control our situations. Admit it–at times we think we know more than God. 

I’m not always quick to grab God’s hand when going through tough times. I admit to having days of shaky faith. No matter how shaky or faithless I am, God remains patient and faithful with me. I pray during times of tragedy I will be able to lean into him. After all, holding hands with God means letting go of our fears. 

Your turn: How do you face your fears? How has holding hands with God been a growing process for you?

Lisa Jordan
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