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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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When God’s No Becomes Yes

May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 NIV

In January 2009 my hubby went to work like every other day. Then he came home early with news that due to economic downsizing, his position had been eliminated. 

Man, talk about a sucker punch to the stomach.

Hubby had been our primary breadwinner since the beginning of our marriage. My in-home childcare program is a profitable business, but to live on that? How would we survive? And what about medical benefits?

You see, a couple of weeks prior to that dreadful day in January, I had been driving home from church and had a talk with God. I remember turning the corner by the hospital onto the road that took me home and reminding God that Hubby had lost one job already, so we were good, right? No more job losses? This was the answered prayer in 1998, right? Right, God? 

Hubby had mentioned concerns about layoffs, but we didn’t expect them to lay off management personnel. 

I have to confess to experiencing many emotions in the past three years–anger at God, frustration with employers over job interviews not going anywhere to losing hope. Yes, I lost my hope. 

During the time Hubby was off work, we experienced many blessings. He had the opportunity to go back to school to earn his college degree. He had the opportunity to spend more time with our boys who were quickly growing up. He had the opportunity to relax. He had the opportunity to knock some things off his Honey-Do list. 

After college graduation, he worked temporarily at one company that we had hoped would morph into full-time with benefits, but sadly, he wasn’t chosen to become full-time. He started working with another company that has sketchy business practices and no benefits, but it was a job, so he kept it while looking for something better. 

In May, he applied at a local company for a position that would utilize his skills and talents. So weary of getting my hopes up, I had a “Eh, whatever” kind of attitude about the job. I just knew it would be like all the others…get called for a second or third interview only to receive the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” kind of response.

Hmmm, this one was different though. The HR manager called for a second interview. Then Hubby called a week later for a status update on the position. She invited him to come in for a different interview for a different position. He rinsed out his paint brush (he has been painting our house this summer–another blessing), changed his clothes, and drove 45 minutes to the interview. (Yes, in our area, that’s local.)

On Friday, June 29th, the HR manager called and asked for Hubby. Since he was unavailable, I had to take a message. She wanted to offer him a job opportunity and would he please call her at his earliest convenience. I hung up the phone and cried. And praised God for a positive answer to prayer…three years in the praying.

Even when I had given up hope, God continued to provide. He continued to work beneath the surface. All of those negative interviews were necessary for Him to provide the opportunity He had waiting for Hubby. 

While we awaited a new job opportunity for Hubby, God provided for us financially. He opened the door to my publishing career–another huge blessing. We always had enough money for bills, food, necessities. Yes, vacations have been off the table for the past three years, but we wiped out old debts and freed up a huge portion of our budget. All because of God. Despite my lack of hope, His faithfulness and provision have always been there. God’s No became a Yes in His timing. 

Your turn: Share a time in your life when God’s no led to a greater blessing. 

Lisa Jordan
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Why Do We Doubt God?

 

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Several months ago, I received a packet in the mail containing my license renewal application for my day job. I set it aside because I was in the middle of final edits for Lakeside Family, which releases next month, child assessments and preparing for an upcoming writers retreat. I had a lot on my desk, so I planned to renew my license once these other items had been cleared. 

In May, I received a reminder that I had 30 days to renew. Oh crud. I put it away, but forgot about it. 

I pulled it out, filled out the application, went to my doctor for the required physical and had my son’s clearances done. Everything was ready to go. I just needed 2 clearances to come back. May evolved into June and the days slipped off the calendar at an alarming rate. I kept asking my son if he received them in the mail. He replied in a long drawn out teen voice, “Nooo, Mooooom.” Moms of teenagers, I’m sure you can hear it in your head. 

I was a week away from needing to renew this license. Without it, my business would close. My business is our primary bread and butter these days. I needed a miracle.

I prayed. I posted a prayer request in my writing support group. I asked my son again about the clearances. Then he realized I needed it for my business, and it wasn’t something college-related…can we say  miscommunication…meaning I talked and he half-listened? 

Then he said he received it but couldn’t find it. Oy. Oy. Oy. I told him in no uncertain terms he needed to find it. My business depended on it. The paper lay buried in the abyss of his bedroom.

After cleaning all day, he couldn’t find it, so I had to call the issuing agency to request duplicate clearances. I was told it would take 3-5 business days. God, I don’t have 3-5 days….I need a miracle. 

I called my license issuing agency and talked with my representative. She needed the complete application (including clearances) to renew my license, but I could fax a copy of the clearances once I received them. 

So the countdown was on. 

I told Hubby what had happened. I stressed out majorly. It was my Black Moment–if I didn’t get my renewal in time, my business (our main income) would close. 

Then, I came to the realization–would closing my business be so terrible? I could work part-time and write a lot more than I do now. God must have a reason for all of this, right?

Maybe I needed to understand He could be sending me down a new path. Maybe I needed to be better organized. Maybe I simply needed to trust. 

I surrendered my fears and anxiety to Him. Whatever happened, I would embrace and move forward. 

I sent in a partial application with a note explaining the duplicate clearances had been mailed. After receiving my application, my rep called to say she was giving me an extension since she knew the documents were on their way. When I received them, I needed to fax her a copy.  

To make an already too long story short, I received the clearances in record time, faxed and mailed copies, and received my new license by the original date. No extension needed.

Why? All because of God.

When I opened the envelope containing my license, I laughed.

Why do I doubt God?

  • Because I’m a dork. ‘Nuff said.
  • Fear of the unknown. God always answers our prayers. However, sometimes we may not like hearing Him say no. No means change. No means pain. No means uncertainty in the future. Jeremiah 29:11-13 promises “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” What an incredible Life Compass. Even if we have change in our lives, we’re not walking toward it alone.
  • Human limitations. We can’t on our own and tend to put God in a box and think He can’t move outside the walls. Again, He proves me wrong. And I’m so thankful.

Your turn: Do you doubt God? How do you handle it? Share a time in your life where God provided or pulled you through a situation in a way only He could. 

Lisa Jordan
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