Out with the old….

Sitting here reflecting on what I was doing this time last year versus what I am doing now.

Last year was typical: gathering things for our annual family NYE fondue and games party. Pork and sauerkraut in the fridge for New Year’s Day. Getting ready to take down all of the Christmas decorations, lights and tree.

Things are so different this year: No tree or other remnants of Christmas. No pork (all beef hot dogs and turkey kielbasa with the kraut this year!). Preparing NYE food and festivities a day early since the first part of our celebrating falls on Shabbat.

So many changes took place in 2016. In every area of life. Internal and external.

And there will be many more shifts in the year ahead. As YHVH continues to open His Word to us, we will adjust accordingly. We must. Why? Well, as someone I respect very much said to me, “Once He shows you something, you can’t UNsee it.”

His job is to reveal. Mine is to respond.

This response has brought my to my focus for the year 2017 and the verses that I will cling to throughout:

RENEWED

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

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Deeper

As the end of each year approaches, I start to get introspective about life.

What have I accomplished this year? What have I learned?  What have I taught? How have I changed? How have I become more Christ-like?

I also start to pray over the coming year.

What do I hope to achieve? What do I want to strive for? What does God want me to focus on? How can I grow?

Several times I have chosen a theme for the year. A word (and many times, a verse) to sum up a central idea to keep my eye on while pursuing the goals I lay out.

After hearing a sermon that included the idea of “are your relationships a mile wide and an inch deep?”, I knew that the Lord was calling me to some new depths. So, my word for 2016 was DEEPER.

Oh my, did YHVH deliver on that vision.

When I prayed over the year and the focus of depth (deeper relationships, deeper knowledge and understanding, deeper belief) I never imagined the plans He had for me. This year has held some of the most intense changes I have experienced in my adult life. All because He has unveiled my eyes, thawed my heart and renewed my understanding of Him.

It was my intention to blog through this process more so that I had a record of my journey. Life, obstacles and laziness got in the way of that. There are more changes coming in 2017 and hopefully it will afford me the time and focus to do a better job at this.

I have my word for 2017 and I’m praying through it and discerning a verse. I will share it here in the next couple of days. In the meantime, what about you? Do you do anything like this? Special goals, resolutions, etc each year? I would love to hear about it!

 

 

It’s a process

I’ve been a Christian for nearly 13 years.

I grew up always knowing there was “a God”, but never actually living differently because of that knowledge. Never internalizing it. Never pursuing it.

After our first miscarriage in 2003, I started searching out this God for myself. Long story short, on Christmas Eve 2003, I came to a full saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and gave my life over to him.

It’s a process.

I’ve learned (even more so recently), that the Lord reveals things to each individual little by little over their journey with Him.

An example from early on in my walk: I was a smoker when I got saved. I loved my cigarettes. I was a smoking Christ follower for a little while before I felt convicted that it was not an okay thing to do. Then I wrestled and whined and tried to explain to God that He doesn’t say in His Word that I can’t smoke. Finally in September of 2004 (thanks to lots of support from my husband), I laid down my habit on the altar and haven’t looked back. Now….is smoking a sin? I don’t think so. BUT: smoking is an idol (dictating where and when you go places; burning through your money; comforting you when you are stressed, sad, mad, etc) and idols ARE a sin.

Did I have to quit smoking to BECOME a Christian? No. Did I have to quit as soon as I became a Christian? No. Did God punish me for not immediately giving it up when He convicted me of it? No, He gave me the space to work through it like a gentle parent who knows what is right.

I very firmly believe that as long as we are walking next to Him and having open communication with Him (prayer and reading the Word), He will continue to make changes like these in our life. Molding us to His will. Little by little.

Now, that is just a small, silly (in comparison) example. These days I am wrestling with bigger things. Things that YHWH has really laid upon my heart that call on me to make changes once He opens my eyes to them.

The Sabbath.

The Law (torah).

Obedience.

Holiness.

How to really love Him.

How to really love others.

Deeper issues that He wants to show me to make me more like His Son. Which is really ironic, because my “word for the year” (I pick one every year), was DEEPER. I didn’t searching out some radically different teachings. I just searched His Word with the prompting and guiding of the Spirit living in me.

This blog is going to chronicle that journey.

It’s a process.
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What is transparency?

The biggest goal I am striving for here is to be transparent. Authentic. Real. Genuine.

What does that look like?

I feel like there is a big push toward “keeping it real” in Christian circles (especially women’s) but sometimes what people deem as “real” means “don’t hold me accountable because I’m not doing what I should”. There is a fine line between escaping the pressure of perfectionism and being resistant to accountability.

I’m trying to find balance in my life and I hope by sharing about it here, I can inspire you to as well.

Webster tells us that to be transparent means :  to be free from pretense or deceit (frank) and readily understood. Keeping that in mind as I move forward, I want to be sure I am open about my struggles and my successes and how I am working to overcome the negatives to glorify the Lord in every area of my life. 

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Transparently Me

It’s been a long time since I wrote. I mean, REALLY wrote. When I was younger, I used to write every day. Poems and stories and letters. I was convinced I would be an author when I grew up. Or a journalist. When I was 12, I got published in a book of poetry after  entering through an ad in a magazine. I thought it was my beginning. Then someone informed me that they publish every piece that is sent in and mine wasn’t anything special.

In 9th grade, I took a creative writing course followed by a journalistic writing one. I loved them both. My teacher saw my potential. I aced both of them with the highest grade in the class. Then someone (not the same person as above) convinced me that those classes were known as “easy A’s” and there was no big deal about doing so well.

I share those stories to give a little insight into why I am hesitant to write a blog. I have blogged before, but very sparsely. Never really putting myself out there. Never having anything to lose. When my husband suggested to me that I try my hand at writing online as a way to satisfy my longing for a way to bring in a little money, get more social (beyond Facebook and weekly park days) and build more of a network….well, I was more than a little timid (for those of you who know me, this word is NOT what you think of when you think of me!)

As the idea set in a little, I decided to do read up a little on what exactly it means to be a blogger. I bought “How to Blog for Profit: Without Selling Your Soul” from Ruth at Living Well, Spending Less. I have been a reader of hers for a long time so I knew she would have great insight. As I read through the ebook (it only took 2 days!) and took notes, I started to feel my heart change about this idea. I started to get excited. I started to feel confident. After talking to a couple of friends during a park play date, I felt like “Maybe I really can do this!”. So here I am.

I’m still figuring out what this looks like for me. I have so many ideas swimming around in my head. Ideas for posts. Ideas for pictures. Ideas for promoting.  I want this page to be an interactive one. I want to really get to know the people who are reading (that’s YOU!) and how I can help you, inspire you, get to know you.

Why “While Everyone Is Watching”? The very first spark that came to my mind when I began considering this was “I’m just trying to figure it all out while everyone is watching”. Aren’t we all? We all have friends, family, children, even critics– who are watching us while we feel our way through this world, doing the best we can with what we have and know. I guess now my platform is just a little more public. Thanks for joining me.