Skip to main content

New Year's Restarts

I don't do the typical New Year's Resolutions, mostly because that term brings to mind a style of writing a list of desired achievements, usually varied, lengthy, and lofty, and typically without a workable plan to accomplish the tasks.

But I do like to plan, evaluate, tweak, trash, restart.

Here are 3 restarts for my 2015:

1. Morning Prayer and Make-up

I set up my prayer focus on the wall. I wanted/needed it visible. I posted our wedding vows in this fun collage and pray over our promises to each other. Using Ikea frames with plastic fronts and dry erase markers, I actually write down requests of friends that they share on facebook, email etc. I've blurred the contents of the picture to protect privacy. Also on the picture is lists of neighbors, co-workers, kids of friends, friends of friends whose names I would never remember unless they were in front of me. Behind the dry erase surface is a map of my city--I pray over it generally--that God's love and light would multiply. I starred the locations on the map where my teammates live, and framed a verse below that I pray over each of us.

I chose to move my mirror and makeup to this location because getting ready in the morning is one of the few times of day I have to my own thoughts. I actually completed this set up in November, and it has been enjoyable and doable.

I don't have the names of my children or family written because I don't struggle to remember to pray for them, but I did post a daily prayer guide for children, which has 30 different aspects to cover in prayer. Our church gave this out last year and I saved it, but if you're interested in something similar, I made a set of cards for praying for children that I used the past couple of years, I can email you the pdf, just leave a comment below.

If you want to add more prayer to your life, a posted list is a great way to start. In college, I wrote 5-6 prayer requests of people on my bulletin board. I prayed for those requests simply how they were worded each day, no fancy or long words. It opened a door to communicating daily with God, and before long, I was talking to Him about my own day. It really jump-started our relationship.

2. Thankfulness, January Joy Challenge  
Evaluating our family's needs--we all need a little more joy. Many of our conversations have been coming back to this "Joy is not happiness. Happiness comes from circumstances, joy comes from gratitude." All 5 of us are participating in Ann Voskamp's January Joy challenge*, where we each write 3 things of thankfulness, guided by a prompt, each day. And since a recent Harvard study showed that the one thing that combats the neuropaths of anxiety more than anything else is exercising thankfulness, we do this joy challenge in the evening, as one of my children struggles with nighttime anxiety. We write the day's prompt on a family poster, but I also gave each child their own Joy Journal, and if they can't write yet, they draw their day's entry. This carries the added benefit of providing them a quiet activity to do in their bed if they have trouble falling asleep or if they are an early-riser. ;)

*If you peruse Ann's library of free downloads, there's a joy challenge for every month of the year! I aspire to do all 12, but I'm taking the baby step first and seeing how the family responds to January. One day at a time, y'all. ;)

3. Fueling on God's Word
The past few years I have thrived in personal Bible study because everything I needed was available and in place. I eagerly jumped into the Word each day, and I had a great group of women with whom I met regularly. My environment was rich--I heard sound teaching on multiple times a week, and also attended conferences/retreats with my job throughout the year that provided excellent encouragement. However, living abroad I have been without the benefit of hearing teaching (in English) and without a regular Bible study group. I have always seen these things as the butter, not the bread. The bread is God's Word, and I am capable and responsible for the bread on my own. The butter enhances the bread, but butter alone does not sustain. Without the butter, I steadily fed on bread these past months, but I recognize in myself, that I will not last long, and that I am also steadily, although it be slowly, waning. I needed to be creative and take initiative to find what I need.
When I saw Marian Jordan's post about 52 weeks of scripture memory through Redeemed Girl Ministries, I knew I had found what I was looking for!

She delivers a podcast teaching the context of scripture, and there's a verse to memorize each week. We don't memorize just to collect trophies of knowledge, but as we understand the truths of God's Word, and store them up in our hearts, they change us from the inside out! But I also need real tangible friends of mine to meet this challenge, not just the virtual community of RGM, I invited local friends to join me in the challenge. If you would like to join the challenge but don't feel the capacity to gather your own group, contact me about a virtual group over email! RGM is partnering with Scarlet and Gold Shop which has printed these beautiful memory cards, but since I can't have those shipped here, I've made my own. If $30 is the only thing standing between you and this challenge, I would love to share my cards with you over email for free.


Lastly I added this Ann Voskamp quote: "What a heart knows by heart is what a heart knows."

These 3 things I have listed above--this is where I want my heart to be all year, so I put things in front of me to help me stay on track. God calls people his sheep, and Jesus looked at the crowds and said, "They are like sheep without a shepherd." It all implies what I already know is true of my nature--that I can get distracted by whatever is in front of me at the moment. So I intentionally put Jesus in front of me everywhere! :)

Happy New Year! How can I pray for you this year?





Popular posts from this blog

Talk About Pop Music--Singing Through the Static

Where we live there are a lot of winding country roads which effect our ability to receive a consistent radio signal. (Who listens to radio anymore? Spotify, XM, playlists from my phone...yeah, yeah, I'm aware of these things, but I still love the spontaneity and variety of good old fashioned FM radio--and so much so that I'm not even deterred by a poor signal). It's commonplace for my kids and I to be singing along to a song only to be interrupted by static or worse, a competing radio signal which gives us the pleasure of two songs at once.

Yesterday my girls and I were enjoying a particular favorite song when another signal encroached. We kept singing along to our tune as it remained the dominant. It started to fade, and only a word or two emerged amidst the chit-chat of the other station. My youngest daughter stopped singing to ask, "Can you just turn it off?" I said, "Sure, but y'all keep on singing." So they did.

We finished our song in acappel…

An Avenue of Opportunity

This summer marks our 12th year of raising support. In other words, we raise all the money that funds our ministry, our income, our health benefits, our social security taxes; i.e. everything. I was casually chatting with a friend over lunch yesterday (casually because we were sitting on damp beach blankets while our kids picnicked in swimsuits in the backyard) about how God has changed my view of this task of support-raising over the years.
When we began fresh out of college, the idea of support-raising seemed daunting, but faith-stretching. And I worried what people would think of us. Would they think we are beggars?

We focused on "God, will you meet our needs?"
"Yes, I will; in my time," answered the Almighty.

He slowly led us to compassionate individuals, many of whom we had never met, and we had the privilege of experiencing His provision through the compassion of His people.

The abundance of His provision has ebbed and flowed over the years--needs always met, …

Tips for Enjoying Scripture Memory (with kids or kids at heart!)

The kids and I have memorized lots of scripture together. The key for us has been keeping it simple and enjoyable.

Why do it at all? Because life throws hurdles and darts, and God says that His word is many things for us:
power-giving, direction-setting, wisdom-finding, life-sustaining!  
Memorizing doesn't have to be a chore. It doesn't even have to be work--it can be enjoyable! Really!

Here's how to keep scripture memory simple, enjoyable, and effective:1. Select a passage rather than individual verses. Things are not only easier to understand in context, they're easier to memorize because you're putting more meaning to the words as it flows from thought to thought. Choose a short passage (a dozen or so verses) in a translation with easy language. If all you have is a King James Bible, select the same passage at BibleGateway.com in either NIV or ESV translation. (If you don't have a passage in mind, I will make a few suggestions at the bottom of this post).

2. …