January arrived and I had no word... which was so fine. The world would continue if I failed to find a word for the year.
I didn't really want a word anyway. I was tired of words... a couple years of words and I was like... this is too hard, first I have to remember the word, then I have to pursue the word and then I have to live it.
Exhausting, also the whole point of the word.
I'm jesting of course, but not really.
Last year I chose Be and I got busy... weird, right?
See?! Stop picking words... they make no sense.
Somehow it worked.
I did stop more often to breathe, smell the flowers, coffee, whatever they say we should smell.
When you choose a word the opposite of action, be prepared to breathe it in and wait on God. To be honest, it was a struggle.
Good things came from Be. Known Nashville was born.
Now bursting at the seams finding it's purpose, gathering women to come close, grow community... through our monthly gathering, dinners, coffee, book clubs and small groups that begin this month.
It's nothing and everything I imagined!
I did not put walls around it, instead held it up to God and said.. "Here you go."
Of course He handed it to us first, His creation.... we simply hold it loosely and yet
desire, pray and beg it to go deep in joy, laughter, praise and desire for Him.
Along the way, there were bruises, mostly to the heart. If you want to see your faults, weakness, the ugly you try to cover up, start a ministry. I'm grateful because it forced me to look in the mirror. I had to choose grace and humility... daily.
Surprise... not my natural go to.
Yet, it was an intentional, wonderful place to grow. Proof that we never stop learning or making mistakes.
You learn to forgive yourself and move on.
That is hard for me. I beat myself up daily. Hmm, I bet you can relate to that.
Let's just stop right here, prick our fingers, become blood sisters and quit it!
You are forgiven! I love you! You are amazing!
Really, I would say that to you if you were sitting here with me at my kitchen table.
A complicated word that requires a simple choice.
Forgiveness offered to me, from God... and because of His forgiveness, we in turn offer it to others with open hands and not, "but you, did, said, caused, felt, made, you get the idea... and I'll never forget it even though I forgive you (kinda, sorta)!"
Good Lord, we can at least try to forget.
God tells us He does exactly that in Hebrews 10:17, Micah 7:19, Jeremiah 31:34 and Isaiah 43:25.
There are probably more verses, knock yourself out.
This week provided two conversations with women, one in her late 70's, the other early 80's.
Seriously, they can take all of us down.
They were bad asses in bobbie socks in their day.
They are also proof of Dave Kraft's words, in Leaders Who Last. He says you hit your spiritual prime in your 70's.
I imagine there are a few per-requisite courses to be taken before arrival into prime time.
Grace 101, Forgiveness 101, Mercy 101... and a few others.
Like the N.Y. lottery touts, You have to be in it, to win it.
These babes been in it for awhile.
They got it locked down.
It's not a test in the Biblical knowledge you take in... it's how much Jesus you pour out.
These two can pour like Niagara Falls after a spring rain.
They are vibrant, outgoing, intentional and wise. Both active in their communities, volunteering wherever they see a need.
Both have experienced great loss.
They do not know each other.
One is my mom.
The other ... "the mom in love" of a sweet friend.
Words to me went like this...
"Remember this.... The will of man can delay God's purpose, but it can never defeat it."
Preach it sista!
She followed it up with,
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Peace.... Sign me up for that!
Intentional words passed on to me, wrapped in wisdom, for a purpose.
Words from women who have walked hard paths, and leaned in to their God.
Because of their faithfulness, I can rub against their aged, yet broad shoulders, and lean in.
My challenge to you and me this year.... look at the people we do life with. What do they look like when you think of grace, forgiveness, kindness, generosity, compassion?
Maybe another word for this year is - WHO.
Who builds you up, shares truth, challenges you, forgives you?
Do they do the same for all others, no matter the bruise received?
If you want to know who you are becoming, look at the people around you.
Who do you Forgive?
Who Forgives You?
Choose well. Choose forgiveness. Choose who.
It's your choice.