Tag Archives: Word of the Year

a brave 2022

Word-of-the-year recap time! If there’s eight things I can be counted on to deliver, this is one of them.

The year of our Lord Two Thousand and Twenty Two was the year of leaning into a characteristic that others had been calling out in me, but I was too – ironically – afraid to believe. What started as an admonition from a miniBFF, telling me that I was so brave because the Lord was with me, became a theme that needed to be explored in my life.

You see, when you walk with people who walk with Jesus, you listen to them when they tell you who you are.

So I did.
I wrote on my whiteboard in my bedroom, “How can I lean into this quality that everyone keeps speaking over me?”

At the beginning of 2022, even after months of those that love me telling me I was brave and courageous, I didn’t believe it. December 2021/January 2022 had be believing I was weak. That I needed to concede certain convictions if I ever wanted to be fully accepted and loved. That I wasn’t brave or courageous, but rather foolish for believing that what God says about Himself, about me, and about the way He has created us to flourish was outdated and only holding me back.

Again I say – when you walk with people who walk with Jesus, you listen to them when they tell you who you are.

Within the first 2 months of the year I had the opportunity to believe I am who they say I am.
I had the chance to know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the Lord my God was with me – that I could be strong and courageous and brave because He was/is nearer than my next breath.

My misconception in being brave is that it had to do with major displays of facing your biggest fears and conquering dragons while riding a lion.

But that’s just not true. I don’t think that’s the kind of brave that I am.

Sure, my bravery did take on a big act – kinda like opening the door for the dragon to leave after it’s breathed fire in my face for three hours. And never letting the dragon back in.

But more than that, I discovered that my kind of brave is a lot smaller and way quieter.
My bravery shows up in radical honesty – telling the truth the best way I know how.
It shows up in asking for what I need from those I’m in relationship with – hopefully with humility and a mutually beneficial point of connection.
It shows up in tears while loved ones hold me as I fall apart.
It shows up in telling a friend that you’re not doing well and you’d just like to come sit with them so you don’t have to be alone.
It shows up in planting a garden and believing that the work you put in will literally (and often spiritually) bear fruit.
It shows up in a sweaty workout room – a place you swore you would never be – yet here you are, three years later, freaking crushing it.

It shows up in believing someone when they say, “you’re the bravest person I know,” even when you don’t feel it, because you both know that the Lord our God is with us wherever we go.

I’m not brave because I slay dragons, or wrestle bears*, or take down the patriarchy every day.

I’m brave because I know what it means to be full of fear and even there know/believe/feel that Holy Spirit is nearer than my next breath. That He never leaves me or forsakes me. And that He has given me an army of people to remind me of who I am and that I can trust the next step in front of me.

So here’s to 2023 and taking bravery with us.

*I have wrestled a savage almost-4 year old and survived, so that definitely counts for something.

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2021 – the year of abundance

It’s time for a word-of-the-year recap! The only consistency this blog has offered in the last 3 years!

2021 saw me leave behind hope in an effort to move forward with abundance. 2021 was going to be the year that I watched God grow up out of the ground all of the things we had been planting together over the last few years. It was going to be the year that I asked, of every person/situation/choice/etc, “Is this life or death? Because if it’s death, I want nothing to do with it.”

The verse that I sat with for 365 days (2021 wasn’t a leap year, right?) was John 10:10 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

I said to myself over-and-over again…


“Is this trying to steal, kill, or destroy? Or is this bringing me life?”
One is from the thief.
One is from Jesus.

And if it’s from Jesus, abundance will follow.

The tricky thing for my heart in leaning in to that line of thinking was/is – does declaring something as God’s abundance mean that I think He is some kind of genie? That all along it’s just been up to me to ‘name it and claim it’? All God has been waiting for was for me to say some magical word and then He would open the floodgates of heaven?

Youth group worship song session, anyone?

I used to think that abundance would have to show up as grand, big, and uncontainable. But it doesn’t. Turns out, God’s abundance – the kind of life giving abundance that Jesus came to give to His people – found it’s way in to my life in really small, ordinary, what some might call mundane things.

His abundance was found in a condo with friends making homemade birthday potstickers.
His abundance was found in a new pair of cycling shoes.
His abundance was found in my nephew seeing himself as Iron Man on a poster for his third birthday and losing his mind in the best of ways.
His abundance was found in weeping on friends couches because I’d been delighting myself in the Lord for so long and yet He had not given me the desires of my heart and nothing makes sense anymore.
His abundance was found in a vacation in the mountains with my family.
His abundance was found in a thousand small ways that prior to this year I would have never given Him credit for.

The thing I learned from this year is that I need to keep asking, “Is this trying to steal, kill, or destroy? Or is this trying to give me life?”
Because if it’s life, it’s from Jesus.
And if it’s from Jesus, abundance will follow.

And if simple life from Jesus is all the abundance I ever get, I think I’ll be set.

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done with hope

Did my clickbait title get ya?

Before anyone gets too worried, I’m not done with hope in the way that I’m not hopeful. I’m just done with hope as my word of the year.

If you’ve been around for very long (at least a year), you’ve been through my word-of-the-year recap blog. For 2019 and 2020, my word stayed the same: hope. You can read about my 2019 adventure with hope here.

Rather than resolutions, I pick a word or theme for my upcoming year. It typically changes, but for many reasons, last year it stayed the same. A carryover from the year before. Because my hope was different. In 2019 I was hoping for a certain thing. I was expecting a big event to turn my life around. And when I was faced with the thing I hoped for, I realized my hope was misplaced.

While I was tricking myself into thinking my 2019 hope was rooted in the Lord, long story short, it wasn’t. It was rooted in material gain.

And at the end of 2019 I knew I still needed hope, but specifically renewed and restored hope.

I needed honest hope.
I needed hope that wasn’t afraid to admit hopelessness.
I needed hope that could tell others when it was drowning in despair.
I didn’t need hope that just put on a happy face a looked forward to the next great thing.

And that’s what 2020 was about.
Restored and renewed hope.

**Insert quip about a global pandemic here**

For me, 2020 has been difficult, but in a lot of ways it hasn’t. Sure, aspects of my job changed. I didn’t get to spend as much time with my family as I wanted. I wasn’t able to see Hamilton OR Mean Girls live (still grieving those losses).

But on the upside: Friendships grew in holy ways. I set a personal health goal and crushed it. I got a new tattoo as a reminder of how kind the Lord is to me through His people. I welcomed 2 new miniBFFs into the crew and am anxiously awaiting the third. I met with Jesus in more honest and vulnerable places than I ever have before. I let Holy Spirit teach me lessons about my mind, heart, and body that I didn’t know I needed to learn. And I’ve settled into knowing deep in my bones that God is good, He is kind, He is for His people, and I’ll never fully understand Him. And that is okay.

In a lot of ways, this year of hope has felt like a really kind and patient farmer preparing His land for planting. Not harvesting, but planting. He dug up old roots, aerated the soil, mixed in some fertilizer, and is letting the ground lie still for a bit before putting the seed in.

And the main ingredient that will help that seed flourish is hope. Eager expectation that the Good Farmer plants exactly what needs to be planted and cares for the seed until it is done flourishing.

Romans 5:5 says, “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Spending 2 years with hope has not put me to shame.
Spending 2 years with hope has consistently reminded me that God’s love is constantly pouring out into His people in the most unexpected places.
Even in the midst of a global pandemic.

I’m ready to see what soil filled with hope will give me in 2021.

Also, I started this blog 7 years ago today. Happy birthday, my friend. I hope 2nd grade is treating you well.

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