Several years ago I stopped making New Year’s resolutions because within the first month (sometimes the first week!), I had broken them. You know, things like, “lose 30 pounds, have daily devotional time with God first thing every morning, travel internationally, have a hot marriage, be the world’s best mom.” Then I felt like a failure when they didn’t happen–even remotely.Do you relate?
According to speaker/author Donna Partow, here’s some facts about New Year’s Resolutions:
25% of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions after 1 week.
60% of people abandon them within six months.
Most people make the same New Year’s Resolution 10 times without success.
I decided that instead of resolutions (or even “goals”), I’d pray to God for a Scripture and a “one word” and/or theme for the coming new year. This has worked out well for me. And I no longer feel like #wifefail or #momfail or whatever fail.
Last year’s “one word” was intentional.
Each year, I’ve discovered how accurate the “one word” was for that year with both its blessings and challenges to overcome. Throughout 2017, I had to make very intentional choices.
For 2018, my “one word” is JOY.Whenever I begin to see or hear a word or a Scripture two, three, or more times, I know that God is speaking to my heart and wants to teach me something.
I’ve begun to see this word JOY a lot and recently found a Christmas decoration with two red cardinals (cardinals are very special to me), with the word JOY on it. I felt that was the final confirmation that I needed to use this as my one word for the coming year.
I look forward to this, as 2017 was hell, one of the worst years in my life (and I’ve had some bad ones before!).
My two Scriptures for 2018 are Nehemiah 8:10, NLT, and Psalm 126:5, ESV:
“And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10, NLT)
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5, ESV)
This verse in Psalm 126:5 is especially profound, because I cried a lot during 2017. (More than usual!)
On the Blue Letter Bible website, that word“joy” from Nehemiah 8:10 in the original language is chedvah. It simply means joy or gladness.
You can have God’s joy even in the midst of painful circumstances, because our hope as believers is always in our faith in Jesus Christ and His second coming, not in what is happening around us. We fix our eyes on Him, not the storm.
The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary defines joy as:
1: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight.
2: a state of happiness or felicity: bliss.
3: a source or cause of delight.
Here’s a virtual toast to you and me for a much better, joy-filled-to-overflowing year in 2018!
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions or have a “one word,” theme, and/or Scripture for the new year? Please share what you do and what yours is in the comments below.
This week, April 11, 2017, Ray and I had our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary. It seems like just two years, and then it also seems like it’s been forever. It has sure been HELL.
But as I pointed out in my Facebook comment, never a dull moment!
Despite our LOUD, INTENSE arguments for 25 years (yes, the WHOLE marriage; we had one tonight!), we’ve been married longer than many of our family members and friends, watching in grief as they divorced…while we have determined to fulfill our covenant with God and each other. It hasn’t been easy, and we’ve had to look to the Cross for help.
We’ve survived unfaithfulness to each other (both of us), bankruptcy, foreclosure of our home, stepfamily conflicts, financial crisis after crisis, multiple moves to new homes/cities, health issues, ministry failures, and much more.
What is our greatest strength, though? We’ve never quit. Like runners in a sprint or a marathon, you keep moving forward, no matter how tired you are.
We’ve never thrown in the towel, although we have both wanted to many times through the years.
Ray has actually been to divorce attorneys three times because he was so fed up with our marriage! (And I’ve thought about going to one many times!)
By God’s grace, we’re still together, hopefully until death do us part.
Ray can still make me laugh more than anyone else;
Every time he prays over me and holds my hand, saying, “It’s going to be okay,” I know it is going to be;
He still turns me on;
He still cooks the best Cajun grilled chicken I’ve ever tasted;
He still loves me–which is quite a feat, considering how I am!
25 years and still going…please pray for us.
Here’s what we did for our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary. It was a fun date!
Ray bought me a very funny card. It features a married male and female dog couple and says “It’s our anniversary.” The card seemed hand-picked by God, and made me laugh because it was so much like us.
For example, it showed the couple wanting to watch a movie together. The husband dog asked, “How about science fiction?” and the wife dog asked, “How about a love story?” Ray is a sci-fi fan, and of course I love chick flicks!
Another hilarious thing about the card was that it read, “We still like to write each other little notes…although the subject matter isn’t always love.” It showed a cartoon of the wife posting sticky notes to her husband on a cork board with notes like, “Call the dentist,” “Grocery List,” and “Toilet keeps running.” The husband dog has stooped shoulders, and is looking at the sticky notes with an exasperated , tired expression. (Ray feels this way about my sticky notes!)
Ray said the card “nailed the notes.” (I’m addicted to sticky notes and often leave Ray little notes around the house for his “honey-do’s.”)
On the card, they were at a drive-through restaurant, with the husband getting the wife some food. He is asking her, “No fries, honey?” and she is saying, “No, just a cheeseburger.” Ironically, a couple of nights before Ray gave me the card, I’d asked him to go get me a Sonic cheeseburger. The card amused us both.
Ray also gave me a beautiful, sterling silver cross necklace as my gift. Silver for our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary, and a cross as he said it is the foundation of our marriage. Amen! Ray did so good on my card and gift!
For part of his present, I bought Ray a straight razor soap cup, that he had been requesting to go with his straight razor I’d bought him. You put soap in the cup, and whip it to make a good lather, then apply the soap to the face before shaving. When Ray was a little boy, he used to watch his granddaddy Hutchins shave at the bathroom mirror with a straight razor.
Recently Ray said he wanted a straight razor, from the good memories of his granddad, plus straight razors are supposed to give men a better shave. I didn’t really “get” it, but it’s a guy thing, so I bought him the straight razor, the black strop to sharpen the razor, and the soap cup.
I also have something special to give him for our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary party, which I will blog about soon!
For our “silver” wedding anniversary, I bought pretty silver heels for our anniversary date. Love them!
Ray wore a silver shirt with a silver pattern tie, black slacks, and his cowboy boots for our anniversary date. Looking good!
Here I am in my black dress, black wrap, the silver shoes, and wearing the sterling silver cross necklace Ray gave me.
For our 25th “silver” wedding anniversary date, we ate lamb gyro sandwiches with tzatziki sauce (made with cucumber), pita bread with hummus, and dolmades (stuffed grape leaves with rice and beef). Ray also had a Greek salad. It was DELICIOUS!
After our date, we came home and prayed together for our marriage, our children, and our grandchildren, asking God to bless us and our family and for us to walk in obedience to Jesus, and that the latter days would be greater than the former. (Haggai 2:9) It was a great 25th wedding anniversary!
If you are hurting in your marriage and you’d like to read about the 25 difficult years of Ray’s and my marriage, but how with God nothing is impossible,click here.
Do you struggle with fear, anxiety, worry, and/or stress? You are not alone. I’ve battled fear and its tentacles my entire life, and many other people do, too.
The world is a scary, dangerous , and unpredictable place today. Fear of not having enough money for the future, fear of terrorism, fear of people you love dying or becoming seriously ill, and fear of corruption of government officials are the top fears for Americans, according to the Chapman University Survey of American Fears.
Other fears people commonly share are:
fear of public speaking;
fear of the dark;
fear of snakes;
fear of spiders;
fear of closed in spaces;
fear of heights;
fear of flying;
fear of death;
and even fear of clowns! Whatever your fear is, it can be paralyzing.
Fear can bind and stop you from achieving God’s purpose in your life. Fear is a prison.
God doesn’t want you afraid, but to trust Him through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus often rebuked His disciples for being afraid and not having faith. I don’t want Jesus rebuking me, but to commend me for my great faith. What about you?
The way we conquer fear is by renewing our minds through God’s eternal word, prayer, worship, and involvement in a community of believers to help our faith grow.
Need to be encouraged and strengthened through hope and faith in God’s word?
I want to invite you to join me on my free telecall on Saturday, January 28 at 10 a.m. Central Time.
Fearless: Be Set Free From Fear
Here’s the details:
Call into my Free Conference Call line at Free Conference Call Conference Dial-in Number: (605) 475-4800 Participant Access Code: 401886#
The call will be approximately 30 minutes long from 10 AM Central Time (11 AM Eastern Time, and 8 AM Pacific Time).
I will conclude the call with praying for attendees, for God to replace your fear with faith in Jesus Christ. Together we can defeat the enemy of fear so that we can walk confidently and victoriously in our God-designed purpose and calling.
Toward the end of this telecall, I’ll share an opportunity for you to buy my newest book, Metamorphosis: Transformed From Fear to Faith, available as an eBook for Kindle at Amazon. You’re under no obligation to buy the book, but it may greatly encourage you or someone you love or know.
Join other women of God for a time of empowerment. I saw this picture below on Pinterest today, and I felt it was a timely word with the launch of my new eBook on Amazon. “With brave wings she flies.” Ready to fly, beautiful butterfly?
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”–Romans 12:2, NASB
I can’t wait to see you there! Please like and share on your fave social media sites with your family, friends, and peers!