Monday, January 2, 2017


I have insomnia tonight. Either that or the French vanilla cup of coffee I had this evening has kicked in and the buzz of caffeine has chosen to engage my brain. Both are unusual.  Typically when it is time to go to sleep I check my alarm, plug in my phone, kiss my hubby goodnight, turn off the light, roll over and within minutes I’m sound asleep snoring breathing peacefully.  My hubby can attest to this. It is true. He’s often envious of my quick to sleepness.

So, tonight – when sleep was elusive I finally decided to just get up. My thoughts ran from one thing to the next but landed on the word that has chosen me for this year. For several years, rather than make a list of New Year’s resolutions that I will never end up keeping, I have prayed for God to give me a word to focus on for the year. As the New Year approaches I always start being aware of what God might be speaking to me. I do my best to help Him and I come up with good words to suggest to Him – words such as blessing or miracles or rest or joy – words that give me warm fuzzies and comfort and assurance.

Three years ago my word was change. Boy was it a year! Change was an understatement.

Two years ago my word was strong. I had a lot of practice utilizing strength, growing strength, and asking for strength. But, it was a year that God used for His glory. 

This last year, my word was persevere. I was literally counting down the days to the end of the year – just waiting for it to be over and the word to roll over to something new!  It’s not that it was a bad year – but it was a tough year – lots of change, lots of relying on God, practicing patience and trust.  Good came from persevering.

This year, God did something different.  I didn’t think long and hard for my word.

It found me.

I don’t think it’s by accident either.  Last week at our life group I shared my story – the ups and downs of my life and my walk. At the end, I said that I felt strongly that God was calling me to live more boldly as I was coming out of a season of caution.  It was just a statement.  I said it loud and clear for everyone to hear. 

My friend, Gina, responded and said how she liked my word… “Bold”.

 I had an inner reaction. “Um, bold is not my word. I didn’t choose that word. I was just saying God was calling me to be more bold.”  It was as if there was an inner recoiling in my spirit to the word.  But hadn’t I just claimed it? Why was I responding that way?   Her words rang in my ears for days.  At that point, I put in some effort to think of a new word … a better word….

Nothing came. All was quiet.

Sunday came and the next teaching series was introduced. “BOLD”.  

Okay, Lord. You’re funny. But surely, you don’t mean it.

This morning, I started a new book, The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. The second chapter opens with “Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers”.  

Okay, Lord. You have my attention. You’re speaking. Here I am... In hindsight it almost feels like my Samuel moment where God is calling to me – third times the charm, I guess.

I told my Mom today about my new word. How it wasn’t one I initially wanted. How it wasn’t one I really feel I picked, but that rather it picked me. I told her how the word is popping up everywhere around me. In the end I told her that it felt like a gift to me from Him… a reminder, an assurance, an encouragement.

The idea came to me later in the idea that it might be fun to make BOLD stand for something. I struggled and came up with nothing. Then as I lay awake in my bed, caffeine coursing through my veins, my brain gone haywire and hyperactive on me… the phrase brave out loud decisions popped into place.  It was perfect.

Being bold requires a bravery that resists the urge to bow to peer pressure or worry of what others think of me.

Being bold requires speaking out- loud. I believe out loud is two fold. One, I must speak out – speak out for those that can’t speak for themselves, speak out for what is true, and speak out of my comfort zone. Speaking loud comes with a confidence that requires God-confidence – Godfidence if you will.  (Hey, Ann Voskamp can create new words, why can’t I?).

Being bold requires making decisions. One doesn’t live bold whilst waffling about what to say or do. Living bold requires action and initiative. It requires a sound mind and a fixed focus on what God desires.  Living bold requires taking risks, chances, and firm stances.

It will be a bold year.

A “brave out-loud decisions” kind of year.

I can’t tell you what that looks like yet. This morning in my devotions I journaled the following:

My word for 2017…BOLD. It feels scary but hopeful, intimidating but liberating, unchartered waters yet a deep calling to me. IF I could walk bold, God could take me places and into situations where His power could be displayed through me. Am I a willing vessel? Am I willing to be an active participant in this process? Lord, help me in my unbelief, in those times I doubt your goodness, doubt your faithfulness. Give me a Holy confidence in you.

An old chorus from my high school days (and probably older) came to mind as I sat down to write tonight. I leave you with these words.

Be bold, be strong

For the Lord, thy God is with you.

Be bold, be strong

For the Lord thy God is with you.

I am not afraid (no no no)

I am not ashamed (no no no)

Because I’m walking in faith and victory

Come on, walk in faith and victory

For the Lord, thy God is with you.