Beginnings

This is how it all started.

My Word for 2014—and a little searching…

I have a vivid imagination. Sometimes I project on others, too. So, without knowing many of you, I imagine each of you to be a little like me on a good day: thoughtful, intentionally thought-provoking, introspective, and generally “noodlers on various things.” Someday you’ll need to fill me in on who my audience really is! Promise me you’ll do that.  *grin*

Those who have been reading along for a while won’t be surprised when I say I’ve been thinking about this whole “word for the year” thing for a while. I think January’s feed was just chock-full of people declaring loudly and proudly that they had heard their word, or were sure of it, or figured they’d just tackle one. I really enjoyed reading all of those declarations, and I found myself wondering if this might be the “new resolution” for the fast-paced, resolution flunky of this generation. Maybe it is.

Or, maybe it’s more than that….

The story behind my word makes me chuckle a little bit. I have a lovely friend who has connected with me face-to-face, via Facebook, and in the blogosphere. You might like her musings, too, by the way. Check out Tracy’s place HERE. I enjoy what she shares.

Anyway, back to the main thing…

I was whining loudly about my 2014 Word woes, and my beautiful friend suggested perhaps my most frequently used word could be an indicator. For those who see my personal Facebook, that word just might be *Sigh* a noticeable percentage of the time. I’ve known this, and yet I’ve overlooked it—until my lovely friend pointed it out.

That started me thinking…

I ran the gamut as I prayed. Highly distractible person that I am, I began with breath, traipsed through breathe, investigated inhale and exhale…and came back to breathe. All my reading wasn’t for nothing, though. I loved what I found, and I wanted to share my journey with you.

So, breath was the first of my steps (since a good, old fashioned sigh is just a deep breath).

Then ADONAI, God, formed a person [Hebrew: adam] from the dust of the ground [Hebrew: adamah] and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being. Genesis 2:7 CJB

Ah, I love that the first breath of life is from Abba, my God. Say what you want, CPR can only restart breath. We just don’t have creative power like in Genesis 2:7.  I’m reminded each of us is a unique, precious display of the amazing power of our Maker.

Then, there was breathe—

When they breathe their last, they return to dust; on that very day all their plans are gone. Psalm 146:4 CJB

This was an attention getter among the many references to breathe in the various translations. There is a time when each of us will breathe our last, and it’s an “Unfinished Symphony” for us all. I’m reminded I have no idea how many days I am given. Teach me to think seriously about my days, God (Job 14:5; Psalm 90:12).

The word inhale isn’t used in common translations, so I defaulted to gasp, and that got challenging fast. When I found this in The Message, I was reminded of something so important:

When I’m far from anywhere, down to my last gasp, I call out, “Guide me up High Rock Mountain!” Psalm 61:2

If you give a blogger a cup of coffee…

Then you end up here in Psalm 121:

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

I’m willing to grant that this isn’t the most sound method of study for lots of reasons. Sometimes I think I’m led along in order to discover where I should end, and this was a discovery process for me. So, you’re wondering how I take this and wrap it up with a pretty little bow by now, I suspect?

I am not just any person. None of us is ordinary, really. I am given the gift of the breath of life on this planet for a span, one which I cannot even guess the length of. How precious is a day when it could be my last? Which words (more puffs of air) would I choose to speak in light of that perspective? Knowing I am a unique expression of my Maker’s creative power, will I treasure me, my days, and the people in my life? When I am in trouble (and my days are full of trouble!), how will I use my gasps? Will I cry out to the one who can really help me?

You see, my life is out of my control. Pretty much all of it. While I do my best to draw near to the One who can help me, things will continue to be a struggle at times. That’s a given. That’s life. That’s my life! Maybe it’s yours, too.

Yeah, I just need to slow down and breathe this year, I’m thinkin’—

~Jennifer

Sharing is Caring:

If you had a word you felt led to focus on on 2014, what was it? I’m so curious!

If you’ve done this kind of thing before, what was your experience and benefit in focusing on a word for a year?

_________________________
Scripture from http://www.biblestudytools.com.
I also visited my favorite study site, http://www.blueletterbible.org.
Random thoughts are mine; any good ones, if there are any, are probably a blessing from God.

New Beginnings

Here I sit, staring at a blank page and wondering what will come of it. This is a brand new thing, and I’m a little nervous. It’s not the writing; that’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s not the intentional exploration of Scripture to grasp more deeply the fullness of God’s grace; I love digging deeply into the truth of the Bible and wrestling with it. 

Perhaps it’s the vulnerability of the thing. 

One thing my closest friends know about me is that I’m “olfactorily challenged” most days. For nearly 20 years I have had difficulty in identifying anything in the realm of fragrance. Thankfully, when my children were very small, I had close friends who would quietly let me know my child needed to be changed. But, there’s nothing like being on the receiving end of a horrified stranger’s glare that translates to Don’t you know your child needs to be changed!? I know, most mom’s can smell that a mile away. We’ll just call it a “mixed blessing” in my life. How ironic is it that someone who cannot smell would write about anything aromatic?

Have I blown any and all credibility with that piece?

Another thing I feel you should know is that I haven’t “arrived” when it comes to grace. Nope. When I began my Christian life almost 20 years ago, I had very little understanding of grace. I knew I needed and desperately wanted it. I knew it was the demonstration of God’s deep, passionate love for me on the cross. Over the years, and especially the last few months, I’ve found grace to be a bit more like an iceberg in nature. While there is a portion you can see, there is a much larger portion beneath the water. In order to know what is down there, a person simply has to go beneath the surface. I know I have so much to learn!

Are you still willing to take some of the journey with me?

I’m outside of my comfort zone in more than a few ways. This blog represents vulnerability. My story, such that it is, is being shared (in a controlled way) on my Author Page. It’s possible my past may be shocking to some who read it, and I might receive less desirable responses to it. The exploration may go slowly and arduously, or it may become deeply convicting. Any number of hard things may appear on the horizon at any time.

But, there’s the flip side to think about.

The elements of my story are common. Women everywhere have experienced deep wounds, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. Some of these things may keep us awake nights. If my story helps one woman feel she’s not alone, the whole thing would have been worth it. If the exploration of sweet, fragrant grace speaks to the hearts of a few, and they find themselves more genuinely and intimately knowing God, I couldn’t put a price on that. Of course, it would all be worth it!

But, if I alone am changed—if it’s just li’l old me—then the journey would still be sweet! It would have been worth it for ME!

~Jennifer