A Word for 2016: Refined


Recently, I was made aware of an idea that instead of making resolutions for the new year, we should instead select a word to define our year.  Some people are picking the words themselves, others are praying for a divine revelation of the word.

I decided to select a word that would represent completion of the events from the past few years.  I’d consider it partial divine revelation and partial selection on my part.  I  know that the Lord has been refining some areas in my life for the past few years, and it has been tough.  Really tough.  Pain. Tears. Loneliness.

However, as 2015 drew to a close many of those situations were heading toward resolution.  And, a I have just a few things that are going to end this year.    While I know that God is not entirely done with me yet, and that the future will definitely be a continuation of a refining process… I still chose for my word this year to be REFINED.  Past tense, because I believe this current season of refinement, the trials I have been going through are coming to an end.

When we are being refined by God, He will use circumstances to strip away everything that is not beneficial to us.  He will use circumstances to teach us and prepare us for future works.  He will also discipline us as a way to guide us toward His calling and direction in our life.  Refinement is not easy, but the result is always good.  There are also byproducts of our refinement, including being able to share our testimony to others.  This gives them peace in knowing that the trials they face are part of God’s refinement of their life.

Refinement is a gift, even if it is a tough one to receive.  I am eager to see how God will use this gift in my life in the coming year.

A 2015 Must Have, for an Amazing 2016!


Every year people make New Years Resolutions, on January 1st they are going to make some sort of a big change.  Very few are actually preparing for that change in December.  If the goal is to run a marathon, they begin training in January.  If they want to change jobs, they will push through with their current job to get through the holidays.  Even if they are looking to end a relationship that isn’t moving forward, many will wait to get through the holidays (including Valentines Day) because they don’t want to be alone for those family events and big dates.

Perhaps this is part of the problem with New Years Resolutions, we are procrastinating on the preparation.  We are waiting to January 1st to arrive before we even put pen to paper.  What if we got the ball rolling a bit sooner?  What if we made the decision on December 1st that TODAY we would begin taking the steps toward an amazing future?  Sounds great, but we may not know HOW to get that ball rolling.

I’ve always believed that if you want a better outcome in your life, the first changes we have to make are the ones that result in a better self.  Be a better YOU.  My life statement has always been that I want to be better tomorrow than I was today.  A better person.  A better wife.  A better mom.  A better friend.  A better worker.  Most importantly, to me, a better Christian.  I don’t ever want to live this life thinking I have nothing more to learn, or that I have this all figured out.

I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions because I find that as a whole, we just can’t keep them.  But when you resolve every day to make today better than yesterday, and tomorrow better than today… it’s a momentum that builds and carries us through even the most difficult of times.  But, sometimes we are just stuck in a rut.  We know we want more, but we don’t know what MORE looks like.  We want to be better versions of ourselves, but we don’t understand what that looks like practically.

I received a copy of Holley Gerth’s book “You’re Already Amazing” from Family Christian stores, to read and review.  I had an expectation on what the book was about, but there was so much more that I didn’t expect.  I was anticipating a book that would be a cheerleader, encouraging all of us to embrace who God created us to be, the motivation to take those steps forward.  However, the book also included questions, prompts, and practical activities that would take you through the process one step at a time.

Here is the GREAT NEWS about this book, this book is not about becoming a NEW person.  It isn’t going to direct you on how to turn yourself into someone you are not, or that person you have been holding in esteem.  This book teaches you to embrace who you ALREADY ARE, as God created you to be.  You will brush off all of the expectations that you (and others) have put on you.  No more lies, no more expectations, no more pressure, no more putting yourself down.

Action steps are peppered throughout the book, as well as some other great tidbits.  However if you are looking to dig deeper, on your own or in a group, there is bonus material at the end of the book.  Perhaps, you want to dive into this book on your own.  It may be a great book for you and your best friend or accountability partner to work through together.  You could go as far as using this as a spring book study or even encourage the women in your church to work through it together under the direction of your Women’s Ministry.

However you choose to use it, I could not recommend this book more as an end cap to your 2015 reading list.  Don’t wait, dig in now, and be ready for an AMAZING 2016.

Official Family Christian Blogger