God Makes Me Thrive

Author: Karly Grant

January is an interesting time of year. Honestly for me, it is often a difficult time. It is a time when people look back at the past year and forward for what they hope. For those that make resolutions, often it’s a time when they make the same ones as the year before—they didn’t succeed the previous year and know the change is still needed. While some are hopeful for the new start, others like myself can sometimes fall into a pit of feeling like they haven’t accomplished or have failed.

My birthday weaves into the beginning of January as well. For much of my adult life, January has brought heartache as I realize I am yet another year older, still not married, and my dreams of one day having children are looking more and more like fantasy. While I still have moments of sadness over these things, looking back on 2017 and ahead to 2018 provides brighter glimpses of hope this time around.

The reason is simple: God has shown me how He helped me to thrive. I clung closer to Jesus than ever before, and took scary steps of faith to follow where He led me.

thrive Karly GrantGod showed me how thriving very well could have been my word of the year for 2017. I just discovered it a year too late. That’s kind of how I roll. I’ve never been one to jump on the bandwagon of things just because everyone else is doing it. I’m too stubborn. Instead, I jump on later when it’s not longer popular. I know, I’m weird and stubborn, but God loves me and gets me. That’s why he gave me my 2017 word a year later. Maybe, I’ll reverse the trend and just start naming years after I have lived them. #onewordforlastyear

Being fresh out of a relationship as the year began, allowed me to cling to Jesus more. I saw that I didn’t need a relationship to thrive. My dreams of getting married and having a family may have been put on hold, but other dreams that I had forgotten about were about to be resurrected.

I had dreamed of furthering my education in a different part of the country and taking the opportunity to be adventurous. I let the realities of a relationship overshadow those ideas. I would have been tied down to a small region with fewer schooling options. Once the breakup happened, God reminded me what He placed in my heart.  I truly believe I will thrive as I continue to walk through the doors God is opening.

In February of last year, after much prayer, I decided to take another huge step of faith. I gave notice that I would not be returning to my job in the fall as I would be going to school full time. By earthly standards, this may have seemed foolish, but God has provided what I need. While it is stressful and scary at times, I am at peace with where God is leading. I know He is the one who is guiding me to abundant life. I know He goes before me.

Karly Grant ThriveSpring brought some unexpected health challenges. God was with me each step of the way as I dropped out of classes that term and pushed my moving plans. I had to trust that His timing was better than mine. I had to rest and get healthy. Sometimes, with God, resting is thriving, and doing what you have to do puts you right where you need to be.

And now with 2017 in the past and full time school in the future, I trust God to use me as I thrive exactly where He puts me for such a time as this. A time where I am able venture across the country to follow where He leads.  As I look ahead to 2018, I have no idea what is in store. I do know that God will be with me every step of the way, as He continues to help me thrive for His glory.

image1 (1)Readers, What challenge are you allowing God to move you into in 2018?

Karly is a single 30-something who is striving to follow Jesus and trust Him in every situation. She can be found with a cup of tea or a good beer in hand while cozied up with a good book or enjoying a laugh with family or friends. God has her on a wild journey. In the last year she has quit her job of 15+ years and gone back to school full-time to pursue a career/ministry in the realm  of adoption. God has laid this heavily on her heart and she is willing to trust Him. This homebody is taking the biggest leap of faith yet this spring and moving 1,700 miles away from the life and people she has known as long as she can remember. She is  both terrified and so stinking excited to see how God moves and what opportunities He provides in this adventure.


Author: Kimberley Mulder

Thrive is such an invigorating, exciting word, bursting with promise and exuberance! Within it is abundance, life, fullness, robustness, and joy. We all want to thrive. If it could be bottled and sold it would make billions. The self-help industry has tried, but thriving is not for sale. Thriving is not owned or bought.

Thrive Kimberley MulderThriving is a state of being, a description of living. It is life with Jesus: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Our culture has co-opted the phrase “having it to the full” to mean we must fill every nook and cranny of our lives with activity, experience, and stuff. Instead of it reflecting our being in Jesus it is now a grasping and striving. It was never meant to be something we achieve or accomplish. We can only thrive when we stop straining to do so. In American culture, stopping the strain is frowned upon as a sign of weakness, or, at best, impatiently tolerated. But stop we must to attend to the meal Jesus is offering our spirits.

Our spirits are born hungry, just as our bodies are. Just as the hungry person will eat almost anything to satisfy, we are tempted to put anything into our spirit to sate it.  The babe is given mother’s milk, slowly introduced to new foods and warned sternly away from those things that will injure or kill. Yet our spirits often lack that training, so we fill it with dissatisfying things much like a malnourished child.

A child given highly refined foods and lacking fresh produce is nourished but very poorly. His body is deceived into feeling full while still not getting what it needs. His body adapts the best it can, but he is unhealthy—so it is with our spirit.

A spiritual diet rich in deception will bloat and sicken the soul. Our spirits need to feed on truth, love, joy, peace, and hope. Our spirits need Jesus. “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” -John 6:35 “Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the Father.”- Matthew 4:4

Kimberley Mulder ThriveFailure to thrive is a failure to grow. Like doctors and parents everywhere we affix the label “failure to thrive” to problems we cannot figure out the cause. It can strike terror into our hearts.

We may very well be living under that label, unsure of what is causing our “failure to thrive”. Sometimes we don’t even notice it until we stop long enough to take inventory of our feelings,  thoughts, and ways.

So, this January day, when the rivers of holiday busy-ness have run their course, and you find yourself on a lonely sandbar, consider whether you are thriving.

Have you been more irritable of late?

Have you noticed a “deadpan” feeling running through your days?

Take some time to notice and then walk into Jesus’ presence with it. As Lord of all, He knows if it stems from a spirit undernourishment, or a physical depletion, or both. It is okay, nay, necessary, to stop and say: “Lord, I am empty. I don’t even know what I need, but I ask you for it.”

He, the Bread of Life, desires to fill you.

2016-11-02 13.10.06Kimberley Mulder is a contemplative at heart who deeply enjoys the company of Jesus in the day-to-day of caring for her family of 5 (plus a dog and a cat), teaching English to immigrants, growing her garden, and writing. Currently, her walk with Jesus is taking her more deeply into writing as she leads a spiritual formation group at her church, and shares on her blog Living a Mary Life in a Martha World.  She treasures the truth that God’s Word does not go back to him without accomplishing the purpose for which he sent it, and that that Word is embodied in our lives. (Isaiah 55:11)

Risking It All

Two years ago, the founder of this blog, Chara, challenged a bunch of us gals to think and pray over a word for our year. She read about #oneword365 and wanted to set the tone for an entire year by settling upon just that, one word.

The first year I participated, my word was “Yes.” In uncanny ways, “Yes” popped up in my life persistently. God shaped 2016 for me with that word. When I began to pray over 2017‘s word, I didn’t entirely like the word that I kept visualizing in my head. In fact, I almost avoided selecting a word for the year, purely because the one word that I couldn’t shake from my thoughts was “Risk”. Seriously? What in the world? Sometimes God calls us to BIG things, or changes—that is exactly why the word “Risk” terrified me so.

One Word Hope Sarah DohmanHowever, God surprised me with my 2017’s word “Risk”. I wasn’t asked to move somewhere new, or start a different job. I spent a large portion of the year on the edge of my toes, waiting for something drastic to take place. But God, in His infinitely better ways, used this word risk to teach me about trusting Him and loving His people.

Jennie Allen, in Nothing to Prove, writes about obedient risk. “Obedient risk will simply be us leaning into His abundance, leaning into His love, simply believing that He will work, believing that He could take any situation and any boring day and cause life change to happen in it.” Leaning into His abundance requires trust, just like in Psalm 62:8, “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.When I trust God with my life, I can lay it down in submission, knowing that His plans far outweigh my own. Every day is an opportunity to trust Him more and find refuge in Him, and in His refuge, I can and will find rest. Resting in God’s love, knowing He’s working in every intricate detail of my life, facilitating every moment, takes away any hesitation for me to obediently risk.

Sarah Dohman One WordAs I learn to trust in Him more, I am ready and willing to love and serve His people more. Loving others is a risk- there is no guarantee that it will be reciprocated. Ann Voskamp’s book, The Broken Way, shares, “Relationships are the realest reality- and the realest risk … and the worthiest risk. Because in sacrificing ourselves, we are guaranteed to discover the depths of our best and realest selves. Because when you self-sacrifice, you are guaranteed to find your better self.” 2017 taught me that investing my time, my energy, in God’s people, is never a waste. It is divinely appointed. God asks us to risk vulnerability in order to love and serve His people with an open heart.

As 2018 begins, I am anticipating the newness of the year, and my One Word 365, Hope. Friends, what is your one word for 2018?

sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Instagram.