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.

A Focus on Friendship

Author: Kimberley Mulder

My “one word” for 2017 is friendship. At the beginning of each year I spend some time listening to God and observing my journey thus far to discern what one word I am to focus my attentions for the upcoming year. It is always something that God is cultivating in my life, maybe pruning, but always bringing greater life.

To begin my year’s focus , I prayed about my friendships, and discovered a deep gratitude that rescues me from the seeping insecurities about them. When I forget to approach these relationships as God’s gifts I mire in doubts that others care for me, that I fail people too often, that people are rejecting me. These are fears founded on my sinful nature, for I do fail friends, but what God, and my lovely friends, are showing me is that they forgive me and love me.

In addition to cementing this foundation of gratitude for the friends I have, God has been showing me his friendship. I have found great delight in reading an account from the gospels as if I were there as His friend. I observe in my mind’s eye what is recorded, and His Spirit fills my imagination with details of the setting, with personalities of the characters, with words and actions that may have occurred. And I interact with Jesus, asking questions, listening, following and watching him. I am sure this imaginative imagery is not an accurate depiction of what occurred in real time 2000 years ago, however, through it Jesus is present to me as a friend!

One word FriendshipNaturally, I have to read a book or two about my “one word” and so I started with one on spiritual friendship – “Sacred Companions: The Gift of Spiritual Friendship and Direction” by David G. Benner. It is a rich explanation and exploration of soul friendship. These are the friends who nurture your soul and care deeply about your whole self. These are the companions God has given you on your transformational journey with Christ. They are vital gifts from God! The guidance in the book has already blessed my relationships.

Then there is the guidance I am giving my daughter regarding friendships and “friending” online. She is a pre-teen and her world is dictated by peers. We recently walked her through the positives and negatives of using social media, building her foundation to connect and care for her friends. We have given her expectations and guidance to treat everyone as she wishes to be treated even as she encounters peers who aren’t held to these same expectations. We are trying to give her the tools and abilities to build her ship with her friends to sail together through these adolescent years.

Friendship Kim MulThis leads to our family’s newest adventure in friendships. This summer we did not sign up for any camps or classes, we are not taking any trips and our schedule is REALLY empty. (Hear my gulp of faith mixed with fear that God will fill all these days with good things?) Instead, I have been telling every friend and neighbor to come visit us, play with us, eat with us. Come summer break, we will be issuing invitations regularly to hang outs, picnics, trips to the library, you name it. And reiterating to everyone to drop by which is counter-cultural, at least in our neighborhood. This is a giant leap of faith for me – one in which I think we will be learning quickly how to build and maintain our family’s ship of friends!

I urge you to pray over your friendships, to see them through God’s eyes, to find resources that infuse life into your relationships and will help you train your children to model true friendship to a world addicted to “friending”.

Readers, how could you work on a friendship today?

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 records the reflections and connections Jesus gives her to share with others.  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)