Praying in the New Year with Wisdom

Every year, as the Christmas season winds down and we start to get a glimpse of the changing calendar, I always pray for the Lord to lay on my heart a specific word for the year. In years past it’s been words like refuge, rest, and abide. This year, the word that the Lord gave me was wisdom. I encourage you to do the same, to pray for a specific word as we head into 2021.

In the past, I have always thought that wisdom was something that would come with age. To me, it seemed as if I was almost too young to not just pray for wisdom, but for me to even to expect God to entertain the idea. So this year, when the word wisdom was firmly planted into my heart, I sensed it was from the Lord in such a real way. Even still, I sat on it for a while. I certainly prayed for wisdom, but I didn’t share this word out loud like I normally did. You could say I “fleeced” it a bit, taking a page from Gideon’s story in the book of Judges.   

The first confirmation I had was during a moment of worship. Our retired Senior Pastor (senior as in he is old, not in charge), whom I love and respect dearly, sensed the Lord drop a word in his heart for me. As he came over to pray for me, the words he spoke over me almost took my breath away. He was praying for wisdom. As he did, I felt the presence of the Lord as He used that moment to speak an echo into my heart.

Pay attention to the echoes God speaks into your heart.

For most people, that might have been enough of a confirmation, but I tend to be stubborn. I almost held my prayers back as I wondered if it wasn’t humble of me to ask for wisdom. Almost as if I hadn’t yet earned the right to.

The second confirmation came a week later. I have three prominent leaders in my field of ministry that I admire and respect. Through various ministry opportunities, the Lord has opened the door for me to have the privilege of direct contact with them. From time to time, the Lord will prompt me to reach out to them, in order to offer them prayer and encouragement. As I was in the Word studying, the Lord prompted me to reach out to all three of them. That wasn’t typically how He worked in that area, at least in my life, so I was quick to obey. Within minutes, all three had responded, asking me to pray for them to have wisdom. Wow. All three were roughly my age, and yet they were boldly asking for the same thing that I was timidly approaching in my own prayer life. As I got down on my knees to pray for them, I included myself in the prayer. I prayed for an outpouring of wisdom in every area of their lives, in my life, and in our respective ministries. It was such a powerful moment for me because God allowed these leaders to speak to my place of insecurity, without them even realizing it. As I prayed for wisdom on how to even seek wisdom, I committed to making my year one that would be a quest for what this meant in my own life. I wish I could say that immediately God dropped a word into my heart, or led me to a specific scripture. Instead, there was stillness.

Part of the process of seeking wisdom is being ok with the stillness.

We tend to busy ourselves, oftentimes over-extending ourselves, so stillness feels foreign. Yet it’s in those moments that the Lord can work if we allow Him to.

As we approach a new year, it is my encouragement to you, to seek a specific word from the Lord to guide your heart and mind as you grow in Him in the new year.  

Allow the Lord to speak to you, and be open to what He has to say. He loves you. No matter your age, your position, or your past, you are incredibly loved by the author of wisdom. 

James 1:5  But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. NASB

Gift Suggestion

One of the challenges of this season is the fact that my oldest daughter was born right before Christmas. As you can imagine, this means that she inevitably gets the “two for one” type gift every year. The whole, “this counts for both your birthday and Christmas” disclaimer. When she was young, I tried my best to make sure we still had pink themed birthday parties, no Christmas wrapping allowed. As she has gotten older, and less excited about those pink balloons, it sometimes feel like I myself say that disclaimer. This year, however, I was able to give her a special gift that helped her to realize how unique and valuable she is: A personalized Scripture journal. I was able to select from a variety of images, and I chose this beautiful beach scene. After our Maui vacation was canceled this year, we have been longing for the beach and some sunshine.

Inside, her name is printed, the best part is….. each Bible verse inserts her name! Each page is a reminder of God’s great, personal love for her!

This was such a sweet, personal way to make my “sometimes” picky teen feel special and loved on her birthday. Want to check them out?

The company is called Christian Journals Direct, here is a link to their website:

You can enter to win a FREE journal here:

Here is some additional info from their website:

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION (but please use your own words as well in describing your experience with the product):

Christian Journals Direct creates personalized journals with the recipient’s name written into scripture on every page!  There are over 300 cover designs to choose from with designs for women, men, and children.  Great for personal use or as a gift! 

These journals are great to use for:

•            daily devotional time

•            scripture memorization

•            sermon notes

•            grocery lists and to-do lists

•            recipes

•            fitness goals and routines

Let me know if you get one, I would love to see which one you picked!

And instead of saying “Merry Christmas,” I am going to say, “Happy Birthday Georgia!”


A Different Kind of Peace

Every year at Christmas time, the images of peace start to pop up.  More than any other time of year, the message of peace resonates in the hearts of believers because of the reminder of who we are soon celebrating.  The peace giver.  The promise of peace that comes with the celebrations of sweet baby Jesus lying in a manger is a decade’s old tradition that we love to revel in.  Even now, I think of warm cups of cocoa, mittens, and the backdrop of Christmas carols.

Except this year is so different.  This year, amidst all the chaos that was 2020, we are now faced with lonely holidays to keep our extended families safe.  This year, instead of gathering for tree lightings and Christmas Eve services that focus on bringing us together, we will be intentionally staying apart.  To me, that doesn’t feel the same as every other Christmas.  It certainly doesn’t feel like something that resembles peace. 

The thing about peace though, is that it isn’t dependent on my circumstances, it’s dependent on my Savior. 

 The way things are going doesn’t nullify what has already happened. 

In fact, some of the brokenness and helplessness that we are feeling right now might even lead us to a place where we can experience peace, true peace, in a new way.  Perhaps more so than ever before.

I am reminded of a story from the gospel of Matthew.  In chapter 8:23-27, we read about a different kind of peace.  

                        Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”  Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked, “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

If you aren’t familiar with the story, let me remind you of a couple of things.  First, many of the disciples were experienced fishermen.  These were the very waters they grew up on.  They were used to harsh weather, it was part of life.  But this wasn’t any ordinary storm.  The words you see, “fierce storm” actually refer to a storm more like a hurricane.  And think about this…. Hurricanes were not normal for the Sea of Galilee.  This was no ordinary storm.  As the disciples started to worry, you can hear the desperation in their voices as they are overwhelmed with the fear of drowning.  It felt like they were going to drown.  Fishermen.  Who knew these waters.  Who were familiar with storms.  Who were experienced in keeping boats afloat.  What it felt like was that it was all going to fall apart.  

As Jesus gets up and calms the storm, the fear that they had was now replaced with peace.  They at once recognize his power over nature.  There is something more I want us to consider though.  These were Jewish men who knew the Torah.  All Jews knew the stories of the Torah.  What they knew was that Yahweh, God, was the only one who had control over nature.  What they were witnessing was God’s presence in that very boat with them.

What does this tell us?  Well, it doesn’t tell us that there won’t be storms.  It kind of tells us the opposite.  There will be things that surprise us.  Things that don’t make sense.  Things that we feel like our experience and our community have prepared us for.  Things that feel scary and overwhelming.  Things that we will be helpless against. 

The promise in all of this?  Jesus.  Jesus is with us in the storm.  Even when it feels like you are going to drown, His very presence is enough to calm our hearts.  I don’t think the promise leads us to a place where we can just hold onto the boat and hope everything will be ok.  Instead, I think the promise leads us to a place where we can truly experience peace because He is with us in the storm.

So this year.  2020.  The year that makes no sense.  The year that keeps surprising us with each news cycle.  The year that has brought division and fear, and loneliness. 

He is with us.  Yahweh.  God with us.  That’s the promise of peace that comes with Christmas.  

Jesus.  He will never leave us alone in the boat.  And for me?  That’s the only gift I need.

The Promise of Hope


The promise of hope is something we have all been longing for this year.  Hope that next month will be different.  Hope that this virus will go away.  Hope that our efforts with social distancing and masks will be worth the effort.  Hope that a vaccine will help things get back to normal sooner rather than later.  

The promise of hope, as much as it keeps us going, also has a downside.  


The thing about a promise is that it also means, “not yet.”  If there is a promise that something is coming, something will be made right, it usually means eventually….just not right now. 

A promise is sometimes hard to live with.  There is a tension between longing for something that hasn’t happened yet and still dealing with what’s happening currently.  

The promise of hope that we celebrate at Christmas, however, is a little bit different.

As Jesus came to earth to rescue us from our own mess, He also left us with a promise.  He will be back.  But in this case, He left us with the power of the Holy Spirit to sustain us until He gets back.  Because of that, the promise goes from being “not yet” to the “already, not yet.” 

What does this mean?  Well, exactly what it says.  We already have the presence of the Holy Spirit, even though we are still in this fallen world.  It is not yet redeemed.  So while we wait, we can already stand in the confidence of knowing we don’t have to do it alone.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”  John 14:15-21 NIV

Jesus promised to send us the Holy Spirit to help us.  This means that we don’t have to wait in the same way the world does.  As we wait, be can have the confidence to know that He is with us, helping us in the waiting.  

The promise of Christmas is the presence of Christ.  

As we look ahead, in the waiting and the hoping, let’s remember that we already have access to the one that holds our hope in His hands.

Be Blessed,



For many of us, that word describes not just a season in our lives, but a place of identity. This year, the year that none of us anticipated or likely would have imagined, has become a year that many have admitted their brokenness for the first time. 

Lost jobs.

Changed churches.

Death and sickness.

Election division.

Racial unrest. 


The list can go on and on. In some ways, there is almost an anticipation of what new thing can be added to the list each week. And while I can’t predict what those specific things might be, what I can predict is the fact that they are symptoms of the world we live in.

The truth is, we weren’t made for this broken world. We ache for the way things could be…. Should be…. For the things we have lost and the things that we didn’t realize we needed.

November starts a season where normally we reflect on the thankfulness we feel for all the blessings God has given us throughout the year. But this year, it seems like November is just getting in the way. We want 2020 to be over, so the promise of 2021 and the potential of getting back to normal can come quickly.  

The feeling that is left in the longing for something different can only be described as an ache. An ache for what was. An ache for what’s next. An ache for anything other than right now.

Except right now is where we are. 

There is something Holy about right now. Something that allows us to experience Jesus differently than any other time in our lives. The familiar patterns, timelines, expectations have given way to something different. For many of us, it has allowed us time to examine our hearts and our homes for things that we didn’t know were there. 

I found my coffee mug this week. I probably have 100 coffee mugs, but this one is special. This one was a gift from my husband on our honeymoon. I love it because it’s big, it’s my favorite colors, and it was handmade from a potter that has a special story. But several years ago, the handle broke off. Because it had become broken, it was pushed to the back of the cupboard. Trying to get out the door with a hot cup of coffee doesn’t work so well when the handle is broken off the mug because it burns your hands. But right now, working from home allows me the time to sit with my mug of coffee, to give it time to cool off a little. Pouring a fresh cup this week, I thought about how thankful I was for this favorite broken mug. Because the handle is broken off, I have to hold it with both hands in order to drink from it. As I do, I feel the warmth of the coffee, as I keep my hands close. In this season, the brokenness of the mug doesn’t seem to matter so much. What matters is that it still allows me to fill it up.

The purpose of the mug, to be filled and to be used, remains. The brokenness of the mug requires it to be held close in order to be used. 

Our brokenness is very much the same way. It may change the way we look, different from others. It may change our function so that we have to be used differently. It may keep us hidden in seasons where others are in the forefront. But our brokenness is also the very thing that keeps us close to Jesus when He is using us. Our purpose remains, to be filled and to be used. 

The ache we feel in this season is an ache that likely will remain this side of heaven because of the fallen world we live in. But the ache is what drives us to Jesus. As we focus this month on thankfulness, even if it looks different, let’s be thankful that Jesus still desires to fill us and use us.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.Therefore, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NASB

P.S.- Psalms Reading Plan:  Don’t forget, we are reading through the Psalms together.  One Psalm a day.  Feel all the feels and be honest and raw with God about what you are feeling.  If you miss a day, just keep going.  You got this.