The Muffin’s In the Bag

The Muffin’s In the Bag

Why did I just eat that?

How many times in my life have I said these words to myself? How many times have I caught myself with a child’s leftovers in my mouth? Because you know, nothing screams “Eat Me I’m Yummy!!” more than pasta or a muffin or a cookie that’s been poked, prodded and used as jewelry by a toddler.

How I’ve survived all these years as a “food addict” with a house full of messy toddlers is beyond me! Because the germs alone should’ve had me curled up in bed, clutching my achy stomach on the daily! I don’t know how many times I got to the end of the day and realized all I had for lunch was a few bites of the one year old’s spaghetti and a couple Goldfish off his tray. Thank You Jesus for the germ protection when my own inner toddler seemed to be screaming, “If you have it , it must be good enough for me! Gimmee! Gimmee! Gimmee! ” (insert gigantic eye roll here…or maybe a good old toddler foot stomping tantrum because if the shoe fits and all that! )

Bad food habits obviously include way more than just eating three desserts after a pizza feast! Or sitting down with a full bag of a chips while you watch a movie and the chips are gone before the movie is over !

I love how 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 reads in The Message. And by “love”, I mean that it steps all over my toes! If you need your bad eating habits stomped on , continue reading. If being convicted over your poor eating habits isn’t in your plan today, skip over the next paragraph!!

“Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. You know the old saying, ‘First you eat to live and then you live to eat’? Well it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food…”

As I move further down the path of improving my health and losing weight, I’ve found that confession is just good for the soul. Putting a voice to all my secret bad habits causes them to lose their authority over me. So yes, I’d eat toddler leftovers right off their tray. I’d eat a dozen cookies without blinking. I’d fill my pantry with complete junk food and somehow convince myself it was somehow healthy. I’d put sugar plus sugary, extra creamy creamer in my coffee . I’d stand in the kitchen with an open container of ice cream and a spoon and blindly eat it while standing over the sink and watching TV. And all the exercise I ever got while destroying myself with all this garbage was basically walking from the living room to the kitchen. Gosh,I should count it a blessing I only gained 80 lbs and not twice that!

Over this last 4 weeks of living in the loving conviction that God threw in my lap, I’ve discovered and overcome many things…

1. My morning coffee was a major culprit in my weight gain game. A month removed from drippy sweet coffee has made me see that all that sugar and cream in my coffee just wasn’t necessary! A protein shake added in a decent portion size does wonderful things for my coffee. I can get my coffee my preferred shade of light beige and enjoy the fact that it doesn’t taste like dessert! And now the thought of the coffee of my past makes my teeth hurt. Yikes!!

2. I can bypass brownies, cobbler, cookies and cakes without even feeling a twinge of desire for them. There is nothing God can’t do!!

3. I LOVE cottage cheese and fruit! Like I crave it now! Also, fat free Greek yogurt. Same story! I eat this now and instead of regular ice cream. And I’m OK with that!

4. A carton of blueberries is more delicious than a bag of chips. I can sit down with my blueberries in front of the TV and if I eat them all before the movie is over? So what? No biggie!

5. Exercise can be fun! My preferred work out right now is good old Leslie Sansone Walk at Home videos. THERE ARE SO MANY!! While I used to make excuses that I couldn’t exercise with a house full of kids or at the end of the day or because something was achy, I can say now that I’ve thrown those excuses out the window. It delights my heart to watch the one year olds work so hard to get all the moves right as they exercise alongside me! And all those aches can just take a hike!

6. No more toddler leftovers! This week I actually bagged up their leftover muffins instead of mindlessly stuffing them in my mouth!! And God as my witness, when they still hadn’t eaten them by the end of the day, I threw those rascally scraps of deliciousness in the garbage!!

Coffee with 1/2 cup or so of Premier Protein with my morning bible study

So toodleloo LIES I’VE BEEN TELLING MYSELF AND BELIEVING! I am leaning into TRUTHS now!! I AM able to do this because “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13) When I feel weakened by old cravings or by my desire to just sit on the couch, I know “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and He helps me.” (Psalm 28:7a) . When I feel unworthy, I know that I can praise Him “because I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” ( Psalm 139:14)

If you are believing any lies about your own abilities to overcome weakness and you need help finding the truths to grasp on to, grab your bible and start pouring God’s truths about you into your heart and soul! If you need help, let me know!

Until next time…let’s keep eating to live and not vice versa!!

ps…in 4 short weeks, this 55 year old, with the weight loss obstacle of menopause firmly in my path, has lost 10 lbs! And for that, can I get a big old Hallelujah!!


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The “Hmmm” of God

The “Hmmm” of God

I’ve heard from God about my weight problems exactly twice in my life now. The first time was in January of 2003. 7 months before my 40th birthday. I knew I didn’t want to be “fat and forty”. I hate the word “fat”, coincidentally, but I was distressed about approaching my 40th birthday and being overweight so I wasn’t thinking in nice terms! And I was frustrated because I hadn’t exactly had a great amount of luck losing weight in my past. I could look in the mirror and the size tag on my clothes and knew I had quite a bit to lose. This wouldn’t be pretty. Or fun. But I was lost as to where to begin.

So one day as I was driving home…probably with a giant cheeseburger and fries in my lap…I began crying out to God. I knew I was hopeless trying to tackle this giant in front of me without Him. And I knew that whatever approach I took to losing the weight would literally have to come from God’s lips to my ears. So I opened my ears to hear Him, hoping He’d have something to say. Like “Becky, you are so amazing . When you wake up in the morning, you will be 80 lbs lighter. You won’t have to lift a barbell or ride a bike or walk 10 miles a day. You won’t have to eat broccoli or salads every day . You’ll just wake up fit and thin. And you’ll stay that way forever! You’re welcome!”

But you know what? He didn’t say that. He’s not a genie in a bottle handing out three wishes to every one who calls His name. He’s also not Santa with a bag of goodies to pass out.

I didn’t hear anything.

But in that moment , I looked up from my drippy , greasy cheeseburger and on the side of the road was a billboard. It was bright and flashy. Like literally flashing! And in neon green letters were two words….Weight Watchers. My first thought was “Wow, Weight Watchers has gotten so fancy with their billboard advertising!” My second thought was “Maybe I’ll try Weight Watchers. There’s a meeting in town on Thursday night.”

So I joined Weight Watchers on a cold January Thursday along with hundreds of other New Years Resolutioners. I was determined to make it work but I wasn’t terribly hopeful. Until my first weigh in. I had quite a large loss in that first week ….and in the second. And suddenly I was a Weight Watchers “super star” knowing with full confidence that I would lose every pound I needed to. And I did. My before and after pics were up at the local gym. I’d be stopped in the grocery store by people who recognized me from those pics and they’d offer their words of awe and encouragement. This happened back in the day when AOL was still a great thing. Their Lifestyle and Health people contacted me for permission to share my pics and a few words about my journey in their little corner of AOL. I paid all this forward and worked for Weight Watchers as a leader, helping other people to achieve their goals.

Why was this time different from all the other hundreds of times I attempted to lose weight and be healthier? HmmmBECAUSE GOD. I became certain my bright green neon flashing sign was from God when I was driving down the same road a few weeks after that January day and it wasn’t there. Oh it hadn’t been replaced with another company’s advertising. The billboard itself wasn’t there. It didn’t appear that it was ever there based on what I did see there.

Yes, I know it sounds weird. We often wish for God to speak to us in obvious , crystal ball, flashing billboard ways. But that doesn’t happen often. Why He chose to lead my path and speak to me in that way is beyond me. I know this though…

“I, too, give witness to the greatness of God, our Lord, high above all the other gods. He does just as He pleases – however, wherever, whenever.”

Psalm 135:5-6 (The Message)

God can do whatever He wants, however He wants, wherever He wants. He can be big and flashy. Like when He gave me the literal flashing sign. Or He can be quiet and whispery. He can come in like a marching band or He can gently tap you on the shoulder to get your attention.

I mentioned at the beginning of this that God had spoken to me twice about this one subject. The second time wasn’t so big and flashy. In fact, it was just a still , small whisper.

A couple weeks ago, I found myself praying about our upcoming 25th Anniversary Vacation Extravaganza. I’ve already been praying for nice west coast weather and calm, smooth seas. I’ve already been praying for the provision to make this trip financially easy for us. But when I realized how out of shape I was…how overweight I truly was AGAIN…and how much walking would be required to get the most out of this trip, I added a few things to my prayers.

It went something like this…”Lord, you know how hard it is for me to comfortably walk or stand up for extended periods of time. You know how out of breath I get with too much activity. You know how wimpy I’ve become with a weak back and bad hips. So Dad, could you please make sure our cabin is near the exit of the ship so I don’t have to walk too far to get off the boat to begin our adventures each day. …..” I had much more to add to this oh so eloquent prayer but in that moment, I felt it. God’s answer was nearly immediate.

That Still, Small Voice was whispering to me. I felt it in my spirit and I knew exactly what the “Hmmmmm…” I felt meant. I could just imagine God standing there, arms crossed, giving me the side eye. Then looking the other way and getting a good laugh out of my oh so humorous request. That “Hmmmmm” said so much to me. And as the voice of God so often does, it changed me. Right then and there I felt the inner conviction I’ve been begging to feel for years. All the failed attempts to keep the weight off since it started creeping back on in 2006. All the weak efforts to be at a healthy weight again as I approached my 50th in 2013. Nothing worked for me because I did not feel that inner conviction that only God can give me. But with that holy “Hmmmm” , that conviction came rushing back to me.

I knew exactly what I needed to do. God had helped me do it before. I knew it was time to return to where God had lead me in the past. It was time to let go of the old frustrations in overcoming my weight battle and remember that God is always in control!! That I do so much better when I GIVE GOD ALL CONTROL!


“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)

My “suffering” has been gaining every bit of that 80 lbs back. My “suffering” has been joint issues because of the weight…bad back, bad hips. My “suffering” has been feeling like an 80 year old every time I get up out of a chair or have to walk more than several feet at once. I’m only two weeks into my God lead journey back to better health and I’m already feeling a difference. I have a long way to go. But I know that HE will restore me. He will make me strong and firm. And I will be steadfast on this road far beyond reaching my goal.

I try to only share head shots of myself. My weight isn’t as obvious from the neck up! But to stay transparent and honest here, I share this photo that is now my “before” shot. I like my dress. But I cringe a little when I look at this and can see how far off goal I am. I trust, though, that God is leading me . I trust that He will hold me tight to this road. My good health WILL be restored. I can’t wait to share my progress over the next many months!

ps…this is in no way an endorsement for WW. It’s just what works for me and is part of my weight loss journey testimony!

In the Waves with Matching Socks

In the Waves with Matching Socks

Picture me standing on my rooftop (which I’d never really do because heights are scary!) screaming at the top of lungs, tears rolling down my face, tearing at my clothes, kicking up roof tiles, madder than an old wet hen on a snowy winter’s day. That would’ve been me on one particular gloomy day in January 2014 … if I’d had the nerve to climb on my roof. Well, and tear at my clothes that I spent good money on and kick up roof tiles that I don’t have the money to replace! No, I’d never really do this. But I was pretty stinking mad that day.

I’d love for all the little stories that make up the testimony of my life to involve butterflies and rainbows and cuteness and all things lovely, true and pure but I live in the real world just like you do. So ,many times, the stories of my life are going to involve the opposite of the things listed above!

Finding beauty in sticky situations. It can be tricky, but I believe that through every rough spot we face in life, God provides us with something beautiful in the end…..

In spite of the ick.

In spite of the trial.

Beauty from ashes.

Always…because He is faithful.

The end of 2013 was one icky mess after another. I got the flu… or maybe it’s evil twin… on Thanksgiving Day. And it liked spending time with me so much that it hung around for weeks. Like until just days before Christmas. I can’t remember the last time a seemingly “simple” illness hung around with such tenacity. I had a horrible cough for weeks and completely lost my voice for the good part of a month. I still couldn’t sing a note by Christmas Eve…which was quite tortuous for this girl who loves nothing better than to “spread Christmas cheer by singing loud for all to hear!” I’m still not sure why I chose to go to the mostly song-filled worship service on Christmas Eve since all I could do was my best Milli Vanilli impression . Remember them? Then 10 days before Christmas, while I’m STILL trying to recoup from the flu, I get a call from my son’s school that they’ve called an ambulance to transport him to the hospital of our choice. He’s severely broken his arm. They weren’t kidding. I’d post a picture of Noah’s arm for your viewing pleasure but you’d probably never come back and read this silly old blog again. It was hideous! He had surgery and spent 3 nights in the hospital. Shortly after this, we get a call that my husband’s dad had taken a fall and broke many ribs and punctured his lung. He was in the hospital awaiting surgery….one he might not recover from. Sadly, he didn’t. Two days after Christmas my father in law was finally breathing freely in the presence of Jesus.

This was just December. I won’t bore you with tales of job losses, extremely reduced income and other stresses that plagued us January through November!

Oh sweet 2014 please be kinder………

…sigh…

But the trials of 2013 weren’t quite over. January had a rough start with flooding in our house. Twice we tromped through little unwanted rivers in the back of our house caused by frozen, busted pipes.

And so we’re back to the opening rooftop story here. On that day, I found myself standing in my sons bedroom ankle deep in water for the second time in a month but this time I was in matching socks. Yes, I said matching! My day had started so well because we all know that matching socks is a victory. Especially when your dryer loves nothing more than to always eat one sock from each pair you own!! Now my beautiful matching socks were soaked in yucky flood water.

I closed my eyes , took a deep breath and made the calls I knew were next after a flood. Then I was mad again. Still in disbelief…..I’m pretty sure I went to bed that night wondering what in the world was going on. Why were we continuously being plagued with one challenge after another?

In my mind, I deserved a big huge pity party. Who wouldn’t after going through all we’d been through? I’d invite friends over to cry with me. We’d have cold pizza and hot diet coke. It would be a blast.

No sooner had I created the guest list for my pity party than I got a little nudge from God. A nudge to remind me to open my pity filled eyes and really see what was going on. Nothing had really dramatically changed from Flood One . Flood Two happened on concrete floors, a stripped down bathroom. The floor was mostly empty of all the clothes, books, and computers that were ruined the first time. We had a roof over our heads. We had heat, clothes on our backs, food in the pantry. And the livable portion of our house was still livable.

Just like that I was reminded of a few things…

  • Blessings abound , even in the midst of turmoil. The faster I start looking for the blessings, the more quickly I’ll find them. The quicker I remember how greatly blessed I am…well, wet matching socks just seem so insignificant.
  • The faster I turn to God with my troubles, the faster I feel better. I like to feel better. Who doesn’t?? Why do we hang on to anger, fear, uncertainty, etc. etc. sooooo long?
  • I don’t have it near as bad as I think I do. Somebody slept in the cold last night. Somebody is begging for food. Somebody doesn’t have a penny to his name and only has what he can carry around in a bag on his back. Why is it so easy for me to fall into a pit of pity for myself when I have it better than a good majority of the world……misplaced water, concrete floors, ripped out walls, kids sleeping on the couch or not?

And those things were my BEAUTY…..in spite of it all.

As I stood in my son’s room on a patch of dry ground, I looked into the bathroom where water was still dripping out of the pipe into the house. There were already fans blowing attempting to dry things up as quickly as possible but the breeze from the fan was having a rippling effect on the standing water on the floor. There were waves on my bathroom floor. As I think back on that, a song came to mind. So I’ll close with the lyrics to that song and pray you too can allow your soul to rest in the embrace of the One who puts up with every pity party we indulge ourselves in and still calls us His own.


“So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine”
……

”Oceans” by Hillsong United (chorus)



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Shattered

Shattered

We planned this move as a means to start over. Being 1000 miles away from all we knew was going to be our fresh start. The hurts from the past would be set aside and forgiven and we would move on…together. As I made the final arrangements to move myself and our two young children to meet him and start a new home and life together , I got the call. He wasn’t ready to make our marriage work and he would be coming home to finalize our divorce.

I was shattered.

It came as a text. They wouldn’t be needing my services any longer. As nice and cordial as the message was, it still stung. But when I got a similar message from another parent just a few days later, I was left empty. Even though children moving on is the “nature of the beast” of my business , I wasn’t expecting this to all hit at once and it hurt. To top things off, not only did I lose every penny of my income that week, so did my husband. How long could we keep food on our table and a roof over our heads with the little bit of savings we had? I knew it wouldn’t last long.

I was shattered.

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As I finished up Chapter 2 of “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way”, I was challenged to think about times in my life that felt shattered to the point of dust. “Shattered to dust”…those times that felt like an abrupt, scary, disappointing end to the comforts I once felt. The times that felt like I could never pick up the pieces and move on. Because, well, once something is shattered to the point of dust, it’s a smidge impossible to glue those teeny, tiny fragments back together and make anything good.

Unless, of course, you’re God!

In the book, Lysa brought to our attention how magnificent God is with dust. Give God a handful of dust and He can create a living, breathing human being. I mean, come on. Creating a person with such ease should give us great comfort when we hand Him the dust created from our obliterated circumstances!

But I know how much easier it feels in the moment to just scream at God and come short of demanding that He fix things just the way we think would be best. I’ve been there, done that….

LORD! Make him love me again! Get him on a one way plane back home where he’ll stay and we’ll live happily ever after with our two kids and one dog. He’ll be faithful to me forever and I’ll never look like the black sheep of the family because I was the only one with a failed marriage! God, only You can do this, so do it now!

But God had other plans for my dust!

LORD! WHY?!? You know we can’t live without an income. I can’t even believe You made this happen to us. Why would you give me a calling in my life and rip it away with nothing to fall back on?? I have no clue what to do next! So God , You better lead me very clearly to the next step because I feel blinded here!!!!

But God had plans for my dust!

Did you ever watch David Letterman’s late night talk show? He would often have a segment he called ” Stupid Human Tricks” where people would do little “tricks” they taught themselves. Silly little old idiosyncratic crazy things they could probably make money showing off in bars! When we try to tell God what to do , or worse yet, jump ahead of him and start doing these things all on our own, I imagine He looks down on us from heaven , shakes His head and gets a little giggle at our silly “stupid human tricks”! Because try as we may, we can never ever create anything as fabulous out of the dust of our cruddy circumstances as God can. But we have to hand our crud over to Him and let Him do His thing!

Because God’s way is simply better.

“I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.  God’s Decree. For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.” … Isaiah 55:8-9 (The Message)

When I think back on these two times in my life when my circumstances felt crushed to dust, I can smile now knowing the truth of God’s declaration here. His ways ARE better! His thoughts for me ARE better! God took the dust of that broken marriage and did a new thing that never would’ve happened if I had stuck to my way of doing things and had not moved 1000 miles out of my comfort zone. God’s way gave me new confidence . His way showed me the rewards of obedience. His way showed me His heart and His great love for me. He drew me closer to Himself as He molded a new creation out of my dust. His way brought me new love, a new marriage with Him at the center and three sons I adore. God took the dust of our broken pay check and showed us how great His provision is, how perfect His timing is. He brought my husband a wonderful new career way closer to home. He brought me new children to love and care for. He showed me that even though I felt forsaken for a time, it was a lie. He never left our side or was ever unaware of what was happening.

He is simply good. He knows what to do when our lives are shattered to dust. My encouragement for you today if you are feeling shattered is to trust in His goodness , His love for you, and His timing in your situation. He knows what’s going on. He won’t take His eye off you. So mourn, mope, scream, do whatever you need to do to deal with the emotions but quickly shake off the dust. And let God create something new and magnificent with it.

If you have a story to share where God has turned your dust to glory, I’d love to hear it. I bet it would encourage someone else!

Oh but what God will do!!

From “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way” by Lysa Terkeurst


Immeasurably More

Immeasurably More

When the nice police officer pulled up to my house at 4:00 in the afternoon, my heart began racing. I started the mental inventory of placing all my kids and my husband and did I know their whereabouts that day. I began to brace myself for the worst possible scenario. Then I saw this nice man was carrying a hefty stack of papers. OK….good. It’s likely all my people were OK but my mind wandered to other nefarious things that this pile of paper would tell me. I had exactly zero reason to believe this visit had anything to do with me. I sadly admit I did a big old eye roll as my thoughts then turned to “What in the world has my husband done?” I’m not proud of this moment but it is what is. So imagine my complete and genuine surprise when the papers the officer handed me had MY NAME on them.

Cue the wah wah music…

What in the world had I done to deserve this visit? I stood there on my front porch and had a pleasant conversation with the police officer who had just delivered my unexpected doom. I thanked him, wished him a great day, appreciated his service…all the good things. This made my heart rate slow down some. Doing the things I’m good at in a moment I wasn’t sure how to handle otherwise. Police officers showing up at your door with messages of “you’ve messed up missy” may be common occurrences for some. But not for this girl .

So before I go on and your minds go to all the bad places on my behalf, let me give you this piece of advice. When you get a letter in the mail from a debt collector, don’t misplace it and think they’ll just send you another letter to remind you of the money you owe. Their next step just may be a nice police officer on your doorstep advising you of your court date.

Yes, I’m hearing more wah wah music…are you?

Thankfully this happened in a year where I was super concentrated on receiving MORE from the Lord . Many of you likely start each new year with a word to focus on throughout the year. You may pray and ask the Lord to give you this word. Or you may just come up with a word you feel you want to work on in your life. For me, the word MORE absolutely came from the Lord that year. I was smack dab in the middle of a time where He was more than willing to show off His ability to give me MORE of Him…MORE of His presence . MORE of His word. MORE of His love. MORE of His provision and protection.

As I stood in my foyer still shocked by seeing my name on these papers attached to a court day, I wallowed in self pity for all of about 2 minutes. Then the Lord smacked me upside the head…gently of course… and He told me “I’ve got this. Don’t worry. I’m gonna show you more of my love for you.”

And that He did. It’s an amazing thing for me to watch all the pieces fall into place when I truly just trust in His guidance . When I step out of the way and let Him have His way.

Let me just say this, though. Because I’m being transparent and real and all that. Sometimes God’s timing scares the fool out of me. Sometimes I wish He’d just speed things up and take care of things when I want Him to take care of things. Can I get an Amen?!?

Things were moving too slowly for me. I was becoming fearful that I was going to be out way more money than I had to give in that moment. The clock was ticking and I was literally just a few days from having to concede and say “Yes…I’ll meet you in court and give you all my money and then some.”

Seems I had forgotten God’s tendency to show up at the last minute for me. He doesn’t do that to be mean or spiteful. He does this because He ALWAYS has something amazing to show me in the waiting. And that He did. I was in my VSSM class that night. We were in a section of learning to be more aware of God’s voice…of tuning up our spiritual ears to hear His words for us and for others. As I sat with my group, I so badly wanted to hear a word for one of my friends, but my mind was so saturated with my current court concern and the lack of action taking place there that I just gave up on hearing anything for anyone. So I sat back and sorta begged God to give someone near me a word for me. Sounds selfish as I type out the words, but this was part of the lesson He had for me. No sooner had I ceased my begging for that word than I got it. My friend in front of me immediately turned around and said “Becky, I have a word for you.” I sat there in awe. I probably cried a little. Because she had no clue what I had been begging to hear from God. But He did. And He told me exactly what I needed to hear. When I got home from class that evening, I found I had an email that had been received at the exact moment my friend turned around to speak to me. The email was EXACTLY what I was hoping to hear and MORE. I would not have to go court and a settlement had been made. And all was well.

Because God. He loves to give us MORE than we can imagine. MORE than we hope for.

“God can do anything,you know—far MORE than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us.”… Ephesians 3:20, The Message

God had me focus on the word MORE for a couple of years. I’m still waiting to hear from Him about a word for 2019. If you are someone who likes to start a new year with a focus word, I’d love to know what it is. Share it in the comments if you want. Then more importantly, prepare to be amazed at how God shows up for you this year.



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