All Things Possible {And a New Adventure}

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Those that have been here often have heard me talk about my 2012 Word: INTENTIONAL.

Friends, it stretched me farther than one word should be able to. Amazing how God can use any opportunity given and make it bigger. Glory-filled…

And I’m over at Must Love God sharing the details of where that word took me and where I expect my new 2013 word will lead.

I still can’t believe it, but friends, they have asked me to be a Contributing Writer at this wonder site! Must Love God focuses on encouraging women spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It seeks to point you to the living well to fill all of those needs we face every day.

Won’t you stop by? I’m a tad nervous and would love to see a familiar face!

Simply click on the button below!

 

Thank you for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Opportunities to Shine

Jesus knew. From the moment He laid eyes on Judas, He knew he was the one (John 6:70-71). The one who would turn Him in to the enemy. And still He chose him to be among the elite. He allowed God’s plan to fall into place.

A couple of weeks ago, I read this passage in Matthew and it is still on my mind. It’s the way Jesus answered him that makes me stop and think.

Judas, the one who would betray Him, also asked,
“Rabbi, am I the one?”
And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”
Matthew 26:25 NLT

It occurred to me that Jesus never accused him point-blank. He didn’t say “Yes, Judas, you are the one that will betray me. I can’t believe you would do that to Me!” By saying what He did, it seems Jesus was still offering him grace. Judas was still allowed to recant, repent, and change his direction.

And a part of me feels that is a crucial point to linger on.

In Resolution for Women, Priscilla Shirer challenges mothers to be intentional encouragers of their children. To express confidence in their God-given abilities. She uses David as an example. When he is describing young Solomon to a large crowd, he doesn’t say Solomon is young and clueless. He says rather:

Then King David turned to the entire assembly and said,
‘My son Solomon,
whom God has clearly chosen as the next king of Israel,
is still young and inexperienced.’
I Chron. 29:1 NLT

He was ensuring confidence in his son by proudly proclaiming God has big plans for Him.

I have to ask myself: Do I do that? As a mother of a child of God, do I express confidence in my son? Do I proudly proclaim God has big plans for him?

Or do I make excuses for downfalls, focus on limitations, talk to other moms about all his mess ups…

Oh, I hope not. That’s not the kind of mother my son deserves. This world is hard enough without me confining him to a box.

A few weeks back, my then 3 year-old son was on a rhyming kick. Every sentence he said rhymed with the one previous. As we were getting him ready for bed, I simply said, “You’re great at rhyming, bud, maybe one day you’ll write for Dr Seuss!” He stood there long and hard at the bathroom sink. Completely focused on his reflection in the faucet. While sticking his thumb into his chest-bone, he finally said, “Mom, maybe someday Dr Seuss will write for me.”

Just like that the air was deflated out of my lungs. My heart fell to my knees. For I had done it. Friends, I had confined him to the point that even his preschooler mind grasped it.

Father, forgive me.

And now I have added this to my striving-to-be-intentional list for the year. I focus more on how I talk about him around others. Even his dad. Because God has big plans for that little boy. I believe it down to my core. And who am I to stand in the way. Who am I to back him or God into a corner.

I want to be like Jesus. I want to shower my child with grace. I want to encourage, not accuse. And I always, always want to give him a way out. I want to provide opportunities to let him shine. I’m striving. Are you?

How about you? How do you prevent from putting your child(ren) in a box? How do you speak about them to others? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

 

Joy Unexpected

I stare blankly at the empty lines.
Lines I had intended to fill throughout the day.

It seems distractions got the better of me and are still trying to prevail as exhaustion starts to take over. Stress burdens down, trying to cause worry in my soul. The thought of turning on mindless television sounds like sweet relief.

But where’s the intention in that? No. I will choose to be intentional.

This I can do.

I pick up the familiar pen. The one I’ve used since last April to write my gifts down. Signs of wear are starting to show where my fingers instinctively find their place. I’m ready.

And there I stay. In the ready position. Pen not yet in motion.

For me, the greatest challenge is beginning. Of shifting my perspective to clearly see all that God has blessed me with this day. One would think after 9 months of practice, it would come naturally. Not so. And I wonder how long it will remain a conscious effort.

My mind begins to oblige as I reflect on the day I’ve had. Early morning, not being able to sleep after the toddler was up in the night. Four loads of laundry done and put away, floors vacuumed, toys picked up, preparing my home for an enjoyable weekend. Preschool activities, train track assembly, and how many games of hide-and-seek later find me here? My eyes travel down to the pen and I notice the cracks on my hand. How long has it been? A week since the dishwasher broke? I can’t remember. And then it hits me.

I can’t remember because I’m enjoying it.
Can that be right?!?

Yes. It’s true.
For God has been faithfully meeting me at that kitchen sink.
Every day.
And I’ve been enjoying our chats.

So much so that I suggested we hold off on replacing that frustration of a dishwasher. We can wait for the best deal. No hurry. I can wash dishes.

This I can do.

For God has met with me among the grease, the grime, the suds, the squeaks of glass rubbing clean.

And my pen flows freely on the page.

  • Dishwasher breaking. An unexpected blessing to a tiring day.
  • Quiet time while washing dishes. Filling my joy tank as I fill up the sink.
  • God clearly speaking to me in those moments of actively scrubbing. Every day He’s been faithful.
  • Toddler’s willingness to help clean today. Keeping me accountable to vacuum up every crumb, swiffer every speck of dust.
  • Husband’s willingness to participate in the added cleaning responsibilities. Yet, not forcing himself in my new-found quiet place.
  • Burt’s Bees lotion (note to self, use it when I’m done)

And I smile wide as a handful more fill the remainder of the page. Those once empty lines now saturated with joy. Gifts given by my Redeemer.

Gifts given just to me.

My heart swells while realizing, I get to do this again tomorrow. How ’bout it, Lord, same time same place tomorrow? Deal. I’ll see You then.

And if that’s the only gift I receive, that will be enough.

Maybe making a conscious effort every day isn’t so bad after all. If it were natural, I might take it for granted.

And where’s the intention in that? No. I will strive to remain intentional.

This I can do.

How about you? What gifts were given just to you this day? How have you been intentional? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

(DISCLAIMER: Please know I am not Wonder Woman. I do not have it bad. There are only three of us. If there were more, this post would be completely different I’m sure.)

Am linking up with:

Praying Proverbs for Your Children

I’m striving to become my family’s biggest prayer warrior this year. And I’m finding that using The Word helps my prayers become more intentional. Purposeful.

I’ve been reading a Proverbs every day — the one that matches the day of the month and it is amazing me how it is helping my prayer life. This, along with my friend Barbie’s Fresh Brewed Sundays challenge, inspired I share my process with you.

Of praying through Proverbs. Intentionally. For my family and friends.

Last week, I showed how I pray for my husband (you can view the post HERE).

This week, while reading Proverbs 8-13, I had my son in mind (among others). And wouldn’t you know, I had no trouble finding verses to pray for him as well.

Here are a few examples from the week:

“And so, my children, listen to me (Wisdom),
for all who follow my ways are joyful.
Listen to my instruction and be wise. Don’t ignore it.
Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily…
For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the Lord”
Proverbs 8:32-35 NLT

“People who despise advice are asking for trouble;
those who respect a command will succeed.
Walk with the wise and become wise;
Associate with fools and get in trouble.”
Proverbs 13: 13, 20 NLT

While I’m reading, I tend to jot down a few words to help me remember. These words made it to my prayer journal based on these verses:

  • Wisdom’s pathway leads to  joy
  • listen, watch
  • Seek the Lord
  • Heed advice
  • Respect command
  • Friends/associations

And when done reading, I turn to Him:

Father, you have blessed me with a wonderful boy. One who is growing and learning so much it often overwhelms me! I’m honored to be called his mother and want to glorify You in how we raise this child of Yours. May he grow up striving for wisdom, listening to proper instruction, respecting those in command so he will experience the gift of joy You give. May he desire to seek You at an early age and continue to learn the path You have in mind just for him. May he find fruitful friends that seek the same desire to glorify You so he will not be easily burdened. Help me, Lord, as I strive to be an effective example of Your will. For Your glory. Grant me wisdom and discernment so my instructions will reflect You and You alone. . .

How about you? How do you pray for your child or loved one? I’d love to hear and learn from you.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

I am linking up to:

Praying with Purpose Applied

My dear friend Barbie at Freshly Brewed Life has committed to sharing a Bible verse every Sunday. A verse that’s been speaking to her. And she’s challenged us to join in. I knew I wanted to take part, but hadn’t decided yet how to proceed until my prayer time this week.

Those that check in from time to time know I’m striving to become my family’s biggest prayer warrior this year. I want to pray for my children with purpose. I want to pray for my spouse, family and friends more intentionally.

One way I’ve striven to be intentional is to pray using scripture.

And I want to share that with you
 How I’m applying verses in my prayer life.
 Every weekend.

Will you join me? Let’s begin!

Have you ever read a Proverbs a day? I grew up with the mentality it was a good practice to include one in your devotional life. There are 31 of them, so there is no reason to say you don’t have anything to read every day.

I haven’t done that in years, but thought I’d start-up again this January.

And in reading Proverbs 2 and 3, I realized these were excellent verses/chapters to use when praying for my spouse. And can I just say, isn’t that the way God works? I wanted to focus on my spouse this week and look what He gives me during my devotional/prayer time:

Proverbs 2:6-11 NLT

6 For the Lord grants wisdom!
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.
He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.
8 He guards the paths of the just
and protects those who are faithful to Him.

 9 Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair,
and you will find the right way to go.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
11 Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe.

Father, I can’t thank you enough for blessing me with a spouse who faithfully strives to reflect You in his everyday. Who’s main desire is to be a man of integrity, to provide for his family and guide us through this journey of life. And I know, Lord, that is a daily challenge. Something that needs attention every day as decisions need to be made, deadlines need to be met, others need to be served, provided for, kept safe. What a burden to bear.

Father, please be his shield when he is faced with doors that shouldn’t be opened. Protect his heart, Lord, from things that are not right, just, fair. Shower him with Your wisdom, knowledge, and understanding as he seeks You daily. So he will see the path ahead clearly and confidently and know what decisions need to be made. For in this You will be glorified and my husband will know You deeper. See You more clearly. Find contentment. Purpose. Joy…

How about you? How do you pray for your spouse? I’d love to hear. 

What is weighing heavy on your heart? Can I pray for you? Please feel free to contact me with any prayer requests you have via comments or email. I will respond and pray for you intentionally. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

I’m linking this to:

What If…

What if we were slow to anger?
What if we were quick to forgive?
What if we expressed our fears?
What if we dropped our guards?

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What if we realized we have more than enough?
What if we realized we are more than enough?
What if we spent more time on our knees?
What if we lived outside our comfort zones?

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What if we had an attitude of gratitude?
What if we chose joy?
What if we went out of our way to say thank you?
What if we practiced what we preach?

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What if we walked the talk?
What if we lived in the present?
What if we gave our best everyday?
What if we used all the gifts God has given us for His glory?

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What if we stopped harboring resentment?
What if we loved others like Christ loves us?
What if we graciously gave?
What if we acknowledged we’re all worth dying for?

What if we acted justly?
What if we offered mercy?
What if we walked humbly?
What if we followed His directions?

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What if we lived out this entire year on purpose? Intentionally?
What if we praised Him first thing in the morning and last thing at night?
What if we glorified Him in our everyday?
What if we un-clenched our fists to receive all He has to give?

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What if
What if

I don’t know about you, but I want to find out. 

I’m striving…Will you join me?

How about you? Which one are you striving towards most this year? Which one would you add? 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

am linking up with:

My One Word

It seems this book I’m reading is dictating my posts for this week…
As it should. It’s encouraging me to stretch myself. To strive further.

I’ve seen a number of blogs dedicate a year to one word. One purposeful word to describe what they’re striving towards for the coming year. I remember reading THIS POST last year challenging readers to pick one word for their entire family to strive towards. Twitter has been buzzing lately with others finalizing their one word and I must admit, I had decided this was one challenge I could never do.

I’m indecisive, friends. Big time.

But I can’t get it out of my head. My journal is filling with one word sentences.Words like Grace, Joy, Present, Focus, Glory, Driven, Faithful, Steadfast, Praise, Thankful and Seeking adorn the margins

and I have determined I must choose.
One word to encapsulate what I’m striving for in 2012.

At first I had settled on Present. Yes, that would be my word. For that’s what I’m striving to be each day. But I felt a nudge to go further. I can do more than be present.

During my devotions the other day I was reminded of a sermon I heard awhile back on these verses:

Philippians 3:10-14

10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! 12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

And there, in the margin, were my old sermon notes. Words I needed to read this day.

You see, the sermon was about how Paul lived life with a definite decision (vs 12). He decided Jesus was the best one to master his life. He chose to live accordingly. Paul also lived with a determined priority (vs 13). He decided one thing to set his priorities on: Focusing ahead towards The One mastering his life while not being deterred by the past (vs 13).

For if you don’t learn to deal with your past, it will determine your future.

It seems, based on my notes in my Bible, I summarized the sermon to say:

You must be decisive
or you will live your life by default.  

You’ll miss your mark

So

And those that know me well know I struggle with this. I struggle with being decisive. With not living by default–going with the flow. Why, look at how I almost passed over this opportunity of choosing my one primary thing I will strive for in 2012.

Yes, this will be the year I will focus on fixing this. I will be:

INTENTIONAL

I want to live on purpose. I want to make it count.
With my eyes fixed on the prize.

After all, God made me with a plan in mind. Big plans — that make a difference in this current life I’m living. I can’t pass by the opportunity to glorify Him and reveal what He has in mind for me.

So I will be intentional in my:

  • Relationships
  • Homemaking
  • Parenting
  • Blogging
  • Eating
  • Budgeting
  • Planning
  • Comings and Goings

I will not find comfort in saying “I don’t care” or “I don’t know” or “whatever you think is best.” No. I will remain focused on the goal and contribute.

Yes. I have decided. I will be intentional. And share my journey with you along the way.

How about you? Any tips for me?
If you chose one word to strive towards for the new year, what would it be? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

UPDATE: To read how I have been striving to accomplish this, you can read THESE POSTS.

Am linking up to: