My Word for the Year in 2016 is "openness".
Openness is defined as: being receptive to new ideas, behaviors, cultures, peoples, environments, experiences, etc that are different from the familiar, conventional, traditional or one's own.
That was and still is my intention for this year. I decided to start this year by being open to whatever life has to offer. To let down the walls I had built around my heart. To try new things. To get out and meet new people. To hear and obey the voice of God. To break out of my comfort zone and do things that are a little scary or uncomfortable. Whatever the situation may be, I intended to approach it with an open mind and an open heart allowing myself the opportunity to fall when necessary in order to succeed when possible.
Little did I know just how much that one word was going to impact my life in such a short time. I am eternally grateful for all the blessings that I have already received so far this year. Being open has led me to some amazing discoveries and some really great new experiences as well as relationships.
This month, as part of listening to and obeying the voice of God, I joined Sisterhood, the women's ministry at my church. Not only did I join, but I completely stepped out of my comfort zone and volunteered to be a table leader. Having never really been comfortable in the spotlight and knowing that I still have a long, long way to go in my faith walk, this was totally out of character for me. However, I cannot tell you how much I have already been blessed in the last two weeks by the women in my group. There are some old friends, some friends from my previous small group and even some new friends that have joined us. Each woman is uniquely individual and brings their own strengths and stories to the table each week. We have been studying the power of prayer and learning how to not only pray but pray Fervently (a book I highly recommend by Priscilla Shirer). And, let me tell you, these women...they are absolutely amazing and I am so blessed to get to do life along side them. Already we have seen the power of God at work in our lives and we are growing stronger in our faith, in our relationships and in our friendships. It has been a powerful study.
Being open has also brought me another tremendous blessing in the form of a new relationship that I never expected. For the last four years, I have been living in a world of pain, shame, guilt and unforgiveness due to my divorce and the circumstances surrounding it. I allowed that to affect my life in more ways than I can count and I know that it created a rift between me and God as well as those I love. I was angry and depressed and hurt. I felt lost and unloved and afraid. At the end of 2015, at a conference in Birmingham with one of my besties, I was able to finally let all of that go. I turned it all over to God and was able to really be at peace with the past and start fresh.
I had tried dating but up until that point, I don't think I was really ready. I had built up walls and defenses to keep people out and to keep my heart safe from going through that kind of pain again. If things were going well, I sabotaged it because I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I chose the wrong people and invested in the wrong relationships. What I realized in December was that I wasn't who I needed to be in order to successfully be with someone else. I started praying then for God to make me into the person that He wanted me to be, the person that He could use to ultimately fulfill his purpose. I let go of the past and the fears and trusted God to carry those burdens making me whole again.
I don't know what the future holds but I do know that I refuse to take today for granted any longer. 2016 is going to be the best year yet and I can't wait to see how it ends. My heart is open, my faith is strong and my mind is clear. I know that troubles will come. I know that Satan will attack. But I also know that the ending to his story has already been written. He can't touch me for I am the daughter of the King and I can do all things though him. Bring it on world. I am ready!
Thanks for stopping by!