My Word for 2013

In December, I took part in a free 30 Day Goal Setting Challenge offered by an up-and-coming life coach.  A friend recommended it, and upon looking at this life coach’s methods and organization tools, I thought it might be fun.  If you know me at all, you know that I love love LOVE new ways to be organized about ANYTHING.  Out and proud Type A personality right here, baby!

So, I gave it a shot.  I wrote about the woman I hoped to be by the time I rang in 2014.  From that vision, I crafted beautiful lists of the ways I hoped to improve in all areas of my life: physically, fiscally, professionally, educationally, spiritually, personally, relationally, aesthetically, emotionally, mentally, and blog-writing-ally.  (Not a word, I know, but I wanted to keep the flow going.)  I developed individual goals within each area and wrote out a plan to achieve each of those goals.  Finally, I broke those plans down into day-by-day to-do lists.  (Did I mention that I’m a little bit Type A?)

We are now almost two months into the new year…and I have all but literally thrown that list out the window.  While I was incredibly motivated during the goal writing process, I found myself incredibly unmotivated when the time came to actually work on said goals.  I mean, when you have eleven areas of your life you are trying to improve, it can be a little overwhelming.  Then, when you add the magnitude of this lifestyle overhaul to the fact that I’m something of an all-or-nothing girl, your only real options are to walk away or fail.  And let’s be honest here, I don’t do failure very well, so my (perceived) only option was to walk away

And that is exactly what I did.

While wallowing in accepting my self-defeat means of failure prevention, I began to see a trend in a few of the blogs I follow.  Women were writing about their “One Word” for 2013.  Not lists of resolutions.  Just one word.  This idea of choosing one word on which to focus for a year…it resonated with me.

No lengthy lists.  No detailed organizational tools.  No spreadsheets.  No dry erase boards.  No rewards programs.





This got me thinking about the kind of word I might want to focus on this year.  I had spent hours and hours pondering and journaling about the kind of woman I want to be by the time this year came to an end.  What one word could possibly sum up all that this woman was?  What one word would encapsulate the multitude of goals I had created for myself?

It took some time to sift through many words that didn’t feel quite right, but after much prayer and consideration, a word came to me.  And with that word I felt a deep peace in my soul.


All the other words I thought of had been heavily based in action.  Try.  Go.  Do.  Act.  But this word…it doesn’t ask me to go or do anything. Instead, it asks me to remain and be.  Remain in the truth of God’s redemption.  Be redeemed.

I realized that all the goals and resolutions I had created for myself were my way of using perfectionism and control in an attempt to make up for my past.  “If I can just get these parts of my future right, it will atone for the parts of my past that I didn’t get right.”  But that is so far from the truth!  My present actions will not undo my past sins.  I do not need perfection.  I need redemption.

This redemption refutes each lie as satan whispers it in my ear.  “You are trash.”  “You messed up.”  “You aren’t forgivable.”  “No one will ever love you again.”  “Your dreams are ruined.”  “All you had hoped for is gone because of what you have done.”  On one level, I know that these are lies, but I also know it will take time and work before I am fully convinced.

Even after two months of mediating on this word, I still struggle to fully grasp what it means for my life.  It isn’t tangible.  It isn’t something that can be turned into a list of steps to cross off, accomplishments to achieve so I can say that I did it.  I can’t create a 12 step program that will lead me to success.  I can’t approach this process the way I usually approach life.  I can only enter each moment of every day recognizing that I am redeemed.

This is my call to always, always, always remember that He has redeemed me and He continues to redeem me again and again every single day.

He redeems me from my sin and my brokenness.

He redeems me from the future I had planned, for the future HE has planned.

He redeems my past, my present, my future.

Through Him, my sins and my life have been redeemed.

This year, I will live in recognition and acceptance of God’s redemption, because





The Russian Adoption Ban

Photo Credit: Nico Paix on Flickr (Creative Commons)

Photo Credit: Nico Paix on Flickr (Creative Commons)

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I feel about the recent ban on the adoption of Russian orphans by parents in the United States, and honestly, that has been a little overwhelming.  When I found out that Putin had signed the bill into law, it felt like I was just told that I can’t have children.  My heart is in Russia.  It has been for years.  And now the door from here to there has been bound up by politics.

And there is nothing I can do about it.

When I shared with a friend how I was feeling, he said, “But, you still can have kids.  There are other countries.  There are kids here who need to be adopted.  And you can probably still have your own.”  As selfish as it may sound, that hurt almost as much as the news of the ban itself.  Other countries, domestic adoption, biological children…that has not been my dream or my heart’s deepest desire.

You wouldn’t (or at least you shouldn’t) tell a woman who had just been told by her doctor that she was infertile that “everything will be okay, there’s always adoption and fostering and surrogacy.”  No, you would mourn with her the loss of a dream.

So that is all I am asking of you at this point.  Mourn with me.

And mourn with the hundreds of thousands of Russian orphans who are waiting for their forever families, who now have a that much smaller chance of ever being adopted, because the largest population to adopt them is no longer allowed to.

And pray.

Pray for the Russian people who are speaking out against the ban.  I don’t want to speak generally or ignorantly about the Russian government, but free-speech doesn’t mean the same thing in Russia that it does here.

Pray for the proposed reform of the orphan care system in Russia.  If you know anything about its current state, you know that it really is not the best place for a child to grow up.

Pray for Russian families, that their hearts would be opened to adoption, especially of special-needs children.  There is a rather large stigma against adoption in Russia and that stigma is even larger when it comes to adopting a special-needs child.

And finally, pray for the orphans, in Russia and around the world.

Mournfully yours,