My one word for 2018: SEEK

In recent years, I’ve gotten in the habit of asking the Lord to give me one word to focus on throughout each year. For example, my one word for 2017 was OBEDIENCE. And in 2016, it was FOCUS.

This year, after praying and doing really nerdy things like looking up the word origin in the Greek, I felt the Lord nudging me to choose the work SEEK.

The word appears many places in the Bible, but in particular, I felt led to Matthew 6:33:

“But SEEK first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…”

Seek Him.

Seek Him first.

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Seek His Kingdom.

Seek His righteousness.

Seek, and faith and hope and love and all the good things will spill out.

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SEEK Him first because that’s how we can spread the hope of the Kingdom best.

And hope means everything in a world that lives largely without it.

Hope means everything to someone like me who chooses to often to worry rather than seek Him and pray.

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So today I’m pausing to dwell and pray over my one word for the year.

I’m praying the Lord is gracious and helps me seek Him first in my marriage, in my parenting, in my work as a nurse, and in each word I pen as a writer.

What about you?

Do you choose one word for the year? If so, what’s yours? And why?

Happy New Year, dear readers! And may the Lord comfort you with the hope and peace of His word today and throughout the year to come!

On Christmas and new beginnings and new books–a cover reveal for you all!

I thought writing novels would get easier.

Was I ever wrong.

But the beautiful thing about hard is that hard brings forth beauty.

Perseverance really does build character.

And character, hope. (Romans 5:3-5)

Trusting the Lord, even when it’s for every. single. word. I type onto a page really does prove His faithfulness.

And even in the hard, it is my greatest privilege to write words for the Lord and His glory.

Of all my novels to date, this one is the absolute result of faith. I wanted to give up. My kind, gracious, and amazing editors–though they never said so–must have wanted to give up. But little did we know that it was in the refining and the pressing on that this story finally came to life.

The title: Before I Saw You.

Publication date is several months off, but Before I Saw You is already showing up on bookstore web sites, so I wanted to be sure to offer you, as some of my most faithful readers, a first glimpse here.

I have so much to tell you over the next few months about everything that went in to the development and inspiration behind this novel. But for now, I just want to thank anyone who prayed for me over the last couple of years as I’ve been writing it. I’ve been even more of a hermit and introvert than I already was, some of it because of the writing process, some of it because I’ve simultaneously been struggling with the PTSD/depression I’ve battled most my life, some of it because I’ve also been launching my sons into college and empty nesting is taking a lot more out of me than I ever anticipated. (I read a lovely article just today about Peanuts creator Charles Schulz that I especially resonated with, and that says, “For his part, Schulz was aware that his inner gloom was also the source of his outward light.”) So please forgive me if I have not been present enough, either in the cyber world or if I know you in real life. 

The good news is that our God is a God of grace and love, and there is a time and season for everything under heaven…even for hermit-like writers like me.

The good news is that with our God, there is always an opportunity for a new beginning.

And this new story, like my other novels, ultimately demonstrates just that.

Here’s a synopsis for you of Before I Saw You, and a first look at the cover. I hope you are excited as I am for this to release…even though we have to wait until June 5, 2018! (It’ll be here sooner than we think!):

Folks are dying fast as the ash trees in the southern Indiana town ravaged by the heroin epidemic, where Jaycee Givens lives with nothing more than a thread of hope and a quirky neighbor, Sudie, who rescues injured wildlife. After a tragedy leaves her mother in prison, Jaycee is carrying grief and an unplanned pregnancy she conceals because she trusts no one, including the kind and handsome Gabe, who is new to town and to the local diner where she works.

Dividing her time between the diner and Sudie’s place, Jaycee nurses her broken heart among a collection of unlikely friends who are the closest thing to family that she has. Eventually, she realizes she can’t hide her pregnancy any longer—not even from the baby’s abusive father, who is furious when he finds out. The choices she must make for the safety of her unborn child threaten to derail any chance she ever had for hope and redemption. Ultimately, Jaycee must decide whether the truest form of love means hanging on or letting go.

And here, dear friends, is the cover:

978-1-4964-0956-0-1

Stay tuned here and sign up for my newsletter for first line and insider information as the publication date draws near.

I’m so grateful for each of you!

Praying a joyful, peaceful, and blessed Christmas season for you all.

Sunday puddles. A poem.

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I parked in the middle of the giant puddle 
on purpose. There would be

no way of getting away from it, no way

to avoid the slosh and splatter. 

But I didn’t care.

I Just wanted to remember what it felt like to be 

careless. Not in the sense of neglect, 

but in the sense of casting aside the baggage 

of 

brokenness that makes me 

pinched and mean and more 

like the things that broke me 

than who God formed me to be,

before.

Before the pain bent me.

I parked in the puddle, dressed 

in my Sunday best, so I could 

remember the joy and stand straight

in His sanctuary.

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“For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace…” Romans 6:14 (ESV)