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Biggest Surprises of Year 1!

Stepping Out of the Boat

Y'all.


It's been 1 whole year together! [Yes, all the high-pitched squeals.]


But, it's also been 1 year of...


obedience,


learning,


trusting,


growing,


blooming,


and SURPRISES!


We're talkin' rub-your-eyes and pinch-me-again surprises!


Like when you're in Nashville and do a double take and ask your friend, "Is that chicken on a leash????!"



But in all seriousness...


This year has been filled with the most incredible surprises!


Let me just say - if there's something God is laying on your heart, do it. I almost let fear of what others might think of me keep me from this purpose. I would not have experienced all the wonderful, unimaginable surprises God had prepared for me if I had.


Too often, the thing standing between you and what you want is fear


...and consistency.


Fear is not from God.


And, consistency is a choice.


He has good in store for you. Trust Him and step out of the boat. He doesn't promise there won't be waves, but with our eyes consistently and steadily set on Him, we will walk surely above them.




And yes, I absolutely love the element of surprise. I think God knows this about me, after all He created me this way.


So I want to share with you a countdown of the BIGGEST SURPRISES OF YEAR 1!


He blew me away ...again and again and again! But, for the sake of time, here are the top 5!


#5 - YOU!

Yes, you are an incredible blessing to me! When I first started this blog September 1st of last year, I wondered, "Start a blog? Who even reads those?"


I did not know if anyone would read these, but I knew God told me to do this, so if I fell on my face, well, then He'd be there to pick me up and dust me off and teach me something through it. So I chose to trust Him and now I see it wasn't about me at all.


It was about YOU!


He wants you to know how much He loves you and how He sees you and wants you to experience Him in the ordinary moments of your day. He's crazy about you, friend.


I'm humbled that you (and when I say "you" that not all of you share my last name - that's humbling in itself!) - but, I'm truly humbled and honored to get to share five minutes with you every week. It's the highlight of my week and I'm already looking forward to the next! ...and the next!


From the bottom of my heart, I'm so thankful for you, friend.



#4 - God's Timing

Y'all, it's always perfect. There are no coincidences. Sometimes we get to see this clearly and other times we have to trust it is true.


I'm so thankful God pulled back the curtain and allowed me to see His perfect timing with a particular post this last year.


You might remember the story about a 5k run hosted by Hope Is Alive (HIA) that turned into chills all over my body (the holy kind) and tear-filled eyes and evidence of God's goodness. I ran that 5k at the end of August last year. I wrote that piece that afternoon because it had profoundly impacted me. I had chills the whole time I wrote it. And I was sitting under a blanket!


Holy chills.


Yep, they're real.


I initially thought I'd share it with you all that Fall, but soon it became clear to my heart to pair this with another HIA story in January.


What's the big deal? Why is this a TOP 5 Surprise?


Well, a friend read that post then shared it. The 5k is held in memory of one man who had passed away. God allowed this post to be shared with that man's mother who reached out to me with tears and joy.


Sure, Fall would have been good timing. This post would have meant a lot to her had I shared it then. But, January was God's timing. This post meant even more to her the week of her son's birthday.


I did not know her. I did not know her son. I had no idea - or even thought of - his birthday.


I didn't write that piece for her. But, I believe God did.


He wanted her to know that her son's life had purpose and has purpose still - well beyond the days he spent on this earth. God can use our lives to impact people even when we're no longer physically here.


And like the timing of that post, there are things only God can do. Sometimes we experience delays or pauses or interruptions and timing may seem off in areas of our lives. What if - just what if - it's not a setback but a setup?


A setup to a wonderful, glorious, only-God-could-do-this type of surprise!



#3 - Brave Friends

We all know it takes courage to unpack the things in our hearts. It takes more to write these lessons down and it takes a heckuva lot of courage to share these with others. I'm so thankful for the beautiful, brave souls who have spent time with the Lord and shared their wisdom with us.


Let's lift up a prayer and a blessing over each of these women that God will extend His loving kindness over them in tangible ways and lead them in the fullness He has for them!


Thank you, thank you, thank you...


Sara Claudia, Christina Sanders, and Jennifer Turner!


We have been so blessed by you, dear friends!



#2 - Leadership

When God leads us into new territory, He brings others who have walked further than us to share wisdom of lessons learned and encouragement for the days ahead.


Surprise doesn't even begin to describe my excitement for the mentors God has placed in my life.


Lance Lang, thank you for speaking life into me. The words you shared will stay with me for a long time. I hope they stay with all of you, too -


"That thing you feel...Not everybody feels that." - Lance Lang, author of 10 Years Sober

...because that thing is the purpose God has placed on your life.



Bob and Maria Goff, thank you for being the same beautiful, generous people in person that you are in your books. Thank you for all your creativity and hospitality poured into The Oaks, and thank you for all the encouragement you've given me as a new writer.


This was another moment of God's impeccable, perfect timing. As I've shared before, my journey to writing started by writing down a prayer. That evening my heart was empty and I didn't think I'd have anything to write.


God met me there that night and the days that followed.


A year - TO THE DAY - later, God allowed me to celebrate this step of obedience and learn how to be a better writer by a man named Bob who happens to be on his own unexpected writing journey.


All I could say is WHOA, GOD.


Because 365 days before, I felt like a marble in a sling-shot, pulled backwards and stretched when all my false comforts were revealed and removed from my life.


Little did I know, God was going to use that to propel me forward into the purpose He has for my life. Being at The Oaks that particular weekend was proof of God's hand and sovereignty for me.


Have you ever found yourself as the marble in a sling-shot? How might God use that to propel you into the purpose He has for you?


Also, it has to be said - whatever it is you're doing, ask God for good mentors and He'll provide - in the best, most surprising - ways! Seriously. Do it.


There's always more to learn. Surround yourself with people who are growing in His wisdom and who have walked further than you. Then, watch as God brings people to your path who need to learn from the road you've walked and the wisdom you've learned along the way.


God is a master connector. He uses people to fulfill His purpose.



#1 - Come back next week. You're not gonna want to miss the


#1 SURPRISE OF YEAR 1!


Let's find strength in God's love to step out of the boat. Let's find joy in the surprises He prepares for us and peace in His hand and rest when we enjoy friendship with Him and the people He purposefully places in our path.


The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.



I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!


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