I will rise. 

Mornings like this are my favorite. I thought I wanted to sleep in this morning, but my inner alarm (plus my sweet husband's snores) had me wide awake before dawn. I honestly don't mind at all. I love when the house is still and quiet. Times like these are rare, and I took the opportunity to get alone with God and seeking Him and spending time reading the Bible.

I've been thinking a lot about purpose and direction lately.. both personally and with my creative business. My husband and I have been praying, planning, dreaming and sharing ideas about what's ahead for us.

I'm a member of Lisa Jacob'sLuminaries Club, and have been trying to be more focused and intentional with my goals and strategies. When thinking about choosing a word for the year, I knew I wanted an action word. This needs to be a year of intention and making things happen. I thought about the word "pursue" or the phrase "follow through". I was planning to do a word study and come up with something along those lines... But a few days ago while driving, I heard a song that really grabbed my attention. It's a song I've heard hundreds of times and sung along to, not really thinking about it much... but this time it seemed to challenge me. When I heard the phrase, "I will rise when He calls my name", I felt something so compelling. Almost like a question.. will I rise? If He's calling me out, will I rise? I want this to be a year of answering with an emphatic YES. I will rise. No more shrinking back or being trampled by feelings of inadequacy and insecurity. I will rise to the occasion, whatever it may be. Following His lead, I will rise while it is still dark and get to a quiet place to pray.  I will rise and shine and give Him the glory!

Yesterday I watched Lara Casey on Periscope, vulnerably sharing her experience of using her Powersheets.  She talked about beginning with getting rooted in God and being prayerful and intentional when thinking about plans and goals for the new year. It's so refreshing, and it's amazing the way my ideas and dreams come alive when they line up with what He is speaking to me in His Word!

I love what I read this morning in Isaiah 40:31 (ESV):

"Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted: but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up (some translations say "rise") with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

First of all, I love that it says even youths shall faint and be weary.. because I've been feeling pretty weary lately and I'm no youth. It's nice to be reminded that we all grow weary sometimes, young and not so young. But when we wait on the Lord (the amplified version says expect, look for, and hope in Him), our strength is renewed. He gives us strength to rise. If He's calling my name and asking me to rise to an occasion (as a wife, mom, step-mom, teacher, administrator, creative, etc).. He's going to give me the strength to do it. I don't have to conjure up the strength on my own. All I have to do is stay rooted in Him.

When I was looking at different translations in the YouVersion app, there was a cross-reference to Hebrews 12:1-3, which reminds us to "throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith... and also its Finisher (bringing it to maturity and perfection]... so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds." (AMP)

And so I have chosen "rise" as my word for 2016. As I hope in Him and pursue the dreams and goals I believe He's placed in me, in faith I will rise (mount up) with wings like an eagle.

I'm kind of a word nerd, and love to do word studies with a dictionary and thesaurus as well as the Bible, so I'll be digging more into this in the coming months.

I'm declaring that this year I will rise up (as in from a slumber), rise above, grow. And as the sun rises and makes things brighter, I hope to encourage and build others up, shedding light on their strengths and loving relentlessly. No more shrinking back.

I will rise when He calls my name.

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