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2016: Kindness

For the past few years, I have been approaching the New Year praying for for a word or phrase to focus on and it has totally changed the way I approach the new year. It has been so neat to watch the Lord work in and through me in specific ways.

I first heard the idea from my dad a few years ago and when we first started this, I didn't realize how much of a thing this is. There's a website and book here (this is where my dad first heard of the idea),  a favorite author of mine writes about her process here, and even more than that have been the fruitful conversations with friends and other believers. I have loved getting to pray alongside other people and see the Lord move through us all in such specific ways.

You can read about my dad's word for 2016 here on his blog: www.lifevesting.com 

You can read about my previous words here:

2013: Grace Upon Grace 

2014: Hope

2015: Joy

This past year has been such an adventure learning more about the word joy. Learning to "rejoice in the Lord always", and learning to "choose joy". Mostly it has been another opportunity to lean on the Lord to produce that joy in me because it is a fruit of the Spirit.

A couple years ago, the Lord really brought me on a journey in exploring the idea of the fruit of the spirit in parenting. As with most "parenting lessons", it turned into a heart lesson for me before my heavenly father. I learned so much about the importance of depending on Him even for the little things and the importance of connecting to the SOURCE of the fruit. I also learned a lot about not being able to perform my way into those things.  I wrote a little bit about that here.

That's why it is so interesting that the word I feel drawn to this year is another fruit of the Spirit. More opportunities to lean on Him and trust him to produce His fruit in me. I hope I always recognize that need for Him.

The first ideas of "kindness" being my word this year started a few weeks before the end of 2015. And, shocker, it came in a parenting moment with the Sasster and a reminder from a friend about how it's the Lord's kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).

I wouldn't say that my current heart season is anything dramatic. I would use words like "fine", "same 'ole", maybe a little "numb", to describe where my heart has been with the Lord. And I have suddenly found myself in a desperate place of needing the Lord to meet me in the mundane before I sink further into a pit of apathy and lethargy.

The practice of repentance, even for the small things, even in the mundane, is meant to draw us closer to Himself. To make us look a little bit more like Him and a little less like us. I think I've looked a little too much like "Carrie" lately and not enough of "Jesus in Carrie".

In this place, the verse from Romans about His kindness leading us to repentance, keeps coming back to me.  And the more I explore this character of the Lord, the more love-struck I become with Him. The reminder that He is a loving Father drawing me to Himself. That out of the abundance of His kindness, He would seek to draw me to Himself when he sees my shortcomings, and not push me away.

So this character trait of His, this loving-kindness, that draws people closer, that's the part of the fruit I think I'm going to focus on this year. So that as I practice my part of repentance and depend on Him to produce His fruit in me, I may be more abundant in my kindness towards people. To draw people closer, not to me and not for me. But that maybe by extending kindness, I might draw more people towards Him.

So that's my beginning to 2016. I can't wait to see what He's going to do.

Do you have a word or phrase? or maybe a few of them? I'm genuinely so encouraged hearing other people's vision and heart for the new year! Leave me a comment (either here or on Facebook)! I'd love to pray alongside you for this year.

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