New Year, New Word

The past couple of years it has helped me walking into a new year to look at all the things I hope to accomplish and choose a word that really unifies and brings it altogether. Being able to focus on that one word really helps me to take the “bigness” of my goals and look at it quite simply. Overall, what I want to achieve in everything I do is this one word, one thing. Last year, it was growth. Being able to reflect on all the growth that happened in 2018 and looking from there to what I believe and hope lies ahead, there is was one common theme, and that is my word for the year and for our family in 2019: Freedom.

I’m a big believer in accountability, and though I don’t share everything in this corner of the internet (nor should I), I also value showing up authentically and allowing this online community to see what’s real here at SOJ. So, in 2019, here’s where we want to find freedom.

Freedom In Our Finances

Last year, we really started taking seriously a journey to go debt-free. We saw lots of growth, and this year we really just want to experience some true freedom financially. No more debt, no more dependency, no more stress or worry surrounding money. We want freedom to view money rightly, we want to give big and give freely the way we have been given to over the past 8 years. We want to continue to be good stewards and use money wisely, but we also want the freedom to say yes. 

Yes, we can absolutely give to your adoption fund.

Yes, we can absolutely help you sponsor that event for foster care.

Yes, we can absolutely take that family vacation.

Yes, we can absolutely hire you.

Yes, we can absolutely do that outing together.

Yes, we can absolutely pay for that home study and profile book.

Yes, we can absolutely move into a house.

Yes, we can absolutely move that money into savings.

Yes, we can absolutely go to that conference.

Yes, we can absolutely plan on regular dates nights.

We want the ability to have more yeses, and we know that will only come by continuing to go debt-free, and with every yes with our money, we are also absolutely choosing to say no to other things. Both are needed, both are good, both are necessary, both are personal choices. Both yeses and no’s give freedom. And with that…

Freedom With Our Time

We want freedom with our time. I want to feel freedom to be able to say “no” to the things that do not serve us, that I absolutely cannot take on and do not have the capacity for anymore. You may think that sounds super selfish, and guess what? It is.  I would much rather give my best yes, rather than lots of stressful half-yeses. And it’s time that I stop being crushed by my to-do list that mostly contains things that I don’t need to be doing. I have a really hard time saying no to people. Ask my husband, I am wrought with guilt if I say no to someone or something-even if it’s good and I want to do it. It’s time for me to have the freedom to say no to the soul sucking things that take away time from the things I should be doing and take joy in doing. That doesn’t mean that the things I enjoy doing are always fun. That doesn’t mean I won’t still make sacrifices with my time-we all do and should at times. What it does mean is having the freedom to say “no,” because we are intentional with our time because we value it. Freedom also means boundaries, and that is something I want to cultivate in our family and for sure teach my children. Part of our hope in freedom with our time also comes with…

Freedom With Our Work 

Jonathan has been working multiple jobs since 2014. This lack of freedom with our finances has created lack of freedom with our time and lack of freedom in the ability to work within our gifting and passions. Last year, we had a break-through growing in all of those things, praise the Lord! Our hope and goal this year, is to have the freedom to completely do what we actually love. For Jonathan, our hope is he has the freedom to make writing his full-time career. I want to be able to see my husband say “I have the freedom to do one job, and do this job really well because I’m walking in my gifts.” We both love being able to set our own schedules even though we know that will be a juggling act both working from home, but we just want the freedom to actually do that. We know that in that, it will open up more doors for my writing career as well with blogging and writing more books and resources, being able to attend conferences, make connections, speak and sell my work in person. And with that…

Freedom In Mental Health & Self-Care

A major area of growth for me that really hit hard towards the end of 2018, was for me to find freedom in my own emotional health, and that won’t happen without self-care. I’ve got a whole series planned for self-care coming this summer. This past year though, I dealt with anxiety more than I ever have in my life, and I know that it is because I have not dealt with so much of my own emotional trauma from our adoption process (and probably even before that), or sat down to really process all the junk from the past 4 years. Because of that, my emotional wellness has taken a toll, and I know that when my parenting goes south and I’m losing it over extremely trivial things, it’s because I’ve got unprocessed, unreleased emotions. Heck, even writing my workbook, I had to re-live our process all over again and all the emotions that came along with that. My own work I absolutely love and know that I am called to, also triggers me. It’s emotional labor. Labor that is good and needed to better this community, but it still takes a toll on me, and I forget that until it’s too late oftentimes. Like I view everything else: marriage, parenting, adoption and foster care, health and wellness, I always err on being preventative. And yet, I’ve realized that I’m not being preventative with my own mental health. I’ve been waiting until crisis hits, and that’s not walking in freedom, nor is it fair for everyone else around me to lay in the wake of it (ie, my family).

I am reminded that He sent His Son to set me free, and I am to walk in the freedom He has given.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

“For you were called to freedom brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:15-16

So, here’s to freedom in 2019. What’s your word of the year?


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