Hope in 2013: God, Marriage, and Health

Words and a Picture

At the end of 2011, I chose a picture for 2012…a bridge. I wrote, “I know deep down 2012 will be a ‘crossing’ year for me, bridging those life changes He began in me in 2011 to something He has for me in 2013.”

When I typed those words on December 31, 2011, I had no idea what 2012 would hold, but sitting on this side, having completed my “crossing” year, I am shocked at how right I was even though I would not repeat 2012…for anything.

I literally moved across the bridge from West Virginia to Ohio.  I spiritually crossed the bridge from self to God dependence (still crossing too).  I physically crossed this bridge hundreds of times on foot as I tried to stay healthy.

In many ways, I grew to hate this picture.  It symbolized my failures in 2011 and the consequences in 2012.  But, I also used it throughout the year to propel me forward, reminding me not to give up on God or myself.  I keep crossing again and again – and there’s always another bridge ahead.

I’ve been praying for a few months about 2013’s picture.  I wanted it to be a picture I’d taken, but had nothing.  I felt I’d know it when I saw it.

Then, on December 15, my husband and I were driving on the interstate, rain pouring down. I snapped this picture through the window.

It was the day after the horrific shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.  I was reading Wonderstruck:  Awaken to the Nearness of God, and my husband pointed out the rainbow.  I said to him, “God always keeps His promises.”

I knew as if God had taken a seat beside me and pointed to the sky, awakening me to His nearness:  The rainbow was my picture for 2013.   A symbol of hope and God’s covenant to His people.

Hope and promises.  My posts in 2013 will be packed with “hope” and emphasize the importance of promises, covenants.

Why?  Because I’ve finally come to fully believe that  my hope is not earthly, but eternal.  My hope comes from and is in heaven, not in “life getting better” or “being part of this or that.”

Jesus = My Hope.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

I had my picture for 2013:  a rainbow

I had my words for 2013: hope, wonder, covenant

Now what? The hard part…

What’s God calling me to?  As I wrote recently, I am not “resolving” to do better this year by pulling up my bootstraps and fixing myself and the world.  Instead, I am “planning” to live intentionally, letting God lead and discovering what He has for me through His word, prayer, and Godly friends and leaders.

He’s called me to focus on Him, marriage/family, and health.


Focusing on God

Devotional:  I’ve chosen The One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie as my devotional for 2013.  Through a year’s worth of thoughtful entries, the reader will learn how much God longs to lift us up, carry us through in times of difficulty and uncertainty, and give us true, lasting joy. Each daily step draws you closer to a God who truly cares and the hopeful life he wants you to enjoy.

Bible Study: My friend and I are studying the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew.  I am committed to continue meeting with her, going deeper in His word.  I encourage you to find a group of ladies – or a friend – with whom you can study and discuss God’s word.  This keeps you accountable as well.

Prayer:   I plan to write more and more of my prayers, and focus on praying Scripture.

Scripture Memory:  I’ve always neglected scripture memory, but scripture has sustained me often.  I need to hide more of it in my heart. I joined Beth Moore’s Siesta Scripture Memory Team a few years ago and failed epically.  But, I am committing again.  I plan to memorize two verses about hope each month and add verses relevant to my season of life.  You can view my “hope” list here.

NOTE:  I didn’t order the “spiral” from Beth Moore; I purchased a journal from Target for my verses.

Smashbook:  In her book Wonderstruck, Margaret Feinberg encourages us to awaken to the nearness of God.   He’s there everyday.  Do we notice?  Are we wonderstruck by his creation, his provision, his nearness, his peace, his help…Him?  I often miss Him.  I am so busy that I don’t stop and notice. So, I am keeping a Smashbook of Wonder and Hope.  I plan to record the instances of wonder and hope I see throughout my day.


Focusing on Family/ Marriage

Family Worship and Prayer: Each evening my family reads  Long Story Short:  10-Minute Devotional to Draw Your Family to God.  It’s a study showing Jesus in the Old Testament.  We pray together at the conclusion of the study, keeping a list of prayers so we can see how God’s working.  My kiddos are at church about three hours per week.  While I love and am thankful for the teaching they receive there, their spiritual formation must take place in our home.  So, Steve and I are committed to continuing this family time.

In the mornings, my husband and I read together.  For 2013, we’re using The 52 Greatest Stories in the Bible.  This book connects each story to Jesus – his life, death, and resurrection.  We pray this draws us closer to each other as we draw closer to Him.

Marriage:  Steve and I are not intentional about spending time together without our kiddos.  We squeeze a date in when we can. That’s not healthy.  We must make time to talk and laugh together as a couple.  Twice a month is our goal in 2013.

I am also reading Beyond Ordinary by Justin and Trisha Davis.  Steve and I participate in Mentor Us and read Refine Us – great resources for marriage from the Davis’s.  We are committed to continue strengthening our marriage and sharing our story in hopes of helping other marriages.

Out-Serving:  I recently read a tweet by Jeff Goins.  During his marriage counseling, his pastor gave him and his wife this advice: Out-serve one another.  That’s our goal – to out-serve one another.  I want to serve Steve in such a way that he can’t out-serve me in return.  No, it’s not a competition.  It’s a way to honor God and one another.


Focusing on Health

I’ve written about my weight here, here, and here.  In 2011, I completed my first half-marathon.  In 2012, I held steady, gaining some weight but still exercising.

Recently, something’s changed in my struggle with weight.  While I’ve always viewed my weight as a spiritual issue, the deeper I dig into God’s word, the more I know it’s spiritual for me.  I can’t post all I’ve learned here. But, I’ll be writing much in the new year about the connection I’ve discovered between my eating, my emotions, and my connection to God.

I plan to pray through my weight loss, but know it’s wise to make a plan.  So, Steve and I have agreed on this plan…

I’ll be recording my food intake on My Fitness Pal and Steve on Lose It!. I’ll be rereading Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desires with God, Not Food by Lysa TerKeurst and following Clare at Peak313 for health and exercise advice.  Steve will be researching slow-carb plans and focusing on weight lifting.  I’ll share with him what God’s teaching me about health and fitness while he shares his knowledge of weight lifting, body chemistry, etc.

Steve and I have researched The Daniel Plan, Wheat Belly, and the slow-carb approaches.  We lean toward low-carb because Steve is a Type-I diabetic.  We’ve decided to focus on the spiritual side of weight loss, count calories, exercise, and apply the information we’ve learned from researching the above plans.

We’ve also registered for the UC Half –Marathon in Charleston, West Virginia on April 28, 2013.  We are following Jeff Galloway’s training plan to prepare.

On the days we simply can’t go outside, we’re setting up an elliptical and weight bench in our garage along with a heater;)  We also have a variety of workout DVDs from the Biggest Loser and Jillian Michaels.

For each pound we lose, we will donate a pound of food to the Latrobe Street Mission.  If you have weight loss goals in 2013, we hope you’ll join us in Pound for Pound, donating to a charity of your choice.

I am truly looking forward to 2013.  Steve and I will celebrate 15 years of marriage; Hannah will become a teenager; I’ve joined More to Be and will be posting there regularly along with guest posting at a variety of sites; my first book (coauthored) will be completed in May; I’ll begin my second book in the spring; I’ll be writing weekly for Women of Purpose; and a return to Honduras and my first trip to Africa may be in the future.

And, God will show up. I know He will.   A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9

I can’t wait to see what He has as I crave Him, living beyond ordinary and wonderstruck…making much of Him 365.

Happy New Year, friends!

2013 Hope – Focusing on God, Marriage, and Health (Pinterest Board)

Psalm 71: 14 But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.


  1. Whew! Just reading all that made me tired. 🙂 I love the idea of Pound 4 Pound. I was going to give a dollar for each pound, but I like this idea better. It will be nice to have a visual representation, plus I can kind of grasp how much it is when I’m lugging bags of food to my food bank. I’m going to reread Made to Crave too and do the participant’s guide this time. A hopeful new year to you!

    • That’s funny, Andrea, because I said that exact thing to Steve as he read it…it seems ambitious;). But, 70%of it isn’t knew. Our couple reading and family study time…along with my personal study time has been part of our routine for awhile. But, recording food and training for a half again are new. Praying we prioritize that. Keep me up to date on your pound for pound…I’d love to know how it’s going:). Happy new year!

      • That would be “new.” 🙂

      • Oh, if most is not new, that is much easier to handle! Still a challenge (or else they would not be goals) but not completely changing everything about yourself at once! A friend I’m doing SSTM with shared this site that has helped her memorize verses: http://scripturetyper.com. Thought I’d pass it along. I’ll keep you up to date! I’m joining a program through work that starts Thursday. It’s going to be uber intense. Eek.

  2. I too am realizing my weight is still a spiritual issue. God has been working on this with me. I’m currently reading “The Eden Diet” and I must say it’s been pretty eye opening.

  3. Thank you for posting such wonderful inspirational words! Im now a follower of your blog, and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your post.

  4. I love all of your detail! Beautifully done! I am so amazed and inspired at the One Word posts I have come across! How some of tracked back the year before and how their word for 2012 guided their year and so on. My word is Unstoppable and I blogged about it here: http://melannmorales.com/2013/01/2013-unstoppable/ I actually stumbled across your blog via fB someone in my newsfeed had posted a link to your post about missing you dad and I spotted your one word button in your sidebar so came here first!


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