Saturday, January 14, 2017

Our Word for 2017, 5th Update on Kristen, & Giveaway Winner Announcement!!

"Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. 
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27

The word didn't come like a lightning bolt, but rather gently, subtly, born from a petition in a prayer.
As Kevin worked, he listened, as Zach and I prayed upstairs.
When we finished, he called up to me,
"The Lord gave me our word for this year.
I was already thinking of it, and then you said it in your prayer.
Do you know what it is?"

I knew we had been thinking about the word, "content", but, it alone, just didn't seem to fit just right.
Kevin had jotted down some other words God has been bringing to him, 
and the words that have steadily come to me are, "ask" and "expect" and words like that,
as my faith has been so inspired, of late.

I tried to think back over the earnest prayer I had just finished praying...
so many words, so many requests that were laying heavy on my heart.
Which word was it that I had just mentioned in my prayer that God had allowed to resonate with Kevin enough to show him that it was to be our word for this new year of 2017?

"Was it restoration?" I called down to him.
That was a word I could remember using in my prayer, as I had thought back over 2016 and how hard it was for us, both physically and emotionally.
YES, we need restored, in so many ways.
But, I remembered that God gave us that word in 2014, so I was sort of hoping the one for this year would be different.

"No, it wasn't restoration.
It was another word you mentioned while you were praying", 
Kevin replied.

I finally gave up, since I couldn't figure it out.

"It was peace."
Kevin called to me.

Ahhhh....YES, please!!
It is peace.
All 3 of us knew instantly.
It fits.

"Is there an acronym that you feel like God wants us to attach to it?" I directed my question to both Kevin and Zach.

The acronym rolled off Zach's tongue, effortlessly and instantly.

P   - prayer
E  - endure
A       - ask
- content
E  - expect

So, there, we have it!
God has a way of taking words He is laying on the 3 of our hearts,
then combining them into our one word as an acronym.
It is the cry of my heart.
The desire of my soul.
I am so longing for it.

Soldiers far more advanced, stalwart, and seasoned than I even need a reprieve of peace sometimes...
a chance to regroup, reload, relax, replenish, refresh, recuperate, and rejuvenate.

The dear Holy Spirit keeps bringing these verses to my mind,
"And the land had rest forty years."
Judges 5:31

"And the land had rest from war."
Joshua 14:15b

"And the land rested from war."
Joshua 11:23
(Emphasis added)

While I realize that true peace is not always the absence of war,
but a calm inward trust in the midst of the battle,
I find myself weary and in need of our dear Lord to bring about a calming of circumstances.

Have you ever felt that way?
Have you ever just felt like screaming, "Enough is enough" and begging God for peace?

 After such intense battles over the course of the past few years,
I am believing God for a season of our "land resting from war".

Life is full of trials.
I realize this and would be foolish to think otherwise.
While my heart cries out for a time of peace, He is in control,
and whether or not He chooses to order a season of serenity, He is, and He always will be, 
 the Source of our peace.
He is the Prince of Peace.  (Isaiah 9:6)

Jesus said this in John 16:33,
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."

We live in a world where tribulation is inevitable,
but Jesus overcame, and so can we...through following Him and the path He walked while on earth.

I have found, that, at least some of the disturbance of peace in this life, can be self-inflicted.
We take on too much.
We have too much excess in our homes and in our lives.
We spend too much energy striving for the things money can buy.
We continually want more.

Jesus lived a life that was 100% eternity-focused.
His life was unencumbered by the things that are temporary.
He was always available to go and do His Father's will.
You never read where He ever, one time, had to tell someone who needed Him that He was too busy
to come to their aid.
He never put what is earthly ahead of what is Heavenly.
He was the most selfless Man who ever walked the earth.
He owned little to no physical possessions, so He was free from having to take care of them.
He was born in a borrowed space.
His first bed was a borrowed manger.
Later in life, He had no where to lay His head.  (Matthew 8:20)
After His horrific, agonizing death on the cross,
He was buried in a borrowed tomb.
He didn't need it for long.
Jesus lived His whole life completely unattached to this world.
He made the most of every moment He had to spend here,
and He never allowed this life to come before His Father's will.
He knew His time here would be short.

The longer I live, and the older I get, the more I realize how short mine will be, too.
Losing both of my parents drove that truth home with unsurpassed clarity and vividness.

Life is way too short to live it in an uproar.
To a degree, peace is something that has to be pursued.
A lot of it has to do with the choices we, ourselves, make.

"Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it."
Psalm 34:14

To achieve peace, we must be willing to let go of the things that disturb it.

If you have been reading here for very long, you know that, over the course of the past year or so,
we have really been pursuing a simpler, more minimal life.
The surprising result that has arisen amidst the progress we have made is that
our lives have become, and are steadily becoming, increasingly peaceful.

We are continuing to let go...not only of stuff, but of circumstances and encumbrances that vex us.

We have made up our minds to "seek peace, and pursue it."

Turmoil, chaos, and discord are things that, more often than you might believe, can be avoided.

Romans 12:18 says,
"If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men."
Sometimes that means the necessity of placing distance between yourself and those with whom you cannot agree in order to maintain your own peace of mind.
To continue to engage in conflict is truly the polar opposite of "seeking and pursuing peace".

While we must forgive the ones who hurt us and have caused grief for us,
God does not expect us to perpetuate the enablement of such.

We cannot change other people. 
We cannot make them see our point of view.
While we must love them and keep a tender heart towards them, there are people in this life with whom we will never be able to agree.

Sometimes, we just have to let it go, dear friends.
Forgiveness, from the heart, brings a deep sense of peace.
Forgiveness is liberating.
Forgiveness does not mean we have to go back for more.
While we must let it go and love from the heart and pray earnestly for only blessings to come to those with whom we cannot agree, we must follow the path of peace and do our utmost to avoid future conflicts that cause such pain of heart, anguished distress and vexation of spirit, and spiritual battles for us.

If you know me at all, you will know that I do not like conflict with others.
In fact, I honestly cannot stand it.
I just can't do it.
So much of my growing up years were spent caught in the crossfire of church conflicts,
my parents and I being spiritually battered, bruised, and abused and kept in a state of continual turmoil, in the process.
Dear Mom and Dad lived their entire lives trying to fit in to manmade molds in which God never intended them to conform.
It pains me to know this and to realize how much misery it caused them through the years.

I am so thankful to be free.
To have found peace.
God is continuing to break bondage chains...
to remove what is binding from our lives...
to pare off the things that rob serenity.
And, in this process, He continues to show us that some of this is up to us.

You may want to read THIS POST.

We have to be willing to let go of what does not "make for peace".

"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another."
Romans 14:19

If you see that, after many, many attempts, it is virtually impossible to agree with someone else,
that the continuation of a relationship only adds heaped vexation of spirit,
and that the total opposite of spiritual edification is taking place no matter how hard you try to force it to happen,
it is time to let go.

There are many things, situations, and circumstances in this life that hold the potential to take away our peace.

What is stealing your peace, dear friend?
Is it the excess belongings that keep your nose to the grindstone, not allowing for time for who and what matters most in your life?
Perhaps, it is time to downsize and release the things you cannot afford.
Maybe it is a job that consumes, a relationship that vexes, or a ministry you fell into by default, but do not feel called by God to continue to pursue.
Only you and God can identity the exact thief of your peace.
It can be different for all of us.

My prayer for you is this..
that, in the midst of your battles, you find the Philippians 4:7 kind of peace.

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

I love the old hymn, "What a Friend We Have In Jesus", written by Joseph M. Scriven...
especially the lines,
"Oh, what peace we often forfeit, oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer."

If video doesn't load, click here.

And, here is a video that explains the story behind this beautiful song.
It is worth your time to watch.

If video doesn't load, click here.

It is so worth whatever it costs to bring it about.
It is our word, our focus, the desire of our hearts for this fresh, new year.
I pray you find it, too.

We have been enjoying the thrills of a gentle snow...oh, it is SO beautiful!

Can I just tell you how wonderful it is to finally live in a place again where it snows!

Oh, Zach was SO excited last night, as the big snowflakes began to fall!
We made several little snowmen on the railing outside our front door.

Aren't they cute?

Today, we took a drive through the country and took in the sights of sunlight glistening on snow-covered fields and bare tree limbs clothed in pure white.
Oh, it was glorious to see the mighty handiwork of God!

Kevin said these are the biggest snowflakes he has ever seen!
Some were bigger than quarters.
Last night, I remarked that there is nothing as peaceful as a gentle, quietly-falling snow.
It falls, like a silent prayer, and there is just something so soothing about it.

Sort of like our word for this year.

Thank you, Lord!

"Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all."
2 Thessalonians 3:16

"Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."
2 Corinthians 13:11

"And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."
James 3:18


We so appreciate your continued prayers for my dear niece, Kristen and her unborn baby boy.
There has been no change, and she still surely needs your continued prayers.
She is having a lot of chest pain, difficulty breathing, and pain behind her lung.
We are very concerned, and it seems that we have a constant battle with fear, but we are continuing to "speak faith" and believe our dear and awesome God to heal her and bring her through this with no further complications.
Thank you ever so much for your support, kind words, and most of all, your prayers, dear friends.
It means SO much to all of us.

A BIG thank you to all who entered to win this wonderful book.

There were 26 commenters who entered.
I wish I could send ALL 26 of you this life-changing, amazing book!!!
It has blessed me so much over the years!
We put all 26 names in a bowl,
Kevin shuffled the names around,
the three of us prayed over the bowl of names and asked God to have His way,
and Zach picked a name.
And, the winner is...
Valerie Sisco!!!!
She is just a sweetheart and blogs at "Grace With Silk.
I hope you will stop over and visit her and consider subscribing to her beautiful blog!!
Congratulations, Valerie!!
Please email me privately with your mailing information,
and, Lord willing, we will get your book in the mail to you real soon!!


  1. This world will never know peace until it learns to forgive.

    Praying for Kristen and all of you.

    "What a friend we have in Jesus" is one of my favourite songs.

    God bless.

    1. How very true, my friend. You will never know how much we appreciate your faithful prayers. That is one of my favorite songs, too. I have sat at the keyboard playing it over and over, as tears streamed down my face. I never tire of the words to that song. Have you heard the story behind it and the heartache the dear author went through to write it? I just added a video that tells the story, in detail, in case you want to watch it. God bless you!

    2. Thank you Cheryl for the video about Scriven. What a lot of Faith the man had.

      I have found in my music collection a Country Music version of What a friend we have in Jesus. I'll make it into a video hopefully today and e-mail the link to you.

      God bless.

    3. Thank you so much, Victor. I was brought to tears as I watched your beautiful video and listened to that precious song. God bless you!

  2. "To achieve peace, we must be willing to let go of the things that disturb it.", Cheryl these words really stick out to me. I look forward to see how your word unfolds for you throughout the year. Praying for Kristen.

    1. Thank you so much for your sweet visit, kind words, and faithful prayers, dear friend. You are such a blessing to me!

  3. A very comforting post...I am fine without is rainy here today, I just baked 2 dz Oatmeal Peanut Butter cookies, am on my 3rd cup of coffee and my 3rd cookie...and fighting the urge to crawl back in bed and watch a movie...with a cup of coffee and a cookie, of course...

    1. Oh, it sounds like such a peaceful, serene day at your house, BJ! Did you fight the urge to crawl back into bed? Oh, my, your cookies sound SO good!! And the coffee, too. Think I'll go make a pot of decaf right away!! Wish I had some of your yummy cookies to go with it!! Sending you love and hugs, sweet friend. ;)

  4. What a lovely post and thoughtful words.. Peace can span so many area persoanlly and globally. I hope that Kristen fars well.. Loved both videos of such a lovely song and its history!

    1. Thank you ever so much, my friend. I so appreciated your comment and sweet visit. God bless you!

  5. Beautiful. Love the videos as "What a Friend We Have In Jesus" has been one of my favorites since I was a child. I have been thinking the word peace often lately too. Health circumstances have had me searching for peace a lot in the past couple of years. I have also prayed asking for the eyes to see whatever I am supposed to through all of this. Your joy in the snow is a lesson for me. All I see in it is the work it brings and the peril. We haven't been above freezing for over a month now and I am so ready for warmth and some of this snow to melt. I should look for the joy in it more I guess. :-). Praying for Kristin and her baby several times daily. Mya you all have PEACE in those circumstances.

    1. Oh, dear Betsy! I SO hated to hear that you had this fall and are in so much pain! I am praying for you, sweet friend, and I just have no words to thank you enough for your many prayers for dear Kristen. I love and appreciate you so much. God bless you and heal you speedily!

  6. What a great word for this or any year! There is no peace outside of our Savior. Finding peace without our Father and strictly from the flesh is like trying to fill a bucket without a bottom… impossible.

    Love how you came up with it, as well as the acronym, as a family. I pray you and yours a year and life of peace, sister. And still praying for Kristen.

    Uplifting post, Cheryl. Thanks for sharing from your heart. It always helps lift mine.

    1. Oh, I SO appreciated your kind words today! We are so grateful to you for your many prayers for Kristen, and we are still holding on for God to send the healing she needs. It is such a long process, in man's eyes, but we know God is not limited by man's timetable. Thank you for your encouragement, brother. You are a continual blessing to us.

  7. Peace... what a wonderful word for 2017.
    My prayer is that you and your family find peace in each and every aspect of your lives.. May you feel God's loving arms around you and the peace it brings.
    SO sorry to hear Kristen is still having so much trouble..My first thought , when I read the update ,was..."Peace" ..Dear God please bring peace to this young lady and her baby.. The peace of your presence and help take the fear away.. May she and her baby be safe and peaceful in your care.
    May God bless you and your family this week. Hugs, Judy

    1. Oh, Judy! Your words brought me to tears! You are just so kind, dear friend. Thank you for caring so deeply and praying and helping us carry this burden. I appreciate you so much! Sending you love and hugs.

  8. I love your word and the acronym to go with it! Jesus in our Prince of Peace! We were discussing peace at church the other night and how Christians should have it. What makes me sad is that it doesn't seem like all Christians truly do. I will continue to pray for Kristen.

    1. It is so easy to allow the things of this life to destroy our peace...oh, it just seems that there is so much to disrupt it, but thank God, we know where to go to have it restored! Thank you so much for your prayers, dear friend, and for your faithful support and encouragement. It truly means so much!

  9. That's a perfect word for your family Cheryl! I need it, too!
    Congratulations to Valerie. Love the way you picked the name, with prayer.
    I will continue to pray for Kristen.

    1. Thank you, sweet friend. I trust God will send peace to you this year, too. It is surely something He wants us to seek after and pursue. May He bless you, in Jesus' name. Sending you love and hugs!

  10. HI Cheryl! Congratulations to Valerie! I know she'll enjoy your give-away book.
    I LOVE your word for the year, and each letter of the word is packed with meaning. As I read those words over, I started to tear is my prayer for you and your family, and your precious Kristin too. May God lead you to his wonderful light, his peace, through from prayer to expect. I'm going to write those down, I want to remember it when I pray.
    Blessings of 2017 to you!

    1. Oh, Ceil! I read your sweet comment to Kevin and Zach through my own tears! You are such a dear support and encouragement to us on our journey. I could never thank you enough for your faithfulness and prayers. Sending you much love, sweet friend. :)

  11. What is it about snow that makes one feel so peaceful? I like your photos and the way they make me feel. I also like your word. Great verse about peace in John 16, too. I continue to pray for Kristen asking God to protect her baby and give her healing and a wonderful childbirth experience. Wishing you favor and blessings as we start a new week. Love you.

    1. I don't know what it is about snow...ours has melted now, and I miss it so much! I am hoping it comes to us again soon! Thank you SO much for your faithful prayers for Kristen and for the dear friend you are to me. Love and appreciate you so much!

  12. Oh it was just precious hearing how the Lord revealed the word "peace" to your family as your focus word for 2017! And I loved the acronym for it too, and how it fit exactly all that you, Zac and Kevin were praying for! The Lord is so amazing like that! I loved seeing your pictures of the snow, and the little snowmen you created are so cute!

    It is true that this world needs peace, but it won't be the physical peace they are seeking, but a spiritual peace that only comes from Him. And it is this peace and contentment in the hearts of the saints that will speak to, and minister to the world around us, and not the physical peace of the physical world we live in.

    I believe that your family will be used to share peace and hope with those around you this year, and that souls will be encouraged and brought to Christ because of the gospel of peace shared through you. The Lord has great things in store!

    I will continue praying for Kristen! Congratulations to Valerie, so awesome that she won!

    Hugs to you today dear friend, I appreciate your friendship so much, and keep your family always in our prayers!

    1. Yes, it is wonderful how God revealed it...and the sweet acronym He gave to dear Zach. I SO appreciate your words of encouragement and blessing for this year! Oh, I do hope your belief is right, for we surely want to share the Gospel of Christ's peace to all. He has done so much for us, and my little family and I do love Him and appreciate Him so very much and want to repay Him, though we realize we could never, ever pay Him back for all of His goodness to us! We love and appreciate you, sweet friend. It means SO much to know that you are praying for Kristen and for us, too. May God just bless you abundantly!

  13. PEACE~ you have certainly chosen a fitting word for this coming year ahead.
    Your post was so soothing and uplifting, dear Cheryl.
    My prayers continue for Kristen and her baby. I'm sorry to hear of her discomfort.
    Your snow fall looks so beautiful and peaceful. I believe God graced you with it so as to bring in the New Year and your new word peacefully.

    Have a beautiful week ♡

    1. Yes, dear friend, I believe that, too! Oh, He is so good! We do so appreciate your precious prayers for Kristen and her dear baby. You are a continual encouragement and blessing to us. Sending you love and hugs and blessings!!

  14. Peace. We all need it. It is a wonderful gift from the Lord. It is His words "Peace, be still" that He uses to quiet my anxious heart. I love how you used it as an acronym, each word has so much meaning. Visiting from Thoughtful Spot link up. May your soul be refreshed with His perfect peace as you keep your mind stayed on Him. Sweet Blessings to you.

    1. Thank you so much, Cheryl! What a sweet, kind, encouraging comment! So happy to meet you. I love Jesus' words, "Peace be still", too. How often in the storms of life He has whispered those precious words to my troubled soul! Thank you ever so much for your visit, and may the dear Lord bless you always. :)

  15. "To achieve peace, we must be willing to let go of the things that disturb it."
    So true! When you put it down in writing it seems like it should be as plain as the nose on our face, and yet why is it that we have such difficulty seeing it? Perhaps we don't truly want to see? We want peace without having to make the changes necessary. Lord help us to bow before You as Master and King and to find peace in surrender to Your Sovereignty.
    I came over to find the update on Kristen. Saying another prayer for the blood clot to dissolve and for mother and baby to be safe and everyone to be strengthened in their faith and praise by the wonders of our Almighty God.

    1. You are right...we want peace without having to make the changes necessary. Usually those changes are HARD and hurt us, and we don't want to deal with what it takes to obtain peace. Thank you SO much for your sweet visit, Ruth. You are such a dear blessing when you stop by! I cannot thank you enough for your prayers for Kristen and her baby. Oh, we do appreciate them SO much. God bless you abundantly, my friend. ;)

  16. What a good word! Shalom! ~Maryleigh

    1. And the same back to you, Maryleigh! I so appreciate you stopping by and leaving sweet words here. :) God bless you.

  17. I love your word for the year and the acronym too. It sounds like a great focus. And I'm grateful for the reminder that "true peace is not always the absence of war, but a calm inward trust in the midst of the battle."
    Look forward to seeing how God uses this word in 2017. Will continue to pray for Kristen.

    1. Thank you SO much, Lesley, for your kind words and for your continued prayers for Kristen. It means SO much to us! God bless you, my friend. :)

  18. Cheryl, I love that you pick a family word. :) And, I love your word. I pray that peace continues to find you in 2017. (Sounds like y'all have a great start already.) And, Zach did a good job on the acronym. :) Thanks for sharing. Will pray for your niece and her baby. And, Congrats to Valerie! :) -- Thanks for sharing at #ChasingCommunity today. ((Peaceful blessings))

    1. Thank you ever so much for your dear, kind words and visit, Brenda! And thank you for praying for Kristen. We just appreciate it so very much! God bless you, my friend. :)

  19. Hi Sweet Friend! I've had a very hectic week and always want to make sure I set aside uninterrupted time to read your posts because they inevitably always edify and bless me abundantly. And this post was no different.

    Oh what an example you and your sweet family set testifying to what it means to seek the Lord in all things. Your testimony of how the word "peace" came about this year was gripping. I rejoice with you in how all the words on each of your hearts came together in that one word. How fitting, for our peace is with God and all things come together in Christ Jesus.

    Thank you for encouraging us in the way of peace.

    I continue to pray for Kristen. It seems the Lord brings her to mind at specific times and it is then I stop and pray. I am praying boldly and believing that God will dissolve this clot protecting both Kristen and the baby, and wait expectantly for the God-Glorifying news that it has happened.

    Your pictures of the snow were so lovely! I could sense the peacefulness through the pictures. Thank you for sharing with us.

    Cheryl, you are such an incredible blessing to me. Sending you much love,

    1. Oh, that is just SO kind of you to say such things. I am SO thankful if what you read here edifies and blesses your soul. That makes it all worthwhile. Thank you for saying just meant the world to me tonight. You will also never know how much it means to me to know that you are continuing to pray for dear Kristen. Oh, how that comforts me to know that! YOu are such a dear blessing in my life, and I just love and appreciate you so much!