I met her in the white squares.
Later I would learn we had a few scraps of life in common: a writing community called Hope Writers, non-profit work, a book called Simply Tuesday by Emily P. Freeman from my 2015 booklist. But even before I realized those weavings, what I saw first were fine threads of small, ordinary things. We shared an eye for snapping photos of life along our paths and posting them on Instagram.
I wrote about my one word, what it was and how I found it or better how it found me. If you like observing a process behind the scenes, you can read about that on My One Word for 2017 (and a bit about how it arrived).
C a n v a s .
That is my one word for 2017.
But like any goal, resolution or one word, with all of life racing by at high speed, it would be easy to post it and forget it. I didn't want to let it slip away. I was looking for ways to keep it close.
This is why many of us don't even want to make resolutions or write down our goals. We can feel the failure for even though we wrote them down, we forgot all about them, even where we put them. Maybe this story will encourage you in that.
Last year I had written down some writing goals for myself:
- Apply to guest post on blogs
- Apply to become a contributing writer on blogs
- Accept "no" with grace and keep on writing
- Take chances to cheer on the work of others
I had actually written these goals down, pen on paper, which helped me accomplish them one way or another. (It took some grit which explains #3.)
I would keep on with those goals while adding a few more for 2017:
- Create a blog pattern for the year
- Explore ways to be collaborative and creative alongside others
- Write about my one word of the year once a month
One day the little red dot in my Instagram inbox lit up. It was "Joy in the Small Things". That is mostly how I knew her, by her Instagram handle. Her message said she loved my word and wanted to make me a burlap banner with the word "canvas" on it as a gift.
She had no idea what my response might be (remember I didn't yet know all of our criss-crossing paths). But God was already working on my goals within my own heart, so I saw the gift when the message arrived. I didn't know just how this would play out, but done right, I knew it could become a two-way street. It was an opportunity to become a creative and collaborative endeavor.
A collaborative heart is creative, vulnerable and generous. Community offers possibilities that being a lone ranger never offers.
I answered with a big fatty "Yes!", then watched the mailbox for days.
I knew I wanted to get this word in front of my eyeballs on a regular rhythm so I could be awake to how it played out in my life or how I could reach for it. This burlap banner would do that as well as craft a tender friendship, something that suggested God's fingerprints.
I told Jill I would pray for her hands while she crafted my banner. She said she would pray for me while she created. Beauty.
Then this arrived.
I opened it to find this sweet banner which will find its way into what I call my writing room, but first I ran out into the snow (another canvas!) to snap this photo.
But wait, remember my new writing goals?
b e c o l l a b o r a t i v e & c r e a t i v e.
That one was being accomplished even before I had time to reach for it.
Can I tell you a secret?
I have often seen that I accomplish my to-do list just for writing it down. Somehow I see it in my mind's eye as it was written and seem to get to it. It appeared as though just the act of writing down my goal, brought it to bear. Or was I just awake to the opportunity?
To celebrate writing down your goals, taking risks and making new friends, together Jill and I want to give you a gift.
I immediately knew I wanted to share this shiny new friendship and celebrate Jill's creative and generous heart to me. So here is what we want to give you, yes you! (insert your name here)
I will purchase a banner for the first reader to comment below (click on "show comments" at the end of the blog), then share this post far and wide. (easy share buttons over on the left hand side of this post).
For everyone else, you are still special to me and I want you in on all the fun. Jill has offered a coupon code for 15% off your order over at her Etsy shop Joy in the Small Things. The coupon code is TERRI15. Cute, right?
The coupon code is good for any 3-7 letter word banner you order from Jill until March 31st. This gift is for you to use as many times as you please! Order for yourself, a friend or both.
Now you can get your word in front of your eyes. Write it, stitch it, paint it, embroidery it or engrave it. Whatever you do, keep your eyes and heart open, warm and teachable. Ask God what He is up to in your life. He is up to good and glory, you know. One thing our Jesus showed us is that God's purposes come through our humanity. We can resist or surrender to God, but we cannot stop His good works.
If your word hasn't found you, there is still time. It has taken me a while, but I can finally see that God is never in a hurry and waiting on Him is never wasted time.
On the other hand, if a word has surfaced like a bubble without popping and you just haven't said it out loud, do it now. If you are unsure about it, just start by saying the word that comes to mind. Hold out your open hand and let that iridescent bubble rest in your palm. Let the sun shine through it edged in rainbows. Sitting open-hearted offers clear windows into your relationship with the God who loves you and calls you by name.
This is personal, not business. Like all of God's dealings with each of us, the journey of a year with a word will include your personality, your story, your place, your heart, and done deeply, your soul. God sees individuals whether they see Him or not and that always includes your name.
To see just how personal God intends to be with you, take a moment after reading this to read Exodus 33:17, Isaiah 45:4b, Psalm 147:4 and John 10:3. Remember this when you tire of the long list of begats or impossible-to-pronounce names in Scripture. God calls us each by name, whether it is Amy or Artaxerxes.
I encourage you to take a risk by including on your one word journey first God as your friend, and then a friend-in-His-likeness. Your friend might be a familiar friend or a brand new one, a face-to-face friend or one in the white squares.
I have high hopes that Jill and I will meet in person one day. We will look back on this time when we met over a single word - canvas - and talk about how big, essential, intimate and surprising our God is.
I give you the 3 ways I found of keeping your one word of the year close and working for you:
2.Get it in front of you
3.Include God and a friend
I leave you with a coupon code and a prayer.
Is that sacreligious? I don't think so. Our God is a creative God and putting His words before our eyes helps us keep our faith, love and commitment to Him in the forefront of life. It is a biblical idea.
My prayer for you:
I pray you listen well to your life and to God. Let your life be a canvas for God's imprint. He has good plans for you always, even when the way is hard, sad or lonely. May you have the courage to lean on your friends, family and your dear Savior. Take a chance to make a brand new friend or love an established one more deeply. Include a moment of intent today to cheer on another heart by name. Mighty God does this for you.
Hallelujah and Amen.
Write out this prayer in your own hand inserting your name in place of "you" and her/him in place of "your".
Read it out loud.
Tack it up where you can visit anytime you want.
*This post contains affiliate links, happily promoting the creative work of all writers and artists within.