02 Jan 2014

The one thing I want to do differently this year

Of course there are one hundred things I’d like to do differently.

But there’s this one that keeps coming back like a nagging, desperate voice that I can’t tune out anymore.

The kids are still getting up at 6 in the morning with jet lag and there’s frost outside and a flock of black birds resting on the roof of the red storage shed in the back yard.


The neighbor kids have pretty much moved into our kid zone (the fancy word my boys call our basement) downstairs when they aren’t all outside playing epic reenactments of Lego Star Wars or passionate soccer matches.

It feels good to be home.

I’ve worn pajamas for two days straight.

But on the second day of the New Year I wake up and I have Ann and Beth’s “No-Fear New Year” messages ringing in my ears.

Because I’m afraid.

This year stretches with wide arms before me and I’m the mom who writes about motherhood and still can’t ever seem to figure out how to consistently keep hold of her frayed temper.

I am filled with anticipation at the projects I want to tell you about and I know what it feels like to lay down like a bridge and invite people to walk across into your story and your country. But I also know how it can hurt.

There are three weeks worth of school homework Jackson’s teacher sent on vacation with us and they’re still in a folder in his back pack. Sure, we looked at them and did a page or two. But then we headed out to the lion park and homework can wait. But it can’t wait forever and I know it will knock me down this year. Why is it that while I breathe words my son will break down and weep at merely having to write out his reading list.

And there will be days the baby sitter is sick and I still have deadlines to meet for work and kids who can’t be ignored and I want to wring my hands and will myself brave because you’re not supposed to hide from opportunity.

I am looking for a guidebook into brave.

I love books. My house is lined with shelves of them.


And they are old friends I travel with and re-read and fold down favorite pages and underline words I want to remember. I can recite almost any plot without fumble or forgetfulness. I remember.

But there’s this one book in my house I have to make myself read.

I am not an early riser and come late nights I like to watch a movie or write a blog post or scratch out lines in a book.

But consistently breaking open the one book that promises to guide you, that promises to speak to you “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

That book, I have not always made time for.

But I want a No-Fear New Year.

I want it so badly and I want to call Ann up and ask her how to get it – to ask her if maybe she would mentor me into courage.

But I don’t need to call her, I can just Google her words and there it all is – because she kept track of what keeping track of the Word did to her year. This year. And last year. And I want that.

I want this:

Ann Voskamp_Sermon on the Mount

Every line this year, in every airport, in every fear? The words of Jesus’ there on Sermon on the Mount…. Our camping weekend in the woods? “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry…” When the kids bickered? “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.… He was there. Always there.”

Am I making any sense here? My eyes are brimming but I find his.

When I didn’t know which way to turn — turning those pages turned me. The whole year — I learned by heart the heart of God — and He calmed my fearful heart.”

Ann memorized all of the Sermon on the Mount.

Who does that?

I knew she was doing it. Why didn’t I do it? I don’t know. I was reading and writing and following my own callings. I was washing dishes and traveling and trying to figure out how to like my kids more than I love them.

I was reading Scripture I just wasn’t always remembering it. Like in my bones remembering and living and breathing it.

I guess I always thought that just wasn’t really my thing.

But on the second day of the New Year 2014 I want a No-Fear start.

And as I climb into the shower I have Ann and Liz on YouTube reciting the first chapter of Romans. I can’t stop listening. The hot water washes away some of the ache of the jet lag and their voices, the ancient, relevant words they’re reciting start to wash away some of the fear.

Click here to listen to them – doesn’t it dig deep into your bones how excited they are about something Paul wrote all those years ago?

This year I want to read courage into my bones.

I don’t want to read the Bible because it’s a chore or a to-do or because I feel guilty if I don’t.

I want to inhale it so that I can breathe better.

I want oxygen for tired legs and a weak will. I want to learn to listen to what God has to say to me through his Book. This love letter He wrote a tired mom in Northern Virginia.

Because while it wasn’t addressed to me I know it was meant for me.

And you. And our wild kids and upside down Mondays and scary new years.

So whatever passage Ann and friends choose to memorize this year, I’m so in. I’m just so in.

I’m in to learn and memorize and make time so that I can be in time with the right words when the wrong moments whips me by.

I think I can do this.

How about you? Did you memorize last year? What verses have you learned by heart to calm your shaky heart?

Teach me, because I want to learn to be that kind of brave too.

One verse at a time.


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    This is one of my very favorite verses of scripture that has helped me so many times:

    Doctrine & Covenants 123:17 ~ “Therefore, dearly beloved brethren (or sisters), let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.”

  2. 2

    Lisa-Jo, I think you just inspired me. And that homework in the backpack you don’t want to mention to your son? I have the same scenario at my house. I’m dreading bringing it up today.

  3. 3

    I love your vulnerability and honesty, Lisa-Jo … I’m also beginning this new year a little tired, a little afraid.
    Praying God’s words breathe life into every one of the next 365 … for both of us.

  4. 4

    I am so with you, Lisa-Jo. No fear in the new year! I am excited to see what’s ahead for you, and how God is going to continue to strengthen you — right through His Word. It never returns void.

    So, this year, our whole family is using the Fighter Verses App. You learn one verse (or short passage) per week. The app helps families learn in whatever way comes easiest — by hearing, by singing, by reading, by using the first-letter technique, by filling in the blanks. Best $3 we could spend! Additionally, you can click over to read the verse in the context of the whole chapter, while also accessing the Bible commentary. Great resource! And? Our verse of the week is written on our Dayspring chalkboard. :)

    Guess what the first two words are for the verse memory this week? “FEAR NOT, For I am with you!” I’d say that’s rather fitting, yes?

    Happy New Year, friend!

  5. 6

    I am in too! Meant to be in last year, but it didn’t happen. This year I need a no fear year too!

  6. 7

    I made it almost through the whole first chapter of Romans last year. Then fizzled. Like so many of my fresh starts. My fear is this: I’ve got so many fresh starts planned for this year they’ll fizzle before the snow melts. Which is why I’ve just got to make this year one of just being present with Him and His words–and let the rest of the year melt where it may. Breathing with you, my friend. And sending love.

    • 8

      Wow I wouldn’t call memorizing a whole chapter of Scripture a fizzle, friend. No way! That’s more than I’ve ever done!

  7. 9

    In my weakness He is strong.
    Not sure where this is in the Bible, more proof I need to become more diligent, and yes I NEED Him more than ever.
    Don’t beat yourself up for not accomplishing all you have set out to do.
    He might have bent your path for His glory and to make you who you are supposed to become, but this is a great start. Thanks for the encouragement.

  8. 10

    I am asking The Lord to bring me a special verse each week so that I’ll have 52 new verses memorized at the end of the year. Also working with my kids on verses using the beautiful memory cards that Melissa Beavers makes. You can find her shop on etsy…called The Lovely Words I think.

    I tried this last year and failed. Must find accountability!!!

    • 11

      What a great idea – love that recording 52 verses He shares with you. I mean, even if you only recorded 15 that would be something so special to have.

  9. 12

    I can’t remember the last time I intentionally memorized chapters of the Bible. I may consider taking this on this year as well. Thank you for these words and this challenge.

  10. 13

    My word is brave.
    For all the same reasons you’ve mentioned.
    Love your heart, lady.
    Oh, and the memorizing with Ann, I’m so in, too.

  11. 14
    Mary Salentine says:

    Favorite Chapter: Psalm 27. It’s loaded. I chew on this one slowly, and regularly. Here some bites:

    (New Living Translation)

    “The ONE THING I ask of the Lord, the thing I seek most—
    is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
    delighting in the Lord’s perfections
    and meditating in his Temple…”
    “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’
    And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming…'”
    “Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

  12. 17

    I needed this today

  13. 18

    Lisa, you have inspired me and moved me to tears this past year more times than I can count. May God bless you and your family greatly this new year!

  14. 19
    Alexandra Kuykendall says:

    Yes for all of it. The fear, the new desire for Words that matter and hold truth until the end of time. There are so many words these days to sift through, I want THE REAL ONES! You have confirmed the stirring in my heart. Excited and in some ways terrified for what 2014 holds!

  15. 21

    Thank you for this post! It speaks to my heart. How God is able to so many times totally changed my outlook, and perspective and so comforted and encouraged my heart through his word.

    I did something this year that really helped me and I want to share in case it may help someone else too. I tried to type just one verse a couple times a week as an email to send to some of my friends. Just a verse alone with no comments so it is quick and simple and just lets God’s voice be heard. It helped me so much just to sit and type that one verse or to look it up on the many fine websites that offer multiple translations of a passage in different versions such as Bible Gateway. This really helped me so much because it was a simple way to reflect and pray over just that one simple thought and then to share it with others as well. If it encourages me, why not bless someone else as well?
    It also really helped me to feel more connected with others as I am home by myself most of my days and not really able to sit and talk on the phone much or get together for coffee or things like that.
    In fact, if this is of interest to anyone out there, I would be happy to include you in these emails., too! Love to you all! Susan
    “Your words were found and I ate them,
    And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;” Jeremiah 15:16 NASB

    • 22

      I had that verse – about eating God’s word – in my mind when I wrote this post but I couldn’t remember the verse. So thank you for this!

      • 23

        I just learned that if you can remember even a part of verse and then google it, the verse will come up on a search with the passage and the reference. It is so great when I am like, isn’t there a verse that says something like…. somewhere???? :) Thank you for taking the time to respond to comments. Bless you,

  16. 24

    I totally loved this post. Like you, I love to read books with a passion. Like you, I struggle at keeping my temper in check. I do feel weak because I don’t have scripture in my heart like I should. I have some pretty amazing Bibles that I do totally enjoy reading when I actually pick them up.
    So, I’m going to join you on this journey and get armed and protected with God’s word in my soul even more so than before. I believe in him and I know he lives within me. However, I don’t let him shine through me like he should.
    Great post! I look forward to reading more.

  17. 26

    This post? Yes, my heart feels the same. Thanks for being brave and sharing your words, Lisa-Jo. They have encouraged me today.

  18. 27

    “Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”–Joshua 1:9

    • 28

      Just wrote that down in my quote book – thank you :)

      • 29
        Valorie M. says:

        Yes! My favorite instance of God telling man to not fear is in Judges 6.14 where He says to Gideon, “Go in the strength you have…am I not sending you?”
        It reminds me that even in my desire to know Him more I don’t want to get caught up in perfectionism, but sometimes I need to JUST DO IT!)
        But I love the heart behind what you’re doing and encouraging us. Indeed, in getting more of His Word into us, our own words.. attitudes.. actions.. will be affected to the benefit of those we love.
        One that has always been so powerful for me is finding music that brings the Word into daily life with a humble heart of love for God. If it were possible to narrow down, my favorites are Bethel (Brian/ Jenn Johnson and Steffany Frizzell.. “Nothing is hidden from your sight; You know every detail of my life and You don’t miss a thing… You Know Me”
        And the ones whose words and art God has used in teaching me his heart, through all the tragic and traumatic experiences of life, Paul Baloche It’s only by Your Blood and it’s only through you mercy, Lord I come, I bring an offering of worship to my King; No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing. Jesus may You receive the honor that You’re due..” and Matt Redman “If my food is to do your will, then I’m hungry, still hungry!’
        For me when I really dig into a worship song and find the verses that go with that Truth , there is such life to be found!)

  19. 30

    Ah, yes. I find myself in (sort of) the same boat, wanting to soak in the beauty and truth of the Word on a deeper, more meaningful level. I wrote yesterday in my intro to 2014 post about a passage in Malachi in which the Lord invites us to test Him by giving our whole selves. The verse says He will “open the floodgates and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough to store it (3:10.)” Praying that these blessings become even more evident to you as you begin your journey through 2014, Lisa-Jo.

  20. 32

    I love this post! Memorizing Scripture has changed my life! It–more than anything–helped me deal with my volcanic anger–it was a process that took time, apologies & confession, tears, and perseverance. I wrote about it in the fall.

    I write the verses I’m memorizing in a spiral book of index cards so I can carry them anywhere. I have memorized whole chapters and books before, but last year and this year, I’m choosing verses that apply specifically to what I’m experiencing. My first few choices are: Zephaniah 3:17 (because it’s still hard for me to deeply imagine that He delights in me and that He rejoices over me with singing) and Ephesians 3: 16-19 (because I want to truly grasp His love and be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. One thing I came away from Allume with is that I need all my crevices to be filled with Him. There is no freedom without His filling.

    Deb Weaver

  21. 34

    I try to do a bit each year, and I did the Sermon on the Mount last year as well, but I didn’t aim to be able to recite it all in one sitting (fear?)… I just wanted to be able to understand and internalise the precepts enough to be able to work on practical application in my daily life. That last part is still a struggle, but there is hope in the struggle because it means my conscience is still alive and kicking. God is faithful… He will finish the work. Yes, He will. :-)

    I will be working on memorising (for real, this time) the book of Philippians this year…. It works out to 2 verses a week, and my soon-to-be-8-year-old son wants to come along for the ride, so we’ll see…

  22. 35

    This is something that our church has started doing together – one verse a month – thousands of us reciting (and goofing it up) together. It’s also something that my 5yo-in-3-days does through AWANAs on Sunday nights. I don’t know if I will join in with this passage specifically, but it is the only way to truly hide the Word in your heart (so that I might not sin against God). :)

  23. 36


    Tears this morning reading your blog post. I am exactly right. here. For the last 2 years I have printed off Ann’s memory verse printouts and made a little booklet and everything. And didn’t make it very far. Inspired to try again without the ever-present fear of failure. Thanks so much for sharing your heart this morning.

    • 37

      I’m thinking there’s no way to fail really. Because whatever you memorize is more than what you started with. One verse is one more than we had yesterday. :)

      • 38

        TWO verses! The first two verses down. Whoohoo! The small versions are laminated on a ring on my desk, the larger versions glued into a journal to record thoughts and what I am learning. Thank you so much for your encouragement!

  24. 39

    Thank you for inspiring me today! The book I don’t read enough is the Bible, but I pray continually. These prayers have kept me sane through hardhips and pain for my adult children and health issues, in addition to taking care my 93 year old mom who lives with us. The busyness of small and little unimportant things. Too much chatting online. All, this past year or so. I need to get back to stillness and peace, to reflection and creativity. I did it in the past and by God’s Grace I will do it again. Yet, I know that God meets me where ever I am, and maybe right now I am there. If my book was arlready printed, I would send it to you. I was at the best place when writing it. I often go to my ms to read and remember that wonderful state and lightness of being I had experienced then, being present and aware of the moment, in a journey of growth throughout the moments, days and seasons of a year and my life. Next week I will get it back from the editor and submit for printing.

    I love all the great comments everyone shared! Just remember you are a young mother. God wanted you to be there and He understands it is not easy. Just try to create small moments for yourself, times when no one is allowed to interrupt, unless there is an emergency. Those moments should be to refil the batteries with silence and stilleness. Waking up a couple of hours before others, will allow your sacred creativity to flow into words, as your spirit returns form its nucturnal wanderings, charged and inspired by the Universe.

    Remember that right now you are more a mother than anything else, and God’s hands molding little souls. What a privilage that is! If you ever need to just vent, email me at Katiakantzia@msn.com I have big ears and do not judge! But I can send you many virtual hugs. xxxxxxx :)

    Blessings from Above, sweet girl, for a wonderful and amazing year!

  25. 40

    I tried twice to do it with Ann and failed both times and I think it’s because we live on an academic calendar, so starting mid year didn’t work.
    What did work the best was the year my daughter was in sixth grade and her Bible curriculum had us memorize James, her reading through Kay Arthur’s Boy Have I Got Problems for a chapter and then pausing to memorize and along about November I wondered if there were a sermon series out there I could listen to and then you all were talking about Beth Moore’s new James study! God provides!! It’s eighth grade we’re in now, and Ravinia still wakes up and exercises to Bible verses on recorder: James and Titus, and this year studying John she’s not needing a word for word memory but as she listens she knows what is in each chapter (she’s analytical that way). Can I just say she is way ahead of me?
    Of course, if Ann and company pick James I’d love the refresher! Otherwise, trucking along in John with a loving nod your way.

  26. 41

    I managed to get Romans 1 and 8 committed to memory, despite a horrid lag during the summer. I’m hoping to cram in Romans 12 before the end of January, when I get to go to Haiti, and then plan to pick up with Ann et al on the new thing after that, and just play a bit of catch-up. Sometimes it comes easily, sometimes it’s hard work, but once it gets in my brain, it’s in there, and I pray that it will get to my heart from there.

  27. 42

    Memorize? Ugh. Every year I commit and every year I fail. But, maybe this will be the year? I’m in.

  28. 43

    I loved your post today. It mirrored the direction of my heart. My blog theme is taking down the umbrella. For me the umbrella is something I put up when I am full of fear. I put it up to protect me and it actually creates a barrier between me and Him. So I am challenging myself to take down the umbrella so that I can walk with Him in complete surrender and trust. For the last year I have avoided doing the things God wants me to do out of fear. This year I am taking the little seed of faith He has given me and going for it. I am letting the book of James wash over me and challenge me this year. He and His words are all we need. Isn’t cool to know that we aren’t the only ones that need courage. Love the blogging world! Have a wonderful day!

  29. 44

    Even thinking about not having fear produces fear in me! Do I ever need to commit to this No-Fear New Year. I observe all these lovely ladies doing what I so badly want to do and I freeze in fear.Jesus enter in, over-take the fear.

  30. 45

    I’ve memorized many passages from younger years but since becoming a mother? Not so much. You’re right though, as I read her post, I need to memorize! I’m actually going to memorize Matthew 5 for this year. 48 verses…one a week seems do-able. And that passage is specifically wonderfully relevant to many situations in my life. Thank you for sharing…

  31. 46

    Oh my this hit my heart and soul. Thanks for sharing!

  32. 47

    I did Beth Moore’s study on the book of James a couple years ago and memorized the book of James. It was INCREDIBLE. It comes to mind ALL the time and I plan to get back on the memorization bandwagon and memorize something else this year, but I started with my favorite book so now I don’t know what to do next!

  33. 48
    Barb Lorenc says:

    I love your blog and this idea. I actually found a great little gadget to help me memorize (that’s the hardest thing for me – memorizing :)) it’s the cutest thing called keywi cards. they put bible verses on little key chains and you carry it with you. Their website is keywicards.com. xoxo

  34. 49

    “I want to inhale it so that I can breathe better.” perfect

  35. 50
    Cara Crippen says:

    My goal for 2013 was to use Ann’s print outs to memorize the book of Colossians. At first it was daunting, but as the weeks went by, and the words started to flow on their own without much thought, it encouraged me to keep going. And I’m so glad I did, because scripture memorization is a discipline that really does change your heart. I must admit though, that while I was all on track to memorize it all by the end of 2013, I had a tough first trimester of nausea and fatigue that put me on the sidelines for several weeks…so I’ve given myself some grace and am plugging through the remaining 4 weeks of memorization as one of my 2014 Goals to finish what was begun last year. Good luck with whatever you choose to memorize. God’s Word is empowering. The key for me, was doing a little each day, carrying around a Moleskine notebook I glued the pages to, and reciting it ALOUD. I still struggle to recite it silently in my head….for some reason, it works better aloud. Also, a book I found really helpful was ‘100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart’ by Robert J. Morgan.

  36. 51

    Oh, yes. I hear you so loud and clear here. We need those verses in our hearts. I remember hearing that all that heart really knows, is what the heart knows by heart. I’m so desperate to rise before my kids each day and be fresh and ready to greet them when their day begins. I’ve even considered blogging for 30 days about mornings and why it’s so important to get up before our kids and greet them all nice and fresh- not tired, worn down and searching for coffee.

  37. 52

    I read through the entire bible in 2013. However, I was not consistent to read it every day and night. Usually, I had to play catch up. I remember Gloria Copeland teaching about “Being Consistent”. Consistency, she stated, is the key to success on anything. This year, I am reading from the Message Bible, and truly need accountability to be consistent on a daily basis.

  38. 53

    I want what you want. And I want to keep wanting it. I start off each year with enthusiasm and vigor to get into THE WORD more and inhale it deeply as you put it. And then it wanes…and I give up and beat myself up all over again. But, today I’m game and I want a No-Fear Year, too!! Thanks for writing this post today.

  39. 54

    Romans Project — what a blessing this has been! I made it to the last few verses this week. Here’s where I do my reciting the best — the car! Now, I’m over 65 and don’t have a carful of kids with me, so it may not work for you. But when I have a drive across town it’s just the best way to totally concentrate on the words. At home I find I’m easily distracted even when folding clothes or other repetitive tasks.
    The main thing is to find your best time and make it a habit. The hardest part for me is to remember what comes next. Memorizing the verse is easy, remembering which verse comes next is harder. I also need to say it out loud.
    Be brave! You can do it! The Word just stays in your heart.

  40. 55
    Valorie M. says:

    Aw, glancing through the comments I just want to reach out and hug everyone who feels they’ve failed! I get having goals, but can I just remind even one of us that it’s about learning to hear his voice and lean on his strength, not our own… whether it’s memorization or temper (amen!!! to that one by the way!) or nourishing and exercising our bodies in a healthy way. Leaning into his face and breathing out the grace found there, and then turning and allowing that love and acceptance to shine through to those near us. And yes, memorizing is good!! Just maybe let’s not throw away our confidence based on perceived failures, if I may offer… not that I’m saying you’re saying that! :)) My favorite bird’s.eye.view of faith/grace/works is Hebrews 19-39. We enter his presence by grace through his Blood, yet we’re to motivate each other and spur each other on to acts of love and good works … for if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the Truth…etc;) Blessings to you Lisa-Jo in this beautiful work God has put before you. Love and Prayers as you keep on keeping on, and “spurring us on!!!”

  41. 57

    Oh my. I fear my comment (oops, no pun) will go on and on, but my goodness did God want me to stop and read this tonight.
    I had such glorious plans for Jan 2. But earlier today I was up in my boys’ room, crying, praying, and saying out loud, “I am so scared. I am just so SCARED.” I have so many many fears, and i picked a word for myself this year: Courage. Courage to Obey.
    So earlier, my friend and I were talking about trying to find a book to help me… and i said, “you know, maybe I just need to read the Bible. More. A lot! Like a lot more!” I have decided to work on our church’s last year monthly series called “Remember by December.” It was a verse a month, but each verse was paired with a lovely description about Jesus. Who He is and who I am as His daughter. Anyhow, sorry this is so long, but thank you so much for this. I want a No Fear Year too. I think I can only do so if I really learn how to stand on scripture, not haphazardly, not roughly paraphrased, not wistfully mangled into the “dana version” but our living Word. Amen!

  42. 59

    Lisa-Jo: There are two verses – and at this moment I hesitate to quote them because although always my favorite…. I stumble through their recitation. Micah 6:9 “To love God, walk humbly and to do justice” . The “to do justice” – is how the domestic violence shelter in our community was named “Micah’s Place”. I am a lover of justice and struggle when the world is not black and white, good or bad… but that’s the humbleness… learning. My other verse is Jeremiah 22:9? — “I know the plans I have for you”. I always get it mixed up but I never for get justice and plans. He is the ultimate planner and the ultimate place to see justice. He loves me and I know that but goodness I ask “why?” So my one word this year is Grace… why Grace, where Grace, How Grace, When Grace….— seeking the answers to these questions. bless you and I promise to be in prayer with you over finding the beauty and comfort of the Word, His words… amen.

  43. 60

    Lisa-Jo – I love your heart. I really thought it would be impossible for this 67 year old brain to memorize scripture when it has a hard time remembering which day of the week it is! However, I this past year I memorized Romans 1 and am almost finished with Romans 8. I have found if I take my index cards with me as I walk, it is so much easier to commit the verses to memory. I’m not sure what it is, but walking helps me. So….all that to say, if I can do it so can you. And it does make such a difference – that Word, written on your heart. I’m with you and cheering for you and sending you lots of love.

  44. 61

    Beautifully written. Thank you.

  45. 62

    Lisa-Jo YOU are such a gift! Thank you for being brave. I can’t wait to see how your story continues to unfold.



  46. 63

    I’m really good at starting things but not completing them, so I’ve never thought I “could” stick with something that big…to memorize CHAPTERS of the Bible?
    But what if I can? You are challenging me in every good way and now I’m thinking maybe, just maybe this is possible. I’m thinking God is working and He just might bring to light the portion of the Bible that He has waiting for me this year. Wow. Thank you.

  47. 64


    Your writing and your faith are taking a turn for beauty…more life is growing, can you feel it? I pray God blesses your every thought and every effort and makes it all work toward the good he is continuing here. This post really, really blessed me…esp. your link about an “ordinary” love. Thanks to your husband too for inspiring the vision for what it means to love a woman and a family. May he always be running for your heart!

    with faith, Rachel from Redeeming Her

  48. 65

    Um… my kids are still on 4am wake up calls thanks to jet lag, my oldest has a weeks worth of homework we’ve barely touched and I don’t know when the last time was I opened my Book. I tried to do Beth’s Siesta Scripture Memory thing a couple years back and I think I got through February. I have a good foundation from Awana when I was a kid, but I think I need more. More courage to do the right thing. To forgive my spouse when he hurts me, again. To not yell at my kids when they want me and I’d rather be doing something, anything, for myself.
    My “word” for this year is Mindful. I never have done the word thing, to be honest I thought it was kind of dumb, but it just HIT me 2 nights ago. But I’m afraid if I can ever find the time to actually write about it, of what those closest to me will say. My mother and my husband. They can be the most critical and so I’m afraid to write it out and put it out there hoping that they will see me being vulnerable and be kind this time rather than “I told you so’s”.

    Happy New Year! Yours is the blog that I read most consistently. Thank you.

  49. 66

    I’m in. I am SO in. I want to breathe better too! My boys are 17 & 20. I am tormented by the enemy of my parenting failures. They’re great sons! They love me; they’re intelligent; in college & college bound. But they’ve lost their first love. So the deceiver would like to remind me of every parenting mistake I’ve ever made (over the past 20 years!)
    I Need to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. My mistakes do NOT cancel out the Cross!
    So, I’m in; out of a desperate desire to renew my mind. I started my ‘ read the Bible in a year ‘ plan yesterday. So far I’m on track. :-D Life is easier when we do it together, don’t you think?

  50. 67

    This is SO good…and me too! I’m tired of fear. Fear is stupid and wins more times than I would like to know or keep up with. I’m jumping in with you sister…lets live it OUT LOUD and trust Him to hold us up every step of the way. We won’t drown, right? ;)


  51. 68

    I thought I was the only one afraid to admit that I was not committing to heart the words that guide my life. I thought my inability to commit to heart those words was because my brain had been through two brain cell killing pregnancies and all my focus was on my little ones. I thought I was afraid that I would spend too much time reading and memorizing and missing the point of His words. I see that I am not alone. Thank you for your words. ~Nancy

  52. 69

    Oh Lisa-Jo…love this, and your heart behind it. I think God honors the desire of our hearts, and is thrilled when we long to commune with Him in any way we can. He sees, and He knows.

    I can relate to the feelings of failure by many in this thread, as my beginning tries as scripture memory were limps to say the least. But I can honestly say, after 4 years of trying, and multiple fizzles, this year has been so rich in Romans. I tried the Sermon on the Mount, but dropped out halfway through Chapter 6. What made the difference for me? Community and not being alone.

    This last year I was in a group of 5 women for #theromansproject. We learned two verses every single week. My kids would test me in the car, and I carried Ann’s printed cards, that I had glued in a mini-moleskine, everywhere. Every Friday, we recorded our voice on our phones, reciting our memory work, and we sent it to each other.

    It was so moving to listen to their voices say scripture to me, and helped me stay motivated during the week, knowing they’d be expecting to hear me on Friday. At the end of each chapter, we met in person for dinner and a girls night out. I can’t tell you how awesome it’s been, and accountability and community made all the difference for me.

    And I continue to be amazed, how God uses the two verses I’m learning each week to speak to my heart, and the hiding of His Word has changed me so. And you are so right, there is no failure, because even one verse hidden is more than our hearts knew before.

    So sorry I wrote a novel here! I’m so thankful for you, and so glad to call you my sister-in-Christ, and friend. Looking forward to our #NoFearNewYear together!! With so much love…xoxo

  53. 70
    Elizabeth Kotulski says:

    I was just catching up on some blog reading tonight. I was actually looking for Ann’s new memory plan for this year. I was tempted to do it last year, but chickened out. I decided I am going to try it this year. Then I click over to your blog and see that you are thinking the same thing. Thanks for sharing.

  54. 71

    I highly recommend memorizing Hebrews 11. Eleven:what, you ask? The whole stinkin’ chapter. The Hall of Faith. And this is not coming from a master memorizer. I have a hard time memorizing anything. In one college class I had the professor provided the notes for us…we didn’t even have to write anything down. All we had to do was memorize them. I couldn’t do it and the fact that he gave points for having our names on our paper was the only thing that saved my grade. I still have a hard time memorizing things but my daughter used to challenge me to memorize verses. She wins every single game we ever play so I was motivated to try to beat her at something! She’d give me a verse each week and we’d test each other at the end of the week. Then one day she suggested Hebrews 11. And I asked, “Hebrews 11:what?” When she told me she meant the whole chapter I thought she was crazy….then I was intrigued. So, one verse at a time, over & over & over & over again I learned them. I’d read them, then write them out again & again. My daughter reminded me to not just memorize them but to take in what they were saying. (She’s the wise one in the family) And I did it! I don’t still have it all memorized to this day, but I learned so much in the process. The Hall of Faith introduces you to so many people from the bible who did things “by faith” — and where there is faith, there is no fear.


  1. […] you something, He shows up and puts it all over so you cannot even try to argue?  Yeah, so I read Lisa Jo‘s blog and she’s all telling how she needs to be in the Word more and really memorize […]

  2. […] want a No-Fear New Year- I stand with my sisters Ann and Lisa-Jo and Beth as we beat our drum. I think this is a year that chains will collectively fall and God […]

  3. […] * Confession: This is my five minutes from January last year. The first time I’ve ever re-used a five minute post. But dang, it preached to me and I needed to hear it again. It surprised me and challenged me and maybe you need to hear it again too? Let’s fight hard to the finish. No Fear New Year. […]

  4. […] This post, by Lisa-Jo Baker. “I want oxygen for tired legs and a weak will. I want to learn to listen to what God has to say to me through his Book.” […]

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