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.