What God was teaching me in 2013

Because we can never predict what a year will bring, neither can we predict what God will teach us.

In 2013, the Lord often used the needs of other people to remind me of my need for him. To push me into light when I was scared of the dark. To see how love can bridge differences. And to remember people trump rules.

He led me to listen when I didn’t have words, but to speak up when words mattered. To notice those doing hard things, and to ease up on those who are trying.

To worship him more fully. To offer his hope to the hurting, knowing his presence makes the difference. To be kinder than I want to be. And to know he’s the power behind it all.

But through no fault of the Teacher, I need another year of training, please. . . .

January 2013


  • I’m still scared of the dark
    It was still light when I volunteered to take R home. But before I dropped her off in the projects, it began getting dark. And scary things happen in the dark . . .

February 2013


  • Love at Table # 12
    The first bus rolled in. Six of the men of various sizes, outfits, and personalities quietly took a seat around Table # 12. Men accustomed to standing in a food line. Or gathering scraps to throw together. Or grilling over a campsite fire. But not today . . .

March 2013


  • When you can’t keep the rules
    I’m a rule-follower from way back. But this fellow rule-keeper was beginning to annoy me. Didn’t Jesus choose people over the Sabbath? Relationship over rules? . . .

April 2013


  • When you don’t know what to say
    I try to chit-chat, like I have conversations every day with people who live under bridges and sleep in tents. Except I don’t. I don’t know what to say, so I don’t say much. And this is what I hear . . .

May 2013

Return to Sender

  • Write back
    It felt risky. I wasn’t sure I should say it. Would it change things, make things weird? I wordsmithed cautiously, copied to Gmail, and hit send. Then waited. For something. Anything. Please? . . .

June 2013


  • Hey, you, overweight runner
    I have no idea who you are. But you’re my hero today. Because when one of us sees another of us doing a hard thing, the rest of us are encouraged to do a hard thing, too . . .

July 2013


  • When we eat our own
    You know you’re right on this one. So when someone comes along believing the opposite, you know they’re wrong. They couldn’t have studied as much or prayed as much or care about truth as much as you. Really? Please. Listen . . .

August 2013


  • Let the body worship
    I looked over the audience and could tell God was in the house. And when God is in the house, how can a body contain him? So you let the body worship. That’s what he designed it to do . . .

September 2013


  • Honor the wounded
    One by one, they came down the center aisle. Some had no legs; some brought in dogs. But others looked strong. On the outside. Yet you knew they carried deep wounds on the inside. How could we help in healing the wounded? . . .

October 2013


  • Look pain in the eye
    It was time to confront her. I suspected it would be one of the hardest–and weirdest–conversations I would ever have. And it was. Knocking on the door of pain is never easy . . .

November 2013


  • Be nicer than necessary
    Then she gave us one more thing before going back inside. Her words linger with me still. Most of us have room to be a little nicer to everyone we meet . . .

December 2013


  • The needs of 3 women
    I grab a sleeping bag from the clothing room and toss a throw pillow into a bag. But I know she needs more. Her eyes give it away . . .

* * *

What’s something the Lord was teaching you in 2013?

What would you like to learn in 2014?

17 thoughts on “What God was teaching me in 2013

  1. Linda@Creekside

    I’m with you on this Lisa. I need many more years of training, correction, guidance, wisdom etc etc etc. He sure isn’t done with me yet … and thankfully, He is SO patient as I keep on muddling ahead!


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, Linda, it is only by his patience that we are still here. Any of us. ha. It’s a good thing I’m not God because I would have gotten frustrated with people from the get-go and not left a single one. Thankfully he is a gazillion, trillion times more loving than I am.

  2. Lynn Severance

    Lisa – one year can seemingly go by quickly. Then, as you have done here, a reflection on the year brings forth a number of important remembrances. If we dig deep enough, we find where God has both challenged us and shown His faithfulness. As you know, my year has been consumed with seeing God work His ways in my brother’s life, delivering him from such severe heath crises.

    It called upon me to trust more deeply than ever before – first letting go of him when we were told he’d die and then rejoicing as God ordained differently. I worried even while praying my way through those scary times. I am not denying that our emotions are real and need to be felt during such times – yet that God continues to reign over all circumstances and remains faithful is what emerges even when the trauma of the time ( the trauma I felt ) has taken some time to lift.

    I was recently reflecting on the “word” I had been given for this year which was “serenity”. In light of that word, I am not all that certain how serene I have remained. Perhaps it was more a prophetic exhortation that I was to remain serene in spite of circumstances. I may never know or even need to know but it has been quite a year!

    Thanks for continuing to share from the depths of your life!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I can’t imagine that range of emotions you’ve been through this year, Lynn, thinking your twin will die, then watching the roller coaster of ups and downs. I’ve seen your faith evidenced in your journal entries for Caring Bridge. And I’ve appreciated seeing Father Christmas in the photos. 🙂

      While I’m sure you had times you didn’t feel serene on the inside, your words always possessed a serenity that goes deeper than emotions. I’m grateful to get to follow your journeys along the past few years because you’re showing me how to walk with grace when life seems to be “unfair.”

      I’m also enjoying reading your book via your blog posts, and while I still would love to see them posted all together in a book, I’m grateful that the words and photos are getting to spread online one by one to who God wants to send them to.

      You’re a special friend and I’m so grateful to begin 2014 with you.

  3. Katie

    One year… it is hard to believe it has been a year already. I thank you for being there for me this last year and before Lisa. I have learned much and been reminded of God so much through your writing. I am glad God connected us and I count you as friend.

    1. Lisa

      I’m very thankful we’ve bonded even more this year, too, Katie. I look forward to the good things we can share together in 2014! Praying for your situation right now, my friend.

  4. laura

    I love the way you take stock at the end of the year, Lisa. This is how I learn best: review, review, review. But I”m not nearly so organized as you! These are powerful lessons, friend, but I’m with you–another year of schooling please :)> Happy New Year, Beloved!

  5. Nancy Sturm

    When I taught high school I felt I needed to learn something each year about how to teach more effectively and more compassionately. How much more true your observation. Our year isn’t “successful” unless we allow our Teacher to continue molding us into His image. Beautiful! Thanks.

  6. Debbie

    I do believe it’s important to review the past year before moving on to the next. You share many important lessons. I pray that your 2014 will be one of continued growth and that you will share what you’re learning with us.

    Blessings and love,

  7. Nikki (Sarah)

    Oh Lisa….I loved reading this. Everything you said is incredibly beautiful and echoes my heart. You’re amazing. Hugs and wishes for His best in 2014. It’s gonna be another amazing year.

    1. Lisa

      Not many people will be able to say they learned that lesson, Lyli. 🙂 I’ve loved watching your year of fruitilious play out, and look forward to your new One Word in 2014.

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