What is God doing now? My OneWord365


“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
– Jesus (Matthew 6:34 MSG)

He was coughing more. I didn’t notice it. He did. His weight loss was what finally caught my attention.

Something was wrong. We all awoke to it.

Through a progressive maze of doctor visits, we finally discovered it. Daddy had lung cancer. It was early January 2010 when the diagnosis became official. But by then, it had traveled too far, too fast, to be derailed.

Every few days he seemed weaker. Until the morning of Valentine’s Day 2010. He inhaled a last lungful of human air. Then let it go. It’s been heaven for him ever since.

But the clock kept ticking back home. Mama was falling deeper into her Alzheimer’s. She realized the love of her life—her husband since 1954—was absent. The memories were evaporating fast. Day by day, the pendulum clicked warnings.

A short seven months later, Mama merged again—in complete wholeness and in fullness of time—with Daddy. (Ironically, what was my One Word covenant with God that year? Breath.)

Now what?

The house.


Our family home since the 1960s was crammed full. Of belongings. Of memories. But no people. We did a first-run distribution of anything valuable or sentimental. We invited the oldest grandchild, my nephew Drew, to move in.

So we kept the house off the market. It wasn’t time. We all agreed.

Until now.

Drew will be moving out this year, so it’s time to completely empty the house of our family’s stuff.


I guess God thinks now is better. God works in the now. A few months back I heard whisperings strong that God would use “now” as my One Word for 2015. I just didn’t know how.

So last Friday we gathered, my siblings and me, back at the house. We walked on the floors where we used to fight over the bathroom, used to giggle at the supper table, used to play pool in the basement.

Now is the time to sort through the past to prepare for the future.


I’m struggling more than I expected. It’s been five years, after all. Haven’t I done my grieving work? But now, this is different.

  • How do we sift through our parents’ treasures, one touch at a time, and decide what to keep, what to sell, what to trash?
  • How do we put a value on two people’s lives that loved us unconditionally for so many years?
  • Who are we to pass judgment on what has worth and what doesn’t?

Why did God choose now?

Because now is always the moment where God fully lives. Yes, he’s in the past. Yes, he will be in the future.

But now is when his Spirit breathes actively. Now is the moment he moves.

And now is his time of choice.

So my job—and my joy—in 2015 will be to stay awake in the now. Not just in cleaning out my parents’ house, but in whatever moments God puts me in.

Now is where God’s presence is strongest. Now is where I want to live.

Linger a little longer here.

In this, whatever it is.
Right here, whatever is in front of you.
And right now.

It’s the perfect time.

“If we have abandoned ourselves to God, there is only one rule for us: the duty of the present moment. ‘What does this moment ask of me?’ is always the right question.”
– Richard Rohr

* * *

Our family home sold in August. A new family now owns it. We pray they have as many good memories there as we did.


What is God calling you to do in the now?
Any tips for cleaning out your parents’ house?
Please share.

48 thoughts on “What is God doing now? My OneWord365

  1. floyd

    Life doesn’t get easier… Praying for you and yours. We share so many similarities in life that I sense some of your struggle, but not all of them. I appreciate your sharing. All the “one” words are turning into sentences and soon paragraphs… and finally stories… of hope.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Floyd. Life is always changing, yes? Some ways easy, some ways more difficult, but always good in the very end. I know my struggle isn’t particularly unique to mankind; just unique to me at this time.

      This is so poetic and moving…wow!
      “All the “one” words are turning into sentences and soon paragraphs… and finally stories… of hope.”
      Beautiful, brother.

  2. Lynn Severance

    Lisa – beautiful post of your “now” and of the struggles that are presenting themselves as you let go further to your parents; the home that literally and figuratively was the hub of your life with them.

    Blessings as you do.

    My story is quite different. The last 11 years of my mother’s life, she lived in the same apartment complex as I do – different floor but still very close. The “family” home had been sold to my younger brother and as he began to make it “his home”, it no longer was open or available to any of us. The home died, in a sense, some years before my Mom and it breaks my heart for it holds – or held – such priceless memories over lots of my years. My grandmother had lived there from my birth and my immediate family traveled as my father was in the military once I reached age 5 and he returned from WWII. I lived with my grandmother when I attended college – so you can well imagine how losing the home was a huge emotional loss.

    But to your question: “any tips for clearing out your parents’ house. When my Mom died in 2001, “we” kept her apartment for an extra 6 weeks. It was during that time that I, alone, went through all her earthly belongings that made up that space for the 11 years she had been there. It was “easier” with my vertigo condition to do it alone ( not that there was anyone rushing in to help me ). But had I had help, I knew I’d be asked every moment, “What should I do with this?” and I’d be twirling with the added stress.

    What I ended up doing, was making up boxes for each family member: my 2 brothers, my three nieces, my mother’s brother and his family ( my cousins ), her best friend, and I made sure that every family member could choose one of her oil paintings to have as a remembrance. I felt that they, then, could take what meant the most to them and be responsible for what they did not want. I kept more for myself that eventually has come to need letting go for at the time, I was not sure what would remain important.

    You have the benefit of having other family members there to help but I know there will still be huge decisions to make as to who gets what and what needs to be passed on for the good of community groups or other meaningful individuals.

    Sorry this got to be so long – needed to give you a bit of a back story as to what brought me to be the one clearing out 78 years of my Mom’s life and surely there were many treasures found along the way.

    Conversely, my four cousins are now in emotional turmoil and at odds with one another as they can not reach consensus as to what is to be done with their parents’ home with my aunt having died this past summer.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I so appreciate you sharing your story here, Lynn. I love how you always find the silver lining in every cloud. Hearing your story helps me with my own.

      One plus I’ve discovered now is the ability to show each other things online. Today Sandy and I went through many of the books in what was my dad’s office in the basement, taking pictures as we went. I sent the link to the family so everyone can browse the “shelves” from their own computers, then let us know if there are any books they want.

      It doesn’t make the physical work any easier, but it does lighten the emotional load, knowing that everyone is getting access to look at things to see if they want any. For the rest of the stuff? I’ve just got to keep everything in perspective and not get overwhelmed by it all. 🙂 Thanks for your prayers and your support, Lynn! I’m grateful for your friendship always.

  3. Sharon

    Oh Lisa, such a great word – and a difficult one, too. I don’t know if you’re like me, but it’s such a temptation to get stuck in the past (regret, guilt) or be anxious about the future (worry, fear). Neither place is where God wants us to be. I think of Psalm 23: “Give us THIS day our DAILY bread.” And, He also counsels us not to worry about tomorrow.

    My heart just ached at reading this post. My father died a year ago, and we have begun the process of going through things. Of course, my mother still lives in the house, so we’re not doing a major clean – but she is rapidly approaching the time when she won’t be able to stay there alone. One thing that’s been very difficult for me is that I tend to be like my mom – I pack-rat, and I hold on to things. There have been a few times when my brother and sister got rid of stuff – (not important stuff, like Dad’s clothes or old bedding) – but it’s really been hard for me. Especially when my sister told me that she threw away Dad’s old shoes under the workbench. Sure, they were beat up and dirty and gathering dust. But somehow, it made me feel better seeing those old shoes. I suppose that God will continue to meld our *styles* – and that there’s room in the “get-it-done” crowd for a procrastinating sentimental old fool like me.

    I will pray about this process for you all. It hurts. But sometimes the time to do the hard stuff is NOW.


    (Would love to have you hop over this week sometime and see my new word. Wonder how God’s going to reveal its meaning to me this year?!)

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I am a lot like you, Sharon. My mind particularly tilts toward the future. I’ve struggled for years with worry. *Maybe* I’m a little better now than I used to be; I praise God for any progress in that! But I think one tool he’s used in that is “now.” So I’m looking forward to devoting a whole year specifically to now.

      It is difficult when one parent has died and you see the other going down as well. 🙁 I pray that you’ll be able to treasure the times with your mom as much as possible.

      I am sentimental about many of my parents’ things, but my oldest sister is even more so. So it’s a bonus to me to know that she will be keeping lots of their stuff. 🙂

      I will look forward to how God will use your one word “healing” in 2015!

  4. Barbara H.

    That would be so hard. We weren’t able to help go through my in-law’s house when it sold because we had my m-i-l here (2,000 miles away) , and I grieved at the thought of not being able to go through there things, afraid I would forever lose something of sentimental value. But I had to come to terms with the fact that there was nothing I could do about it. Even though it will be hard in one way, it will be a blessing, I think, in another way.

    We haven’t gone through my mom’s things because my step-father is alive and still in their home. There were a few things that were distributed after her funeral, but I’ve often wondered what might be tucked away in the attic and here and there. We haven’t been able to go back in years, so I don’t know if her decorations are the same or if her clothes are still in the closet, etc. My two sisters who are there may have gone through a few things.

    Whenever I think of this, it does remind me that I should go through my own stuff before I get too old to so my kids won’t have to. 🙂 I’m sure there will be plenty for them to sort through, but I’m sure, too, I have boxes of things that no one but myself would be interested in, that I should probably do something with.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Reading your story makes me understand I should be grateful that at least I’m having the opportunity to go through my parents’ stuff myself. I think I’d have had an even harder time NOT going through it. So thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad you’ve come to terms with the way it happened with you, and I want to do the same with how it’s happening with me. The Lord takes us through different paths to end up in the same place…his rest.

      And amen to the motivation to go through our own stuff! Ironically, I’d already decided to do that this year anyway. But this is even greater motivation because I know my kids will NOT want to go through all my notes that I’ve stored here and there and everywhere. And all the books, books, books. 🙂

  5. Nicki Schroeder

    So beautiful Lisa. I love the story behind your One Word. It brought tears to my eyes. Our God is great and mighty and I will enjoy seeing how He will wrap His arms around you in the NOW moments of this year. This makes me think back to my mom’s passing 7 years ago, and it’s tough to sort through a person’s belongings. But cherish the moments ahead and the beautiful memories that will pass through your mind and heart as you work thru the now. Big hugs to you.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Ooh, that is helpful, Nicki. I do want to cherish the moments going through their things, and not look at it as a chore that I have to endure. Thank you for this. I feel your hugs!

  6. Sherrey Meyer

    Lisa, beautiful, poignant sharing of your choice of a word for 2015. Now. The present time. Real time. God’s time. I know how difficult this all is having walked a similar journey. I pray for you and your siblings a time of loving and laughing and yes, crying as you sift and sort through what remains. You may think you’ve gone through it all once before but something will catch your eye, and there’ll be another story to share.

    My dad died in 1973 when my mom was only 61 years old leaving her to continue to fill up their home, our home with precious memories. Mom finally began to age and grow frail in her late 80s and then died just after 9/11/01. Although I lived 2200 miles away, I held power of attorney and it fell to me to decide what to do with the house and all the trappings waiting inside. My brothers, one older and one younger, both lived nearby our childhood home, and of course, they had their ideas about what should be done. Fortunately, God had blessed me with a husband who had my back and stood behind me all the way.

    The hardest thing I think was the first night we were there was to start going through all the treasures Mom had saved up . She had every greeting card or note Daddy had ever written her. I didn’t know until then what a great writer he was, and I was spurred on in my own writing because of that experience. And photos! So many! I couldn’t fathom making on the spot decisions about what to do with most of what I saw there. I made stacks of things that related mostly to one of the three of us kids. However, my brothers didn’t want to fool with any of it then. “Why don’t you just ship it all to Oregon and deal with it when you get back?” “No, if you don’t take it now, it won’t be around after our plane flies off to the NW!” Nothing was ever resolved easily with them. So, I packed up what I wanted and felt was a part of my life, and left the rest sitting in the house and told them it was still there. To this day, I don’t know whether they went back to get it or not.

    The house sale was the easiest of my issues. The realtor was a family friend, and as he was placing the sign in the yard, a young man stopped and offered full price in cash. God works miracles!

    I will be keeping you in my prayers as you move on through your journey. Remember that NOW God has called you to this. It is His time NOW. It is His desire for you NOW. Lovely choice of word, Lisa.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Your story makes me ache, Sherrey. 🙁 But it made me appreciate the fact that I don’t have that distance between my own home and the home we’re cleaning out. And that my siblings and I are all on the same page. I can’t imagine all the emotional turmoil you underwent with your circumstances being as they were. But how wonderful for the treasures you found, not only in themselves but also for what they spurred in you. A beautiful story that it inspired you to write more!

      I appreciate your prayers and sweet words very much.

  7. Linda@Creekside

    Oh honey, my husband and his family have been there and done that. It was not an easy road. To say the least.

    So … I’m going to be praying for energy and a sense of humor, grace-filled spirits and kindness as your family bands together. May this process bring you closer together and closer to the One who loves you all …


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I know I’m in good hands if you’re praying, Linda. Thanks for the encouraging words from someone who’s been there. It helps! We had lots of laughter today when we were going through stuff from the attic. Lots of very good memories that we shared together.

  8. Laura

    Now. I like that word. I’m always thinking about the future or yearning for the past. I’m going to follow in your footsteps this year and try my best to be in the now…to appreciate whatever is going on in my life at the very moment it is happening. As you clean out your parents’ house, I hope that you find forgotten memories, joy, and closure. Wishing you peace in 2015, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Laura. I did find many forgotten memories today! One was a tiny sewing machine that I used to actually sew on. As soon as my brother-in-law brought it down from the attic, it sparked a lot of joy. 🙂

  9. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    I’m so sorry for what you and your family have to deal with “now”, Lisa, but I am so thankful for your faith. I’m so glad that not only do you know He is with you “now”, but that you can share your burdens with us. We can all learn from and encourage each other in our trials and that makes them worth it, doesn’t it?

    I wish I had advice for you, but I don’t. What I can do is pray for you. Please know that I will.

  10. Mari-Anna Stålnacke @flowingfaith

    A very wise post. I love the Message version of the verse, it truly helps us to see the importance of the NOW. God’s name is not I WAS or I WILL BE but I AM. Right now, right here. Thanks for the reminder. What a great word for the new year. May you feel God’s presence every moment of 2015. Blessings to you, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I loved The Message translation too. It really hits home with me to emphasize the NOW portion. God’s name of I AM has always been my favorite–I’m glad you brought that up! Thanks, Mari-Anna.

  11. Jen Ferguson

    Lisa, my heart just aches. No matter how much time we have had to grieve, when we reach another milestone, especially one like this, there remains grief at a deeper level. It’s another saying of goodbyes and another round of letting go. And as you touch these things, it’s a time of remembering. Even almost 5 years after my grandmother’s death, sometimes I’ll look at her ring I now wear around my finger, touch it, and then my insides with seize with the missing and the love.

    On a different note, I really appreciate your post and word “now.” I think it really ties in with #OperationRest. What is God doing in the now? What is He telling me now? Makes me less concerned with the future and more active in the present.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      “grief at a deeper level” – yep, I guess that’s it, Jen. I know this is a milestone that we need to get through, and even though it does recreate the ache, it does bring lots of happy memories with it too.

      I love the theme of #OperationRest. I do believe that our rest is always to be in the now “now” to varying degrees; I just need reminding of it more often. 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, Loren. I think of how much time, energy, resources I waste when I live too far into the future instead of focusing on what God is doing in the present. That doesn’t mean we should never plan–we definitely should–but I want to keep my eyes focused on God right here, right now.

  12. Laurie Collett

    Praise God that His timing is always perfect, even though we don’t always understand it. We can live only in His gift of the present. Thanks for sharing this touching post. Praying for you.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I’m so grateful that we don’t have to understand his timing to benefit from it. I’d miss out on so much otherwise! I appreciate your prayers very much, Laurie.

  13. Natalie

    Beautiful. And, as is so often true when I read your words, tears. I clicked over today specifically because you seem to really live life through the lens of your word and I wanted to see if you were sharing today.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What an encouraging comment; thank you, Natalie, for your faith in me. Typically each year in January I map out a monthly list of things to do with my One Word, but this year I’m trying to leave it more open since it is “now” after all. ha. Lord, have mercy on me. 🙂

  14. melody

    I can only imagine how hard it is to go through the reliving of memories and trying to make decisions with emotions on sleeves. I pray God strengthens you as you go through this process with your siblings. I know my day will be coming soon and this post was good for me to read. I lost my father 8 years ago and my mother’s health is not great. I’ve never even thought about having to go through her house after she dies. I know in my head that’s a natural process but I’ve never put myself in that place before and this was good for me to think about. I sense your sweet spirit in this post and look forward to reading more of your blog. I’m coming over from SDGS. Oh yikes, I forgot to link back. I’m just now getting back in the blogging groove. Anyways, thank you for this post. Living in the “now” is hard for me. I tend to hang out in the “what’s next”. Great words here for me tonight.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I understand not thinking about this until you have to. Some things we don’t like to even imagine, even though we know they are coming down the road sooner rather than later. I’m sure the Lord will strengthen you in the “now” when the time is right for you, and I pray blessings on your mom’s health so you don’t have to deal with it for awhile! Thanks for your encouragements and prayers for me, Melody.

  15. Dolly@Soulstops

    Oh, my heart goes out to you and your family…praying God’s comfort in each of your now moments as you grieve another layer of your loss …What a great word…I struggle with the Now when God asks me to deal with another layer of grief when I want it to be done, but I know it is where the healing and His presence is…many blessings to you.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate your prayers and friendship, Dolly. Even though I have and do feel sadness going through my parents’ stuff, it hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it might be. God is really working through the prayers of his people! Thanks for being one of them.

  16. Mary

    Oh Lisa, I read this post yesterday but I could not comment. It was just too painful. And too real. My dad passed away in March 2014 at 92 and my mom will be 92 in February. They still lived alone and my mom still does, but not in a house any of us grew up in. But we will still have to do the hard sorting when the time comes.
    This line: “And now is his time of choice.” speaks to me, Lisa. I have to embrace the now because that is all I have. I am not given another moment. Thank you for this reminder sweet friend.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I feel for you, Mary, knowing what’s ahead. It’s not easy work. 🙁 But I guess there’s no way around it. I’m just thankful for all the positives surrounding my situation, making it less difficult than it could be. I know the Lord will provide you what you need to when the time comes. But in the meantime, I know you’ll enjoy your time with your mom, especially as the one year anniversary gets closer in March. Every “now” counts.

  17. Beverley

    There will be days when you will move quickly through things, decisions made, but there will be moments when you will linger. Stay in the Now allow God to direct his work through you in your parents home for i know that he will do so.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you for this advice, Beverley. I can already see the wisdom in it. Some boxes of stuff we could go through rather quickly, but other things I’ve brought home so I can linger a little longer.

  18. Amber @ Beautiful Rubbish

    I’ve been enjoying, this week, reading the stories of how each person’s word came into being for them. “Now” is so very dear to my own journey, too, Lisa. The irony of this, I find, is that it’s the only time and place that, in a tangible sense, exists – and yet it’s deceptively hard to live there. I bless you, friend, on this journey in 2015, that you would meet God at each and every turn of being. That you would know deeper healing and comfort as you sort through the remnants before you.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate this, Amber. I’ve found it very interesting this week too to journey through other “one words” and see how God is so active and so individual in each of our lives. I’m glad he’ll be using “resurgence” with you. It’s going to make for an interesting year! 🙂

  19. Laura

    Oh, Lisa. Bless you and your family as you do this hard work. And bless your tender heart. “Now” seems the perfect fit. Isn’t it amazing how God knows? I’ll be praying for you all as you enter into this task fully. Much love to you, beautiful friend.

  20. Jean Wise

    Wow what a story to accompany introducing your word and a powerful word too. I think you could use it as a breath prayer too. Sounds like God knew just the right NOW for you and your family too. I just took a few minutes of deep breathing, saying your word on exhalations. wow very powerful and centering. I may piggy back on your word and a one word prayer for me. Thanks!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      This makes me happy, Jean. Thanks for sharing this experience. I’ve been using “now” as my word during centering prayer the past few weeks, and it’s been so effective to bringing be back to my original intention instead of allowing my mind to go with the drift (something I’m still rarely successful with, sad to say). I’m praying that the Centering Prayer retreat next weekend will be able to help me with that….

  21. saleslady371

    I just prayed for you and your siblings. This was my story in 2012. I remember going through the belongings, the memories and selling the house. I didn’t understand all the emotions that whole year, but I’m glad I took a lot of down time and processed it all with the Lord. So now I tell others, take time. Friends will see you through and understand until things get better.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s great advice, Mary. I appreciate you sharing from your own experiences because I know there is truth there. I need reminders that it continues to take time to process going through memories, and it’s not a one-and-done thing.

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