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I can't believe that 2016 is coming to an end. It's been an amazing year for our family in general, and for me in particular. This year, I was able to grow my business from nothing to something over ten thousand people are involved with (wow!), became a home-owner, and began to experience what it's like to create a tiny little human. It hasn't all been easy (okay, none of it was easy), but it's all been such a blessing, and really illustrated why my word for the year, Kneel, was the one the Lord chose for me to lean on.

As many of you know, each year I pray through the month of December and receive a word for the coming year. When I was given kneel as my word last year, I anticipated many moments that would bring me to my knees in desperate supplication. Moments that would teach me what praying was on a deeper, more raw level. In all honesty, I was scared for what the year would bring. And while 2016 had it's fair share of moments needing prayer, G and I were guarded, guided, and blessed in amazing ways. I actually felt a little confused, looking back. Why kneel? I hadn't been driven to my knees in desperation in excess. If anything, I'd been on my feet in praise more than ever before. So what was I missing? Had I somehow missed opportunities to experience and learn from my word?

It was through wrestling with these questions that I realized, (as per usual), I had gone into 2016 expecting something different from my word than what the Lord was teaching. For me, kneel hadn't been about the physical act of being on my knees. It was a heart-position. A position of submission, of humility, of trust, and of honest asking for help when I wasn't enough. And Reader, I can look back and see that in spades.

The entire process of leaving California, buying a home, getting our things to Texas, and figuring out how to care for a piece of property required a lot of kneeling. Raising a puppy showed me how little I know, and reminded me how incapable I can feel without my support system around me. Creatively, diligently growing Simplicity & Coffee, then remembering to humbly step back and ask God what He wanted to see from this platform was an act of kneeling. And, last (but certainly not least!) pregnancy has taught me so much humility, as I had to learn to trust my husband in the most vulnerable, lost, painful moments I've ever experienced, and ask for help, because I really couldn't do it by myself.

I by no means have perfected this heart position, or any of my past words, but as 2017 approaches I am so grateful for what God chose to teach me through this word, and excited for the year to come.

My word for 2017 is one of the most exciting words I've ever received: Freedom.

As always, I'm sure I have no idea what this word will really look like, but I have a few thoughts:

1) I've been praying for ways to more fully integrate the anti-human trafficking organizations I love and support into S&C. I'm hoping that the freeing of those captives will become a large part of my work and my word in 2017.

2) The heart of S&C is, in a word, Freedom. Freedom to see yourself as beautiful, precious, worthy, and loved. Freedom to express that beauty to others. Freedom to be exactly where you are, and Freedom to become who you are called to be. I can't wait to see how the Lord uses this platform to further His message of worth and freedom to women around the world.

3) As with anyone, there are things I'm a slave to still. Things like worry, comparison, feeling insufficient, and fear. I am excited to see how God works in me and through others to teach me how to live free from those chains. I can't help but anticipate that pregnancy, birth, and being a mom will be instrumental in bringing me to a place where I can truly let go and be set free from some of these (which scares me, but also excites me! By 2018, I will be a different woman - God willing, a woman more like the one He called me to be).

So Happy New Year, Reader! Thank you for spending this past year with me. I so look forward to 2017 and all it has to bring! Stay tuned starting the second week of January! I have some exciting things coming, including the launch of my Youtube channel!!

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