To welcome the New Year, I am thrilled to introduce you to Kristi Woods. Kristi is a friend, an encourager, and a sister in Christ. The first time I read her writing, I found myself nodding and thinking, “Me too. Yes, me too.” She has the gift of making you feel right at home, and I know you will be inspired by her beautiful heart today.
Kristi Woods is a speaker and author who loves to see women dive deeper into the “more” the Lord has in store for them versus simply sitting in Sunday pews. She journeys alongside, encouraging and equipping them to live spiritually beyond surface-level.
Frequent posts on her blog, Bearing Branch, daily prayers on Facebook, and her book, The Other Side of the Fence build up and encourage women through the written word.
Her spoken messages invigorate women to draw closer to their Father, know who they are in His eyes, love themselves just as God has made them, and use that knowledge to live day to day life in in-depth ways.
She and her handsome, retired Navy man reside in Oklahoma with their two eager teenagers, one growing tween, two ambitious dogs, and one very relaxed cat.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. IS 43:19 NIV
Her words were simple, but they brought a halt to the moment. It was as if God had sounded the spiritual gong.
My attention was gathered.
“Kristi, have you even considered it?” she asked, a concerned-for-my-soul look to her face.
Had I even considered it?
No, I hadn’t considered it, and I hadn’t prayed about it either. Ouch! It didn’t make logical sense, my husband going back into the Navy, so no was an easy answer.
An absent husband? No thank you.
Pseudo-single parenting during underway times? No way!
Cutting our pay nearly in half? Nada.
High divorce rates? No, I certainly didn’t want to be surrounded by that world.
It wasn’t what I wanted, and going back into the Navy simply didn’t make sense.
But the words my pastor’s wife spoke flew in the face of every seemingly logical thought I had. They were the neon light, flashing a warning to consider God’s will. That maybe, just maybe, He had something new in store.
I had packaged my life in neatly wrapped logical decisions, living it as I knew best. But it was about to get better with God’s new way.
When God is the center of our decisions, the center of our focus, life is right. When we step out, bravely into “new” with the strength of the Lord, our choices are the best they could ever be…because they are God-honoring and birthed with His strength.
Shortly after that conversation, I set my life plans at the throne of God.
Oh Lord, what do You want?
It was a brave move, in hindsight, but losing control, not being able to envision the steps just two feet ahead, was scary at the time. It didn’t make logical sense, but honoring both God and my husband made perfect sense. I clung to that truth. Believe me, I had a hanging from the edge, white-knuckled, shaking-in-my-boots grip.
Just as my Father asked Joshua to march seven times and Jesus to die on the cross, the plan wasn’t logical. But those brave, losing-control steps that morphed into new? They brought joy. They brought beautiful.
Beautiful came at every duty station as the Lord drew me near.
My sweet daughter, do you hear My voice?
Yes, Lord, I hear You.
At every duty station, through various leaders, mentors, and congregational strengths, His voice became clearer. His Word danced to life, prayer became communion, and His healing found permission to touch my life. Outreach became real, and strengthening friendships that continue to this day were forged because of the Lord.
Those brave steps of new? They became a life fulfilled with and honoring God. Had I continued to turn my head in the name of “logical”, I would have simply been outside the will of God. It’s a dangerous place to be, in the shoes of one who is afraid to bravely step out.
Oh, the things we miss, the honor that is refused, the relationship we squelch in the name of fear. But it doesn’t have to end that way. Fear’s call can be muffled by one simple, brave step toward God’s new.
Is the Lord speaking to you about stepping out bravely?
Maybe it doesn’t make sense, this path of new. Maybe you’ve always done it “that” way and there’s no need for change. Perhaps family and friends won’t understand the decision, or maybe you’re simply quite comfortable where you sit.
May I encourage you?
It’s worth the trust.
It’s worth considering the Lord and going where He leads.
It may be a new thing, a scary new thing, but when the Lord makes a way, joy and beauty will be found.
Were the years in the Navy easy? Not always. But, did I grow closer to my Lord? Yes.
Did He always provide? Absolutely! He always made a way and it was beyond what was ever imaginable.
I wouldn’t change that decision to step out bravely for anything in the world. I am convinced that today my Lord has more of my heart, my thoughts, my decisions, and my words because of that decision to step out bravely.
It’s a new year. Those new things the Lord has in store for you? It might be His call to know more of Him, for the Lord to have more of your heart. Will you pray to ensure you hear, my friend? Then step bravely. Step bravely into God’s beautiful new.
I hand my life to You because I want to know You more. Glory, I desire to bring You glory with my decisions, Lord. Is there a new area where You are calling me to step bravely, an area where You will make my way? Show me that next step, and I will follow You.
In Jesus’ name,