A New Wish

January the First, 2015

Before the children were whisked off to bed this New Year evening, we gathered around a chair at the kitchen table and opened the mason jar that had been sitting on our computer desk for 365 days.

The jar’s lid was lightly covered with a year’s worth of dust, and it is really a lucky happenstance that I had seen it hiding behind the computer last week, for its contents had been long forgotten by this addle-brained mama.

Had I really made a card for each person in our family (including my parents and grandmother) and jotted down their favorite part of 2013? And had I asked each person to share a wish for the year to come?? And had I then carefully folded up each card and placed it in the jar that was on our desk???…

Apparently, I had, and my handwriting on each card was enough to prove it.

(But I am in good company. My husband had also completely forgotten this New Year exercise. We’re compatible like that).

And it was like unlocking a short-term time capsule this evening, giving us a surprise glimpse into who we were and what we were thinking a year ago. Our children clustered around me, I screwed off the lid, popped the top, and began to pull out our words from the first day of 2014, one by one.

The children giggled as I read their cards. We had forgotten that Betsie had called my grandmother “Miss Granny Bear” last year and that her wish was to go visit her house in Texas. We couldn’t believe that our dog, Jake – and Gideon’s favorite thing about 2013 – had only been a part of our family for a year and a half. We were chagrined that we had never taken Rebekah ice-skating, her only wish for the year 2014, but assured her that we could make up for that…

and then I opened my card.

My one great wish for 2014?

“I want to have a book published.”

I smiled at my family.

“Well, I’ve almost finished writing my first book, so that’s a good start!” I laughed.

But, in my heart, I was communing silently with my Creator and thanking Him for the changes He has wrought within me since January the First, 2014.

A year ago, it had been a burning passion.

I wanted to see my name on a book. I wanted to accomplish something tangible. I wanted to succeed in the writing biz. I wanted to move from the blogging world to the publishing world.

And I wanted it bad.

But somewhere along the way, after pouring my heart and soul into the book that I have been writing since this summer, after hearing 52 incredible expository sermons from the Word of God, after being sanctified day by day by day by day by day, my desires have shifted in monumental ways so that, before I pulled that year-old wish out of the jar, I had completely lost touch with the woman who wrote those words at the beginning of the year.

I have changed, and until this evening, I didn’t realize how much.

And by the sweet grace of God, the thing I truly cherish the most about 2014 and the thing I long for the most in 2015 has nothing to do with what I will accomplish or how I will succeed or if I will ever be a published author…

but everything to do with how I have known and will know God better.

And with all these things in mind, I wanted to pop in here for a bit to offer up a word of encouragement to each of you for the year we are leaving behind and the one we face ahead…

Do you know what? It really doesn’t matter if you lost the ten pounds that you planned to lose in 2014. It doesn’t matter if you are killing it at your job. It doesn’t matter if you have managed to organize your house. I doesn’t matter if you’ve mastered the art of couponing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve found your way to a better you or gotten all your ducks in a row or have started to experience your “best life now”. It doesn’t even matter if you got your book published (or if you finished writing it!)…

but have you grown kinder?

Have you lost a bit of the zeal you had for your own name?

Have you learned to trust Him more?

Have you become more patient?

Have you learned to love your spouse better?

Have you grown bolder in your witness?

Have you developed a greater love for God’s word?

Have you persevered through difficult relationships within your church body?

Have you been conformed daily to the image of God?

Have you seen – in one or a hundred ways – His continued work in your life?


These are the things that we should measure our years by. These are the things that should cause us to rejoice at the close of one year and inspire us to pray for the opening of another. These are the fruits that we should be pursuing and wishing for. And these are the things that should allow us to close our eyes in relief and to realize that, YES, this has been an enormously successful year!

I know Him better than I did last year. His Word makes more sense to me than it ever has before. I have grown in wisdom and understanding…

I am still His, and I am still loving the one who loved me first.

Oh, friends, what more can we ask for?!

And so there is no doubt. I may not have even finished the book that I was hoping to have published yet, but 2014 turned out to be one of the most successful years I have ever experienced, and my one wish for the year to come, the wish I folded up into our empty mason jar this evening before sending the children to bed, is this…

whether my name is on a book by year’s end, whether my words ever go beyond the space they now occupy, whether the world will ever tip their hat to my accomplishments, may I strive to be an encouragement to anyone who needs it in 2015 and to pour myself out for others.

I have to tell you, I am so excited to open our jar next year and see how God has answered my prayer and granted the wish of my heart.

If, indeed, I remember by that time what that jar is behind our computer.


And now I want to leave you with my favorite photos from 2014, which is a prayer in itself.

2014 is the year that I truly became content in my calling, and this captured moment, to me, represents all that I learned and all that I am resting in today. I never want to forget what it felt like to relax and begin freely living in the life He has crafted for me, and these pictures represent that time in a tangible way.

Here is me and Betsie, cuddled up under a blanket watching the rest of our family play in the yard. I’m not wearing make-up and no one knows who I am and my name is not in lights, but this is who I want to be, forever and always. A mama who has found her home, who is rejoicing in her Kingdom work and who is finally content to the tips of her toes.

God is good, to fix our hearts.


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Happy New Year from Mrs. Gore to the wonderful friends who have found a home here. You all have been a HUGE part of my sanctification and growth, and I thank God for the gift of this readership every single day. May we bring glory to our God in 2015!

And now I hope you feel free to share! How has He fixed your heart this year? What changes has He wrought? How are you hoping to live for him in the year to come?

I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning…

My posture is a bit different this evening as I sit down to gather my thoughts.

Most usually, I wait until the children are in bed or otherwise situated before I even attempt to jot down a blog post. The reason being, I kind of have trouble doing any two things at one time – cooking and listening to people talk, patting my head and rubbing my tummy, driving and reading street signs, being alive and doing any sort of math problem, watching television and folding clothes – in other words, I’m a big, fat dummy and need absolute silence in order to properly think or do much of anything.

But today, I’m feeling spontaneous and am sitting at the kitchen table with my refurbished laptop, my eldest children on either side of me, happily occupied with their coloring books…and, evidenced by the buttery fingerprints on my keyboard, there is a giant bowl of popcorn right smack in the middle of the table. Betsie, of course, is locked up nearby us in her highchair, eating sugar snap peas and deli turkey and as much popcorn as she can convince us to share with her. For, if Betsie is loose, NObody gets ANYthing done, whether they are a big, fat dummy or a smartypants genius or even, I’m betting, the old lady in the shoe. Betsie just has that effect on people.

So what is it that has me feeling so spontaneous? What has happened to me that makes my heart feel so contented and calm within me? How in the world am I able to sit amongst this throng of little people and find the mental fortitude to make intelligable sentences?…

I don’t really know. It has just been one of those laidback (but productive) Saturdays that makes me want to be near to my family, to count my blessings, to bask in our togetherness as long as possible.

And all afternoon, an old song has been lilting through my mind, the perfect soundtrack to highlight our first weekend in November…

Got no diamonds, got no pearls,

Still I think I’m a lucky girl.

I’ve got the sun in the morning

And the moon at night.

Got no mansions, got no yachts,

Still I’m happy with what I got.

I’ve got the sun in the morning

And the moon at night…

It all started this afternoon during the children’s naptime. I was going through the 9,000 pictures I have stored on our desktop (sadly, all of them taken since January), deleting some, adding some to albums, moving some to the external harddrive…

And as I scanned through photo after photo of my family last Spring, I could hardly fathom how quickly the children have grown and how much they’ve changed in so short a season. Days and moments I had completely forgotten about came rushing back into my soul in a flood of sweet memories. And although I enjoyed looking at all the fun parties we’ve had where our clothes were matching and our hair was tidy, the sweetest pictures were just of us…unscripted…untidymismatched…living!

They were pictures of life and life abundant, the very thing I set about celebrating here on my blog. And they were so beautiful, they made my heart ache. Not because we are particularly special or beautiful people, but because the things I see in those pictures are real and substantial things that are eternal and were the main components of the perfect world God initially created for us to enjoy: love…family…laughter…innocence…work…nature…home…

Each and every one a gift created by and given from a very loving Father.

As the children woke up and our afternoon wore on, we all ended up in the old, spacious shed on our property. Mr. Gore was finishing up a woodworking project and the children and I were sitting on our bottoms on a swept-off concrete slab, coloring and talking (we color a LOT in this house). I looked around me. Mr. Gore was deep in concentration as he measured and tinkered, and looked especially resplendent and manly with his coarse, red beard glowing copper and awesome in the natural light of the shed. Gideon was dressed in a full-out pirate costume, complete with strands of beads and a bright red headwrap. Rebekah was covered in dust, as was her ditsy floral sundress that is two sizes too small, her “golden hair” (as she affectionately calls it) flowing down her back where it ended with little curls, also covered in dust. Betsie was, again, locked up, this time in her big, red wagon, peering up at us from behind her straggly bangs, eating a box of raisins and doing her darndest to reach the bucket of crayons. (She loves to eat crayons even more than she loves to eat raisins).

And my heart just sighed for a minute, and I thought…

I could live in this shed with these people.

These moments of clarity and contentment are my very favorite in life, and I can’t tell you how much I love it when all of our junk is out of my sight and I am with the people I adore, and I asked myself the same question I’ve asked a thousand times this year: why, Mrs. Gore, do you continue to store up treasures on this earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal (Matthew 6:19)?

For there, in that dirty old shed, with a bucket of crayons and two coloring books, I was as happy as I’ve ever been in my entire life.

And I realized once again that NOT being rich is a great blessing.

I’ll never forget the first time Mr. Gore mentioned this rather radical thought near the end of a sermon, and he encouraged our congregation to stop striving after silver and gold and to refrain from doggedly pursuing the next level of financial comfort, not because it is a sin to be rich, but because God might be showing us great mercy by keeping us in the financial situation we are in. He went on to point out the many times the Bible warns us of the snare of money, and how the human heart is naturally inclined to make gods of the corruptible, citing John Calvin’s famous words: “the human heart is an idol-making factory”. My heart agreed so vehemently. “Be content with your lot,” he warned us, “for God might know that if He gave you more, you would become a slave to it. One of the greatest blessings in your life might be that the small income He has given you is just enough to keep you from depending upon yourself. Rest in that.”

I would never have come to that conclusion on my own, but the minute the words rolled off of his tongue, I was a believer. How great and how kind is our God, working all things for our good, even when we are little aware of it.

Since that day, the drive inside my soul to make more so we can have more has slowed considerably, and I am learning to relax with what we have today, knowing and trusting that God knows best what we need for our future. In the meantime, even though there are springs sticking up through the cushions of our couch, and even though our cars are becoming more “vintage” by the day, I am seeing with fresh eyes how abundantly we have been blessed, and how little we need to live happily and contentedly in this world.

And who knows? Someday we might have to move into our shed, and convert our home into a boarding house (what? I told you I read a lot of Christian fiction). But guess what would go with us? Love. Laughter. Gratitude. Probably a bucket of crayons and a couple of coloring books. Some flowers maybe and a set of lace curtains. The sun in the morning. The moon at night. But most importantly…


Grace that sustains us, that fulfills us, and that allows us to have even the tiniest speck of love or gratitude in our hearts in the first place. Grace that is enough for today and gives us faith for tomorrow.


To read more on this subject, see “Mother Hen Paints the Fence Some More” and “Mrs. Gore is in Seven Heaven” from the archives