Sometimes I wish I weren’t so achievement-driven. While I am a fairly motivated person, I also come down really hard on myself when I don’t think I have achieved enough.
Cue December 2021. I have been reflecting on the past year of the Stone and the Oak, and my first response was to criticize myself for all I didn’t do.
I set the lofty goal of reading half of the Old Testament in a meaningful way, and then… well, it didn’t happen in its entirety. I read all five books of the Torah along with Job, Hosea, and most of the Psalms, but I did not get to the history books of the OT that I had hoped.
We had an unexpected season of turning our home into a rental property and then moving into a rental of our own which was a multi-month endeavor.
Regardless, my inclination is to wallow in all that I didn’t achieve. In fact, I almost started down the road of beating myself up (figuratively of course) so I am here to intentionally catalog all that I did in fact do in the Spirit of the Kingdom this year.
I hope you see something here that is helpful to you in your current walk.
My Journey through the Bible
I wrote up a post for anyone struggling to read the Bible in a meaningful way. Not all Bible plans work for everyone. Here is what works for me:
I did a little bit of investigation on one phrase in the Abraham and Isaac passage that I found to be poignant. Fellow Bible Nerds, have a look:
I learned a lot as I worked my way through the Torah this year. Each image corresponds with a post on my Instagram feed:
Sips & Scripts
I had the privilege of Zooming with six incredible women of God from around the world for Bibles-open, mugs-full chats about what is on their hearts. I left each chat feeling equally impressed with my new friends and inspired to heed their sage advice.
Brenna is a sweet and enthusiastic young woman who speaks candidly on the topic of premarital sex. In our chat, she discusses her lack of information and guidance on sex and how informing our Christian teens about temptation and purity can equip them for sexual struggles. Click here to read my chat with Brenna.
Through the Joyful Life Magazine, I met Aimée Walker who I am proud to now call a dear friend. In our chat, she offers encouragement for discernment in our current season and obedience to what God asks us to do in it. Click here to read my chat with Aimée.
Another sweet friend made through the Joyful Life community, Vicki Bentley and I decided we are kindred spirits. In our chat, she offers four powerful steps in lessening anxiety when it hits. Click here to read my chat with Vicki.
Deidre is the sweetest mom of two little ones, and in our chat she reflects on the toughest 18 months of her life and considers what God is doing when he allows destruction. Click here to read my chat with Deidre.
Another new friend through the JL community, Carina Alanson, details her own struggle to find clarity in purpose and to discern her calling in Christ. Now, she offers a course to help others, like herself, determine their purpose and callings. Click here to read my chat with Carina.
Christian speaker and mother of five, Erica Renaud, discusses her upcoming book on developing prayer in children and offers some practical tools for getting started. Click here to read my chat with Erica.
His Wear is a response to Luke 9.26: (Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory). Our response is that we are His— we are His creation, His disciples, and His loved ones— and we are not ashamed to claim this identity.
To read more about the development of His Wear, click the image:
The beautiful photos for the line are taken by the amazing Ashley of Ashley Norton Photography (click here to be sent to her website).
And if you’d like to browse the shop, click here. In fact, for being a blog reader, use the code STOAKED20 for 20% off!
DIY projects & The Joyful Life Magazine
In 2021, The Joyful Life Magazine brought me on as a blog contributor to their DIY section. I wrote up five seasonal DIY posts and was able to have two articles published in the print magazine.
My favorite part? Getting to know so many different Christian writers and creatives. I absolutely adore working with my DIY partner, Loralie Hoffort, who is a very talented photographer.
I will be continuing my partnership with the JL for 2022!
Collaborations & Guest Posts
Last but certainly not least, some of the most impactful experiences of the last year grew out of collaborations with fellow women of God.
Guest Post on Marnie Hammar’s Site
I contributed a story on hearing the voice of God in Marnie Hammar’s Hear Him Louder series. Click the image to read how God spoke to me in the midst of crippling postpartum anxiety (and then check out the rest of Marnie’s powerful series).
Guest Post on Twyla Franz’s Site
I was invited by Twyla Franz to add a post to her gratitude series: Begin Within. In it, I ask the question: can gratitude lessen anxiety?
Interviewee on The Devoted Collective Podcast
Aimée Walker, founder of the Devoted Collective, asked me if I would come on to the podcast to speak about being a Christian with mental illness. I said yes in a heartbeat and was able to have another friend, Ellie DiJulio, as my co-interviewee. Click the image to give it a listen:
Contributor to the Prayers for A Generation Book
Aimée Walker does it again! In addition to launching The Devoted Collective, Aimée compiled a book on prayers for our children. I am honored to have a prayer for spiritual armor against pornography included in this beautiful bound collection. Click the image to check out the book:
Co-host of The Dawning of Indestructible Joy Book Club
My dear friend Ann-Marie and I co-hosted an advent book club in which we guided readers through John Piper’s The Dawning of Indestructible Joy. It was a joyous collaboration!
Let there be no confusion: we do not get into heaven by works. There is no earning our way into heaven— that ticket was bought by Jesus alone. I could have done none of the above and still— I will find my home in heaven by the grace and mercy of God.
However, as a follower of Jesus, I believe my spiritual gifts should be used for the Kingdom. We are saved by grace through faith in order to do good works for the Lord.
But in terms of taking stock of your year, I hope you’ll learn from my mistake and focus on what you did do rather than what you didn’t do.
All the best of God’s blessings for you in 2022,
3 thoughts on “2021: Year in Review”
You are an amazing woman! I love how you purposely go offline when there are special things going on in your life (anniversary weekends, Christmas week etc). You inspire me to be better, do more & love others well!
Well, I must say that Priscilla Shirer’s “Breathe” study helped me immensely when it comes to putting margin around my plans. And you, Barb, inspire me with your consistency! That’s my word for 2022: consistent!
Consistent is a GREAT word.
I am currently reading Fervent by Priscilla Shirer…8 pages in and I’m already blown away at the simplicity and power of the message.