This post is in response to my Story Session’s weekly prompt.  Today’s prompt:

Write a post about your one word for 2013 OR/AND write a post about your NEW word for 2014.


Almost two years ago, I was in a funk.  Life was bland and monotonous. The same actions over and over and over again filled my days: wash dishes then dirty dishes, make dinner then plan tomorrow’s lunches, correct wayward child extend grace to an angry child, pray hard, fervently, hopefully then watch those words bounce off the ceiling and fall back on me.

There were no exciting “breakthroughs” or living out a “vibrant prayer life”—none of that.  I was in a funk.  A Funky funkalicious life.  Poor funky funkacalious me.

Then my husband, tired of watching me mope around the house, tired of my drawn face and so over the permanent whine attached to my voice, said, “Babe, you’ve got to start a blog.  You’re in a funk because you have something to say but you’re not sharing it with anyone.  You’re gifted with words so you need to write.  I think you’ll be happier when you write.”  I just gave him a dirty, funky incredulous look and said, “Whatevers, babe.”

I wasn’t angry with him!  No, I was angry at my words, the words that bounced back at me when I offered them to God and the words I repeated every, single day.  I was angry at “no!”,  “stop that”, “come here”, and “use your words!”.  This irony is not lost on me; I wanted to empower my children to use their words when I was bridling the words within me.  In my funkified state, words were just words— letter strung together to create a chain of utilitarian communication.  They were efficient and a means to an end.  They were not energy, life, strength, and power.  They were obstinate and never did what I wanted them to do.  They stayed burning within me when I kept offering them to God.

So I stayed in a funk.

My husband on the other hand was a constant stream of words.  Words about Jesus.  Words about life.  Words about fatherhood.  Words about the character of God.  And they all lived on his blog.  He created friendships with other writers and deep thinkers.  Talking late into the night about this Internet firestorm or that interesting idea and connected him to his tribe. He was alive and so not in a funk!

Months after his first encouragement, I sat next to him on our couch and unleashed my words to him- if God didn’t want them then they needed to go somewhere.  I told him I was lonely and this season of life in between churches was draining, we were planting our own, yet I wanting to stay connected to our friends.  I wanted to belong to someone and champion something.  I told him that motherhood was making question my sanity and general goodwill towards little people, and that if I didn’t get a break soon I would break something…or someone.

He turned from the blog post he was working on and regarded me for a moment. ‘Stupid self-indulgent bloggly blogger’, I thought.  “ Babes, you need to write.  At least just write that.  All that you just said—you need to write it out.  I think you’ll feel better.

So I did.

I sat with my words and asked them, ‘do you want to be written or spoken? Hopefully prayed or gently offered in keystrokes and pixels?’

I started to write them, partly afraid of the hailstorm of hopes from previous prayers when those words came back at me, partly hopeful that Jesus was reading over my shoulder and those words would finally find their way to their intended destination.

Amazingly, almost magically those words broke though the glass ceiling and showered me with shards of identity and purpose.  It was unfair of me to expect words that were designed for the page and sharing to stay hidden, contained, and quiet in the four corners of my prayer closets.  I needed to see them, remember them, acknowledge them, and yes, share them.

And from over my shoulder I sensed Jesus and I realized he’d been there all the time, I just needed my words to gleam back at me from the screen to illuminate his beautiful face that’s always, always closer and more real than I could imagine.

This is the first brush with Shalom that I remember, my broken funkified funkiness made whole in Jesus’ presence.  I was a Shalom practitioner;  took what I knew of heaven and applied to this world all with my words.

For the rest of the year I kept at it with the clickety-clack of my keyboard and tasting new phrases on my tongue before entering them into a Word doc.

So if I could narrow my reflection of last year down to one word, it would be “Shalom”, god’s wholeness and harmony entering in our brokenness and cacophonous world.   Last year, Shalom took hold of life and I learned how to invite God to create wholeness within me and my little corner of the Internet with my words.

Last year:

Jesus used the word “again”, to help me find him in the monotony of my funkified life. Wholeness of life for the listlessness of motherhood and relief for the journey of motherhood, this was my Shalom of 2013.

He taught me the power of forgiveness and washing the feet of my enemies. Whole love for broken people, this was my Shalom of 2013.

He reminded me that I am the mocha girl in the white tutu and to him my unique name, “Osheta”, I will always me “the girl who dances.” Brokenness of shameful wandering met with His identity and purpose., this was my Shalom in 2013.

And so many more moments of practicing “Shalom”.

The awkward conversation with a tattoo artist and my new tattoo during Lent that reminds me to be a peacemaker who champions the poor and loves diversity.

The Oreo Eucharist that redeemed my identity as a black woman and healed me from traumatic bullying.

The reminder that I do have a tribe and “We Are Pierced Women” when I pierced my skin with my daughter on her seventh birthday.

The reminder that Jesus thinks women are people too and that I have no right to call impure what God has called clean, even if the word, “feminism” reminded me of baggage and rubbed me the wrong way.

The letter to my Sisters in the Suburbs validating them and inviting them into a whole and life-giving relationships with us “urban” missionaries.

2013 was the year I learned the power of Shalom.  So much so that I changed the name of the blog from “Carried Away” to “Shalom in the City”.


Shalom will always be a part of my life—it’s etched into my very skin and the desire of my heart.  So finding a new word of 2014 seemed nearly impossible, but after reading, “Bread and Wine” over the summer, I desired that rich connection between food and community and the very heart of God.


Psalm 34:8 has floated in and out and around my heart for six months, weaving a truth that there’s more to God than I can even imagine and inviting me to sit at His table.  So my word for 2014 will be, “taste”.

Taste is a gracious invitation to the table to come and be known.

Taste is a challenge to risk, to try something new and come away knowing you’re stronger and more courageous than you thought.

Taste is a reminder that the world is big, beautiful, and wildly delicious.

Taste acknowledges the variety of sweet, salty, and bland.

Taste warns me that most of the time I have to train the taste buds of my heart to crave what’s best for me.

Taste points me back to the God who made me wonderfully, fearfully, and in His image.

Taste leaves me sitting at the communion table sitting across from my Savior, chewing the bread he broke for me and sipping the wine he poured and aware of my shortcomings but unashamed.  My cleaned feet and inclusion in His family, strips away that insecurity.


Yes, in 2014 I will taste and I know I’ll see that the Lord is good in ways I can’t even imagine or anticipate starting in January in my New Year’s series, “31 breakfasts with Jesus” which I’ll share more about in the coming week.

Your Shalom Sister with eager taste buds,