In which I take a deep breath and share… {#oneword2015}

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Tears burn the backs of my eyes as I open my WordPress “Create New Post” page this afternoon. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s what happens to me more often than not when words are ready to be given voice. They surface in the form of these tears that make it up, but not all the way out. Go figure.

Stan’s helping a sweet family from our church move into their new home, my kiddos are napping soundly, and I am breathing in the quiet.

Pretty sure the days on end of no afternoon naps in our first few weeks here are catching up with my littles. They are exhausted, and Isaac, at least, has been absolutely at the end of himself. Adios, coping skillz.


But I’m rambling.

What I really want to share with you here is my one word for 2015.

Twenty fifteen?! What?! How did this happen?

Yet it did, and my goodness, I am grateful.

If I’m honest, 2014 was one of the more difficult years of my life. I wrote through it all somehow, albeit it often vaguely — through the loss and the hurt, the grieving and the waiting — and I pray I wrote through the more painful days in such a way as to cover and not dishonor, to extend and receive mercy, while simultaneously offering my friends who journey with me via my words an authentic glimpse into my torn heart.

My 2014 word was freedom, and when that word chose me, I had very little understanding that freedom would come at such a high price.

Please bear with me as I write vaguely yet again — and suffice it to say that last year’s journey into higher freedom took me oh, so much deeper with Jesus than I’d anticipated, primarily because the process of staring my fears in the face in order to move through them toward freedom was much more — well, fearful — than I’d expected.

I was forced to press into His heart in ways I’d never had to before.

But He is faithful, y’all. So much more than faithful.

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And we are here now. We step forward into 2015 finally in our lovely, long awaited Colorado, and while my heart has been slow to catch up with the fact that this is a new, different season, I think I’m beginning to stick my toes in the water of embracing said newness. (Ahem. And apparently mixing expressions and metaphors is a thing for me now. Or maybe it always has been. Yeah. But anyway — onward.)

None of us will ever reach the end of learning to move forward through fear, and freedom will be an ongoing journey for me, as it is for all of us who walk with Jesus. But I am so thankful that my geographical and spiritual boundary lines have fallen now in places where walking out this freedom will be a little safer. Will feel a little — yup — freer.


The last several days have been full — both our time, and our hearts. We’ve spent hours with dear friends, both old and new-ish, and there’re these common threads that’ve run through nearly every conversation, to the point where Stan and I have at times utterly given up on maintaining eye contact with our friends and just stared in shock at each other, jaws agape.

Over and over again, the themes are wide open spaces, boundary lines in pleasant places, and the extravagance of the freedom accomplished for us by Christ’s work on the cross.

And I am undone by God’s sweetness to us, His repeated reminding of our hearts that we. are. home. And we are free, both in this new geographical space, and in Him. In the Kingdom.

Also? There’s another theme that’s run through my last several days, and y’all? I am so frightened by it. But it’s the best kind of fear.

Our friends here, and our church family? They so genuinely desire my heart, you guys. And my voice. A number of them read my blog, I’ve learned (eeep!), which makes all this pouring out of my soul feel even more vulnerable for reasons I can explain in a future post.  (But which I also absolutely love, and if you’re reading this and you’re a part of the LVC, I just adore you and you are so welcome here.)

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But here’s the thing: in all these recent conversations, people are asking about my WORD. For 2015.

This word that feels nearly more vulnerable than I can handle. That brings tears to my eyes and makes my stomach do flips with this gut-level knowing that it’s Jesus who’s highlighted it to me.

Oh, the irony in their asking. Because with every ask, there’s this prodding inside me, “Share it, Dana. Do your word. Open yourself. Be seen. Be heard. Be known.”

So, grimacing inside and often outside too, I share it. I choose to let them see into my soul — those I dearly love, and those I’m just getting to know.

And in light of the wide open spaces and increased heart-safety of this new season for us, for me… and in light of last year’s journey into this expanded freedom… and despite the fact that sharing this word makes me feel afraid and exposed and just generally yikes… I’ll tell you here:


The word is unfold.

As in Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee, hail Thee as the sun above — the line from Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee that thoroughly wrecks me every time I sing it, and has for years.

Also, as in this quote from Rilke that both sweetly convicts and utterly dismantles me:

I want to unfold.
Let no place inside me hold itself closed.
For where I am closed, I am false.

Unfold is what I’m free to do in 2015, because Jesus and I walked hand-in-hand together through 2014, into this previously uncharted-by-me level of authenticity.

Unfold is about trust — both in my God, and in those in whose midst He’s placed me now.

Unfold is about unzipping my soul, being seen, heard, known.

Unfold is about willingly exposing vulnerable places — insights, opinions, experiences, weakness, failures — but not without the covering of my Love.

Unfold is about taking new risks. About jumping and flying and failing and falling into mercy. About getting up and trying again.

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But mostly? Unfold is about worship. It’s about my heart’s cry, “May the Lamb receive the reward of His suffering!” May He receive it in the opening of my soul. In my authenticity. In the way I love and lead and sing and speak. May He receive it in my ruthless, unbridled trust, in my moving forward in quiet, worship-filled obedience even in the midst of fear, because He is outrageously, beautifully worthy of it.

Let nothing inside me hold itself closed. I want to unfold.


Several weeks ago, a dear friend shared this song on Facebook, and it’s since become the soundtrack for my life. I want to share it with you here, because it speaks so profoundly to what Jesus has forged in me in recent days. I’d love for you to take a minute with this (literally – it’s short.). {And if you’re reading via email, would you consider clicking over to listen?}

Final thought: I’m reminded of this 5 Minute Friday post that I wrote back in July. It’s a super short one, but it gives imagery and further explanation to the vulnerability of this journey of unfolding. I’d love for you to read it if you’re not already worn out by all my words tonight.

ALSO (and I promise this is my final thought, for real, y’all) — if you’ve chosen a word to mark your 2015, I’d absolutely love to hear. Share it with me in the comments? And if you’ve blogged about it (which is by no means a requirement!), would you leave a link? I’d love to read.

Blessings to you, my friends, and happy 2015.

Your companionship here has been, and continues to be, an invaluable gift to my soul. I love you guys.

{Sharing this post with my friends in Kelli’s community.}

This entry was posted in Community, Creativity, Give Me Grace, Goodness of the Gospel, Grief and Loss, Learning Authenticity, Ministry, misc. walking with Jesus, One Word, Transition, Uncategorized, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to In which I take a deep breath and share… {#oneword2015}

  1. Ashley says:

    I love this. :) Thank you sharing your heart and being willing to unfold, even if you don’t know yet exactly what that will always look like. Can’t wait to see. <3
    Ashley recently posted…A Message, Written on a Leaf Just off the Murray Run Greenway: Day FourMy Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Ashley, thanks for loving this. :) And yes to not knowing what this will look like. Eeep! Scary. But so thankful that He’s trustworthy. Your presence here blesses my socks off, by the way. Really. Thank you so much, sister. <3

  2. Marvia says:


    Yes!!! I love your word and how pregnant with possibility it is. Grace and peace be with you. Here’s to unfolding in beauty and glory.

    • danalynnb says:

      Mmmm… pregnant with possibility. YIKES. And yes. And yikes. 😀 I love you, friend. Thank you for cheering me on, for loving Him with passion and fire alongside me. You are a gift.

  3. Barbie says:

    Oh I love this, your heart, your word for 2015. “Let no place inside me hold itself closed.” Yes, that I too would remain upon and allow Him to unfold in the overflow of my heart. Thankful for how you share your heart so real and raw. Love you friend. Happy New Year!
    Barbie recently posted…In The Beginning…God // The Weekend BrewMy Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Barbie, thank you for bearing witness to my journey, for the way you walk beside and encourage my heart. AND – for the way you love Him. It blesses and encourages me so much more than I can say. Love you, and happy New Year to you too! May you know His nearness and provision in all the ways your heart needs it this year, Barbie.

  4. Jolene says:

    Dana, thank you for sharing your heart and this beautiful song with us. I think I might need to listen to Morning song every morning, to help get my heart in the right place each day. Your word for 2015 is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. As I read your post I pictured a rose unfolding as it opens to bloom. My word for 2015 is content. I spend way to much time complaining over trivial things, and I want to learn contentment this year. I want to have a positive and loving home for my husband and my children. I am kind of nervous about my word too. I might fall flat on my face a bunch of times, but if I am falling forward into Jesus’s arms, I know it will be all right. Thank you again for sharing your word and for your friendship.
    Jolene recently posted…Lessons I learned in 2014My Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Jolene, every single song on that album is pure gold. My goodness. It has been just balm, balm, and more balm to my heart. AND – may you know His gentleness and yes – His catching of your heart when you fall – this year as you find deeper rest and contentment in Him. Blessings to you and thank you always for your companionship here. I treasure it. <3

  5. I love your word and can’t wait to see what God unfolds in your life this year! My word is Presence…that I want to be in the immediate vicinity of Jesus this year. Never straying away. Never missing how He is working. And yes, I wrote about it today too (although not nearly as eloquently as you did today!)
    Holly Barrett recently posted…Big Red Sofa: One Word 2015My Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Holly! PRESENCE – it’s one of my all-time faves. It was my word for the year back in 2012. It makes me so excited that Jesus is highlighting this one to you for this year. I can’t wait to read your piece about it! Thanks for walking with me here, friend. I so appreciate your presence and your heart in my space. <3

  6. Rachel Meyer says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing this word play out in your life! As I was reading, I felt the word forgiveness come strongly to my heart, which, like your word, is terrifying to me. Jesus is faithful to carry through his work this year. Here’s to an adventurous year in uncharted waters in Colorado friend!

    • danalynnb says:

      Thank you, sister. And actually, thanks for your open heart to Him, too, even as you read my words. I’m blessed by your heart of surrender to Him… and by your companionship on our wild and cray-cray journey into the hills today. Haha. Something easier next time, and less like bootcamp. 😀 Like coffee. For real. Love you and so glad you’re here with me!

  7. Joanne Viola says:

    Dana, I love that you have shared your word ~unfold~. As I sat thinking on this word, your word, I realized we are ever unfolding as He takes us to & through new seasons. What a precious word! My word found me the beginning of December & I waited and left God time to pick a new one for me {{joke there. FYI, He’s pretty persistent & wants His way}}and alas, He did not change it. My word is “believe” >> “Do not be afraid, just believe…..” (Luke 8:50). Last year my word was faith & it was the hardest year ever. I was so wanting an easier word. But more so, I want Him to work in me & so I submitted to His word. May we both find our walks deepening, our love for Him ever growing as we focus on our one word & His Word. Blessings!
    Oh & my link where I wrote about my word is …
    Joanne Viola recently posted…These Three StepsMy Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Mmmm, so true, Joanne. We are ever unfolding and becoming as we walk with Him. I’m so thankful for that process, for all the ways He meets us and shapes our hearts in that journey. And I hear you on wanting an easier word. “Do not be afraid – just believe.” Eeek. Such goodness and such difficulty, too. I’m interested to see how Jesus meets you in that place of stretching and growth this year. So much grace to you, friend. And thank you, always, for being here. Your presence is a gift.

  8. Kim says:

    Ooooh, that’s a skeery word! I have loved reading along with your moving journey in 2014, because as you know, we moved from SC to VA in June. It’s a whole new adventure for us and our kids are still adjusting. Sometimes I’ll be going along just on an ordinary day, and then I’ll get blindsided by some homesickness for a friend left behind in SC. Or one of my children will express some lingering sadness or upset as a result of the move. Anyway, my word for 2015 is FOCUS and I don’t like it at all despite knowing that I need it. My post on it is here: Also, I have discovered that two of our three pastors follow my blog, along with a few others at our church, and it does make me feel much more vulnerable but also much more accountable for what I say. Do you ever find yourself feeling a little embarrassed when someone asks you for your blog address? I do, and I need to get over that, I think.

    I look forward to watching you UNFOLD this year. :-)

    • Kim says:

      I guess I should leave the actual post url and not the one to edit it.…nding-my-focus/
      Kim recently posted…One Word 365 2015: Finding my FocusMy Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Your presence through my moving journey, Kim, has been such a comfort, actually – because I know you get it. And yes, I get the being blindsided on an ordinary day and the children still grieving or just still processing all the change. I hear ya on the vulnerability of your pastors reading your writing. I’m in that boat. I’m so blessed that they want to know my heart. Yup, there totally is that sense of embarrassment, or just wanting to run and hide :), when someone asks for my blog info or tells me they found it and have been reading. Eeep! It’s the strangest combo of profoundly thankful and terrified. :) Anyway, thanks for being with me this year, friend. I appreciate it more than I can say. And I’m going to read your FOCUS post. Can’t wait!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful post and word for the year! I feel excited about what God has in store for you!
    Elizabeth recently posted…Starting 2015 with thanksgiving…My Profile

  10. Deb Wolf says:

    Absolutely beautiful Dana. I remember the year God revealed to me the places of my heart I was keeping locked away from His grace and healing freedom. The process is ongoing but there is joy in surrendering it all. All for Him alone. Many blessings to you as you unfold before Him.
    Deb Wolf recently posted…2015 – Stories of Faith, Hope, and LoveMy Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Oh Deb, YES – we all have those places we want to withhold from Him, eh? Unfolding is so risky and even painful, but I’m so thankful for His continual, tender pursuit. For the way He woos us to surrender. He loves so perfectly, doesn’t He? Thank you for your encouragement here, for your presence.

  11. YES!!!! in tears over here dear one because so much this. I cannot wait to see where unfold takes you this year.

    • danalynnb says:

      Katie, dear friend, I love you and your tears and the way you see and the way you love – both me and others. Thank you for being here, for walking beside me, for bearing witness to my journey. For your companionship. <--- Yeah, that. Just thank you, friend. I love you.

  12. Liz Green says:

    i will watch and praise as God unfolds you. It can’t be done quickly or forced, or the tender petals will rip and tear. You will bloom in Colorado (it where Paul and i met) and there will be no hiding this year as you unfold to the Son’s light. Love the 2015 word, unfold.
    Mine, too, is from a hymn. Cleft. Jesus, the rock of ages, was the place where Moses hid on Mount Sinai, protected from the immense Glory of God and by His hand. I want to hide or be hidden in the identity of Christ. More of him, less of me. Here’s to the 2015 words.

    • danalynnb says:

      Liz. It is SO good to see you here. And sister, that right there is a good word. About how unfolding can’t be forced or petals will tear. I am tucking that one away to pull out and ponder as needed – because it will for sure be needed. Thank you!

      I didn’t realize you and Paul met out here – where in CO? How long were you guys here? And I absolutely love your word – cleft – so absolutely perfect and rich with depth, and it makes me want to be hidden in Him more deeply. It’s interesting, actually – as I’ve considered “unfold,” I’ve actually had this mental picture of myself unfolding from a place of being hidden in His heart. Like, unfolding, being seen and heard and known, but simultaneously tucked away, safe in Him.

      Anyway, thank you so much for sharing, Liz. I think of you and pray for you quite often and am encouraged by your life, by the way you love — both your people and your God.

  13. Sarah says:

    Gosh I love you, and miss you. So much.
    Sarah recently posted…he likes Bruce LeeMy Profile

  14. Yes, yes, yes! Connected hearts once again. I love you, sister! My word for the year is FEARLESS. I can’t seem to write it without ALL CAPS. I’m so excited for you and the beauty we’ll all behold as you unfold all the more. He’s got you.
    Ashley Larkin @ Draw Near recently posted…God Light, Thoughts on Last Year’s One Word (Seek) and My Guiding Word for 2015My Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Connected hearts… sigh. Yes. We are soul sisters. I am so thankful for you, Ash, and cannot WAIT to read your FEARLESS post. It’s on my list for tonight. And oh – “He’s got you.” Those little words. I think I needed them because they just landed someplace way deep in my heart as I re-read your comment and they are weighty, Ashley. Really. Thank you. I’m so thankful He’s got me. Also – MAY. I cannot wait to hug you. Eeee!

  15. ~Karrilee~ says:

    I love this so and as I was reading about your word, I thought – first… How Perfect! and secondly, of this quote (which I love!) by Anais Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

    Love you, friend!

    So – Jumping Tandem? It seems that I will SEE YOU in May and that right there just makes me all kinds of happy!
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted…That Thing I Do Now -vol 77My Profile

  16. Tara says:

    Oh sweet Dana, unfold…what a grand word for you. I pray for the ways that unfold will bless you this year. My word for 2015 is “brave.” It is a word that definitely puts knots in my stomach, but is a word that definitely chose me. I am choosing to be brave my friend. Perhaps with my brave and your unfolding, God will lead us to some incredibly amazing places in 2015. Blessed by you my friend. Here is the link to my One word post:
    Tara recently posted…Sunday Blessings 63My Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Oh yeah baby, that *brave* word is a doozy. I haven’t had it as my word yet – but yikes. The idea of it makes me shake in my boots a little. Or a lot. So. I am cheering you on in your brave, sister. Looking forward to watching as He leads you in courage this year. Thanks for bearing witness to my journey, friend. It means so much.

  17. Amber C. says:

    I’m sitting here with a smile playing at the corners of my mouth, Dana, because 1) I just really like you, and 2) I think what you wrote out here is further evidence you’ve already been living out your word. I don’t mean that it won’t take you to deeper, higher, more expansive places this year – to the greater freedom you’re hungry for – but that, be encouraged, sister. You’re already unfolding.

    And also, I’m smiling, because that mixing of metaphors? Yeah. I’m super guilty of that, if it is, indeed, something to be guilty of.
    Amber C. recently posted…On earthy hope, cocoons and the edges of wildnessMy Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      I just really like you too, my friend. And I full-on grinned when I saw you’d commented. And yeah… I am unfolding. It’s true. And terrifying. And I so appreciate your seeing of that, your bearing witness to it, your companionship in it. And I love you a heap. And I think I just started way too many sentences with “and.” But I’m going to leave them that way because this is you I’m talking to, and I feel like I can just go right ahead and do that. :-) LOVE to you.
      danalynnb recently posted…In which I take a deep breath and share… {#oneword2015}My Profile

  18. My One Word for 2015 is “Lean”. See my post at
    Love your rambling posts. They feel like an authentic conversation. Happy New Year!

  19. Natalie says:

    I love your word. Mine’s engage; my first word ever and it arrived quite unexpected and organically. So, I have a word.

    I have been praying for you with your move–your uprooting and reestablishing. I’ve done some moving and moving back. God has used every move to grow me. I’ve been here just shy of 7 years and he’s still using the move. Much of me just wishes we could be done with this already and a little bit of me is able to rest. The awareness of the difficulty of disturbed roots reminded me to pray for you and yours. And for that I am thankful.
    Natalie recently posted…Roads in Transition, Part 2My Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Mmmm, engage… I really dig that one, Natalie. YAY for having a word. :) I so appreciate your prayers over our uprooting and reestablishing. And the way you articulated this – the difficulty of disturbed roots – is a gift to me. Gives me vocab for how I feel at times. Mixed in with all my gratitude for this good, GOOD change, I also feel quite disoriented. Thanks for bearing witness to that… and again for your prayers. Grace to you in your own places of disturbed roots. <3
      danalynnb recently posted…In which I take a deep breath and share… {#oneword2015}My Profile

  20. Caiobhe says:

    Beautiful unfolding friend – thank you for continuing to share your heart and your words. I love your cup of coffee revelations. Even if they come with tears for you. You bless me Dana. I am so, so glad to have walked much of 2014 in your company. love you friend xxx

  21. Hi Dana, I have added you to my feed – I think you are going to be in Ashland in May? I saw that on the facebook thread where Amber was trying to get a ride. I have not followed your journey, but we have been in your kind of situation, where going from one to place to another was a big deal and the journey had some pain involved. Glad to see you are relishing being “home.” again. I’ll be sharing my word(s) in a new post soon, but I am on a mission to finish family calendars for our grownup family who is scattered. (I am making this year’s calendar start on February. Next is my blog post. Blessings

    • danalynnb says:

      Hi Carol! I’m so sorry to just now be replying to your comment. I was so glad to hear from you! Yes, I’m planning to be in Ashland in May. I am SO excited. Sounds like you’ll be there too? Looking forward to meeting you! Thanks for letting me know you identify with our moving journey, and with the pain involved. I’m sorry your move was painful also…and so thankful for the ways Jesus has met me in deep places throughout all of this. Blessings to you as you move through the newness of this year and all that you have on your plate. So nice to meet you… Eagerly anticipating JT! Yay!

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