Thursday, January 4, 2018

My word of the year for 2018

Do you choose a word of the year? I have not before. Too often I have thought that choosing a word of the year meant that I was trying to tell God what to do with my life, instead of focusing on what He wanted fro me that year. While I did not think it wrong for others to choose a word for the year - it just never worked for me. Instead - I tend to look back at the end of the year and think about what word or words summed up what God had shown me that year. If you read my post on Monday about reflecting on 2017, you will remember that last year was summed up by the words change and hope.

Why is this year different? Why did I choose a word for the year? Well, there are a lot of reasons why it is different, and I'll try to explain a couple of them, and I didn't choose my word for this year - God did. I wanted my word for 2018 to be hope, but God told me differently. He said that was last year's theme, and I needed to trust that He could work out my word to focus on in 2018.


Back to why is this year different...


2017 was a year of trial by fire. So many changes - some of them good, others quite painful. My heart was broken when my friend Sharra died. Not because I cried for her - I knew exactly what would happen when she breathed her last breath: she would hear God say "Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Master." On the very first day her husband told me she had been diagnosed with cancer, I knew her end would be one filled with joy - for God had numbered her temporal days, and however many He gave to her would be according to His perfect timing. My heart was broken for myself, and for her family, and her other close friends. Sharra was a woman who shone brightly the love and acceptance found only in Christ. I knew I would miss her encouragement, and her smile. I did, and I still do.

Through all of this, God reminded me of the other friends I have in my life, and how they were His hands and feet - how they comforted me through tough times. What a gift a true friend is!

2017 was also a tough year because God reminded me again and again that I had to choose to accept the gift of marriage He had given to Kurt and me. I had to choose to put others first in my life, even while I was grieving. I had to be able to put enough of my emotions into words to communicate to my family, and especially my husband, how much my heart was hurting, and that just because I was not happy about life right now did not mean I was unhappy with them.

This past year was filled with a renewed conviction that God had things for me to write. Things that needed to be said, words that needed shared - speaking the truth in love - words that should be said by me. I attended two different writing conferences. Both of which were totally overwhelming, but extremely encouraging. One focused on writing for Christ, one focused on writing for the world. At the end of it all God showed me something astounding: I did not have to choose one or the other. I could write for Christ, while still writing words for the world to read, because the truth always comes from God. So as I write things focused upon the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives - I am writing for God. And as I write things focused upon the things in the world around me, like newspaper columns and product reviews, I can still be writing for God - because my honesty in writing, and the way in which I interact with those in the world that do not know Him - can be an avenue to share His love.

Does a song ever grab hold of you and become your theme music? Are there times where you feel the struggle just to keep your head above water and you need a lifeline? I've had those times, those years, those theme songs. I believe we are told to worship God with our mind, heart, soul, and strength because these cause all of us to cry out to Him. Whether your theme song for the week is "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" or Toby Mac's "Move," it is a reminder that God is always there - He is our strength and our hope. Is there ever a year in our Christian walk without challenges? I don't think so. Jesus told us we would have trials, but to take heart, because He had overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Two songs became my themes in 2017: Tenth Avenue North's I Have This Hope, and Matthew West's Broken Things. God used these songs to remind me of the hope I will always have in Him, and how He could use even my grief to touch the heart of someone else. I am including the YouTube links to both songs here. Take a listen, and then I'll tell you about how God gave me my word for 2018.









I've read a lot about a word of the year in the past six months or so. As I mentioned before, I was always skeptical. How could I know in advance what God wanted my theme to be for  the year? Or even for a season? I certainly did not want to pick the wrong theme and be working against His will. Then God basically told me to stop. Stop overthinking it. Stop trying to live a different life. Stop trying to be smarter than everyone else or thinking too much and doing nothing

Contentment is to be found by living the life He has given me. That means being less judgmental, not fearing the future, and opening my heart wide to the people around me - knowing God can heal any hurt that may come. I have decided to listen, and follow. I am sure there will be days when it is hard to focus on this word, as my stubborn pride will rear its ugly head, or my feelings will get hurt. It may be difficult to write the things I want to write to you this year if I must filter everything through this word, but I know my God is able.

How is it possible God for me to choose to be like Mary and choose to sit at the feet of Jesus? How can I do these things He has put on my heart when there are so many other demands on my time? I cannot. But God can. 

God planted this word for the year in my heart to remind me that I can do nothing on my own, but I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Phil.4:13)

My word for 2018 is: Love


word of the year, 2018, love


Christ is love. I know God wants me to be more like Christ. I know I will be following His will when I focus on love. Pray for me would you? It is a challenge that I know I am woefully unprepared for, and yet, I know God sees where it will take me, and He will equip me in His timing - so I look forward to it with joy!




4 comments:

  1. Love is a very good wonder. Will you be posting updates about what this word is doing in your life over this coming year.

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  2. Such a simple word, and yet so very powerful. Enjoyed reading the story of how God has been working in and through you over the past year, and of how he gave you this word for 2018.

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  3. Love is always a great word. So powerful. So much everything.

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