Every year for the past 5 years, I’ve asked God to give me a word to sum up what He plans to do in my life and what I need to surrender to for that year. Here’s what it’s looked like for me.
2015 – Obedience (Trust) / This was the year we made a big, crazy, spontaneous move to San Antonio for Christian to pursue a new career in nursing. We had just purchased a house, had a baby (#4), and I was serving and leading within our church. We were the ideal American family. I was comfortable and I did NOT want to move. God said: obey and trust me in this.
OBEY ME AND TRUST ME IN THIS.
2016 – Refocus / I needed an attitude adjustment that year. The move to SA was hard, and then God surprised us with a pregnancy (#5) that I felt inadequate to handle. Though I obeyed God in the previous year and made uncomfortable changes to our circumstances, I grumbled and complained in my heart. In 2016 God called me to refocus my attention on his provision and the blessings and to let go off the disappointments, fear, worry, and stress over things I couldn’t control. He asked me to stop doing public ministry (worship, leading ministry groups, taking on big volunteer roles) and to focus on loving my family well and serving the people around me. I let God heal some broken things in my life from childhood and I led a few women through a study of God’s word.
2017 – Rest / Coming out of a year with a newborn that didn’t sleep great and postpartum depression that left me feeling depleted, I needed to recover. This was also the year that our precious 5th baby began to explore and test boundaries and she tested EVERY SINGLE boundary 100 billion times. I was living in survival mode and I needed to somehow recover but sheer will power wasn’t enough. I needed to rest in Jesus. Be ok with not being ok. Take one day at a time and focus on the beauty in the little things. This was a year of resting in God’s love, appreciating the relationships around me, and learning to love the crazy life God has given me. I opened up my living room every Tuesday night for women in my neighborhood to learn more about Jesus’ great love for them. It’s was casual, simple, and lifechanging.
2018 – Joy / I thought 2015 was hard but 2017 sucked. I actually wrote that in my journal that year. In 2017 I learned to rest in the midst of my chaos, let go of control, and surrender my expectations to God. I gained peace but I still felt like I’d lost my carefree, fun, laughter-filled self. I needed some new life after a difficult year so God gave me the word Joy. I needed to figure out how to find that elusive joy and restore it so hubby sent me on a mommy staycation at the Riverwalk. Just me for one night at a hotel to seek God for the year. I’m not sure what I was expecting, how I thought the joy would come, but I know I was surprised when God showed me that weekend that the only source of joy was a deeper connection with Him. We can manufacture happiness but true joy comes from God alone. So I dedicated 2018 to drawing close to Jesus again, to searching out my joy in the heart of giver of all good things.
2019 – Restoration / In the past few years of struggle I had lost my confidence in so much of what God had called me to do. I felt inadequate as a wife, parent, worshipper, and leader of women. The things that moved my heart to action still moved me but not enough for action. God had told me to step away from public ministry in 2016 and I was waiting for him to release me to start doing big things again. But I had a battle to fight in my heart and mind first. There was a voice of doubt and fear that told me that I was broken, I wasn’t ready, I wouldn’t be capable of handling it, my capacity was gone, or that it was prideful or selfish to pursue those things. I had lost confidence in what God had created me and prepared me to do. He told me that in 2019 he would restore the things that I’d lost in those hard years; my confidence, boldness, belief, health, clarity, and yes, more of my joy. Slowly but surely, throughout the year, I began to feel whole again.
My word for 2020 is DISCIPLINE as in self-discipline. What that means for me is to stop making excuses about what I should be doing to grow. What that means for me is consistently choosing the right thing over the thing that’s easy, convenient, or feels good. It means exercising daily, eating healthy, and getting up early to study God’s word. It means growing in Jesus and sharing what I learn through blogging, social media, and the YouTube channel we started in the fall. It means stepping out in confidence to coach and mentor people. It means leading a small group in our home, joining the worship team, and writing Bible studies. It means writing the book God has already written in my heart. It means laying a wide foundation of character and maturity in my life that will allow God to build high upon.
WE BUILD WIDE. HE BUILDS HIGH.
It means that God believes in me, wants to use me to do big things. He showed me how to be obedient, focus on him, rest in him, find joy in him, be restored by him, and now it means that in being diligent to overcome my weaknesses of excess, laziness, and fear I would grow in trustworthiness, faith, wisdom, and boldness. Through being diligent in prayer, study, and my love for Jesus, being diligent in hearing him and sharing his thoughts with the world I would become a willing vessel that he could use for big things and I would have the character to handle whatever comes.
It also means allowing God to heal the brokeness and grief of losing my Mom to cancer in September of 2019. It means exposing my hurt, fear, sadness, anger and every other emotion to the healing touch of Jesus and allowing him to use my pain to grow and to help others heal. It means that in the midst of all of my responsibilities in life (stay at home mom, homeschool mom, housekeeper, voice lesson teacher of 10 students, caretaker of my dad who now lives with us, hospitality leader at our church, etc…) I still have more to give. It means not giving up, feeling sorry for myself, or making excuses.
Sharing Jesus by influencing the world around me isn’t something I do, it’s something I am.
It’s a responsibility I treasure and that God has equipped all of us for. Living my own life isn’t enough, I’m called to let people in, invite others to join me and to point others to the One that gives me my breath and life and words.
My word for 2020 is Discipline. It means: Get ready for what God has planned next.
What’s your word for the year?
Don’t have one? Then ask him for it, he’ll tell you. He has just as much to say to you with one word as he’s said to me. And the work that he does in your suffering, struggle, and trials will not be wasted. Look back at your past 5 years and allow God to show you where he was in those circumstances, holding you up, comforting you, or nudging you along.
Then, ask him what his plans are for you this year.
Your word for 2020 is _______________. It means: ________________________________________
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