Have you ever picked a word for the year? The idea is to pick a word that will challenge and inspire you, and even act as a guiding tool for making decisions. You can pick ANY word! Examples include: thankful, fearless, rest, abundance, hope, purpose, release, accept, adventure, surrender, passion or grace.
I've been pondering which word to pick for 2016. I wanted a word I could apply to every aspect of my life — faith, marriage, community, business, home and health. I wanted a word that would challenge me to be patient, inspire me to be productive and remind me of God's goodness. I kept thinking of great options, but none quite fit what I was wanting.
Last week my husband and I joined my parents, sister and brother-in-law at our family cabin to celebrate Christmas, New Year's and my sister's birthday. Our cabin has always been surrounded by trees, but recently there have been some forest clearing on one side of the house. It was a shock to arrive at the cabin and see the progress that's been made. I don't take to change well and at first I HATED the way it looked. My brother-in-law explained to me that the change is a good thing. He said the timber management would benefit the forest and create a better environment for flora and fauna. He described a forest similar to the one we knew years ago, where we would find blueberry bushes, watch chipmunks play and spot deer enjoying our salt lick.
I'm about to go metaphorical on you here, but stay with me.
There are walls around this heart of mine. There are places deep inside me where I am afraid to go. Losing two babies turned me from a deeply trusting and joyful person into a woman who struggles with fear and anxiety. 2015 was a year of healing for me, but those walls haven't fully crumbled yet. As I look forward to the coming year I dream of allowing God to clear away the rotted and hollow parts inside me. I dream of growth and beauty. I'm overwhelmed with emotion as I write these words because I know now that growth and beauty may not look like a healthy baby, but if it comes from the Lord then it will still be beautiful and it will still be good.
This morning I was reminded of Jeremiah 17:7-8, which reads,
"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."
This is where I found my word: fruitful.
I want to look back on this year and see how my willingness to be patient and forgiving in my marriage increased the communion of my marriage. I want to see how my passion for decorating and helping others resulted in a successful-in-my-eyes business year. I want to pour into the lives of others and point them towards Christ, and I want to see those planted seeds turn into visible growth. I want to continue running (an activity I thought I'd NEVER do or enjoy) and see how my dedication will result in increased endurance. I want to surrender myself to the pruning process that must be done in my heart and rejoice, not fear, for God is doing something beautiful in me.
Did you pick a word last year? How did it influence you? Do you have a word for 2016? Please share!