Tis the season of ‘newness’ each time one year flips into another, and as many authors know, we have this little tradition of choosing a ‘one word’ for our new year.
I haven’t seen it celebrated as much this year as it has been in the past, but, for me, it was a good reminder of my focus. My perspective. So for the past month I’ve been trying to figure out my One Word for 2016.
Last year (sounds weird to think of yesterday as LAST YEAR!) 2015 my word was Change…and boy, oh boy, was it! Our family was still recuperating from a tough move (still are in some ways), I was trying to find out what God wanted for me professionally (still am), we were adjusting to a new town, finding friends, struggling through mismatched schools, and missing the familiar.
Change happened over and over and over again – each time filled with its own difficulties and rewards.
So when it came to my word for 2016, I prayed about it with a little trepidation. Battle weary from 2015, I desperately wanted a healing word.
Then I realized…. I’d let circumstances and pain, my disappointments and struggles, define my vision. I’d released some of the hope and truth I know from God’s word and allowed wounds to cloud my vision from Christ’s promises.
Not to minimize the grueling transition of my family, or the loneliness that accompanied such a drastic shift – Our grief was a part of our healing. Our wounds clear markers of God’s continued movement in our lives. But those hurts and struggles should not redefine the truth:
God is in control and He loves His kids. I mean He REALLY loves his kids!!
A super, amazing, transforming, dark-vanquishing, wound-healing kind of love.
And he created 2015 🙂 with every day inside of it.
Where was God in the move? In the nights I held my weeping daughter because she ached for her friends? Where was He when my 2nd-born son retreated into his room, his happy-heart trying to cope with his new loneliness? Where was God when my kids had to switch schools all over again and step away from another set of friends to feel the sting of loneliness all over again? Where was He as I scrambled to place jobs together to help make ends-meet? Where was he in the desperate longing for the familiar comfort of deep-set friendships and the companionship of the everyday?
Where was He?
Right in the middle of all of the mess, shaping the moments and my heart to grow ever closer to Him. He was cradling each one of my children in their sadness and urging them to rest in Him. He was bending wills and instilling ‘new’ vision to help me gain a better perspective. He was teaching me, and my family, more about who he was so we could see him with clearer eyes.
He brought some awesome things in the middle of the difficulties. My first book came out in April and through that I made some amazing new friends. I applied to become an independently contracted speech-language pathologist (a choice I wouldn’t have made unless forced by circumstances) and I’m enjoying learning this new dynamic of my career. My children have a greater compassion for others and have learned to grow stronger in their faith.
So…this year, regardless of the crazy that 2016 brings, my word is Joy. Intentional Joy. The only kind that remains, even when all other lights appear to go out.
Joy that holds to truth regardless of circumstances. That whispers hope over bruised souls.
And, of course, I won’t always remember this word – I’ll fail just like every other human, but the greater truth remains: He will NOT fail.
Keeping Joy at the forefront of my mind and heart this year will draw me closer to the Ultimate Joy. Christ.
May your 2016 be filled with Joy.