One Word to Light the Path: Word for the Year

For the past couple of years I’ve chosen a word for the Year. I started doing this the year that included getting burned out of our house, three moves, throwing away most of our possessions, rebuilding our house and the deaths of my Dad and Sister.  At that time, life was so overwhelming and chaotic, it just seemed like one word was all I could handle. One word to light the path in a year that seemed muddled and confusing. To me, choosing ONE word is like short-hand for Habakkuk 2:2:

Then the Lord answered me and said:

“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it. (NKJV)

I’ve always been a big picture write the vision, via Covey, and write the details, via Allen, kind of girl. Writing things down is second nature to me and the whole vision thing- I get that. When I was a senior in college I was the Student Coordinator for a week-long Celebration of the Arts. Our mandate was the following verse:

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

(Proverbs 29:18 KJV)

It’s been a benchmark verse in my life ever since. If you know where you are going- well, that is powerful stuff! The extraneous, the superfluous, the attacks of the Enemy of our Souls fall away, simply because the mission guides, directs and leads (cue the old Carmen song, Mission 3:16).

Because I’m a word nerd, I’m never really satisfied with just one translation/commentary. The message has an interesting take on the whole write the vision thing:

And then God answered:

“Write this.
Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters


so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness
pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
It’s on its way. It will come right on time.

I wrote our word for 2013 in big block letters. I used a piece of wood from our newly remodeled kitchen (a.k.a. house fire do-over) and put this word on display in our dining room, where it can be seen from the entire first floor. I have clung to our word this year. And, oh, what a year

We have suffered heart wrenching losses in the areas of family. It’s like the enemy of our souls looked at our word and said, “Really? I’ll hit you where it hurts the most and we’ll see how much abundance you have in your life!” We’ve been hit before, don’t get me wrong. I have a genetic disorder that causes people to stare, we’ve been burned by employers and suffered overwhelming debt as a result, we’ve had our fair share of “persecution” because of our faith and homeschooling. All of these things have been difficult challenges. But this last one; where the very fabric of our nuclear family has been torn; it’s been a whole new level of suffering. Throw in some serious medical and financial trials and count it as one of those years.

God has shown me, in no uncertain terms this year ,that the Kingdom of Heaven is between Him and Me. My husband, children, and other family members have to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. And that’s a hard word. To live abundantly this year has demanded that I leave people alone that I long to be in relationship with. It has forced me to let God avenge, compel, draw, teach, discipline others and trust Him for the outcome. It has exhorted me to not respond to character assaults and lies and heart wounds and still love and pray and trust in God’s compassion and in His justice.  God wants me to live abundantly in the face of stingy mind and heart wrenching suffering. Oy vey. That is hard stuff.

And yet. And yet. God has abundantly supplied in the midst of a trial that has torn my heart. He has provided wise and loving friends who have allowed me to lament. They have listened and cared and loved me. They have exhorted me not to grow bitter. We’ve had gifts of money that have filled in when doctor’s bills have threatened to drown our finances. We’ve had jobs show up that seemed awkward at first and have been perfect in the end. God’s abundance has followed us, lead us, embraced us and sustained us. He is a good God and He loves us well, despite the onslaught of hurts and heartaches of this life. 

And my word for 2013 exemplifies this. I would have known it anyway, but because it’s been front and center in my house, where I see it every day, I’ve known it in a more personal way. I’ve looked for the abundance, I’ve expected it, watched for it, anticipated it, and trusted in it, even when circumstances seem to indicate that our lives are stingy and small. And, I’m still waiting for it. Because I know and trust that those whose hope is in the Lord will rise up. We will stand. We will be courageous and have joy; despite ourselves. God is for us- you and me-who can be against us? 

A word for the year? Definitely. It’s so worth doing. It’s Biblical. It’s Good Management. It will define your year. It will highlight the character of God in your life. It will stretch and grow you and demand that you honor and believe in something bigger than yourself and your small circumstances.

2014 is almost here. What will your Word be?

Lisa blogs at Golden Grasses, lives and works from her refined-by-fire house in the Territories with her husband and 3 youngest children. She is constantly on the look-out for good words and God’s abundance.

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