“What’s your ‘word’ for the new year?” It’s like the cool thing to do now – have a word. A word to use as a theme for your next year. Everyone’s doing it, which kind of makes me not want to do it just for the sake of going against the grain.
I’ve never really done the whole word thing, and if I did… 1) I can’t remember what the word was, and 2) it lasted about halfway through the day of January 1st.
Why? Well the honest and boring answer is that my father-in-law (who also happens to be my boss) challenged our church staff to pick a word, a verse, and a prayer for 2019. He assured us that he’d be asking us what each of them are, and so because I’m a rule follower and don’t like to be caught in moments I’m not prepared for, I began thinking of what my word, verse, and prayer would be. It’s a lame reason, I know, for picking a word that is suppose to focus and direct you for a whole year.
I left my corporate job last January to work on staff at my church. I had my busiest and most successful year in photography with weddings, engagements & couples, families, contract work for a local magazine, and launching my online print shop! (PS if you want a 15% off coupon to the print shop, join my email tribe here!)
My husband and I also sold our first home and bought/built our new home! That journey in itself was one of the most stressful processes (you can read all about it here) full of uncertainty, doubt, worry, and a lot of tears.
I’m not quite ready to go into the details of the nightmare my husband and I are facing, and it’s not because I don’t want to be “real” or “authentic”, but because it’s just extremely personal and it’s still an open wound honestly. I think I’ve cried more in the last 5 months than I have in my whole life.
The only word I can think of that can accurately describe 2018 would be “crazy”…times a million. It was a year of pruning… relationally, professionally, and definitely spiritually. Over the past few months, I have been extremely sensitive and analytical of just about everything. I began to analyze all the cliche Christian sayings, the lyrics of worship songs, and even verses of scripture. In the beginning, I have to admit I was looking at things with a skeptic’s eye. I wasn’t re-evaluating my faith, but I was re-evaluating if God would really prove to be faithful in the middle of our mess. But, I believe God was really taking me on a journey to figure out for myself, in the most personal way possible, how to handle and deal with grief and disappointment. I had to go through the phase of pruning… pruning of my tight grip on control and pruning of my emotions. God had to strip everything away. Recently though, I’ve had an interesting perspective shift on life. I still have my moments of frustration and sadness, and that probably won’t change, but I have chosen to intentionally pursue God’s peace.
PEACE. It means to be content. Free from worry. Still.
I came across of verse of Scripture that really spoke to me…
My prayer for this year is that God would guard my heart and mind through the avenue of peace. God isn’t picking on me, but He has hand-picked me. I’m praying that His peace will comfort my heart when my emotions are low on joy and hope and that His peace will transform my mind when my thoughts are negative, insecure, or doubtful.
If you have a word for 2019, I’d love to hear it and the story behind it. Feel free to comment it below if you’re comfortable, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.