A word for the year – what a lovely idea. In one word, you can express more about your goals than in a list full of resolutions. And you can’t fall off the wagon or fail to keep a word. In choosing a word for your year, you’re deciding to move towards something, to make a change, to take a change and to grow.

My word in 2013 was “joy”. I needed that word. I started this very blog because of that word, and I hadn’t really even really embraced it yet! You see, I’d always been a pretty happy girl, even in adversity, but I knew in my heart that I needed to find joy in the ordinary, in the everyday busy-ness of life. I needed to understand how to choose to sing a song in my heart when that heart wanted to retreat, to buckle under the pressure to be fussy and unlovely. Funny thing happens when you pray – God answers.

Back in 1998, I believe, we needed to buy our first new car. We were just enamored with the Saturn car company- stylish, affordable, American-made, a little family of cars from a company that held reunion picnics in Springhill, Tennessee each summer and sent birthday cards to your car each year on the day it rolled off the line. Prior to the day we brought that little silver car home, Saturn sedans were just another kind of car on the road. But after we drove off the lot, we saw our car’s brothers and sisters and cousins at each turn, in parking lots, Saturn owners waved at us, we joined the family.  Before that day, we hadn’t noticed anyone else driving that make and model, we didn’t know anyone who’d picked that particular color or style. And then, within days, we saw cars just like ours everywhere, I mean EVERY-WHERE! I guess it’s in the act of noticing.

I think it was like that with “joy”. After I chose that word last year, it was everywhere. At first it was just a little weird, a coincidence. Then, I realized that it was kind of like a love letter from my heavenly Father. Every time I saw the word “joy”, it felt like He was reminding me that He had chosen that word for me and now I had to choose to rise above mere happiness and seek out contentment and peace and true joy that I was asking Him for.

And boy did I get the opportunity to test my resolve to ‘choose joy’ in 2013! We had a challenging new diagnosis and diet for our oldest son, a left-out middle son who was pushing our limits, an active and intense toddler growing into a little girl and lots of ups and downs in our finances, at work, and in the lives of our friends and family. Joy is exactly what it was going to take to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I didn’t often just wake up happy, but I often got happy in choosing to live like a Jesus girl and not as if I was a whiny victim of circumstance. I prayed more. I sang more. I offered more grace and I found more, too.

My little experiment-turned-prayer-request had started a heart revolution.

So, by November I was starting to think about what this next year would hold, what lessons would be learned, what word should define me for the 365 days ahead of December 31. I expected that I’d get a quick response, that I’d know in my heart right away what that word would be for 2014. And I was a little frustrated that the word hadn’t come by the time the ball dropped on Times Square.

Then, on the tenth day of the year, seemingly out of nowhere, I got it.


You see, I’ve been super frustrated in this pattern I’m stuck in – reacting to life, finding the wisdom and strength and joy for today, but not for who I will be tomorrow. I’m living today and not in a carpe diem sort of way. I’ve been frustrated in my career path; I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’m heart-weary from being mistreated. I’m restless. My heart is stirring, whispering that there’s more to me than this…more for my marriage…more for my faith walk…more for my family…more for my journey.

becoming yourself

I love this idea – beginning the work or becoming myself, the girl God designed me to be. So, in 2014 I’m setting my sights on “becoming”. I will pray about it, read about it, think about it, seek it out and apply it. I don’t know how it will play out or what’s waiting for me, but it’s all in the “becoming”.

What’s your word?

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