Joy – My One Word for 2018

I love having My One Word to focus on for the year. My word for 2017 was Expect. In 2016 my word was Know, in 2015 it was New, and in 2014 it was The Word. Having a word and a verse to focus on and study each year has helped me to grow closer to the Lord.

As I was praying about my one word for 2018, one word kept popping up and coming to mind.

It was not a word I would have chosen.

A few weeks ago I told the ladies at our Wednesday Night bible study that I thought I knew my word for 2018 but I wasn’t ready to share it, yet. I wanted make sure it was “the word”, and I was thinking (and hoping) it may change.

Reluctantly, I shared the word and the verse with them.  I told them about how often I was seeing, hearing and thinking about the word Joy. They thought Joy was a wonderful word!  One even said, “Michelle, next year when the chaos comes, you can cling to that word! Joy is a good word!”

I said, “Yes! But that first part – the chaos! I don’t want that! Why this word? Besides, I wanted a more challenging word!”

As soon as those words left my mouth I knew.  It was JOY.

Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

On my drive home, I realized “Joy” is truly a very ambitious word for me in so many ways.

There were several moments in 2017 where I was filled with JOY, and my Mom happened to capture a photo of this one:

I was facing the ocean and humming the words from the song Gracefully Broken by Tasha Cobbs:  “Here I am God, arms wide open. Pouring out my life, gracefully broken.”

I was so incredibly thankful that God had opened doors for me to share my story at the Hope Restored Conference. I knew with arms wide open that there was no greater JOY than following His path and being obedient. He alone can take our worst pain and turn it into purpose and passion.

It was a mountaintop moment. Pure JOY.

My passion is to inspire women who have been sexually abused or violated to find couragehope, and freedom in Jesus Christ!

And while it brings me great joy, it can also at times be very painful and triggering. It can take me back to dark places and it can feel incredibly overwhelming, especially when I feel powerless. I longed for others to share their #metoo and yet I found myself at times wishing there were a safer and easier way to come out of such a raw and lonely place.

But God.

He makes known to me the path of life;
He fills me with joy in His presence.

He is faithful to remind me that true Joy comes from Him. I have to seek Him and cling to Him. My emotions can no longer be the boss of me. Jesus longs to fill me with Joy in His presence. The key to Joy is to be in His presence.

My word for 2018 is JOY and may it be a reminder for me to seek Him and to be still in His presence because the Joy of the Lord is my strength! I look forward to seeing the paths He sets before me and the Joy He will provide along the way.

Lord, I have chosen you alone as my inheritance.
You are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion.
I leave my destiny and its timing in your hands.
Your pleasant path leads me to pleasant places.
I’m overwhelmed by the privileges
that come with following you,
for you have given me the best!
The way you counsel and correct me makes me praise you more,
for your whispers in the night give me wisdom,
showing me what to do next.
Because you are close to me and always available,
my confidence will never be shaken,
for I experience your wrap-around presence every moment.
My heart and soul explode with joy—full of glory!
Even my body will rest confident and secure.
For you will not abandon me to the realm of death,
nor will you allow your Holy One to experience corruption.
For you bring me a continual revelation of resurrection life,
the path to the bliss that brings me face-to-face with you.
Psalm 16:5-11 TPT

Do you have One Word for 2018?  I’d love to hear it.  Please share it in the comments!  Happy New Year!!

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Expect – My One Word for 2017

Expect #myoneword

For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. Philippians 1:20

I sat in the sunlight waiting for my windshield to defrost thinking about my word for 2017 – Expect.

This life is a race.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

We are challenged to keep going and keep stepping when the map ahead is not always clear.

Lord, help me to look straight ahead and stay focused on you.

I don’t need to look to the left or the right and see what others are doing or how they are doing it.  I don’t need to look behind me because the past is the past.

When I look back I stall. When I look to my left or right and start comparing myself to others I feel completely inadequate and if I’m really honest I start to doubt.  I lose faith. I give up.

Lord, help me to EXPECT you in all situations.

Just like I expected the ice to melt on my windshield this morning in the sunlight, I EXPECT you to clear the path and show me the way.

I EXPECT you to have my front, back and side to side.  May your Holy Spirit speak to my  heart and reveal to me what I need to do as I move forward.

I EXPECT you to help me know when to pause to rest and rejuvenate.

I EXPECT you to give me the strength and courage to keep my eye on the prize and not on  any distractions.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  1 Corinthians 9:24

Lord, I EXPECT you to be with me and to be my source of strength, energy, focus and determination.

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You will never leave me nor forsake me.  You will guide and protect me.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

Lord, more than anything I EXPECT you.

I anticipate you in the day to day, in all things.

I expect you in all situations and circumstances, good or bad. You will be with me.

My eye is on the prize, and my faith is completely in YOU.  Help me to prepare and be ready.

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Matthew 24:44

I expect chains to be broken.

I expect lives to be healed.

I expect YOU, Lord.

[ Focused on the Goal ] I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. Philippians 3:14

Happy New Year!  What is your word for 2017?

Linking up with Bonnie Gray:

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