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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My One Word for 2016 {Know}

Whatever is Lovely: Be Still and Know

I found my six-year-old son’s wish list for Christmas and laughed when I saw he wanted a robot to do his homework for him.

As his mom, I know better.  I know homework will help him, and will prepare him for the quizzes, tests and exams that will come.  I love him too much to let him skip his homework because I know what is good for him.

Likewise Jesus knows what is good and beneficial for me. He’s the greatest teacher ever. He knows what lies ahead. He knows where I need testing. He knows that my “homework” is good for me, too.  When I struggle with discipline, time management and listening, God is gracious to meet with me everyday to mold, teach, refine and train me. But, it is up to me to do my homework. It is up to me to study. It’s up to me to show up. I have to trust, and be willing to have my faith stretched. When I mess up, I have to be willing to try again. When I fall, I have to be willing to stand back up. When I want to move, I have to practice being still.

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The Word for 2014

All Things Good Jars

If my life were a book, 2013 would be the chapter that changes everything.   Last year at New Years we made and gave to friends ALL things good jars … Romans 8:28, clinging to the promise that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.   Looking back, that verse was perfect for 2013 and sustained me through many winding roads, steep climbs and downhill tumbles.  It was a verse that would pop into my head every time I sighed, “not good.”

God Is Faithful.

For the past 24 hours just thinking about 2013 brings tears to my eyes.  I am thankful for so much, and while I didn’t actually put everything in the jar, it is overflowing with GOOD.   The highlight of my year was on September 15, 2013 when I was baptized again.  I know baptism is a public profession of faith, but hear me when I tell you it was a private, intimate lovefest with my Savior in that water on that day.  He is my redeemer.  He restores me and He makes me new.  He gives me a Hope and a Future.  I am lost without Him.

Give me The Word for 2014!  This is what I started thinking about last Saturday night.  I went into our ladies small group on Sunday morning and I asked again, what is the word for 2014??  Several mentioned options for them, and for me I still hadn’t landed yet on a word.   Maybe it was a verse?  Lord, help me to focus!  What is it?

Then in worship – we sang “One Thing Remains”.  That song was one of my many favorites in 2013.  While images of 2013 flashed on the big screen of my mind, I sang “it overwhelms and satisfies my soul…and I’ll never, ever have to be afraid, this one thing remains – Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me.”  As we sat down to hear the message, I grabbed my journal, and I started taking notes and then I wrote this out as I prayed silently, ” Lord, Give me The Word for 2014….”

notes

I even distinguished that it was my thought in my notes…then I looked up to hear the pastor say “We have to know Him/know His word.  Give me your word so I’ll know you even better.”

It hit me right then, when I looked back at what I wrote:   Give me The Word for 2014.

The Word is the word for 2014!

As the sermon continued, the message was even more confirmed in my heart.  I was overwhelmed at the Lord speaking deeply to me in that moment.  When the service ended, I shared it with the leader of our small group.

So for the past few days, I have reflected on this and I see how God has lined it all up for me.  A few months ago, I mentioned wanting a reading nook in our room, as I was not sleeping much at night.  My husband moved the computer desk downstairs and created a space for me.  I just love it!  Last week, the verse of the day on the Bible app was 1 Peter 5:6 and I took the same verse and put it with this picture of my corner:

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Give me THE WORD for 2014.

A few months ago I was in Sam’s and saw this adorable pink Bible.  I have another pink Bible, but this pink Bible caught my eye and it is for Busy Mom’s.  I have not marked in it until now:

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I don’t want to say I will read through the entire Bible in 2014.  I don’t want to say I’m committing to so many chapters, verses, minutes per day.   I don’t want another checklist.  I simply want you, Lord.  I want your Word to come alive for me in my life and in my story.  So in 2014, with this Busy Mom’s Bible and journals – I want to meet with you faithfully and hear from you.  Speak to me, Lord.  Show me the way.

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Psalm 119:25-32 ESV

My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!  When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes!  Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.  My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!  Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!  I have chosen the way of the faithfulness; I have set your rules before me.  I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;  let me not be put to shame!  I will run in the way of your commandments for you set my heart free!