Back in January, I read several Facebook posts from friends about a word for the year. Here’s an excerpt from the email I sent my online friends and subscribers about my thoughts on this. Go ahead and read it but stay with me and at the end, I’ll share how God’s already used this word to change my life.
God gave me a word this year.
A few friends posted on Facebook that God gave them a new word for the new year. I was a teensy bit jealous. I wondered why God had never given me a word for the year. Then I wondered why I’d never thought of asking him for a yearly word. So I asked. And he answered. He gave me the word Grow for 2017.
At the beginning of every year, I always desire a deeper relationship with God. I want to know him more. This year, I wanted to crave the Scriptures so much that if my Bible were ever taken away, those precious words would be forever engraved on my heart and soul and easily recalled. So when God gave me that word, I thought, “Thank you. Thank you for fanning my desires to know you even more, deeper still.”
But that wasn’t my first thought.
Y’all, I’ve never had a word for the year. I never would’ve even thought of it had I not been jealous of my friend’s words. I felt like a five-year-old complaining to the Lord about how unfair it was that they had words and I didn’t. Granted, some of them created a list and chose a word from it. Others prayed about a word and God answered. And here I was just whining about a word.
I prayed about it that night before bed and the next morning God laid a word on my heart. It wasn’t the word I’d wanted or expected. I wanted a sweet word like Joy or Peace or some guarantee that this year would be better and easier than last year.
Instead, he gave me the word grow. Grow. GROW.
No, I thought. I’ll not accept that word because I knew growing entails stretching and not the simple stuff of pointing and flexing your feet like my girls do in ballet. But the hard growing, like pains in the middle of the night from bones stretching longer. Being stretched from the inside out. Pain. Discomfort. Sacrifice.
And that just didn’t sit well with me. We endured incredibly difficult moments last year, like my son being burned and spending our Memorial Day in the ER. Or my other son being in a freak accident requiring a serious surgery and hospital stay, therapy, and many doctor’s visits. Not to mention financial hardships, several broken large appliances, more ER visits and stitches, and raising six kids through it all.
It was not a fun or easy year.
I didn’t want to grow again. Not in that way.
So when God gave me the word grow, I cringed. I buried my head under my pillow. I argued with him, suggesting ten other, better words. His silence was enough of an answer. My word would remain the same.
Throughout the morning, God reminded me of several verses about growing in faith, about being rooted in Christ. Slowly, anxiety and apprehension melted away, and excitement replaced it. I thanked him for my word, thinking of all the ways I could grow in Christ this year, learning more about the character of God. I prayed to crave his word.
The craving came. It wasn’t instant and it wasn’t without growing pains. It’s here though and I’ve missed meals because I can’t tear myself from my Bible study. Passages I’ve read dozens of time before suddenly hold a deeper meaning, a bigger picture, and I’m stunned. I shouldn’t be because this is what I prayed for.
God is good all the time and all the time he is good.
I know we have future surgeries in store for my son this year and I don’t at all look forward to it, but I know God is in control and this didn’t come as a surprise to him. He’ll work out the details and I trust him to do that better than I ever could.
My job is to keep reading, keep studying, keep fellowshipping with the God who desires to spend time with me.
I can grow in that. How about you?