I had lunch with a great friend today. She's one of those friends where you can go months without talking and then pick right back up where you left off, as if no time at all has passed. I always leave her feeling thankful for her wisdom, that she is a truly safe place where I can talk about all things without worry of judgement or confidentiality or that her opinion of me might change. It's a gift... a rare gift. One that I don't take lightly.
As we were talking she asked me what my One Word was for this year. I laughed and said I wasn't planning on a word this year... that typically when I choose a word to focus on, to discipline myself, that it doesn't go well. That some events of last year had rocked me to my very core and I just didn't want to go there this year.
She looked at me and said, "Then I think that's the very reason you need one." This friend? She keeps it real, and it's one of my favorite things about her. We continued to talk and after 2 hours, decided it might be time to wrap it up. As I was driving home, I started to think about it, pray about it, then think some more. It didn't take long before the word I didn't really want came to me.
In this life we will have trouble. It's one of the most challenging promises in the Bible. Because that promise is coupled with the truth that Jesus has overcome the world, we still get a happy ending. And as if that's not enough good news, there's more - when we're in Christ, we won't ever walk the hard stuff alone... we never have to walk anything alone. But if there's anything that 2016 taught me, it's that what I had considered "hard" before, really probably wasn't so much.
I wasn't a bit sad to say goodbye to last year, even though there was plenty to remind me of how incredibly blessed our family of 5 really is. Those are the things I will choose to remember, but I don't want to forget the hard either, because it's in the hard that I've seen a side of God more deeply than ever before. It's in that hard that I'm beginning to feel safe and protected in a whole different way. It's in that hard that God has been so very present.
Thankfully, I can honestly say that I've never blamed God for the hard stuff that has hit us. I just needed Him too much. But I definitely needed Him in a different way than ever before.
This increased security I've felt lately... it's changed everything. I've experienced firsthand what happens when you have no other option but to lay your worries and fears at His feet. He does sustain. He is my rock when things feel shaky. He has held our family close, and what I didn't think was possible (that our 5 could be any closer than we are) has happened. When we are safely in His embrace, we can face what's ahead.
Embracing change. Embracing the unknown. Embracing uncertainty. When you trust who you're putting your faith in, you can move forward knowing that no matter what, you'll get through it.
Yes, I've never been more thankful for a new year. We are in grateful anticipation of what's ahead. Loved. Held. With a bright future ahead. Embraced.
What's your One Word for this year? I'd love for you to share it in the comments below. Thanks!