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Thursday, December 27, 2007

What's in a Word?

December is a contemplative month. Especially when the holiday hustle leaves us feeling like crumpled wrapping paper.

But instead of giving in to the post-holiday blahs, I spend the last week of the year thinking over the past twelve months and then looking ahead to the next.

One of the best ways I’ve found to do that in a hopeful light is to consider the power of a word and everything wrapped up in it.

For a few years now I’ve joined with a good friend and fellow blogger, Mary Griffith, seeking the Lord for a word that summarizes what He has in store for the coming year. It’s become an exercise of prayer and faith.

One that’s been very good for my heart.

Looking back...

In 2006 I looked forward to the word God whispered to my spirit~ ENJOY.

But I learned early in 2006, ENJOY didn't mean live it up and party. For twelve long months it meant learning to ENJOY God when there was little in life that would traditionally lead to experiencing joy.

Here's the link to read the vision God put before me and the rush of “have tos” and lies that nearly destroyed my joy : A Word for the heart

The word for 2007 was REST. And let me tell you, God had a lot to teach me about how wrong my ideas on rest really were.

It's been another challenging year, and yet God was there in the midst of every circumstance. A phrase from my post on a Word for the Year jumped out at me...

"A year wiser, I’m looking forward to the lessons of 2007 knowing there will be hard fought battles, tear filled circumstances, and quiet times of refreshing."

And so it was.

The battles were bloodier than I’d imagined, the tears more like heaving sobs, and the times of refreshing even more life-giving than I dreamed.

But instead of recounting the bad, I’d like to say some thank-yous for the amazing good that God brought out of the challenges and for the people who God used to show my heart how to rest.

Thank you to an amazing group of prayer warriors who held me up and spurred me on, even when I wanted nothing more than to lay down and let my dreams die. Your friendship, emails, cards, and phone calls were and are the best kind of heart chocolate!

Thank you to Sally and Heather and Laurie and Amy who came from afar to cheer my heart and celebrate April 17th. You made the launch party a much loved memory and high point of the year.

To my mom, sister, and in-laws: your presence at author events and prayers this year have strengthened and encouraged me so much!

To Elizabeth Medlin: thanks for late nights, lots of coffee, and a friendship that I treasure.

A huge thanks goes to my journey buddy, Sharon Hinck. My friend, you have cried with, laughed with, encouraged, and inspired me. Your writing is a gift from God and your friendship even more so. You walked a similar path and reminded me often to look to the Lord not the storm. I can’t wait to watch your face in heaven when you see all the amazing good you have done on this earth just by being you.

To my best friend, Jen Keithley, who never believed I would really quit: thanks for loving me well and letting me blow off steam on far too many occasions. And then reminding me to get back to work because God has called me and He will do even more than we can ask or imagine.

So much thanks goes to an awesome group of folks who have welcomed my family into their loving arms. To the Anchor family: you have given us a place to belong, grow, love and be loved. Thanks for being a glimpse of heaven for our weary souls.

More thanks than I can ever say goes to my three princesses. Not only do they love me to infinity and beyond, but their being proud of me salves my wounded heart when life and sales figures batter.

To my beloved hubby: we survived! :-) And God is up to some big things. Thank you for your forgiveness, for never giving up completely, for believing in me when I didn’t, and for making a way for me to see God. Also for enjoying Christmas tree lights~ those were a highlight of my holiday season.

More than anything, thank you Daddy for still being on Your throne. Because You are in control and are so very good, I can rest. You have given and taken away, but never left me to face the fallout alone. Blessed be Your Name. Always.

Looking ahead...

Now for this year’s word(s): EXPECTANT HOPE.

Beyond the other words God has given me, this phrase both terrifies and excites me. I’ve spent a lot of years being afraid to HOPE. Afraid to live in a state of EXPECTANCY because all too often life has dashed my hopes on harsh reality.

But along with these two powerful words came a reminder: My HOPE is in God. My EXPECTANCY is toward Him.

People don’t tend to handle expectations well. We sometimes feel pressure, fear, and helplessness from work and relational demands. But God longs for us to live in the wonder of EXPECTANCY like Simeon (Luke 2:25-32).

An EXPECTANCY that both looks and reaches up to receive what has been promised.

EXPECTANCY that believes God with a childlike faith. That reaches for Him and receives not only the sunshine and gifts, but also the storms and losses as coming from His hand. For our good. For His glory.

I pray you’ll join me in looking back to see what God has done in 2007. And then look ahead to what 2008 holds.

Even more, I pray you’ll step into the future holding the Lord’s hand and know that no matter what’s ahead your heavenly Daddy is holding you.

Dream big. Pray hard. Love well.

Happy New Year!


Sharon Hinck said...

Right back atcha, dear friend.

Isn't God good? I've also been doing some contemplating, and found an old journal entry from 2001 and was amazed at the way issues from that entry unfolded in 2007.

How wonderful that our God knows the end from the beginning!

Amy Wallace said...

Thanks for being one of the highlights of 2007!

You remain in my prayers, dear friend, and I look forward to what God has in store for both of us in 2008!

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