For the past few years Greg & I have chosen a word for the year. It’s been a way for us to reflect on the year we just had and to be intentional about the year ahead. It’s definitely not a new idea, but one I must credit my lovely teaching partner/friend for. The past few years she’s led our staff through it as a New Years devotional and it’s become a tradition ever since. It’s also not an idea I see us stopping anytime soon. Whether you choose a word on your own, as a couple, or as a family- it’s about challenging yourself to grow and be mindful of your choices in your day-to-day living.
So what was our word this past year? Grow. We chose this word because we felt it summed up well what WE wanted for our year. We had just been married 6 months and we had just experienced our first miscarriage. I think in part we selfishly chose this word hoping God would ‘grow’ our family. We also wanted to continue growing in our marriage, growing deeper in our faith, and growing more in our relationship with others. WE had grand plans to grow.
As I reflect back on this year and look at how God allowed us to grow, I’m brought to tears. Our idea of growth and His were completely different. We did grow our family- not in the way we wanted (a child), but instead through a brand new ‘sequel-family’ that we adore. Dennis, his daughters, and their families have been a true joy and blessing and it makes us happy to see our mom happy again. Our family did in fact, grow.
We wanted to grow in our faith- to us this looked like Bible studies, reading through the Bible together, and serving more in church. Instead it looked like us clinging to God’s truth desperate for hope, reading devotionals on miscarriages and infant loss, and allowing others to step up and serve us in our grief. It wasn’t what we had in mind, but me oh my did we certainly grow.
We wanted to grow in our marriage- this was a rather vague goal but amazing to see how God orchestrated it. Greg started working first shift which was such a blessing- we could actually eat dinner together and sleep more than 2 hours together. We grew as we helped each other through grief. We grew as we made huge decisions. We grew as we adjusted expectations of what marriage looks like.
And there’s more. We grew into a new house. I grew into a new ‘position’ at work. We grew more financially stable. We grew wiser and older and more thankful. In 2019 we grew more than we could’ve imagined. And had we not picked a word for the year- all these things still would’ve happened- but we now have a different frame of mind when looking back. Instead of seeing the negative, we look at the many positives. Instead of worrying about the future, we see how God showed up time and time again in the past.
So what’s our word for 2020? I’m sure your dying to know. 😉 But first- let me share how we pick a word- so that if you feel inspired you can choose a word for your year too.
1. Determine the type of person you want to become. Dive deep into your soul. What is the condition of your heart? Who did God create you to be? As ideas come to mind do number two…
2. Identify the characteristics of that type of person. Make a list of single words. Gentle. Driven. Joyful. Empowered. Brave. Enough.
3. Once you have a good list, look for a theme or a word that really sticks out to you. Greg and I make our lists separately and then share. It’s amazing how we usually have one or two words in common and that’s when we know which word is right for us as a couple. Pray on it, take some time to let the words sift through your mind and then pick one.
Our word for 2020 is OPEN. We want to be open to God’s plans for our future, open to new ideas and new possibilities, we want to open our home and strengths more to bless others, we want to open Gods Word in new and more faithful ways. We want to be open in our conversations with others and more open about our faith with non-believers. We’re excited to see how God will use us this year as we open our lives to Him.
All it takes it one word. What will yours be?