I stare at the blank screen wondering what to tell you. I’ve been away so long it’s almost as if I’m readying for a blind date – or perhaps – waiting to receive a visit from a long-ago friend I haven’t seen in years. Will we reconnect? Will we pick right up where we left off? Or will (heaven forbid!) we sit on opposite ends of the couch – casting sidelong glances, fingers nervously tapping the glass of wine in our hands, wondering when the evening will end or if we can make a break for the door without causing too much commotion. I hope it’s not like that. I hope, between us, it’s a quick smile and a warm hug, and we talk on and on well into the night as if we’d just seen each other yesterday.
I open my door to you and open my arms wide. Welcome, old friend. Welcome back to the blog. Welcome to a brand new year of hope and determination and love and laughter. Oh, there will be tears, and pain, and perhaps sorrow; but we have God within us, God beside us, and God covering us – and we have each other. We will “fight back with joy”, as my friend Margaret Feinberg (@mafeinberg) says in her latest book which you’ll hear more about shortly.
For now let me bridge the gap by talking about finding “one word” to live your life by or to focus on. “One Word” is when you adopt a word as an over-arching theme to your year. Last year God had begun to reiterate the phrase “rivers of living water” in almost everything I read or from everyone I spoke to – about two months before the end of the year. By the time 2014 started I’d been guided to realize that Rivers of Living Water = Holy Spirit = JOY (I’m sorry I can’t point you to that post from last year as my hosting platform munched all my history for breakfast one day).
What I found throughout the year is that constant reliance on God brings an avalanche of joy into your life. Yet, unlike an avalanche that will melt with the spring thaw, joy that rushes into your life does not dissipate – it continues to accumulate. My body is breaking down at the speed of an oncoming locomotive but somehow I still have joy. I struggle with completing the book I know God wants me to write, and while others in a similar situation might feel guilt or shame, I have joy. I am calm. I don’t worry. I am jam-packed with peace. I have chosen to look up and lean on God for e-v-e-r-y thing and have discovered nothing but … JOY.
This year it’s felt a little different. I really didn’t even think about getting a word for 2015 until about a week ago. I asked God for a word and several drifted through the upper recesses of my brain, but nothing stuck. In past years the word has been pretty obvious but this year nothing shouted, “This is your word!” That is, until this morning. A beautiful friend gave me Daily Light (originally by Samuel Bagster and updated by Anne Graham Lotz) for Christmas and I used it this morning to begin my prayer time with Our Lord. Afterward, my word tumbled out of my mouth during prayer:
“Lord help me to be more consistent in my writing …”
When the word “consistent” hit the early morning air of my bedroom, my heart leapt and I smiled – wide and bright and so deeply satisfied. There you are word, I said to myself. I think I can easily work consistency into every part of my life – time with God – writing – friendship – blogging – health matters – family matters – employment matters. I can’t wait to see how being consistent will benefit me this year. I can already envision a deeper walk with The Almighty, a published book (maybe two!), deeper & more meaningful friendships, and happier readers just to name a few! I promise to keep you informed of any ground-breaking insights along the way!
This year I am giving away the very last desk calendar available from my photo studio. If you would like some of my photography to grace your desk, just comment below with your word or a resolution for 2015 and perhaps share the blog with a friend (not necessary, but nice!). I’ll draw a winner Sunday evening (1/4/15 after 5pm EST) and announce next Monday. Below you’ll find a few pictures.
Good Luck! And Happy New Year!