ONE WORD - 2018
Every January I prayerfully choose ONE WORD for my focus for the year.
It started in 2014 with the word “Grace”. I read an impacting book called “One Way Love” that changed my heart in so many ways. That year God taught me so very much about what his grace is all about and how it impacts my every day, my relationship with him, and my relationship with others. It was a huge transformative year for me regarding relationships. Especially in restoration with my Mom. It was such a key factor in allowing us to find our way back to one another.
2015 was “Joy”. I had realized that I had allowed the enemy to steal my joy from me in so many ways, and I was determined to get it back! I came to realize and grow in the wisdom that joy is not circumstantial, but a condition of the heart. A condition that takes time and energy and intentionality to cultivate daily. It is still a discipline I work at developing. Not surprisingly God was setting me up to find joy despite the circumstances with the sudden loss of my mom in a car accident that November.
2016 was the word “Thankful”. I read an amazing book by Ann Voskamp called “One Thousand Gifts”, that was all about practicing “eucharisteo”, the act of giving thanks to God for all things. There was a heavy emphasis on how to praise and thank God while grieving. The loss of my mom was so very fresh in my heart, and it felt like the right choice. Especially since it was the very first thing that the Holy Spirit spoke over my heart at the news of my mom’s sudden death. I felt Holy Spirit whisper deep within me, “be thankful” as I lay on the floor, sobbing and gasping for breath.
2017 I cheated a bit and chose my one word, to in fact, be two. “Revelation Light” became my focus. I had been studying the book of Luke in the Passion Translation, and these two words were repeated over and over, and I began to see the value of them in my own heart. It tied in nicely with the ways God was helping me overcome the darkness in my previous grief filled season. We know from scripture that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light. So, these two words were about learning to search out His truth and his light in all situations. He was so faithful this past year to bring his light into every dark situation. And as we faced more grieving, and the darkness threatened our family, again my focus word(s) became such a huge source of strength for myself and my faith.
Now we begin 2018.
Usually I have my ONE WORD figured out in the weeks or even months leading up to the new year. This year was different. It took me a while to land on what it was I felt God was leading me to set my focus towards. I have been doing a bible study by Beth Moore called “The Quest”, and it is all about our journey with God and how questions are such a huge part of how we grow and learn. God has asked questions of his people all through scripture, and they have, in turn asked him questions. Questions are not a matter of doubt, but can, in fact, drive our faith in God so much deeper because it means we are seeking HIS truth. (His revelation light.) So, I began to ask God, “What is it that can help my faith this year, what word, what concept can I zero in on to sustain and build our relationship?”
As I kept asking, my study time kept showing me examples of faith filled God followers and how He continually supplied, taught, encouraged, corrected, led and supported them through the journey. There seems to always be this ongoing conversation between God and his people. I started to notice something interesting.
God told his people to “REMEMBER” what he had done, and what he was doing for them, so that in future trials, struggles and battles, they would be able to draw on that memory to build faith for what lay ahead. And surprisingly, God’s people also would ask God to also “REMEMBER” His promises to them. They would remind God of what he said he would do, and the generational ties that bound them back to the very beginning. In the garden, on the ark, through father Abraham. And God remembered and carried those blessings and promises forward. So cool!
The word for remember in the Old Testament, original Hebrew text, is “zakar”.
Author, Chad Bird writes on his blog “In the Old Testament, to zakar is not merely to rifle through the files in your head until you find that fact you’ve been searching for. To zakar is to employ your hands and feet and lips to engage in whatever action that remembrance requires…Biblical remembering is a body activity, not merely a head activity. “
When God told the Israelites to “remember” or to “zakar”, there was an act involved in it. One story is in the book of Joshua. Joshua was leading the people out of the desert and into the promise that God had given generations before. God directed them to walk across a very large river, in the spring, with waters high and rushing. (Millions of his people were to cross this river, with no bridge mind you. It is a very cool story that I encourage you to read.)
Long and amazing story short, God rolled back the river, held back the rushing waters and allowed the Israelites to cross over safely. Once everyone was across, God instructed them to pull out 12 large boulders from the river bed and build a monument to this miracle on the banks. He was instructing them to remember. To “zakar”, actively remember, what he had done for them. It required obedience and action on their part. And the scripture says that those stones piled up on the bank of the Jordan river are still there today. (And I believe this still stands even now).
Remembering becomes a monument of God’s goodness, his trustworthiness, his fulfilled promises. It becomes faith we can put into action as we traverse this universe. And even more important, it becomes something we can show to others, to those walking with us and to the generations that come after us, that can build something strong and faithful in their hearts as well.
Remembering is never just for our own hearts. It builds something amazing for those who come after us to look at, and to KNOW how good our God is. It is the proof, the things we CAN see that reinforces that which we can’t.
So this year I am focusing on the action of remembering.
To take time to write and record the amazing things God has done for my family and myself in the past, the present, and to look forward to what he will do in the future.
Our God is active and moving and living. He is with us each step, making a way, building up our strength and stamina. And it can be so easy for us to forget what he is doing if we don’t stop and take note. It is also so easy (and common) for us to step into the next challenge (like the Israelites did in the book of Joshua-they had some crazy battles to fight on the other side of the river-go and check it out!) and completely forget what God had done to get us this far in the first place.
So in 2018, I will REMEMBER.