Wednesday, March 2, 2016
A Word for the Year: It's Personal
This post is personal. Personal…not private. You are invited to read it.
It is about writing, yes, but so much more. It is about listening and yielding. It is about preparing. It is about coming to terms with who you are and who you want to be.
I have many author friends who choose a word each year to explore. I may have even mentioned this at some time or another on this blog. I don’t remember. It is a great idea and I’ve heard incredible stories come of it. None of them were mine.
I didn’t choose a word last year. Had I been pressed to do so, I may have chosen survival. I look back now though and realize God allowed me to do much more than survive after losing my husband so suddenly. It has been the most difficult experience of my life but now I see that through the pain or perhaps in spite of it, God gave me incredible opportunities to grow this past year.
I digress. I was talking about choosing a word for 2016. At first I gravitated to words such as rest or still. I think I was tired. I tried them out for a while. Neither of these words resonated with me. Perhaps this wasn’t to be. I tried words linked to my work as a writer: productive, insightful. No. Those certainly didn’t prove out.
I let it go. I’ve learned that if God wants something for me, He makes it known in His own time. I remember a few months ago when the opportunity to serve on the mission field in Mexico was presented in church. I was particularly interested in hearing more about the work Back 2 Back Ministries was doing at the orphanage since one of my former students works for them.
Those of you who know me or who were students of mine at Cincinnati Christian University are searching your brains right now to figure out the identity of that student. Give it up. This very special young man was six-years-old when I was his teacher.
I took the information about the mission experience home with me. I prayed about it, but the answer didn’t come. A couple of weeks ago I came across the packet. I had missed the deadline so I pitched it, knowing as I said before, if God wants me to do something, He lets me know.
I digress. Again. The bottom line is this: I knew He would make His will known to me if He intended to provide a word to guide me through the year. Besides, everyone else already had a word. It was a January sort of thing to do. Like making resolutions or starting a diary.
The last Sunday of February was sunny and warm. I love Sundays. My daughter Danielle says she enjoys calling me on Sundays because my spirit soars after worship service. The topic for the day was Generosity. It’s a great word and full of promise, but I had already given up on the word search. Remember? I certainly wasn’t going to latch onto generosity in a last ditch effort to fit in. No. In fact, I didn’t even think about the “word for the year” as the service began.
The second song in was one of my favorites. It is called Sing to the King by Billy Foote. I was enjoying singing along, when we came to this portion of the song:
For His returning we watch and we pray,
We will be ready the dawn of that day.
The word ready jumped out at me. I want to be ready when He comes. I want to be ready when I leave this earth. I thought of Tom. He was ready. It was his time and he was ready. I stood there unable to move. Or sing. Tears flowed freely down my cheeks. I didn’t care. I knew God had finally given me the word He intended for me for 2016. I need to be ready. Ready to serve and ready to give. Ready to go and do whatever He has in mind.
And it applied to my writing. I had been thinking I needed to hurry up and finish projects and the whole focus was on getting books published. No. My job is to get them ready.
It was a mind-boggling experience. I could end it there and it would be enough. But God had something else in mind. We sat down after the music and listened to a great sermon delivered by Rob King, the senior minister at Vineyard Cincinnati. I wrote the word READY at the top of my notes, anxious to get home and explore it more.
[You can listen to the entire service by clicking HERE or by visiting VineyardCincinnati.com and WATCH the February 28, 2016 service]
At the end of the service an announcement was made about the Back 2 Back Mission trip. I inquired at the desk. Five spots were still open. They extended the deadline. I furiously cranked out the application form before leaving church. Now I will wait and see if I am selected for one of those spots. You see, I’m Ready.
How about you? Do you have a word to explore this year? What is it? And if not, what might you choose? I would love to hear your word and the stories/experiences being shaped by that word.