While there are numerous things from the past year that deserve to be written about I think they will wait for another time.
Instead let's address a burning question (said with a bit of sarcasm) I have encountered from people numerous times in past months, especially with the new year beginning...
DO YOU HAVE A NEW YEARLY WORD?
To begin, on New Year's eve I opened my blessings jar to find 68 slips of paper with something good written on them. On some there were actually 2 or 3 things ie. a gift from a friend, a beautiful sunset, a good day with my mom, a prayer answered just to name a few. Last year I had 57 snippets of paper so considering the year we had I think 68 is pretty exceptional!
A couple things written in Jan. 2015 were fine words to live by, so I did just that.
*Endless are the blessings of those who believe.
*Believe in faith even when God is silent.
It's funny that as I write those, it occurred to me that a while back I thought (in anticipation) perhaps FAITH may be my new 'word' for the upcoming year yet it didn't continue to be brought to my attention. hmmmm, that gave me pause at the time. Perhaps it still will? I don't know. I continued to pray that if it were God's will to please give me clear direction on it. I also mentioned to him that I would be fine just holding onto 'believe' as it seemed to be the culmination of all my other words and was so very thought provoking & powerful.
While doing my dishes the next night, I looked at my little tree holding my 'word' ornaments. Joy, Peace, Hope (with a side of Serenity) and Believe. It then hit me...FOUR years! 2012 was when the yearly word started. My mom had her strokes & entered the nursing home in the second half of 2011. And prior to that as rereading my blog reminded me, God was seemingly preparing me for a new level in our relationship. A deeper more personal relationship. He was steering me to be still and to quiet the white noise around me so that I could hear His voice! Preparing me to be watchful. I was also reminded of a comment at the close of 2014 & into 2015 that perhaps the 'yearly word' would run its course, if perhaps it wouldn't be as useful in the future. But then that year I did very loudly get another word being BELIEVE. There certainly was no denying that one!
Now in retrospect it would seem as though this spiritual journey with the use of a yearly word of focus was to prepare me, guide me, comfort me along this whole journey with my mom. What do you think? In the four years of her being in the nursing home my four words of focus have given us such comfort, joy, peace, hope & strength during some very dark & difficult times. They've certainly helped me become aware of my shortcomings and for my need for a Savior. And in the meantime brought me to see people differently knowing & understanding so much better how badly they needed Him too!
I am very grateful for the focus the words gave me and the scriptures I was led to that became mantras for me & my family. Most recently 'He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge' Psalm 91:4 Little did we know just how profound an effect that would have on us, and the comfort it would bring.
It does sadden me a bit that I haven't been given a word for this year but I'm really feeling that the past 4 years were a special gift from God. In more ways than one.(***see below) Actually an extra special gift. If I were to perhaps continue to 'receive' a word, it would somehow diminish its worth and would take away from the profound effect it's had on me & possibly even the people around me.
Now that's not to say that I can't choose a word of focus if I wanted. But for now I think I just want to be still...and to do so while being ever watchful with a willing heart and my eyes & ears open.
(****It is nothing short of a miracle that mom survived 3 strokes & a heart attack on that day that changed our lives. And yet we then had her 4 more years!! And little did I know until after her death that before she married my dad, her mother told him as if warning him, "well we don't know how long we'll have her'~ which was in reference to her having rheumatic fever as a child. And yet she lived to be 84 and they were married just shy of 67 years!)