Word of the Year

I’m one of those people who chooses a word each year and tries to focus on it and use it to drive our family goals. I had one last year although I lost it somewhere about February and can’t even remember what it was. Is that terrible? Or was 2020 just that terrible?

When Zach asked what our word for 2021 was going to be I laughed, “No words.”

We knew right off the bat that a heavy grief would meet us on the other side of “Auld lang syne” barring two miracles, as end of life care for my grandmother and Zach’s 46 year old sister (who has been battling glioblastoma) would unfortunately spill over into 2o21.

My parents are also living with us right now as their home is currently uninhabitable. Having to process the fact that I may not get to return to the home that holds all of my memories has brought extra heaviness this year. In addition, trying to avoid COVID ourselves in the midst of me teaching and raising three school aged children in the midst of a pandemic is daunting.

My grandmother’s situation has been extremely heartbreaking to navigate during these unusual times since we can’t physically be with her at the nursing home (and now she has COVID on top of her other issues).

This is not how life is supposed to be.

2020 felt like a stolen year of memories with Paige as we were unable to gather as a family for Easter, birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The thoughts of her poor condition, concern for Zach’s mom, Brad and the boys heartache, and that she may not walk through our door again is enough to take my breath away.

Yet “mercy” kept coming to our minds, in our readings, and from others who were praying for us.

Then I began to experience it when the days were wearing me weary.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

I’d close my eyes at night, go peacefully to sleep and awaken to new mercies to carry me through the next day.

Then I was excited to see where Katie Majors was blogging again and the title of her first post was His Word in the New Year. I had to read it twice because I thought she was going to tell us her word for the new year (which she did not).

After reading her post I realized, our word for the new year needs to be His word.

It will be my daily bread to help me thrive through a year that is already unfurling to be trying. In a world that seems to be changing daily, there is no better time than now than to dig into the unchanging truth and pour it back out to the people who I interact with daily starting with my kids who I am sending out into this brave new world.

When I picked up my devotional on January 1 it led me to Psalm 46, a Psalm that Martin Luther would urge people to turn to when discouraged. The words are for the body of believers, but I also took them to heart because this is exactly what God does for me. He gives me enough strength to face each new day.

God will help her when morning dawns.

In Katie’s post she asks some diagnostic questions that I’d like to pose to you and me today:

Where do you see God’s goodness right now?

I see His goodness in experiencing His new mercies every day. The peace in my heart when I awaken, the smiles on my kids faces, the warm home I enjoy, the food He provides us, and the friends who reach out to pray for us. That’s where I see His goodness right now.

Make a habit of noticing God’s goodness even on the not so good days.

Katie Davis

What areas of life feel dark, void, chaotic?

The fear of what may come this year in my life, our nation, and our world feels like all three of those things. I am learning not to dread by taking each day as it comes, trusting that God is working all things together for our good.