Theme Word 2019: Depend

*FYI, I won’t be posting next week but will see you back here on Jan. 22. Blessings to all!

I love the practice of choosing a theme word for each new year. Having an over-arching word—a quality, an attitude, or an action—can give me direction throughout the year and also helps me refocus on the word—this thing God has directed me to do.

I usually start thinking and praying about what my word for the upcoming year should be sometime in November or December. This year three or four words came to mind, but as I prayed and asked God to direct me to his word for me for the upcoming year, one word resonated with me more than the rest.

The word that resonated the most with me for 2019? Depend. That may sound like an odd word to choose, but with the changes, situations, and tasks that 2019 may hold for me (or for my husband and me), I need to depend on God each step of the way. I can easily start to worry if I don’t remember to trust God and rely on him and his guidance and strength for whatever the future may bring. So depend it is.

Of course, as in other years, the word depend may end up with applications I haven’t even thought about yet. We’ll see. However the year plays out, I want to be found depending on my faithful and able God. My loving heavenly Father. My strength.

“You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” Psalm 59:17 NIV

*Have you chosen a theme word or an anchor verse for 2019?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by  Khánh Hmoong, Creative Commons License

Walk Worthy of the Lord—Whatever Happens

“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” Philippians 1:27 NIV

A friend’s quick status update on Facebook a few years ago reminded me of her family’s need for prayer that morning. They were dealing with some folks who had not only waged a legal war against them but had lied about them as well. As I began praying for my friends, the Lord brought the above verse to mind, and I immediately prayed it for them.

“Lord, no matter what happens, no matter what they face, help my friends conduct themselves in a manner worthy of you. Help them react to all that happens with calmness and grace.”

As I continued to pray, I felt led to share this wisdom from the Word with them. I went back to the status update and left a comment, assuring them of my prayers and then shared the scripture with them. A few minutes later, I saw a reply—they were trying their best to do the very thing the verse exhorts us to do.

And yes, this verse is for all of us. Whatever happens, we are to walk worthy. Worthy of our Lord and Savior.

When times are good and we are rejoicing, we need to walk worthy. In other words, when good things happen or we succeed, who gets the praise? And are we careful not to lose our heads and do something unwise in the thrill of an exciting moment? Do we follow the admonition in 2 Timothy 4:5 (NIV)—“But you, keep your head in all situations . . .”

Of course, the more difficult times to walk worthy are when times are bad. When a friend or loved one betrays us . . . when someone hurts our kids . . . when our husbands or wives lose their tempers with us . . . when someone gossips about us . . . and yes, even when a devastating crisis knocks us to our knees. What do we do then? Do we walk worthy?

How are we able to do this? How can we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel no matter what happens? Only by his grace. Only by his power.

 “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV

*When do you find it most challenging to walk worthy?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*I hope this slightly revised post from Sept. 2011 blessed you today!

*Flickr photo by peasapCreative Commons License

Listen Acrostic: More on My 2018 Theme Word

Since a third of the year will soon be gone, I wanted to give more thought to my 2018 theme word listen. For me, the creative exercise of writing acrostics is an excellent way to go deeper in my consideration of certain words. Doing so helps me think of different aspects of the word.

So as I remind myself of and reflect on listen, I pray you are blessed and inspired to listen more carefully as well. And not only that, but if you chose a theme word of your own this year, maybe reading this creative exercise will inspire you to do something similar with your word. Whatever the case, friends, may you be blessed as you read!

Listen 

Lean close and be attentive to every word and to nonverbal cues as well.

Invite others—including God—to speak by asking questions and waiting for their answers. 

Silence distractions by turning off or putting away electronic devices and by setting aside time for communication.

Think about what I’ve heard, processing it and letting it sink in instead of quickly forgetting it.

Empathize with concerns shared with me and also grant understanding to my own thoughts and feelings.

Note action I need to take in response to what I’ve heard.

I pray that I—and you as well—will have hearts to become better listeners and that God will help us grow our listening skills. Now what was that you were saying?

“‘Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.’” Isaiah 55:3 NIV 

*Which aspect of listening is the most challenging for you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out next week. One lucky subscriber will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by sea turtle, Creative Commons License

Theme Word 2018: Listen

Any other theme word junkies like me out there? Yes, I am indeed hooked on the practice of choosing a theme word for each new year. For a goal-oriented gal like me it seems only natural to have an over-arching word—a quality, an attitude, or an action—that I can focus on and that can give me direction throughout the year. 

In November and/or December I start thinking and praying about what my word for the upcoming year should be. Some years I think I know what it will be and then the Lord brings another word to mind or to my attention through multiple avenues. When that happens I know God is at work directing me to the word he has for me in the upcoming year. I so appreciate his guidance. After all, he knows the future and he knows what I need to help guide me through it.

This year the Lord has directed me to the word listen. As usual at this early stage, I don’t know all the ways God will use this particular theme word in my life over the next twelve months. I just know it’s a word I’ve been noticing and that has been resonating in my spirit. And so, I want to listen to those inner nudges and begin to focus more on listening this year.

So here’s hoping by the end of 2018 I will have grown in my listening skills. Listening more often and more attentively to God, to my loved ones, to others, to the natural world, and even to myself—to what my body or spirit may be trying to tell me.

And as ever, it will interesting to see what God has in store this year and how he will use listen in my life. He has a way of surprising us, doesn’t he? So I say, “Lord, help me keep my ears and my spirit wide open so I don’t miss a thing!” 

“. . . Everyone should be quick to listen . . . ” James 1:19

*Have you chosen a theme word or anchor verse for 2018? If not, feel free to adopt mine!

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by mpeterke, Creative Commons License

2017 Theme Word: Trust

15004178998_fdf4bb1e5c_zThe launch of a new year means different things to different people, but for me it means it’s time to focus on a new theme word for the year. I’ve never been big into New Year’s resolutions, but the past several years, I’ve chosen a theme word to help guide me through the year. It’s a practice I highly recommend. I can honestly say it has benefited me time and again.

This year the word the Lord kept bringing to my attention in the waning weeks of 2016 was trust. It wasn’t a word that was on my theme-word radar so to speak. Initially the words balance and simplify came to mind, but as I asked God to guide my choice, the word trust kept popping up, first in one place and then another. Isn’t it great how God gives us direction as we seek his guidance?

I’ve got to admit when I sensed God directing me to the word trust, fear tried to sneak in. Why was God leading me to the word trust? Is something bad going to happen? Is God trying to prepare me to trust in him? Of course, I immediately realized I would have to trust him even with this. I shouldn’t run from the word trust. I needed to follow his lead and yes, trust him come what may.

So, I don’t know how the word trust will play out in my life this year, but it will be interesting to see how it offers me direction, comfort, peace, and yes, perhaps even challenge as the year goes on.

Right now when I think of trust, I think of believing, resting, or staying faithful, and I know it will be good to grow in all of these areas. But who knows, God may have something in mind that hasn’t even occurred to me. After all, he works like that quite often, doesn’t he?

One thing is certain, though—God is trustworthy. So with trust as my word for the year, I’ll go forward fully trusting in him and the good work he will do in my life. Join me?

“LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.” Psalm 84:12 NIV

*Have you chosen a theme word or an anchor verse for 2017?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of my book to use personally, to give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by SFB579 Namaste, Creative Commons License