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

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

Rest: Theme Word for 2015

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Has the new year found you deciding on a theme word or anchor verse for 2015? I’m a theme word kind of girl. I love how adopting a theme word for the year can help guide me throughout the year as situations arise or decisions large or small need to be made. The words I’ve focused on thus far have been focus, finish, and guard. Each one has proven to be helpful either personally, professionally, or both.

This year I’ve decided on rest as my theme word. Last month as I prayed about and considered what my word for this year should be, the word rest kept popping up—in my mind and in things I’d read, etc. I definitely felt God’s guidance towards this particular theme word. Maybe he knew I’d really need rest this year since I closed out 2014 and started 2015 in a period of increased demand after my husband’s accident.

Don’t worry, I’m not planning on giving up writing or quitting all of my other activities to rest for the entire year (though at times that sounds appealing, huh?!), but I am going to be alert to ways that I can allow myself moments or periods of rest more often. Those who know me well know that I can be quite goal and task oriented—so rest can get the short end of my stick more times than not.

It will be interesting to see how God uses the word rest in my life this year. I anticipate not only physical and work-related applications of rest to come into play but also spiritual and emotional ones as well. For example, the Lord may lead me to say no to certain things, but he also may teach me more about resting in his grace and love. Who knows what he’s got up his divine sleeve this year, right?! :)

I’m thankful to have a heavenly Father who knows what I need and guides me to it. He truly is our Shepherd, isn’t he?

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3a

*What would be a good theme word or anchor verse for you this year?

*Flickr photo by bjimmy934, Creative Commons License

Guard: Theme Word for 2014

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Like many of you, I’ve chosen theme words for the past couple of years to help guide me through the year. In 2012, my word was focus, and last year I chose finish. Keeping those words in mind helped me immensely, especially in my writing life.

My word this year is guard. When I began considering and praying about what word should be my guide-word this year, the word guard came to my attention time and again. Others did as well, but guard has resonated with me the most. Don’t you love how God guides us as we seek his wisdom?

I don’t know all the reasons I need to focus on guard this year, but I do know as my writing life moves forward, I need to guard my time and my heart carefully. I need to be on guard in making wise decisions and guard against feeling pressured into making decisions I’m not comfortable with.

Guard will be a good guide word in my personal and spiritual life as well. Among other things, I need to guard my health. I’ve learned from experience that when I push too hard and get too busy and stressed, my body lets me know it. Spiritually, I need to guard against Satan and the traps he tries to ensnare me in most often. I need to be alert to new ones, too. Our adversary will do anything he can to make us stumble and fall or strip us of our joy in the Lord. And of course, I always need to guard my tongue. I have a feeling that’s an area where I’m not alone.

As the year goes on, I’m sure I’ll see other areas where being on guard is needed. In fact, I probably won’t know the full impact of this particular theme word until the year is out. The Lord knows about it all right now, though, and I’m thankful he’s preparing me for whatever may come this year by guiding me to the word guard for 2014. I’m thankful to have a God who not only watches over me but equips me as well.

“. . . guard what has been entrusted to your care.” 1 Timothy 6:20

*What would be a good theme word for you this year?

*Flickr photo by Keoni Cabral

Finish: Theme Word for 2013

Will you select a personal theme word for the New Year—a quality or attitude or action that you feel led to concentrate on this year? I have. Deciding on such a word helps me focus and will help steer me through the coming months.

Last year was the first time I selected a theme word for the year. My word for 2012 was focus. I can’t tell you how many times remembering my theme word helped guide me or keep me on track. Since this new practice proved to be so helpful, I’m ready to jump on board again this year.

As I thought and prayed about what my theme word for 2013 should be, the word finish came to mind. It keeps coming to my attention in other ways as well. Since that seems like good confirmation, finish it will be.

Finish will be a good follow-up to focus, won’t it? After spending much time in 2012 focusing on my book project, the time has now come to finish it.

And just as the word focushelped steer my decisions in many different realms last year, I’m sure the word finish will also guide me in areas other than my writing this year. I’m already thinking about the photo albums I need to finally catch up on. Yikes! :)

If you’ve never adopted a theme word for the year, I encourage you to try it. Ask God what quality, attitude, or action you need to focus on this year, and I’m sure he’ll give you some direction.

Don’t let fear of failure keep you from giving it a go. You’ll benefit more from trying and possibly not following through than never trying at all, right? And if you do follow through, think about how helpful it might be. Either way, it’s a win. And remember—we have a Father who wants to help us follow his lead!

“Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.” 2 Corinthians 8:11

*What will you choose as your theme word for 2013?

*Another word—love—is on my mind as well. Maybe that should be a word for every year, huh?

*Flickr photo by jayneandd

*Scripture memory has been one of the most helpful spiritual practices in my life. If you’d like to try memorizing some scripture this year, join Beth Moore’s 2013 Scripture Memory Team. Very manageable with two verses each month.