2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
TRIALS AND TEMPTATIONS
In 2014, my ONE WORD was JOY.
It was difficult to find joy that year as we had many losses in our church and I, myself, had started my journey with chronic pain. James 1:2-3 was my verse for the year. I encouraged the ladies at church to join me in my journey towards joy. We had a wonderful year together following Ann Voskamp’s plan to list three blessings every day.
When I first began to consider a new word for 2017, I wasn’t sure what it might be. Nothing really came to mind. So I decided to create some goals for the year first.
GOALS FOR 2017
First, Healthy Eating Habits
I’ve gained way too much weight that cannot all be blamed on medications. I know that cutting sugar from my diet will ease much of my pain. Also, lLess weight & getting in better shape will do one of the following 1) prepare me for knee replacement recovery 2) postpone the knee replacement or 3) cancel it altogether
Improve my Financial Situation
This is always difficult. My goal is to stay on budget and start building a savings account. We started a tight budget this past year. Now it’s time to start saving for emergencies.
Acquire a devotional book contract.
For years, I have been thinking of writing devotionals. I’ve been blogging my memoirs and it seems I could easily tell stories from the farm and direct them to a spiritual thought. This past year, I have had friends encouraging me to write a book. I’m not sure about the book yet, but I definitely would like to write devotionals. I was recently asked by the general church to write a series of 7 for the international church website. This was somewhat of a confirmation that I should work in the direction.
Finally, begin speaking for women’s events.
A college roommate has already suggested I come for her church ladies’ retreat in 2018. If this is to happen, I need to start getting some practice in! So I need to start finding opportunities to speak. I will offer to speak at more ladies events in my own church and find some other places aroudn town and in churches who know me
A NEW WORD
As I pulled these goals together, I figured a word would emerge.
And, YES! God quietly spoke, “Persevere“
I would definitely need to persevere this year. These goals are nothing be difficult. But that word sounded pretty scary to me. It indicated hard work and maybe some trials ahead. Our family has been through so much in recent years. I wasn’t sure I had anything left for more perseverance.
The God spoke again,
“Remember James 1? You chose that verse back in 2013. Read it again.”
Yes, I remembered “count it all joy” and vaguely, I remembered that perseverance was tucked in that verse too. I decided to look it up.
verse 3 “…because the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”
“OK, God. I have persevered already. I’ve been tested for 5 years with Chronic pain and job loss.”
God answered, “Yes. You have persevered. Keep going. Read the next verse.”
Verse 4 “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
“So we’re not quite done, but we’re close?”
Come out of the Wilderness
This past year, God has spoken to me often about training in the wilderness. I have learned many things these past 5 years and have found myself desiring His presence so much more. Then recently, I heard God speak that it is time to move on, to get ready for the next step. When 2017 arrived, I was not surprised that Proverbs 31 First 5 app would be studying Joshua. Yes! It is time to move on to the next thing!
I was reminded of Joshua 1, “be strong and courageous” but that was not the verse to jumped out at me when I read the first chapter of Joshua.
Joshua 1:3 (NIV)
3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
I questioned this. “Really Lord? Is this promise for me?”
“Keep reading”, replied God.
Joshua 1:7-9 (NIV)
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left,that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
This time I took notice of the commands that came with the promise.
- Be strong and courageous
- Be careful to obey my laws
- Do not turn from the left or the right
- You will be prosperous and succeed.
- I will be with you wherever you go.
I’m ready to persevere this year.
How about you?
What ONEWORD is going to lead you through the new year successfully? Are you ready?
I’m Going Forward with Faith!