It’s time to revisit my OneWord for 2017.
By revisit, I mean here, on the blog. Not in my heart and mind, where the word has been present, active and possibly even prophetic since it was impressed upon my spirit sometime last fall.
It made no sense when I first thought of it. Out of all the adjectives I might use to describe myself, it never would have come to mind. And yet, there it was.
The sense that this was to be my word only grew stronger the closer we got to the new year. So I dutifully wrote my OneWord blog post (which was mostly about the previous year’s word) and went about my business.
The thing about choosing a word for the year is that you never know if it’s going to turn into something meaningful or just fade away like the morning fog. My two previous words—fruit for 2015 and satisfied for 2016—both were connected to scriptures that I prayed daily, a discipline that kept them front and center for me throughout the year.
I had no verse or prayer for 2017. All I had was a song that describes God’s relentless pursuit of His children in terms of His “fierce” love for us. (Listen here.)
As I explained in that first post, the idea that God’s love for us could be fierce made me start thinking that maybe our love for others could be fierce too. And if love can be fierce, why not patience, joy, gentleness and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit?
Fierce, as in an attitude that is persistent. Deep. Intense. Determined. Intentional, fervent, unwavering.
“As I look ahead to a year that promises to be challenging—perhaps even transformative—for my family, I’m starting to get a feel for why God may have impressed this word on my heart last fall,” I wrote. “I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I know how I need to conduct myself on the way there.”
I read that now and almost have to laugh. I sound so sure of myself, so in control of my feelings, so certain of how to proceed.
I had no idea.
The year began with confirmation of my mom’s Alzheimer’s and took an unexpected, mid-year plunge with an accident that landed her in the burn unit of a Kansas City hospital followed by two months of rehab and (now) long-term care.
Challenging? Transformative? That’s putting it mildly, I think.
I’ve done things this year that I never pictured myself ever needing to do. Daily trips to the hospital with my dad. Discussions with hospital staff members about living wills and nursing-home care. Family meetings with surgeons, internists, nurses, social workers and palliative care doctors. Hashing through what to do next with my dad and siblings when none of the options seemed very promising. Conversations with my girls about what was happening to grandma, and what it’s like to be the grown daughter of a mom who is in crisis. (This was all just in June, by the way.)
There I was—the one who hates change and avoids confrontation—trying to cope with this new situation one setback at a time, one decision at a time, one day at a time.
Looking back, there is no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit was the One who planted that word in my heart. A word from the Word, if you will. And there was power in that.
Every now and then—as I awkwardly juggled all this and regular life too—I’d think of my OneWord and somehow, my confidence would grow. I wasn’t fierce before (maybe I’m still not), but having this word in my mind—and believing God put it there—gave me courage to act. To push open doors not knowing what lay beyond them. To listen to hard diagnoses and even harder prognoses, to engage in hard conversations, to pray hard prayers.
Ironically, the fierceness I had planned to display when it came to the fruit of the Spirit didn’t always pan out. Stress, uncertainty and sleepless nights can bring out the worst in people, and I certainly wasn’t immune to that.
I’m thankful for grace, for morning mercies, for opportunities to model brokenness in front of my girls.
I’m thankful for God’s healing power, for my mom’s resilience, for Randy’s listening ear, for my dad’s faithfulness, for my girls’ companionship and my family’s encouragement.
I’m also very thankful that lately, the main thing I’ve had to be fierce about has been figuring out how to keep my mom from losing her hearing aids.
♥ LoisLooking back, there is no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit was the One who planted that word in my heart. Click To Tweet