Back in December we started seeking God and praying for what 2018 was going to bring. In January our pastor did a sermon on One Word; how to seek God for your word, how important it was to have just *one* word to focus on, because when life gets crazy it's easy to cling to one word. Last year my word was "Go." Appropriate, I think, since we ended up 'going' from Tanzania, a place we'd called home for 4.5 years, to a new place that quickly won our hearts: Australia. And then to Papua New Guinea for a bit, and then back to America. That was quite a bit of going. Sent our family of three all the way around the world in the span of 10 months.
When God told us to, we did.
It took me a while to accept my word for this year. I heard it pretty early on, but I didn't want it. So I kept searching, hoping for a better one. One that sounded more promising and fitting... to me, and what I wanted the year to look like.
But I didn't. Over and over I heard the same word.
Trouble is, I didn't want to have hope. At the time, I was pregnant with our fourth child. The previous two had gone to heaven much too soon, and I didn't want to get my hopes up about this one. Because it just hurt too much. So I didn't. Not really. I didn't know what the 'hope' was supposed to be for, but I found ways to attach it to other things. I had hope Bill's job would be great, pay well and that his hours would be fitting for our family. I had hope that we'd find a place of our own to stay while we were here on furlough. I had hope that we'd find a car to drive, even two so O & I could get around while Bill worked. But I knew deep down He wanted me to have hope for our little one growing inside me. So, I let hope creep in. Slowly, very slowly. And then our world came crashing down on us, again.
And so I sat, wondering - what is this word for? If it was meant for Malachi and I didn't even get to hold him, then what on Earth am I to have hope for?
Shortly after I accepted my word, I asked hubby what his word was. He got
Explained that he was really feeling like God wanted him to have joy in all circumstances. At first, we could see that it meant joy when we weren't in our own place (for the 23rd month in a row), joy when he was underpaid but at least had a job. Joy when we only had one car to use, but at least we had one because that meant he could get to work. But when we knew Malachi wasn't going to make it - where on Earth is the joy in that?
And then the lightbulb went off. (Just did, actually- now that it's March). I'm not meant to have hope for anything on Earth. It's all meant to be for Him. For His ways. There is no joy on Earth when parents have to watch a child go to heaven. But there is joy in knowing he is up there with his Abba, being loved, and enjoying a life with a perfect, fully developed body.
I still don't fully understand how to have hope for another child to join our family. But I'm learning (slowly), to have hope for the resurrection. For the life that comes after death. When Jesus was sent to the cross, his friends didn't understand. Peter even protested and Jesus called him Satan! Because Peter's eyes were focused on earth, on the death. He was not focused on the heavenly realm, on God's ways, on the resurrection that could come only after the death. The resurrection that would change everything for the rest of time, for all of mankind.
I'm trying, some days harder than others, to keep my eyes on the Father. To seek him instead of trying to plan our lives here on earth. I seek his new mercies every morning, and ask for grace upon grace upon grace because Sweet Jesus I need it. But I have hope. Even if it's a small amount right now, there is some, and that's good enough for me.
While hubby and I were discussing our words, O chimed in, "Can I tell you my word?" We were both sort of shocked, and just looked at each other for a minute. "You got a word too?" I asked. "How do you even know what we're talking about?"
"I was listening when Pastor Jeff was talking about it in church. I prayed about it and I feel like I got a word."
Wow. Never ceases to amaze me, that kid. So his word:
What a word. I'm not sure what it means to him entirely, because we haven't talked at length about it recently, but for me it was a sweet reminder to have faith like a child. Faith that we would get a place of our own. That we would see all the promises of God fulfilled in our lives. It was the one word I didn't question when our hope and joy came crashing down on us that January night. Because I've seen the face of God. Last year, he was with me during a worship experience and I saw his face crying tears right along with me over the loss of Bean. And I know he was there with me doing the same for Malachi. My faith hasn't wavered, and I hope and pray that Owen's doesn't either. While he doesn't know about Malachi yet, he still asks when he'll get a baby sibling someday. And every time it breaks my heart. But happy tears are mixed in because it shows me how big his faith is for such a young child.
What was your one word for the year? How have you seen it played out so far? I'd love to hear your story in the comments below or in a private email - just use the form at the bottom of the page!