It is that time of year, friends!
Every year since 2006, I have chosen a word to commence the start of a new year. A fresh, new, wide eyed beginning for myself and for my family. When I began this tradition, I was going through some sadness when my daughter was just a few months old and I was looking for a way to bring a little extra hope and healing to my heart and my circumstances. Choosing a word to express what I was feeling at that moment, and what I hoped for in the future, then creating a blog (anybody remember Typepad??!!) to document life as a new mom and what God was teaching me as I worked through my little word that I chose. I don't even know if I can recall what the word was that I chose. I believe Faithfulness.
2020 has been such an interesting year, wasn't it? So many things happened to so many of us. I can safely speak for us all that none of us escaped this year completely unscathed. Maybe what we experienced was mild in comparison to others, but it was filled with oxymorons:
We found ourselves isolated, but discovered community.
We were stripped of our securities but discovered exactly what we needed.
We are told we were non-essential, but learned just how essential we really were.
Fear tried to take over and destroy us, but hope became all the more powerful.
While this year certainly wasn't the year I anticipated or dreamed of, I can't say that it was the worst year ever.
The worst year ever was when everything I ever thought I knew came crashing down around me. It was when I found myself as a single mom, living and struggling to survive in a world I did not ask to live in. The worst year ever included realizing that the person I thought would love me forever no longer wanted me to be in their life, and I had to find a new dream and start all over. That year was the year I became a broken shell of myself. When your own daughter comes to you with tears in her eyes saying that she just wants you to be happy and no longer sad or hear you crying at night, it does something to you. It did something to me.
This year, my word was generosity. This proved to be quite a challenge as I often equated generosity with having much. I certainly didn't have much money, and when we were forced into our homes, that made my very little even smaller. But God showed me that I could still be generous with my time, my resources, my gifts. Be generous with grace. Generous with forgiveness. All the more generous in distilling hope in homes, communities and surroundings when others around us were flailing their arms in fear. Be more generous with a kind word, a thoughtful act, or even a smile. When we couldn't touch or hug one another, a friendly smile meant more than we could possibly imagine.
So while I didn't have much to give in terms of monetary value, God taught me how to be generous in other ways. It has been an incredible blessing to bless others in ways money can't buy. How awesome is our God?!
For 2021, as I was praying and thinking on what word I wanted to focus on, I went to the back of my bible to check out the topical index....just to see if there were any words that stood out to me.
Boldness. That was the word that leaped off the page. Approaching this new year with a sense of courage and audacity. To dream bigger and to go after what I want and hope for, something that in the past I would have to run by another person.
This time, I don't. Well, other than God. But you know what I mean.
I am trusting God with this next year. I am dreaming even bigger, more boldly this next year.
"Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need." Hebrews 4:16 CSB
Boldness in preaching the gospel and sharing hope in our world that is experiencing incredible fear and uncertainty currently.
Boldness in going after my dreams and providing financial security for myself and my family.
Boldness in pursuing love and relationships.
Boldness in speaking the truth and speaking up when it warrants the necessity to speak when others want to stay silent and unseen.
Boldness in how I choose to raise my children; to build a solid foundation in our home with scripture and prayer and truth.
Boldness in my writing. Boldness in my passions and in business. Boldness in finally taking that leap to serve in a ministry role I stepped away from because I was so broken.
I am not 100% back to my old self, but honestly, I don't want to go back to the old Tiff.
I like this new, stronger, more fierce, more hopeful and alive Tiff much better.
Here is to 2021. I am ready for it.
If you have a word for this next year, I would love to hear it.