Five years ago, I felt a prompting from the Lord. I could tell He had something to say to me. Until that time, I never heard of receiving a specific, personal word from God for the year ahead, but in prayer I received a specific word. It was confirmed a few times, gently, but one day it became a clear reality that Jesus had chosen this word for me to focus on and camp in throughout the year.
Bobby and I were traveling down south for an extended stay. We were on a highway in Virginia and as I looked up, I saw a huge billboard with the word given to me by the Lord a week earlier. The word was trust. I love when God confirms what He’s already spoken.
This was the year I was called to begin to write, starting my blog, Cherishing Ordinary Days. It was a huge leap of faith and step of obedience for me. The whole process took me way out of my comfort zone and without Jesus making things clear, especially trusting Him in the process, I would have retreated.
I remember my frequent visitor, limiting belief, whispering in my ear, “You don’t have what it takes to write a blog, or anything for that matter. Who do you think you are? You don’t even have a proper education for that.”
Though the words rattled me, I recognized the enemy of my soul was whole-heartedly against me writing.
But the Lord had a plan and He brought me to deeper levels of trust in Him that year––a pivotal year in my life I will always be grateful for.
The next year I was asking the Lord for my word for the new year before it even began. I was so excited to see what He would speak to me. He gave me a clear word––how well I remember. The word was focus.
In February, the Lord let me know this was His timing for me to start writing my book. My desire to write a book had been my constant companion for 30 years and one cold winter morning, at 5:30 A.M. Jesus opened the windows of Heaven and poured out His plans for me. It felt almost tangible. He knew, easily distracted girl that I am, extreme focus would be needed for me to write a whole book.
The Lord brought Karen Porter into my life at SpeakUp Writer’s Conference in June of that year and after attending the conference I knew if I was to write a book, I’d need a coach. I remember sitting in a class Karen was teaching at the conference. She had a small piece of paper on the table in front of her. She taught us for an hour and only picked up her paper once for a second. I knew she was the real deal and owned what she was teaching us.
Recognizing my need for instruction and coaching, when I arrived home, I emailed her and asked if she had any space available to take me on as a client. My life changed that day because Karen said yes! When Jesus calls us to do something for Him, He always provides everything He knows we need to accomplish His plans. We can count on that.
Karen stayed on as my coach throughout the entire process, and became my publisher, as well. Bold Vision Books is owned and operated by George and Karen Porter, Friendswood, Texas. What a wonderful journey it has been with them.
The following year I remember asking Jesus for my word for 2021. I think He was smiling when He spoke because He knew it would throw me off a bit.
Focus. Hmmm … did I fail the focus test last year or did He know I’d really have to focus to finish this book. I accepted it, though a touch disappointed because I’m a lover of new and change.
Wow, did I have to focus. This was bigger than putting words on paper. This was tearing open my heart, reliving, rehashing my early days before Jesus and it took a lot of focus to not take a week or a month off to breathe! But God blessed my year. I had amazing support from my family and excellent training and teaching from Karen. Her patience,
encouragement and cheerleading helped me through many painful times in my writing.
Last year, I remember waking up in the middle of the night to the whisper of God in my heart, again, close to audible. He spoke the word He chose for me. My word this last year was capable. I remember weeping tears of gratitude and joy––I felt so loved by God. He knows (and I know so well), apart from Him, I can do nothing, yet He gave me the word capable and the assurance I would reach the finish line––I would push the send button on my computer, sending my completed manuscript off to Bold Vision Books. Every time I thought of that word throughout the year, it reminded me He gives me what He knows I need to accomplish what He is given me to do.
This year, it’s been a bit of a different story. Without sounding ungrateful, I struggled with my word(s) only because neither of these words (the Lord gave me 2) are even remotely easy and neither comes naturally to this easily distracted personality I wrestle with. This is the first time I’ve received two words, but quickly the Lord showed me why.
My words for 2023 are perseverance and determination.
Lord? These are not fun words. I was hoping for refreshing and fun words this year. Like take-a-breather type words.
Again, I think He smiled at my reaction. I felt fatigued before I even started my year because perseverance is one thing … but perseverance in what I knew I had to persevere in is another.
My book, Holy Interruptions, was published in November 2022. Now I must market it. Not a fan of marketing. Don’t know how to market. Don’t like pushy authors trying to sell their books. Not a fan of persevering in marketing, building my email list, and social media. All three, part of my contract as an author. All three, necessary, especially being a first-time author.
But then it hit me. I recognized all these emotions are negative self-talk which holds hands with limiting belief. Trust me, I have wrestled with this big time. In fact, throughout most of the writing of my book, limiting belief stalked me. “You’re not the girl for the job. You don’t have what it takes.”
It hit me like a ton of bricks! Perseverance is God’s gift to me. It isn’t a part of what comes naturally to me, but wouldn’t I love it to be?
The character quality of perseverance is a stellar quality. And if God is giving me this word for 2023, He will do the work He knows He has to do in my heart to bring me to a place of seeing this quality operating in my life. Excitement replaced my “ugh-ish-ness” and fear. Now I’m seeing through different eyes. Now I’m excited about the months ahead, about all I’ll learn, and about pressing into Jesus and the plans He has, working His character into mine to accomplish His will.
Why two words? I asked God and His answer was clear. For me to consciously persevere, I must be determined. I must determine in my heart to persevere, and Jesus knew it.
So here I am, facing the New Year with tasks and projects ahead of me I feel incapable of. Then I remember last year’s word and I know what the Lord calls me to, He will equip me to succeed in. And I am grateful.
So, I trust in Jesus, I focus on Him, I know my capability comes from Him, and now I fix my eyes and heart on Jesus and follow His plans and purposes for my life as I travel this road, determined to persevere in this new chapter.
What word did you receive from the Lord this year? If you’ve never asked Jesus for your personal word for the year, I’d encourage you to do so. You certainly won’t be sorry. It’s a wonderful journey.
I’d love to hear your story, and what word the Lord has spoken to your heart. Please email me and let me know. Maybe grab a cup of something warm and take a minute to share your story with me.
On this journey together,