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Word of the Year 2016


Every year I choose a word to guide me through the coming year. A touchstone if you will. If you’re new here or want to read more about this journey and process and how I come up with my word, you can read that here.  The short version is that every year I feel like God nudges me in an area where I need to grow. I don’t necessarily feel that I choose the word as much as the word chooses me. As I reflect back on my word last year I’m amazed at where I was a year ago, and where I am right now.

word of the year IQ

One year ago my husband and I were independently feeling that God was calling us to sell our house. Our house that we have brought all our babies home to, our house that we have loved, poured into and made a home. I’ve been called a lot of names in my life but the most accurate one might be home-body. I love my home and I have loved our home more than words could say. But God was calling us to put it up for sale without knowing where we would go. With absolutely no direction or backup plan, He asked me to trust. So last year on this very day the word TRUST chose me and God asked me to trust Him. So we put our house up for sale and we tried to trust.

As days and months and a year has gone by, we traveled the boundaries from doubt to trust and back again. Maybe a million times. I’m not sure our minds ever landed on trust for very long but something deep in our heart did. After an unexpected roller-coaster ride of emotions and experiencing every possible ugly part of human nature, three weeks ago our house sold and slowly our home is becoming a house again. Stripped of all of the things that remind us of us – it’s slowly transforming back to a house. And what lies before us remains unknown, but good. Moving from a beautiful home to a rental house feels bizarre and completely out of character for this home-body loving girl. But He asked us to trust Him, and this past summer we found and bought the property of our dreams. It wasn’t packaged anything like we were thinking, but somehow every single element showed up in this tiny little lot. Our plan is to build with an asterisk *someday. So for now we begin to settle into our rental house, making it a home until He moves us from *someday, to today.

As I make endless trips from house to garage to garage to house with boxes and bags and pieces of our life, He has inexplicably filled me with peace. Peace in the midst of not knowing. Peace in the middle of a mess. I’m not as well acquainted with peace as much of my life has been fueled by disorder. What once motivated me has miraculously settled down into a deep well of contentment. I’m not too proud to say this is unmistakably the work of a loving God. A God who knows us, and loves us so measurelessly that He calls us out of our comfort zone, away from things we know and love, into places that don’t make sense, in order to give us what our hearts truly long for. It’s humbling. And yet it’s still hard.

I sit in what still stands in our home with tears streaming down my face as I begin the process of letting go of what we had here; what we have loved and cherished and built with our life and our love, and trust Him that what lies ahead of us is better than anything we might leave behind. I look back on my whole life and every time I have followed Him, that story has been true. So this year I hold on to TRUST and I endeavor to come to know PEACE.

Peace, in the very deepest places of my soul. Peace from the chaos of the world and my fears over safety, security and control. Peace in the still broken places of relationship and family and accepting what is. Peace in the unknown. Anne Lamott said: The opposite of faith is not doubt, it’s certainty. 

word of the year BQ-2

Too often I search for certainty. Cling to certainty. With every bit of my body and mind and spirit I work for certainty so that I can have peace. So that I can believe. But what faith is that? What courage does that take? This year I endeavor to know and hold peace in the uncertain. To trust God in the middle of so many broken and beautiful things knowing that He is good, and that His ways are better than my ways. Peace in the letting go of the mixture of control, doubt and desire for certainty that too often fuel my days.

Every year, so many of us set new years resolutions and we barely slide through January before they’ve fallen away. The last three years of my life have been marked by change. Change around me and change deep within me. I’m convinced it wasn’t because I was committed to remembering a word or sticking to a resolution, but because God had committed to remembering me. This year, I encourage you to choose a word. Together with God, in silence and prayer, offer this next year to Him. To His doing and undoing. Ask for guidance as you choose your word and then let Him direct it’s course and change you, from the inside out.


Now tell me, what’s your word?

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Lisette December 31, 2015, 9:09 pm

    Beautiful post. Thank you, needed it. Happy New Years!

  • Corena January 1, 2016, 3:43 am

    My word for this year is certainty for God has peeled back many layers of control and fear and doubt. This year it has brought me to choose to be certain of His might and strength all the time in my life.

  • Felisa January 1, 2016, 6:17 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. My one word for 2016 is reinvent. I am looking forward to reinventing myself and allowing the holy spirit to do the necessary work within me to bring about growth and fruitfulness. I wish you and yours a blessed and blissful 2016!

  • Crystal January 1, 2016, 8:13 am

    Hi Tammy, last year my word was “trust” as well. It was in Oct. when that word really came to fruition after I felt God asking me to leave my career with nothing in sight AND to not look for a job but simply write and study the word. Slowly some job opportunities have been coming my way but it’s still requiring a lot of trust. This year my word is “remain,” as in continuing doing what I’m doing. God bless you Tammy and happy new year! Can’t to read about your life journeys in 2016. Praying for you as you embrace “peace.”

  • Brenda January 1, 2016, 10:45 am

    My One Word is FAITH- to completely trust God with my everything- my life, marriage, children, job – truly me wholly and completely like I have never before….. This is truly going to be a challenge for the control freak in me- the one that needs to die so that the Mighty Lord can take control of my everything! Thank you for your raw honesty- it’s real and encouraging! Happy New Year!

  • Susan B January 1, 2016, 10:55 am

    Such beautiful words and truths. As you leave your home remember it was you and your family that made it what it was. Once you leave it will be a house again, for someone else to fill with memories. What you filled your home with you carry with you in your heart.,mind, and soul. God always leads us to places better than we could imagine. I wish you well on your new journey. Your writing always speaks to my soul. Happy New Year.

  • Joelyne January 2, 2016, 1:56 pm

    Inspiring! Thank you. I’ve also chosen a significant word each year for the last 2 years, and it has worked wonders. I do believe in offering the word to God, and letting Him lead the way and guide us. I am also at a point of uncertainty – starting a new job. I hope to trust and be at peace. Not sure what my word is yet, but it will be along the same lines.

  • Pam January 2, 2016, 10:59 pm

    My word this year is brave. He will make me brave to say yes, even if it’s hard and I don’t understand .

  • Katie January 4, 2016, 8:54 am

    Thank you, Tammy, for sharing your heart in such an open an beautiful way. You provide so much encouragement to me as my husband and I begin to enter into a new season of uncertainty. God has removed us from from our comfort in almost all aspects of our life and is bringing us into new, deep waters. So exciting and scary at the same time! My word for the year is “hope”….to continue to hope in the promises of God, even when we can see no sign of movement anywhere around us. To hope in Christ…and not in what we see.

  • Kay Fredrick January 6, 2016, 6:38 pm

    My word for the year will be “power”. I am asking God to tech me how to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • Jul January 20, 2016, 7:39 am

    Only today I realized that my word for this year will be self-worth. I need to stop with self-pity, either if it is real or I just fake it to get things from the others. Yes, I know, it sounds really awful 🙁
    Tammy, your writing is precious for me, it helps me understand myself and the world in other dimension. I am not a believer, as I see you and your readers are, but somehow I feel connected with you all, your kind comments really touched me.
    Find your peace, bless you.

    • Tammy January 20, 2016, 1:43 pm

      It doesn’t sound awful at all Jul, I find myself guilty of the same thing, far too often to count. You have no idea what a blessing your note is to me today, of the power of doing one small, good thing. You just never know who might need it. Thank you. I’m humbled, honored and truly blessed to be a small part of touching your heart. Much love, grace & peace to you as you endeavor to know your worth. You ARE worthy. xo

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