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.
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.
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?