Old Word, New Word: Hope and Rejoice

Well, I wrote a blog post yesterday, and assumed it had saved (because WordPress always saves what you write, right?). No. Obviously it was too long or something.

How did your 2017 go? Mine went by in a flash, and I’m still trying to figure out what happened the last two months! In many ways, it felt like a rebuilding year for me—recovering from several difficult happenings, and going on to deeper depths with the Lord.

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Near the beginning of last year, I wrote a blog post about my word for the year. “Hope” was—and still is!—something I had much to learn about, but that was the main thing I wanted to remember throughout 2017. There is hope. Whether I can see it or not, it’s there, and sometimes simply clinging to the promise of hope was all I could do in certain months.

But God was faithful through it all, just as He always is. I’m so thankful!

There are several key things I remember from my year of hope—of rebuilding.

  • The wonderful youth conference I attended in Dec. 2016. For the first time in months, I was able to reconnect with the Lord (I’m SO thankful for that!)—and, as a result, many of the things I learned then are things I’m still pondering and applying to my life.
  • In February and March 2017, I learned a lot about prayer, and how it works in real life. I’m so thankful for all the Lord taught me during that time! It gave me strength and sustenance in the following months.
  • A family trip to the States in June and July was so encouraging and wonderful. We were able to reconnect with old and new friends, and for me, it was a great time of encouragement and some healing from the previous year’s events, including my brother’s death.
  • What I had learned about prayer in February came into play quite a bit in August through October. I had several major things to work through in those months, and prayer was the main thing that sustained me through that time. One-year anniversaries of traumatic events are, quite simply, tough. But God sustains us through them, for which I am ever so thankful! This was probably the time when I saw my word “hope” come into play the most—because that was all I had to cling to. And hope in Christ was more than enough to bring me through. Because He IS enough.

“So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” —Hebrews 13:6

  • Throughout the last half of the year, we knew we had to move out of the place we’re renting, but had no clue where we were going. Again, hope came into play, as the only thing we really had to pray then was, “okay, Lord, we know You’ve got somewhere for us to go to—please reveal it in Your time!” And it seems like He has (but that’s another story for another day!).

Over and over again throughout this past year, I saw specific ways where the Lord reminded me of my word for the year, giving it to me in moments where I’d normally be really struggling over uncertainties in my life. He was so good. If I sat down and listed each time, I’d probably fill books! 🙂

It wasn’t an easy year, in many ways. Often, I found myself struggling in the valley, wondering if I’d ever see beyond the tears and current storm—or if it would just last the rest of my life. But He has brought us through, and although I’m positive 2018 will probably have its own unique struggles in it, I am also confident that none of them will be any bigger than our God.

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“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” —Hosea 2:15 (emphasis mine)

Despite the valleys I went through last year, and the ones that will probably come next year, I’m going to continue claiming hope over them. The Lord our helper is with us (see Hebrews 13:6 above).

Twenty-eighteen is already nearly two days old according to my calendar, and as I’ve been pondering what my word for this year should be, I keep coming back to a theme: Rejoice. Give thanks. Be joyful. Since I appreciate action words (it’s been good to tell myself to “hope in the Lord” this past year!), I’ve decided this will be my theme for the new year.

No matter what comes next year—and I’m sure there will be plenty of joyful moments as well as painful ones!—I want to remember to rejoice. Because God is good.

What is your word for the new year? Or, if you don’t do “words”, what’s one thing you’re hoping to remember as a guiding line for the coming year?

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