I have always loved, but never before participated in the tradition of choosing a Word for the Year as part of a New Year's resolution. It seems a fitting addition to the mental list of goals I make every year-- something to ground, or shape my plans for my year. Something to remind me of what I aspire to, or have learned in the past year and wish to apply to my coming year. So this year, I decided to participate.
After a lovely discussion on Facebook, much consideration and a serendipitous devotional reading last night, I've chosen. My word for 2017 is
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
A long obedience in the same direction."
My husband beautifully exemplifies this trait. It is something I have noticed and admired in him since we first met in high school. His steady, thoughtful way of approaching life has provided our family with security and peace in the midst of some pretty intense moments over the years and I want to emulate that part of his character. His loyalty, too, is something that has protected our marriage relationship and served him well in his professional life. Those who have counted him among their friends know that he is a rare friend indeed. I want to be like that.
The serendipitous devotional reading was from "Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and Women's Work" -- a book that I highly recommend any time I get a chance to recommend a book. Another of Kathleen Norris' books, "Acedia and Me" was a life-changing read for me in 2011, after Jamie was born and I was stranded in a new city with a newborn and two other small children, missing my friends and feeling as though I had forgotten who I was outside of Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. I highly recommend that one, too. It was Norris who sent me to that passage in Lamentations and she goes on to speak of the application of steadfastness in our daily tasks:
Laundry, liturgy and women's work all serve to ground us in the world and they need not grind us down. Our daily tasks, whether we perceive them as drudgery or essential, life-supporting work, do not define who we are as women or as human beings, But they have a considerable spiritual import, and their significance for Christian theology, the way they come together in the fabric of faith, is not often appreciated. But it is daily tasks, daily acts of love and worship that serve to remind us that religion is not strictly an intellectual pursuit, and these days it is easy to lose sight of that as, like our society itself, churches are becoming more politicized and polarized. Christian faith is a way of life, not an impregnable fortress made up of ideas; not a philosophy, not a grocery list of beliefs. (emphasis mine)
I want my daily tasks to be acts of love and worship; work, teaching, mothering, wife-ing (I'm just going with it-- it's probably a word), being who I am in Christ-- everything I do...
...in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:17
Here's to a New Year in the Faith!