The word for me in 2017 was Steadfast. When the Lord put that word on my heart a year ago, I could never have foreseen what was in store for us, nor how significant that word would be. 2017 was apparently a rough year for a lot of people, if FB statuses in my friend groups are any indication... It was rough for us, too. So much heartache, so much brokenness, so much stress and grief around us at every turn. But the Lord remained Steadfast in His graciousness to us. And He upheld me in my commitment to remain Steadfast in my various areas of responsibility (marriage, parenting, business, self-care, friendships, etc). It was a good word for a year full of difficult, but rewarding growth. And even in the midst of the raging storm around us, our little family was sheltered and kept safe.
Unfortunately, as a flawed human who tends always to over-correct in every direction of growth, I think I have let the difficulty of this year sink in a little too deeply. I think my Steadfastness has begun to harden into stoicism, even tinged with some resentment, as I've persevered under pressure. I was particularly convicted recently by a brief conversation with a family member. She said, in the midst of a conversation, "you don't seem very happy." Not in a scolding way, I read compassion in those words. (Not to worry, M.!) But the Lord was pricking my conscience... That brief comment came as a lightbulb moment at the end of a week or two of subtle hints and pondering-- and then at breakfast yesterday morning at my aunt's house, pulling this coffee cup at random out of the cupboard, the final confirmation:
Psalm 126:6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
There it is. My word of 2018. Rejoice. I'm meditating on small moments, simple mercies, the everyday beauty-- noticing the Joy in the midst of the brokenness. But I'm also looking forward and rejoicing in the hope of the day that all is healed, becomes new. I have been bearing precious seed, I've been planting and tending and in many cases, watering with tear. I will hold fast to this promise that I will one day see my harvest.
I want to combine what I've learned about Steadfastness this past year with a trusting lightness of Spirit, casting my cares on Him, resting on His promises. His loveliness, and His love, is all around me.
Lord, teach me to find the joy.