Wednesday, January 13, 2016

One Word for 2016

"Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: 
God is a refuge for us. Selah."
Psalm 62:8
(KJV)

I have been earnestly seeking God's face over the course of the past several days
for direction concerning the one word He has for us for 2016.
I wanted it to be a word that was in line with all He is doing in our lives right now.
I wanted it to be a word in which I could find much-needed hope.
I wanted it to be a word that would draw me into focus each time it came to my mind.

Words.
While asking God to narrow it down to "one word", I have felt that I am in a sea of them.
Flailing.
Trying to find my bearings.
Endeavoring to make sense of and find order in them.

The word God gave me for last year was "P.R.E.P.A.R.E."
More than a mere word,
He gave me an acronym that embodied all He would be leading us to do.
You can read about that right here.

The Purging, Reducing, Eliminating, Pruning, Anticipating, Releasing, and Expectation
are still happening.
We are still in the season of doing all of these.
I truly wish I had kept a running total of the item count of "things" we have shed from our lives this past year.
It has been liberating.

The attic is all empty, and one room of our house is nearly empty, as we have realized that nearly everything in there could be labeled "excess", and we have and are still determined to downsize and let go of what we don't need, want, or use.

Through our purging, reducing, eliminating, pruning, and releasing,
we have felt a sense of anticipation and expectation that has kept us continually motivated.
It has filled our hearts with HOPE.
Throughout the difficult year we just lived, I can't begin to tell you how much we needed that.
You can read about some of our 2015 battles by clicking HERE.

While seeking God for a "one word" for 2016,
I found that we are still in the P.R.E.P.A.R.E. season,
though, I discern that we are much closer to the end of it than we were at the beginning of 2015.

So, as we continue our Journey Towards Minimalism,
and as we wind down this season of P.R.E.P.A.R.E.,
I feel the sense of God edging us ever closer to what He has 
reserved for the next season of our lives.

I believe we are on the brink of breakthrough,
and I cannot describe how much gratitude that calls forth.

Much gratitude, yes.
And, along with the thankfulness, comes a sense of uncertainty.
Because, what is next?
What has been the purpose for all of this preparing?

Why has God set us on this course of downsizing and minimizing our lives?
There are many "what-ifs" floating around in my mind,
and we all know two things...
1.  "What-if" questions are driven by and foster fear.
2.  "What-if" questions are never asked or presented by God.
God already knows the answer to every "what-if" question,
and He does not give us the spirit of fear, nor does He ask a question that would invoke dread.
God gives us the spirit of love and of power and of a sound mind.  (2 Timothy 1:7)
"What-if" questions never lead to a sound mind.
Rather, they lead to a tormented mind,
a restless mind,
an anxiety-ridden mind.

My little family and I stand here...nearing the end of our preparing,
and we wonder.
What's next, God?
Why did we just walk through the fiery trials of 2015?
And, why, in the midst of those ordeals, were we so compelled to "p.r.e.p.a.r.e."?
And, what are You doing in our lives now?
What is next?


All of these swirling questions bring me to the major life lesson
God is now teaching my family and me.

It is not an easy one, and with all my swirling words,
I could not narrow it down to one word, try as I may.

So, God did what He so often does,
and He revealed what I was seeking through my dear husband and son.
The other day, Zach called to me from where he and his Daddy were talking in the back room.
"Mama, Daddy's got it!
He knows what our "one word" for this year should be!"

"What is it?"
I questioned.

And, there it was...in Zach's answer.

Our "one word" for 2016.

TRUST

As soon as Zach told me, I remembered this post
and the acronym for TRUST that God gave Zach in late 2014.

To Rely Upon Strong Truth

Oh, how I LOVE that!
And, it is just exactly what God is asking my family and me to do this year,
as things continue to feel so uncertain.

Looking back, I find it interesting to watch the progression of our "one words".
2014 was RESTORATION.
2015 was PREPARE.
2016 is TRUST.

It is neat to look back and trace God's hand.
Don't you sometimes wish God would allow us to look ahead and do the same?
I realize that could be good or bad to do, as we may or may not like what we see ahead of us.
But, there are moments, I just wish God would shine a flashlight in front of me
and lay out a five year plan, explaining what will happen and when it will occur
and how I am supposed to go about what is required of me, etc.

We all know there is no such flashlight.
God doesn't operate this way.
And that is where trust comes in.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8,9

Saturday night, I was feeling overwhelmed with some things God is leading us to do,
and I sat down with Zach at our kitchen table, needing to draw from his wisdom well once again.

He looked at me with those melted-chocolate brown eyes...
so intense, so earnest, so in tune with the precious Holy Spirit...
and here is what he said.

"Mama, it is like you are hanging on a ledge, holding on so tight that your knuckles are turning white,
when, all along, two inches below you, God is there, with a soft place to fall."

Whew!
Can I just tell you how many times God does this?
His words flow straight through this dear boy,
and they are exactly and precisely what I want need to hear.

Zach was right, and I knew it.

I cried.

"Mama, you need to let go.
You need to trust."

And, isn't this what trusting is all about?
Letting go...
of our own resources,
our safety nets,
our back-up plans,
our carefully-laid arrangements.

In case you haven't noticed, that isn't so easy to do, my friends.

I thought back upon the intense trials we encountered last year,
and the lessons God taught is still teaching us because of them.

As my dear friend and fellow CWA sister, Sandy Brown, prophetically reminded me the other day,
those lessons will need to continue to be learned as we go throughout this year,
especially lesson #4.
I reiterate here.

Lesson #4:
God is a jealous God.
"For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God..."
Exodus 34:14
He wants to be our "all in all".
He doesn't want us to depend upon our own safety nets,
whether they be financial, physical, or spiritual.
When we do this, we are leaning to our own understanding,
and we are putting our trust in our own devices,
making them our "gods" and sources of deliverance and sustenance.
The strongest, most dependable of human safety nets and back-up plans can fail.

Recently, I completely wore myself out, trying to pursue different avenues, hoping to help God accomplish something He is doing in our lives.
Every time a new idea would present itself to me,
I would chase the idea down by making phone calls and doing all I could to make it happen.
Each of my endeavors turned out to be a complete dead end.

One day, after exhausting both myself and every prospect and possibility that had presented itself to my mind, I started having a season of prayer.

Almost immediately, God spoke.

"Are you done yet?"

I instantly knew what He meant.
He let me know, in no uncertain terms,
that it was time for me to let go.
To stop struggling, analyzing, and trying to make this happen
To stop trying to figure it out on my own.
To stop feeling the weight and responsibility.
To hand Him the reins.
To stop leaning to my own understanding, and to start leaning on His.

Our "own understanding" can become a "god" to us,
and we can become guilty of trusting in ourselves instead of God...
never a good idea.

Letting go of our own back-up plans and safety nets is hard.
Because don't we always want to retain control?
In reality, what do can we really control anyway?

When we reach the end of our own resources, He hasn't yet begun to unveil His.
The same God Who has brought us through the trials of the past is still God now.
He will always be God...throughout every day of our future.

He is to be trusted.
His faithfulness in our yesterdays more than proves that He is worthy of our trust in all of our tomorrows.

Jesus made this promise, right before He left His disciples and ascended to Heaven,
"...lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Matthew 28:20

Did you notice that "amen" at the end?
In other words, so be it.
End of discussion.
No further need to worry.

So, how are things with you, my friend?
Do you fight a battle with fear for the future?
Is it hard for you to trust?
Has God given you a "one word" for 2016?

Thank you so much for being here!
Thank you for reading, for commenting, for sharing what God lays upon your heart.
You are such a dear blessing to me!

I look forward to seeing what wonderful things God does in all of our lives throughout this new year!

I hope you can take the time to listen to the words of this song written by
Babbie Mason and Rodney Griffin (the guy singing in the middle).
This song is truly my personal testimony.
I'm sure you will find that it is yours, too.  :~)


If video doesn't load, click here.

38 comments:

  1. So good Cheryl! I love this acronym! To Rely Upon Strong Truth! So good! Zachary just sounds like a delight!!! What a sweet son to have!

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    1. Thank you ever so much, Caroline. Zachary is a precious blessing to all he meets...all glory be to GOD. I wish you could meet him! Maybe one day, you will, if God permits. :) I am praying for you, sweet friend, and believing God to give you the desires of your heart!!

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  2. Hi Cheryl, I love that you God gives you a word each year. Wow, you sure went through a lot last year, a person definitely learns to leave things in God's hands through trials. I pray that this year will go so much smoother for you.

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    1. Hi, Kelly! It was so nice to see that you had stopped by. Your visits are a blessing indeed! Thank you for your precious prayers for us! I hope your 2016 is wonderful, too!! :)

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  3. Trust! I'll never hear it again without hearing to rely upon strong truth! So awesome! What a precious son you have, and such gentle words of truth and encouragement he is always bringing to you... indeed the Lord's hand is on his life! I know that 2015 was such a turbulent year for you, and I, with you, look forward to this year being a year that allows us to trust ever more fully in the Lord. It is always a blessing and encouragement to read your posts, and to hear how the Lord has blessed, encouraged, strengthened, and taught you about Him. Indeed, it is a journey of learning to TRUST him, even when our physical eyes and minds cannot see the road or path. He knows, and we must trust that He knows. A beautiful thought indeed! Have a blessed day my friend, sure appreciate you so much!

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    1. Oh, sweet friend! Thank you for your dear visit and encouraging words today! I am so blessed by everything you said. You are so right...Zach is such a precious encourager to us. I am amazed at the wisdom God gives this dear boy, and, so often, it is the very wisdom I have been seeking Him for. Such a dear blessing indeed. I am trusting God to bless YOUR year this year, too, and bless you in a wonderful way. Sending you much love and many hugs!

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  4. What a coincidence - my post on my Blog today is about "TRUST".

    May your new year be full of trust in the Lord.

    God bless.

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    1. Oh, wow, Victor! I know I will greatly benefit from what you wrote, so will be over to visit you very soon. I am amazed at how God does that so many times...He will be dealing with me on something, then confirm that message in so many additional ways. Thank you for stopping by and leaving encouragement behind! God bless you, too.

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  5. Hi Cheryl! What a great word for the year! Well, actually, you've had a lot of great words in the last few years.
    The wisdom of your son just bowls me over. How old is he? What a witness to the Spirit that must reside in him!
    I'm so sorry about your troubles, your 'gravel' times. I know you have been wrestling with tough things, and it's so great to hear that you feel you are coming to the end, and have made progress.

    "Are you done yet?" LOVE that. I think God is telling me that too, and your post is confirmation. There is so little we really can do to affect our circumstances. We still have to try, but where is my trust? Is it in what I do...or what God can do with me?
    Blessings on your way to trust this year. I will look forward with interest to your sacred journey.
    Ceil

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    1. Thank you ever so much, dear Ceil. Zach just turned 15 the other day. What amazes us is that this dear boy has been spewing wisdom to us since he was very little. To GOD be all glory. Oh, dear friend! I LOVED your post about the gravel...I have thought of it so much and shared your thoughts with Kevin and Zach. I keep thinking of how something so small, like the tiny gravels in your shoes, can cause such big troubles and so much pain. Zachary pointed that out to me as soon as I told him about your post. It is such a blessing to me to walk this blogging journey with you, and yes, I, too, am surely looking forward to the good things that lie ahead. Surely God is with us all. Sending you hugs and blessings!

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  6. This is a battle we all do on the outside, but the war is won on the inside of us where our Father's spirit resides. Putting our trust in things other than Him is futile, I agree with you. But fearing or "revering" anything in this world before Him is on the same level of idolatry.

    To worry about what it is that sits beside us in the palm of His hand and is also subject to our Father's will is futile.

    Thanks for the reminder of true trust. And yes, that son of yours is wise beyond his years. God's gonna use that boy.

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    1. Oh, how true your words, Floyd! I loved what you shared here. God help us to let go of our fears, as they can become idols...I never thought of it in exactly that way. I so appreciate your wisdom. Thank you for the dear encouragement for Zach...I am going to have him read it. He needs the encouragement. As God is with him so strongly, the enemy surely fights. I am SO grateful for the encouragement of other dear saints of God, as it truly means so much to him...and to me. Thank you, brother.

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  7. Thank you darling Cheryl for another post filled with love and encouragement, your words touch my heart and make me feel comforted !
    With gratitude and esteem I'm sending dear love to you
    Dany

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    1. And, thank you, dear Daniela, for your sweet visit and kind words! Sending dear love back to you, precious friend!! :)

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  8. I enjoyed reading about your 2016 word, Trust. It really is the perfect follow up to last year. I think it's neat to seek it together with your family too. So very much power in living our faith journey as a family, praying together and sharing and that word comes alive. Trust was my word a few years ago when it seemed impossible to do it. I was full of fear of what might happen to my daughter and granddaughter. But God strengthened me in the middle of it. He didn't take me out of it. I look back so grateful because now I can pray and share with others going through the same trial. These one-words are amazing. I know it's going to be a great year!
    Hugs to you special lady!

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    1. Oh, dear Mary! I am so sorry you had to go through that worry and trial concerning your daughter and granddaughter. What a blessing that God has brought you through it, and He has turned that test into a testimony. God bless you, dear friend. :)

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  9. Cheryl, Wow! So much I could comment about in this incredibly blessed post!

    You have always been such an example, even in your shared "failings", of an underlying, strong trust in God and a desire to obey. Oh what glory your bring our precious Saviour.

    I loved how you outlined the progression of your words over the past few years, and how they truly all do tie together; I loved your reminder that trust is the basis of all we do; we need not know ahead of time or to try to be like "Sarahs", willing something to happen that we believe should.

    Your insights on the "what-if questions" was very convicting to me; encouraging me to trust and obey.

    No matter your trials, you are a "rich" woman indeed, with a Godly husband to encourage you and a son, who is a reflection of one who has grown up in a Jesus-saturated home, what a legacy you are leaving and how sweet that the Lord uses your son to speak His words to you and bless you mightily.

    Thank you so much for this glimpse into your struggles and triumphs. May God bless you and your family abundantly in 2016 as you wait on and trust in Him.

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    1. Oh, dear Karen! I cried when I read your precious, encouraging words! You are so right...God has abundantly blessed me so much...I could never thank Him enough, and I am from-the-bottom-of-my-heart thankful to Him Who has made it all possible. You are such a dear, precious blessing to me, dear Karen. May God richly bless you, in return. Sending you much love and gratitude!

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  10. Oh Cheryl, I just love your word and acronym for this year! Isn't it something just much we get in our way by trying to figure and fix things ourselves rather than trusting and relying on God to direct our steps.

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    1. Thank you so very much, sweet Wanda! I so appreciate your dear visit and encouragement. Love and appreciate you, dear friend!

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  11. I love your word and this whole post! So much can be said about "trust". That's what it all comes down to...trusting.
    "My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.

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    1. Thank you, Chris! I appreciate your encouraging words! And, I dearly LOVE that old song....I think of it often, as I lean more and more into trusting Jesus. All other ground truly is sinking sand. I am praying for your Daddy and hope he is feeling better. God bless you, sweet friend!

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  12. Prepare is a great word! Mine for 2016 is "Commit". Proverbs 16:3 I hope you can stop by:

    http://collettaskitchensink.blogspot.com/2016/01/songs-on-sunday-that-was-then-this-is.html

    Colletta

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    1. Commit sort of goes along with our word "Trust", doesn't it? It is wonderful to see how God is working in all of our lives. I will visit you, Colletta! God bless you!

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  13. I needed #4 today! Thank you! Blessings to you and your family as you TRUST more this year!

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    1. And, blessings to you, too, my friend! So thankful you stopped by today. Thank you for the encouragement you left behind! :)

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  14. I love the acronyms for the words! I think I am going to do some work on this for myself :) Thanks for a great post!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, Judy! I am very grateful for your visit. God bless you as you work on your one word! :)

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  15. Do I fight a battle with fear for the future? Is it hard for me to trust? Hmm, let me ask Nervous Nellie!! Yes, fear and lack of trust are my biggest faith challenges. But really, as you wisely pointed out, there's truly only one thing we can *control* - and that is the decision we make about Jesus. Nothing else is really under our control, and though it's hard, it's for the best. Because I know that I would choose a life of comfort and ease. A life that was self-pleasing. And that is not at all what God wants.

    So, trust is the command, the call, and though it's very difficult, we must focus on the One who is unchangeably and forever trust-worthy.

    Dear Zach - that young man is wise, so wise...

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. LOL! I love your "Nervous Nellie" analogy! It makes me laugh every time I see that you have written that. :) Thank you for your kind words about dear Zach. Bless this boy's heart, he is a dear inspiration to me every, single day. I hope all is well with you, Sharon. I just sent you an email right before I saw your comment! I guess we are thinking of each other today! Thank you so much for your encouragement.

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  16. My word for this year is HOPE. I have so much to be hopeful for in this world and the next. Thanks for sharing your heart !!!

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    1. I love your word, too, Rebecca! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving kind words behind. :) God bless you!

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  17. Cheryl thank you for always knowing when we need to hear your wise words! I look forward to your posts and always take something away to meditate on. Thanks again!

    Thanks for sharing on the Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop!
    http://oursimplelife-sc.com/simple-homestead-blog-hop-35/

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    1. Oh, Tracy! I can't thank you enough for your precious encouragement tonight! May the dear Lord richly bless you for it. I love to read everything you write, too, and have found such inspiration from you so many times. Thank you ever so much. :)

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  18. After experiencing the darkest year of my life, and still dwelling in the shadows of grief, I appreciate your reminder today that I have to let go and trust. As a person of faith, it should be easy, but it's often so hard. Thank you for reminding me of what I know so well. I haven't sought out a word for 2016, but TRUST is a very good one, so I'll adopt is as my own.

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    1. Oh, Gayle! I am SO sorry to hear of your terrible pain of heart!! I am so thankful you stopped by here, and I just trust Jesus to heal your hurt and grant you His comfort. If there is anything I can do, please know that I am here for you. God bless you in a special way. Thank you for your precious comment here.

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  19. At times we almost enjoy the struggle and the worry that goes with it. TRUST - what a great word for you and your family. We all should take that word to our heart or at least add it with what ever word we have chosen. I think I will just take the word and make it mine also. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

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  20. My deary Cheryl, I am late visiting the participants of Roses of Inspiration, but you know what? This post is exactly what I needed RIGHT now. So while I think I'm late God had it planned that I would read this now...His timing is truly perfect :)

    Sweet friend, this was such a precious post! And peaking of precious...that son of yours is a one-of-a-kind young man :) What a blessing and gift from the Lord.

    Thank you so much for sharing this with Roses of Inspiration. I am leaving refreshed and renewed and you have given me much to ponder this evening. Much love to you, dear friend!

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