Monday, January 6, 2014

Hope: The Word in Review

And so begins my eighth year of the Word of the Year Project.
Looking back>>>
2008: Be Still (predates this blog)
2009: Change (predates this blog)
2010: Abide
2011: Joy (and here)

2012: Trust
2013: Hope

Each word is chosen at the beginning of the year--- before even a whole month has unfurled, and after much prayer and heart searching, the Word is chosen. I never cease to be amazed at how God uses that One Word to grow and stretch and teach me throughout the year.
Just looking at those One Words above, I am reminded of each year....
2008 was our year of being still in His presence as we worked tooth and nail to pay off burdensome debt and to stay steady in our payment plans as creditors nagged and berated us.
2009 was a year of serious change- job change for me, church change for our family (a pretty big deal when you've been rooted in the same church your whole entire 30+years of life).
2010 was about abiding in Him, finding rest and reconnections and just revealing in the new peace in our home from the year before's big changes.
2011 was full of joy- easy joy, light joy and joy that carried weight and substance. It was a year in which I learned the difference between happiness and joy.... that life wouldn't always be happy but there would always be joy- even in the midst of the struggles because our joy comes from the Lord.
2012.... trust. After a couple of years of not a lot of changes, we decided to move forward with some home renovation plans that would bring us  to a point of selling our home. I learned to trust God with our plans, to trust my husband's leading and  trust that good will always win out even when the odds seem stacked against it.
2013.... oh, Twenty Thirteen you just ended and looking back-- what I was hopeful of in January was not the reality of December.

And while I started the year out with this verse from Psalm 71:14.... knowing I was going to be hoping against the odds for some specific things.... and while I prayed and continue to pray this verse- Lord, I will always have hope....

About two thirds of the way through the year, this verse began humming in my head instead....

And hope does not disappoint, 
because the love of God has been poured out
within our hearts through
the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5:5

And oh how fitting that verse has proven to be as the things I had been hopeful for didn't pan out the ways I had envisioned. I was able to quote that verse when I wanted to fret and worry or despair. I have clung to Romans 5:5 in a way I haven't clung to a specific verse in quite awhile.
Quite awhile.
It has been yet another learning experience for me.

Hope does not disappoint.
When you hope for those you love to make right choices and they don't. Continue to be hopeful.
When home improvement projects don't finish on time or the money runs out or an expensive ER visit occurs due to them and you wonder if you ever should have started this.... Be Hopeful Still.
When you put your house up for sale and hope it sells and weeks go by without anyone coming to look at it and discouragement knocks on your door.... Put Hope in charge of answering that knock.

Hope does not disappoint.

While Twenty Thirteen did not have the ending I was envisioning when I wrote my Word of the Year: Hope post twelve months ago, the year did not disappoint.
I had hoped to learn a lot-- about myself, my family and in my walk with Christ.
And I did. Whoo-wee, did I.
I had hoped to make new plans for new adventures, and I did and continue to do so.
I had hoped for great family time and an amazing family vacation.... and my hope not only wasn't disappointed but I was gifted with so much more amazingness than I could have imagined.

While I didn't get to experience the hoped for excitement of selling our home, I did get to experience the Hope that looks past worst case scenarios and believes for God's Best. I did learn to cast aside doubts and fears and put myself squarely in hope's comforting lap. While worry and fret still creep up on me, they don't stick around because I wear Hope like a cloak and am continually reminded.....

I will always have Hope
And Hope does not disappoint.

And that is good. Very, very good.

Hoping in the next couple of days to find a bit of quiet to put my thoughts together and share 2014's Word of the Year.


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