"Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Word is a Word

I was listening to K-Love on the radio today, and the co-hosts were talking about having a word for the year 2011. Not a phrase. Not an expression. Not a proverb or a conversation.  But a word.  Just one word.  Come on.  I really need an entire sentence.  No, let's make that a paragraph or a book.  But just one word.  Hmmm.  One caller said she has chosen the word, "Amazing."  She worked at a Christian medical center, and she wanted her services to be "amazing" for her clients, her clients to be "amazed," her spiritual life to be "amazing."  She wanted her life to be an "amazing" testimony to others.  Another caller said that her word for 2011 was, "More."  "More" of God, "more" of life, "more" of the Word, "more" of friendships.  I can't remember what the co-hosts' words for the year were because I had already begun mentally asking the Lord what my word should be.  Immediately, the word "Comfort" came to mind, and it has been in my mind ever since. Whenever the Spirit speaks to me, it's generally immediate, and if I haven't learned anything else in my life, I have learned to listen to Him.  So, I guess, "Comfort" it is.

"Comfort."  I kind of like that word.  It seems to roll off my lips.  From my mouth to God's ears. Yes, 2011 will be a year of "Comfort" for me and my family.  Not in the sense of materialism, but rather in the emotional and spiritual sense.  Comfort from the past twelve months--it's tragedies and challenges, it's ups and downs, it's endless dragging on...it seemed so very much longer than the twelve months that it actually was.  There were times that it seemed to last 36 months.   Yes, comfort from extreme grief and sadness, from dashed dreams and hopes, from the things that happen when we live in an imperfect world.  Comfort to rest in the arms of our Savior, our Comforter.  To be lulled by the sound of contentment and peacefulness in our daily lives. To be able to spend more time smelling the roses, playing with the dogs, leisurely walking in the park, and going through old photographs. To be able to laze around, on a Sunday afternoon, sipping tea and laying in the hammock.  Ok, maybe not tea, but a diet coke.  Now, that would be comforting.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

Comfort. It's definition is actually pretty comforting.  "To soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to.  To make physically comfortable."  There are so many synonyms for the word, and they all sound good and conjure up thoughts of sunny afternoons and hammocks.  "Pacify, calm, solace, gladden, relieve, soothe, to lessen the sadness of someone, to make grief or distress seem lighter, by means of kindness and thoughtful attentions." Wow.  I mean who wouldn't choose that word for themselves for the year 2011?

I love this word for 2011, not only because my family needs and craves comfort right now, but because I also want to be a comforter--the one comforting those who many need it.  I want to be used as a comforter in this world of hurt and pain; become a friend to the otherwise friendless, give hope to the otherwise hopeless, and give help to the otherwise helpless.  It is not necessarily what I would have chosen for myself, at this particular time in my life, but then again, there's never any time like the present.  Had I gotten to choose a word for me for 2011 (instead of the Holy Spirit choosing for me), I would have chosen a word like, "Joy," or "Fun," or "Fascinating."  Those just sound happy and inviting; they sound, ah.....fun!  And everyone, especially me, enjoys having good, clean, fun!!!  After thinking about it, however, because I envision 2011 to be so very different from 2010, that I would may chosen something like, "Change," "Revolution," "Astounding."   But, I guess, "Comfort," it is.

I foresee 2011 also being the year of service for our family.  "Service" wasn't my word for the year, but I consider service to be a part of "Comfort."  Service to those less fortunate--either in their physical circumstances or in the spiritual or emotional circumstances.  I know, in my circle of friends, there is something we practice called MAD Mondays--Make a Difference Mondays.  Yes, we borrowed the idea from the radio station (gotta love K-Love in the mornings).  We try to just make a difference in our world, in some way--big or small--just a difference.  From paying a drive through order bill for the person behind us, to pumping gas for someone, to shoveling someone's snow, raking their leaves, just smiling more and complaining less. The bottom line is that we are making a difference--through service.  When I really focus on MAD Mondays, I realize that acts of service should just be innate within us--just a common act that surfaces everywhere and everyday in our lives.

If January, 2011, is in any way, a foreshadow of how the remainder of the year will pan out for me and my family, look out, because it's going to be fabulous.  I am so very excited.  Things are definitely moving and shaking, and I have a front row seat.We began our year by going to Jamaica and working with some that are seemingly less fortunate than us, however, the Jamaicans actually comforted us.  I've come to realize that the Jamaican people are not less fortunate than us, rather they are more fortunate in so very many ways. While the divorce rate in America is a staggering 4.95 per 1,000 marriages, the Jamaican divorce rate is .38 per 1,000 marriages.  YES!   The climate is outstanding; over 66% of the country actually practices Christianity; communities have a sense of ownership and tend to watch over each other.  My family and I wanted to help relieve, soothe and pacify those that needed it, to lessen the sadness of so many people and make their burdens seem lighter, and yet the Jamaicans did all that for us.  They proved the adage, 'It isn't what you have that makes you happy, it's Who you know," and a lot of them know Jesus.  Yes, a life lived in service to others is a life well lived.  I hope 2011 allows and encourages us to "Comfort" as many as possible.

When I think about a word for 2010, I think of "Unpredictable"   and "Challenging." Ha.  That hits the proverbial nail on the head.  It was definitely unpredictable and challenging, to say the least.  When I think about it though, I tend to remember the many negative things that occured, without really considering the many, many positive, life changing, amazing things that happened, as well.   It can be said that 2010 was a wonderful year for us.  Hello? 

--I was totally, miraculously, supernaturally, healed of cancer;
--Joy graduated from high school (my first homeschooler);
--Bethany turned 17, Joy 19 and Jonathan 15;
--Jonathan began high school;
--Bethany became a Senior;
--Joy began college;
--My job went to full time status;
--I remained employed when so many were being laid off;
--The holidays were great;
--Our family bonded more than it ever has, and those cords of 4 have never been stronger.
--Our faith was tested, and we passed with flying colors.  

2010 was also a year of growth, both for me personally, and for my family.  Spiritually, emotionally and mentally.  The Lord led me to start officially attending the church where my children had been going to youth group for years  I loved my former church, but apparently, my season of attendance there was nearing a close.  I know that I grew a lot during that decision-making process.  It wasn't easy, but it was necessary, and it was a very eye opening experience.  We learned a lot from people's reactions to our departure and a lot from our reactions to them.  We grew spiritually because we had to rely on the Lord for most everything last year.  He was the only constant in our lives, when it seemed that everything in our lives was changing. The Lord constantly revealed his mercy and grace to us by constantly answering our prayers and moving us forward in His will.

I don't know just what words the Lord would have for my children have this year, but I have a feeling each of them will be spectacular.  I would wish "Joy," and "Happiness," for each of them.  "Wisdom" and "Discernment," would be awesome choices, as well.  I highly doubt they would choose my word, "Comfort," however,  I know that it will not only be a great one for me, but it will also benefit all three of my children and those that we come in contact with.

What word would you choose for 2011?  Amazing, More, Fascinating, Change, Happiness, Comfort?  Pray about it, as only you will know.  Feel free to leave a comment and share your word for 2011 with me.  I would love to hear it.  Just by speaking/writing it, it makes it more real.

May you blessed immeasurably this year as you live out your word.

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