When your Word of the Year Gets Real


As we hurtle toward the end of 2013, I have been spending more and more time reflecting how my word of 2013 showed up in my life.

BLESSING. My word was BLESSING. Now, to be utterly honest, I thought for sure I knew exactly what the blessings would look like:

1) Our old house, on the market since last September, would sell early in the year.

2) My mystery, edited and ready to go by March, would be contracted by the middle of the year, TOPS.

3) God’s Daughter would be picked up by a CBA publisher at some point in the year.

4) My husband would be settled in his job.

Well, God had other plans! And the blessings were there, only I had to rearrange MY perceptions of what blessing looked like in my life. For instance:

1) Our old house will hopefully be sold in January, 2014. So it sold, but not on a timetable that made paying the bills easy, to say the least.

2) My mystery…well, I’ll let that remain a mystery. Still out with three publishers, but it could be coming out as soon as next year. Will keep you updated for sure.

3) God’s Daughter was never picked up by a publisher. But it’s out in the world, exactly how I wanted it to be. When I think of the possibility I could STILL be sitting on it, waiting for something to happen with it, three years after I finished it, I get sick to my stomach. God knew my wait was finally over to get that novel out.

4) My husband actually changed jobs, and now we’re in that transition period. BUT we know this is right where God wants him.

So I guess I learned my lesson. Never think you know HOW God is going to bless you. I can think of the things that would mean the most to me–those blessings I waited and prayed and begged God for–but in the end, He takes me through the valleys He knows I have to walk to be stronger.

I think of how I dealt with criticism, even when I got married…I loathed it and immediately reacted to it. ESPECIALLY when it came to my writing.

But God has taken me on this circuitous route that has forced me to endure criticism and endless rejection, only to put me in a place where people are reading my book and giving me such heartfelt praise, I feel like my heart is five sizes too BIG! After all the rejection (which was admittedly sprinkled with praise, via agents/editors/early readers), now I am in a place where I’m READY for the one-stars, and yet God has smiled and given me readers who truly love my book.

So honestly, as I reflect on 2013, I see so many dark, hard times. And yet, here at the end of the year, I can sit and look at my Christmas tree lights (there’s something magical about sitting in the dark with your lit Christmas tree, isn’t there!?), and ponder all the ways God has blessed me. Certainly more than I had hoped or dreamed. He has lifted my burden of being unpublished and given me the courage to publish (thanks SO MUCH to others who have encouraged me in this route! You know who you are!).

I think my word for 2014 is TRUST. Because even though I know God is good, I sometimes feel like WHY CAN’T IT JUST BE EASY? Why can’t we have those blessings poured out and answers to prayers just like we WANT them? But every time I think that, I realize I have to TRUST that God knows best and He sees the big picture. As Chip Ingram once said, since He is a good God, He is working out the greatest good for the greatest number of people.


****How about you? Did you have a word of the year for 2013? How have you seen that come to pass? And do you want to share your word for 2014?****




15 thoughts on “When your Word of the Year Gets Real

  1. I don’t do words of the year so much as songs of the year. Mine was “Holding Nothing Back” by Bryan and Katie Torwalt. This year has seen things come to pass I never could have dreamed could ever be possible in my life — the good and the bad. But it’s also reminded me of God’s faithfulness in everything!

      1. Thanks for sharing, Laurie. Great song title! I haven’t heard that one but will check it out. Yes, sometimes you have to just go for it and hold nothing back! Hope your 2014 is full of blessings!

  2. I appreciate your details of how your word for 2013 worked out in the year, Heather. I think I have a word for 2014, but it doesn’t make much sense to me. More prayer still needed to hear God clearly. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    1. Sometimes the word doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, Meghan. I know it’s not a biblical concept, this finding a word for the year…but maybe it has to do with speaking blessings over those we love? Looking FOR the blessings? It’s a good way to focus on the positive as you go into the new year. Too often I don’t do that!

  3. I’m glad God saw fit to bless you and your fam the way HE wanted to, Heather! He always seems to work in ways exceedingly higher than any we can imagine in our finite minds. Love ya! May your blessings carry into 2014 and beyond.

  4. I’m so glad to see the success of “God’s Daughter”. You deserve it – you worked so hard and diligently.

    I think my word for 2014 is ‘survive’. I’d like to make it to next Christmas. If God wants to take me home – He’s in for a fight.

  5. Heather, I’ve never done a word of the year. I’ll be thinking on that for this coming year … see if God places one on my heart. You have been a blessing to me. I hope you have a beautiful Christmas and New Year. God bless … Shelli

    1. Thank you so much, Shelli! I didn’t think I’d get a word last year, but it sort of showed up in various ways until I finally “got” it! Hope you find a good word and have a wonderful Christmas and 2014, too!

  6. My one word year was similar and I’m blogging about it next week. Lots of expectations going in and God blowing me away by the end of the year. 🙂 I’m looking forward to next year even more!

  7. Thank you for sharing, Heather! 2013 was the first year I did a word: perseverance. This was definitely a year that felt like a marathon. Many, many blessings… many, many stressors. God was faithful in sustaining me throughout, but I still had to show up and put in the work! I think 2014’s word is going to have to be balance, because that’s the one thing for which I’m striving while figuring out this whole full-time-wife-and-mom/full-time-writer thing.

    1. Oh, Carla–Perseverance (okay, had some trouble spelling that one!)–that’s a harder one, like Patience! You KNOW some trials are going to come your way (yet they do, no matter what the word, eh?). I’m so glad you persevered and I know you’ve been writing like CRAZY all year long. In due time, we will reap, if we faint not! Sometimes it’s all about the not fainting (or having friends to pull you up when you do!). Will be praying for balance for you in 2014. I need some, too!

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