picture courtesy of:

A new year is upon us once again. Have you, like me, been hearing for weeks about new year resolutions, goals, your new “word” for the year?All this gibberish about gives me a headache! Pick a word? One word for the future. Really? Yet, I find myself spending way to much time thinking and trying to plan about the future.

I gave up setting New Year’s resolutions some years ago. Instead, I wait until the first week or two to really process the fresh start and then I come up with some. I know it may sound silly, but let’s face it, most resolutions don’t hold out more than a few weeks anyway. Plus, it is one less stress around the holidays to think about.

So with the ringing of the New Year bells, I again start to process a fairly quick inventory of my life, being careful not to get stuck in the past. I evaluate where I have been, where I want to be, and my ever-growing understanding of who God created me to be. This year I was hit with this thought – to build on my “J”s and “S”s to a “P”. Let me explain.

Over ten years ago the word for my life was clearly Joy. It was brought to my attention I might be lacking. I started praying over this and it began. I certainly didn’t see it at first, but over a number of months I began to realize how talks, seminars, readings, etc. all stemmed around a theme of joy.

Funny how God works when we ask him!

Even though the person who initially expressed how “I didn’t smile as much” was referring to my outward expression of happiness, I found most people think the same way, including me. This lack of understanding is probably why it took me a bit to recognize the answers to my quest. Plus, it was certainly a time in my life I could have plenty of excuses for my missing grin.

That year I learned how happiness isn’t joy. Joy goes far deeper. Happiness is based on current circumstances. Joy has a solid foundation. Happiness can be there one minute and gone another. Joy lasts – no matter what is happening around you or to others you love. I found my JOY in who Jesus is. Although I had found Salvation years before, it wasn’t until that year I started to truly understand the “what” and “why” of Jesus in my life and what He had done for me.

Salvation through Jesus were “J” and “S” words that started it all. Then growth sprouted and continues to grow. Salvation, Jesus and Joy were not only my “S” and “J” words, they brought new meaning and a fresh comprehension to my life.

For some reason I realized this past week, I have had a lot of “S” word lifestyle changes. Many God has been refining in me since our son’s death three years ago. Suffering, Sufficient Grace, Surrender, Sacrifice, Shut Thy Mouth, Submission, Success, Soul catcher …. The list gets longer as I think about it. At times I don’t have words to describe my thoughts on suffering and sufficient grace. When I get lost in my own world of suffering (“Oh, woe is me!”), I end up being okay when look at how much Christ suffered for me (and you) and the sacrifice he made. His grace is always sufficient.


Before our son’s suicide my mind didn’t forget much.

My thoughts and emotions didn’t take detours like they do now.

I had a great deal of energy.

Surrender is probably the biggest challenge from the list. I think I have a flaw of independence. Now, life slows me in my tracks, stumbles me up and frustrates easier. Eventually, I lay it all down at Jesus’ feet and ask Him to work it out. I regroup and keep doing what I know He wants me to do. But, I can’t wear myself out trying to do it all. If it is meant to become something He has to accomplish it. And He has!

I know we can make all kinds of plans for every minute of each day and have them be destroyed by unexpected life in a split second. I know scripture says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) and  “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21) And as silly as I think it is to pick one word to describe the future, a future I have no idea what will bring, the other morning I had one pop into my head. Priorities.

My life is busier than ever and although I generally do pretty well with organization, I think I need to establish and focus more on my priorities. Since my schedule is more flexible nowadays, it is easy to get lost in the little things, or social media, or my bed sheets. (chuckle) I need to establish priorities to not only get stuff done, but priorities which continue to mean something and that last for eternity. I want to continue to do right for the right reasons, to continue to build on what God has already been establishing in me, yet more focused on the priorities for His kingdom. I want to be flexible to do His will and meet the needs of others that He wants me to.

Because in the end, it is “the Lord’s purpose that prevails” and not mine.

So, do you have a word, a verse, or a thought for this year? Are you building a life built on the salvation of Christ, refining who you are in His eyes, prioritizing His Will and Kingdom? Tell me about your “J”s, “S’s, “P”s, or other meaningful A B C.