Word of the Year — 2022 Nourish

For many years, I have chosen a word to be a reminder or a recurring theme for the coming year. A word that I would keep at the front of my thoughts and make part of my mission. In recent years, I prefer verbs as action statements that inspire and prompt me in some way. In past years, I set this word of the year by New Year’s Day. However, this year it just didn’t happen.

The year was difficult for us, as it was for so many others. As we entered 2022, we had a family member that was very old and in the last days of his well-lived life. We also had another family member in the throes of chemotherapy and cancer treatments. Simply put, I wasn’t ready to spend much time in reflection looking back to see how my watchword had shaped the year. So, here it is already April 1, and I think it is time to share my word of the year. So far, it has been a very fitting inspiration for me. More about that in a bit. First, though, a look back at 2021. It was the second year of a full-fledged pandemic that took away so much of everything we held dear. Families weren’t able to be together, older people were unable to see loved ones, travel plans were sabotaged, and this was the year that some people that I knew lost loved ones to the dreaded, insidious virus. Everyone knew someone who died due to Covid. Everyone, in one way or another, felt it and grew very weary. Our lives were held captive to masks and hand sanitizer, wondering if a touch or hug was okay or if we should step back one step farther. Children learned to respond to half faces with only eyes to read and no mouth, with no way to gauge a satisfied smile or unhappy tightening of the corner of a mouth. Many of us wondered what long-term social impact the social mores of pandemic protocol would have on people. Though that is yet to be determined, it is clear that virtually no one came out of this year unscathed.

There were good things as well that defined our 2021. One of the most life-changing ones was selling our event venue and deciding to enjoy a simpler life again. We found renewal in finding a smaller home in a subdivision again. Though we will still be able to renew our hearts at the ranch when we like, it will be in a much needed, scaled-down version.

My word for the 2021 year renew held more meaning and life course for me than I ever could have imagined. From simply using it to refresh my thought process in a world of having absolutely nothing normal to a desperate, cell revitalizing prayer for my loved one diagnosed with cancer, I prayed my word “Renew, Lord! Please renew!” “Renew” was a spiritual journey and a mission to help others refresh their souls in the long, lonely days of 2021. Renewal was the glorious result of a sweet answer to a long-awaited prayer to simplify our lives. And ultimately, renew was the watchword, as our loved one entered his Heavenly Home, fully restored, fully made a new creation on January 14. Renew was the word for the beginning and the end, bookends to a year we readily said goodbye to. As I write this, we are without masks, without fear, without the confines of pandemic protocol, and we believe with much optimism that we are nearing the end of this strange and most difficult time.

The most amazing thing about picking a word for the year has been the way it really does define that year. Without knowing what the year holds, but with a little prayer and forethought, I settle on a word and more years than not, I find how appropriate and fitting it is. As in previous years, the watchword also became the lifeline to depth-of-soul satisfaction and inner peace. I am thankful that we were able to renew our hearts, and refresh our souls throughout this past year and to experience true renewal in so many beautiful ways.

For 2022, the word is nurture. This year I added a byline “help good grow.” There are so many ways I plan to consciously make this my theme. I hope to nurture relationships that need my touch, to nurture my own soul with Bible reading and care, to nurture habits for good health, and to nurture and encourage my family, especially my grandchildren with stories and love and every blessing I can offer. May I pour out myself and fill others, nurturing their souls. I have lived long enough to know that we are blessed to be blessings to others, or as a friend used to put it: when your life gets an upgrade, you better be sure that someone else’s does also! I look forward to seeing all the ways that God shows up this year, and in particular how He nurtures in and through me, as I offer up myself in service to Him. Here’s to a year filled with nurturing hope and faith and many others along the way.

“only one thing is needed” luke 10:42

Multi-tasking: (Wikipedia) is the performance by an individual of appearing to handle more than one task at the same time. An example of multitasking is listening to a radio interview while typing an email. Some believe that multitasking can result in time wasted due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention. Other research illustrates our brains are capable dealing with certain ‘dual multiple tasks’ at the same time.

My personal research indicates that I am not humanly capable of multi-tasking. When the phone rings and I am working at the computer, I find my words jumbling as I talk or I type the words that I am saying. My children like to remind me that I really should stick with doing one task at a time, especially when I am on the phone with them. I tend to agree but the urgent pace of life probably won’t stop me from doing it again.

Especially at this time of year, we find ourselves trying to do a balancing act with our homes, our families, our work, our down time. Even though I have so many things demanding my attention, I need time with Him over the busyness of the day.

As enticing as the many options we have during this season may be, everything that is shiny is not gold. And some are downright golden calves. Now, I’m not advocating skipping a wonderful turkey dinner or time with family, but when we have to choose between something that is good and something better, we want to choose well. God always has the better plan. Anything else falls hopelessly short. It becomes clear why every pursuit except God can be an empty idol, if it takes up space in our souls where God could reside. He is so much better.

Lord, we come to you broken by the rushed pace and demands of our lives. Help us to see clearly Your path and choose wisely. We are so grateful for all the many blessings that You give. May we be still long enough not to miss a single one. In Your glorious Name, Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving to you! And may you know the singleness of joy found solely in Him.

discipline or delight?

This year I have tried to tuck a few verses into my heart with Beth Moore’s blog and the Siestas. Though I have been remiss in much of it, we have completed 21 verses and are entering crunch time before the “test” in January.

The real tests and benefits of knowing God’s Word come each day. Whether it is an outward resolve to handle a situation in love or an inner calm that settles inside me, there is a delight in hiding ancient words of Life in my heart. There is wisdom. There is peace. If you have an extra few minutes, listen to John Piper extol the virtues of memorizing The Word of the Lord using memorized verses.

Psalm 119:24 “Your testimonies also are my delight; They are my counselors.”

pray for Shirley Dobson

Shirley Dobson, wife of Dr. James Dobson, and founder of the National Day of Prayer, is giving a deposition today, November 10, from 8:30 to 4:30, defending her position to ask our nation’s President and legislature to pray for our country. She is being sued.

I ask you to join me today in earnest prayer for her and for our nation. Our liberty is at stake.

UPDATE: (My source was Kay Arthur’s Facebook status yesterday, Nov. 9, 2009:

Kay Arthur Dear precious faces – Shirley Dobson will be giving a deposition tomorrow from 8:30-4:30 PM. Because (as leader of National Day of Prayer) she asked the President and other political leaders to pray for our nation – an organization is now suing her. I prayed with her tonight and told her I would ask you to pray too. She is a valiant warrior…thanks.)

on the battlefield

There is a war raging in many of us that battles for control. It starts in our thoughts and it is often a bloody scene. We are told how to guard our hearts with peace, but we fight against the first thought, the carnal, and the bigger, unseen spiritual battle that entraps and snares us. Somehow we believe the lies instead of the Truth, and they become the deceptions that keep us weighted down in a daily onslaught of negativity combat.

We are taught to take every thought captive. (2 Cor 10:5) We are told to rejoice always, to be anxious for nothing, to think about whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely…anything excellent or praiseworthy–think about these things, and twice in one passage there is the promise of God’s peace which passes all understanding. (Phil. 4:4-9)

Joyce Meyer captures this concept so well in Daily Battles of the Mind: “Many of us have given in to deception at one time or another. How can these strongholds be torn down? We must be willing to receive the light of Truth in our minds. Our search for Truth begins in God’s Word, which says that the Truth will set us free (see John 8:32). This means we can be free from bondage, sin and strongholds in our minds. But just searching for Truth won’t set us free. We must be courageous enough to also believe the Truth.

Even when the Truth illuminates what’s inside of us, it’s sometimes hard to accept. It’s a painful process to face our deceptions and deal with them. It’s so easy to allow our past and how we were raised to negatively affect us for the rest of our lives. Our past may explain why we’re suffering, but we must not use it as an excuse to stay in bondage. You may have some major strongholds in your life that need to be torn down. Let me encourage you by saying, “God is on your side.” There is a war going on, and your mind is the battlefield. But the good news is that God is fighting on your side!”

Press on. I don’t know if this was for anyone but me today, but I write to tell you this battle’s already been fought and won. There’s hope and a victory waiting.