Have you followed the one word movement?
It’s where you wait prayerfully for an idea, a word, maybe a verse of scripture that has one specific word in it, and you claim that as the word for the year, the unifying idea, the focus. These are good. I need a rubric from which to think, especially from which to make decisions. Before I heard of this movement I had a few little experiences with the nudging of the Holy Spirit that gave me an idea of what the future was going to be about, and as the year progressed I saw how I needed them.
Sometime in the fall I read a post suggesting that we could keep the same word from last year. The author (sorry, I don’t know how to search for who it was!) said she hadn’t fulfilled her word, and was going to keep going with it another year. I felt convicted because my year of grace
was supposed to be where I listed all the ways God showed his grace to us this year. It was a faith building project, and I was going to write, like the Gratitude movement, the specific times I saw God work in my life to give more than sustenance, to pour out his grace on my undeserving self.
Or I could write a year in review.
But somehow I was stuck. Life was really a bit too full last fall, and I was teaching writing so my own writing scaled back dramatically. Funny how that goes! On the other hand my own writing sharpened up too, as I reviewed and learned new things in teaching a college class of mostly first-years. Christmas was colored with the grading needing to be done, New Years week was a time to plan ahead for the spring with the Homeschooling community where I’m teaching English, History, and organizing a science fair and an Amtrak field trip, but then the next week, the first week of the year, we had a family vacation.
We went to San Diego by train, where we picked up a rental car and drove to the airport to pick up my husband’s parents and brother, and then we headed to a beach house on a spit of land beyond SeaWorld, right on the ocean. Monday through Friday we rested. We saw the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and the Maritime museum and San Diego waterfront, and the new library downtown. We bought new mugs (we’re collectors, usually of college mugs, but other special ones are in daily use), we ate well, and on Friday we drove up to La Jolla on a cloudy bright day and took pictures of seals and surf, ate Pho together (my Father-in-law grew up in Vietnam) and headed back to the airport and train station.
All the while I’m praying about a new word.
It’s a new year, but I’ve eased into the New Year.
Arabah Joy posted about getting the most out of a new word.
Sabbath came to my mind. I didn’t connect with the fact that we started the year with a vacation! But I thought of how I wanted to make more out of my sabbaths, set them aside more, to read devotionals, to slow down and catch up with myself, to look for God, to write.
I continued to think of sabbath and realized it’s my 50th year, and could this be my own year of Jubilee? What do I know of jubilee? there’s a Michael Card song which includes the words, “sins forgiven, slaves set free: Jesus is our Jubilee” and this keeps running through my mind (I don’t mind continual repeat) when I think of Jubilee. Returning things to others that have found a place in my home but were only supposed to be borrowed. That’s on my do-list! Returning to our inheritance? What can that mean? If it is part of it, perhaps God will make that happen, as long as I am willing to see?
The Millers came over Sunday night. They drive down to a Messianic congregation about an hour’s drive away, every Saturday, to play worship music. So they sleep in on Sundays and join us for evening prayer service (Lutheran style) in our home at 5:30 and dinner after. Rosalynn brought me a scripture that they’d read the day before, said God nudged her to bring it to Beth. As she read it, with some explanations, my spirit thrilled to the word and caught glimpses of hope.
Therefore, say to the people of Isra’el: ‘I am ADONAI: I will free you from the forced labor of the Egyptians, rescue you from their oppression, and redeem you with an outstetched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am ADONAI your God, who freed you from the forced labor of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land which i swore to give to Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya’akov–I will give it to you as your inheritance. I am ADONAI. (Ex. 6:6-8, Hebrew Bible)
Rosalynn had said they weren’t gardening this year because it was a year of sabbath, where you let the ground rest. I didn’t realize it’s the Jewish year of sabbath (there’s another word), although not the year they celebrate jubilee.
So I think my word for the year is SABBATH meaning more than just take a break on Saturdays, and I hope God is making that sabbath year our personal year of JUBILEE as we turn 50 in November (husband) and December. Or we celebrate Jubilee next year? I don’t quite know yet. It’s enough for me to have guidance day by day with an overarching hope of sabbath year, jubilee’s coming! (Because it would have been 7×7=49 and then 50th is jubilee, right?) My heart is singing, “Sins forgiven, slaves set free, Jesus is our jubilee!” (Sometimes I get it wrong and sing saints set free!)
I still plan to take some sabbath time to write about the grace God poured out in 2014 and reflect as well as write about this year and future hope.
Linking up with Faith Barista Bonnie Gray and the others who write brave hope at Beloved Brews (click here):