My Word for the Year

This past Christmas season, my local chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) had a Christmas party at the home of one of the members. We each brought a dish and a gift that a writer would appreciate, and we played the “White Elephant” (or some people call it “Dirty Santa”) gift exchange game.

It was a great time. But what I remember most about that night was a conversation I had with the hostess. We were placing the food on the table, and I noticed a plaque on her breakfast bar that said, “Hope.” Well, I have a thing with stuff that has my name on it. I have a number of pictures and plaques and pillows around my home that say “Hope.” Even my watch has “Hope” on the face.

Anyway, I jokingly told her that I might have to take that home with me since it had my name on it. She replied that a friend had given her the plaque because “Hope” was her “Word for the Year.” She went on to explain a situation involving the health of her grandchild and how she was clinging to “hope” in God for that situation.

What a wonderful idea. I had heard of people having a “word,” “theme,” or “motto” for their lives. I thought it would be a cool idea to pray for God to give me such a “word.” I tucked that little nugget away for later and went on about my life.

Fast-forward to New Years. On the first Sunday of the year, I was at my local church, and our pastor was starting a new sermon series for the new year: “Small Things, Big Difference.” He was preaching out of Zechariah about how God spoke a Word to Zerubbabel, who was the governor of the small colony of Jews who went back to their homeland to rebuild after their captivity in Babylon. The Lord spoke through the prophet Zechariah to give direction to Zerubbabel (see Zech. 4:6-10).

Our pastor challenged us that the Lord had a Word for us, too, and that He wanted to do something in our life that was only going to happen by the Holy Spirit and not by our own power or might. During the invitation time, he asked us to pray quietly and listen to the Spirit speaking to us.

Now, there have been only a handful of times in my life when I’ve felt the Holy Spirit speak very clearly and distinctively to me. And this was one of those times. And what He said was, “It’s possible.” The verse in Matthew 19:26 came to mind: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” This verse is repeated in Mark 10:27. And then Luke 1:37 has a bit of a different spin on it, saying, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

There are a few areas of my life where this can be applied, but I felt this was specifically meant for my writing. I had been feeling a bit discouraged through the Fall with just the difficulty and enormity of wanting to be a writer and getting published. But this whisper from the Holy Spirit encouraged and challenged me. Yes, with God, anything is possible, and nothing is impossible. If His will is for me to write for Him and to have my work published, then it will happen. He will make a way.

So, I got my “word for the year.” And just like God – when I least expected it, and when I needed it most. I’ve ordered a refrigerator magnet, a plaque for my office, a bookmark, and a little silver stone with this Scripture on it, so that I can always be reminded wherever I am and whatever I am doing that “It’s possible.” Praise Him!

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