Word of the year…
Perhaps the word of the year has become the new hype instead of resolutions we often fail at. I hear a lot of people these days choosing a word and focusing on that word throughout the year. Focus and Intentional seem to be what I’ve heard the most lately.
I’d never really chosen a word of the year…until last year. Even then, I didn’t choose the word; it chose me.
I’m a part of a beautiful group of ladies along with a dear friend, Suzie Eller. In this group, we were asked to share a word. Honestly, at the time I didn’t even put much thought to it. I just knew the word I was supposed to use was hope. I shared a little story about what hope meant to me at the time and this picture…
I wouldn’t know at that point just how much the word hope would come to mean. By February of last year, I had lost all hope…Not hope in a God that loved me or would save me, but in a life on this earth filled with peace. I was ready to be with God. I had been for a while. On the night of February 20th, after an evening of laughs with our closest friends, I attempted to take my own life (check posts from February and March 2015 to go back and read about that time). When my attempt failed, admittedly, I was quite disappointed.
Rather than losing hope, I was suddenly forced to find hope. I was still here. I was alive. I didn’t really feel alive, but by definition, I was alive. That wasn’t a part of my plan but that’s where I was.
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21
I had to find something to help me get through each day. This required effort. It hasn’t been easy by any means.
It began with just having enough hope to open my eyes in the morning, eventually leading to hoping I could wake up and get out of bed. Slowly other things came…
Hoping I could look at my kids again.
Hoping I could put together a rational thought.
Hoping I could make it through an hour without wanting to die.
Hoping I could make it through a day, a week.
Little by little over the next year, those thoughts of hope have grown. I won’t say my thoughts have completely changed from the plan to end my life. I still struggle to find hope and peace with life here on this earth but I think one thing I learned was I was searching for something that can’t be found.
I will never be the person I was before that night. It didn’t change my thoughts but it did change me.
It’s strange how the darkest, scariest, loneliest, and most painful place can somehow become the greatest. My memories from that time are some of the worst and best of my life. I was searching for peace that can only come through knowing to Whom and where I belong. I now know the answer to both of those. Knowing that is peace.
I still struggle to find hope and peace with life here on this earth but I think one thing I learned was I was searching for something that can’t be found. While in this life, I won’t find peace from suffering, I have found the peace I was meant to find. This journey has not been without reward.
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
With that said, peace was added to my word list. By the end of 2015, one more word had been added.
Through the darkness of my depression and somehow stumbling back into His light, I learned what true joy is.
It’s not happiness.
Happiness is eating a Big Mac without worrying that it will add pounds or a stomach ache.
Happiness is pouring water over your head on a hot summer day.
Happiness is having a few hours to myself when the kids are in school.
Happiness is based on circumstances and things.
Joy goes much deeper into the core of who we are. You have to search for it (again requiring an active part from us) and when you find it, there’s no denying it. You know you’ve found it. Joy is possible in both the best of circumstances and the worst.
As odd as it may sound, I found joy through my suicide attempt and because I have joy, true joy, I can share the good and the bad with you. I learned so much in the past year and in a lifetime of hurt and pain and honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for anything because it has taught me what hope means, how to have joy through anything life throws at me, and that peace is attainable when you search for the right kind.
So, that sums up last year. Hope, peace, and joy will always have a special place in my heart. I will embrace them and the joy I found through the lowest point of my life. And, I look forward to learning new things about them in the days, months, and years to come.
I can’t wait to see what words 2016 brings. For now, I already have two words.
Faith is the word that I’ve chosen, but really, like hope, I think it actually chose me. I plan to focus a lot of faith, growing in faith, trusting the faithfulness of God and those He has placed by my side, and sharing the gift of faith. I’m sure there will be many posts on faith. Along with faith, is grace, extending grace because we all need it. Many stood by me last year in my darkest moment and showed me how to truly love someone. Part of that love was by extending grace. I want to offer the same to others.
My faith is stronger than ever before.
My faith is in Him.
Lessons learned last year…
When all hope seems lost, His love still remains.
Joy is possible…in all circumstances.
Peace is found in knowing to Whom and where you belong.
“Faith isn’t faith until Jesus is all you are holding on to!”
I don’t know where I heard the above quote but it has stuck with me. On the night of February 20th, 2015, nothing else mattered. Not my husband. Not my children. Not my friends. Nothing. I simply wanted to go and be with God. And that next night, as I sat alone in my bare, cold hospital room, striped of everything shy of the air in my lungs, He was all I needed and He was there.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Have you considered choosing a word for 2016? If you have, what’s your word? I’d love to hear from you all on your thoughts and stories!