In 2013, my Bible Study leader, Amanda, asked us all to choose one word. That word would be our focus for the whole year. This is based on www.myoneword.org. Instead of writing out a long list of New Year's Resolutions (which I totally did anyway), you choose a word.
The word that came to me for 2013 was 'trust.' Now, when I started to pray about this, I came up with tons of word that I could focus on: motherhood, belief, faith, and so on. I prayed and prayed, and trust just kept standing out from the list.
Amanda swore that once we chose a word, God would use that year to strengthen our characters with a focus on whatever we've chosen. I chose the word, told my Bible Study group, and even wrote the word on my meal planning board so that I would see it all the time. After that, I rarely thought about it. When I did, I would pray that God would help me to trust others and to trust in Him. I expected good things to happen. Instead, let me explain how my year went:
1) In February, my son's father and I split up after 3 years together.
2) In May, my hot water heater stopped working and I had to have it fixed.
3) In June, there were problems within my family that I will not explain or dwell on.
4) In July, my A/C unit stopped working and had to be replaced. Also, my car had to have work done.
5) At the beginning of August, I found out that I had been moved to a new middle school. I was not given a choice.
6) In October, I struggled with financial issues.
7) In December, I was accepted into Graduate School at Appalachian (yay!) - which means more loans (boooooo!)
Now, that doesn't sound like a good year, does it? Believe it or not, I'm SO happy that my year went this way.
Here's what I've realized in the past week.
God HAS used this year to change me. The focus has been on trust. It hasn't been all about trusting others. That's what I expected. It's not what happened. It's been about trusting myself. I didn't realize it, but I had lost myself over the past few years. I became someone that others depended on. I was someone who was all about everyone else in my life. This year, I learned that I am important. I learned that my opinions matter and that I have those convictions for a reason.
For example, I went to Church in February for the first time in a long time. I went with just Christian, my son. I was feeling severely depressed and I needed a "pick-me-up." Something happened to me during that service that I'll never forget. I was sitting with two of my former students and the preacher began his sermon. After about 3 minutes, he said something that really spoke to me. It was all about trusting myself and eliminating bad in my life. I had been unhappy in my relationship for a while, and when I left Church that afternoon, I knew that it was over. I just had to trust myself and trust God. I needed to allow Him to heal the parts of me that were broken, but I had to be alone in order to heal. If I hadn't trusted myself and trusted God in that moment, I would not be where I am right now.
I'm not saying it didn't hurt. This year, I hurt in ways I didn't think were possible. My heart had to completely break in order to become whole. My soul had to be torn apart in order for me to heal. God broke me down in order to build me up and make me stronger.
A friend of mine said something to me the other day and it has been on my mind ever since. He said, "You're different than you were this summer. More confident. I like it." He's absolutely right, but I didn't get there on my own. It has been with the help and guidance of the Lord that I am who I am right now.
So, 2013 has been about trust. Time to start praying about my one word for 2014. What will yours be?