The time is quickly approaching for One Little Word. My word for 2011 was simplify. I completely forgot that this was my word by February, possibly March. By the end of this year, I thought that I had picked the word rejoice. Why? Probably because it was part of my blog header. I certainly didn't simplify much of anything in my life, though I had all intentions to do so. Did I rejoice either? Not really sure. This has been THE HARDEST year of my life, for many reasons never covered here on the blog. I have learned to rejoice in the good - that's always easy, and I've tried my darndest to rejoice in the bad, which has been a daily struggle the past few months. How does one rejoice over bad? Or, are we simply to learn that no matter what the bad is, God is constant, and we are to rejoice in HIM always. Not the situation, but in the God who controls it? So, we still grieve for the loss of a loved one, but not because the loved one is worse off. The loved one is in a far better place, sitting with his Savior. We grieve because we are sad, because we miss him. So, we still grieve for the trials and tribulations that come our way, but not because we are victims and how dare God allow this to happen to us? We grieve, yes, but we rest in the peace and comfort of the God who carries us through those trials and tribulations. I've learned that I am not alone in any of this. I have felt more alone than ever this year in many ways, at least in the moment, but looking back I can see God's provision throughout it all. The support for my family through the loss of my father. The support of me and my family through bedrest and birth. The support continues, on and on and on. Prayers and meals and friends willing to step in at a moment's notice for everything that seems to keep pouring on us.
While I have lived through the hardest moments of my life this year, I have also lived through some of the most joyous. God has been gracious and sandwiched the pain within some of my happiest moments - we started the year with joy, with an answered prayer of pregnancy discovered literally on day one of 2011, and we end this year with joy, in the birth of my nephew just a few days ago. I may not have finished my year's original word - life might still be cluttered and messy and anything but simple, but I've worked hard to adapt to my adopted word, rejoicing in all. I fail daily. Grace prevails.
I challenge you to pick a word for 2012. I'm pondering my own. Think hard, but if it just doesn't seem to fit what the year brings you, change it, and watch it change you.