Every year we ask Father for a word for the year.
We lean in, asking to hear only His whispers, what it is HE wants for us in the new year.
Last year our word was grow.
We grew more than we ever knew we could. We thought growth would look like a miracle pregnancy, a baby, and a nursery. Instead it was a sudden call, an eight year old boy, and lots of legos. But grow we did. We stepped into the places of Father's heart we never even knew were there. We took crazy steps of faith and more than ever saw immediate provision after the leap. We were given a car, gifted several trips, and a dream office makeover. We really learned what it looks like to feast in His goodness while He fights for us.
The whole year felt as if we were drinking a deep cup of suffering and joy. But as deep the suffering, so was the joy.
Growth happens from friction.
I felt like I was on the Potter's wheel all year. Right when I thought He had smoothed away that rough edge, I'd feel His strong hands smoothing over yet another one. It was painful. But the beautiful kind. I have a spot worn on my rug in my office where I would start each day nose to the ground. When I would get lower, He'd call me lower still. Looking back, I think my word could've been die. I did a lot of dying last year. I think I'll spend my lifetime dying. (I promise to not make a bracelet of this. I'm positive it wouldn't sell.) If we want to ascend the holy hill, closer and closer towards Him like in Psalm 24, we have to leave self behind.
But that's how things grow, isn't it? By dying first.
Our foster son left us the week before Christmas, just as suddenly as he came. I'm still processing it all. We miss him. My kids really miss him. It feels like we didn't have time to prepare, but I guess you can never prepare for something like that. I just know he changed me. I am forever marked by him. We are praying and believing all of the seeds that we sowed into him during those six months will take deep root, and that he too is forever changed by our love. He called me mommy for a short time, but I'll call him my son forever.
I took a pregnancy test on Christmas Eve, the last month of this year of breakthrough- the year to grow, and it was negative. We've been believing God for a miracle in my body for a long time now. Seven years. The disappointment on Christmas Eve was hard to shake. And once again, I brought to Him the only gift I could bring, a sacrifice of praise. A heart song of praise in the midst of deep, deep pain. And once again, He met me there in the middle of my disappointment. Like He did with Mary of Bethany, He took my hand and walked in front of the grave and told me to stand there and wait with Him because He is about to raise the dead to life in my barren womb. I know He will. He's a miracle working God. A man true to His Word. A God that doesn't lie. The dead will raise to life one day, it just wasn't this month. And that hurts.
So when Brandon and I started praying about our word for 2018, I came to Father tired and weary. Because growing is exhausting.
"Do you hear the cooing of the turtle doves?" Father said.
I tucked it away in my heart, thumbed through wrinkled pages of His Word, and poured out ink on the pages of my moleskin. And then several days ago, Brandon came to me ready to share what Father had told Him.
The turtle doves are only heard at the time of harvest.
I'm hoping harvest this year is long awaited, answered prayers. A miracle pregnancy and babies for me and all of my friends still waiting on their promise. I'm hoping hours and hours spent in the secret with Him, we get to see that fruit with our eyes. I'm hoping we walk into new territory, our promised lands. I'm hoping for upgrades and launching and stretching and more growing.
But whatever the harvest this year brings, I know it will be beautiful.
There's harvest in every season with Him. He's that kind of Papa. One that plants, waters, and tends to the seed. Yet when it's time for harvest, calls it ours. He's so good. Incredibly good. And I'm declaring this year to be one of drinking Him in. More feasting. More resting. More dreaming with Him.
And harvest. Lots and lots of harvest.
I'm declaring this year to be one of harvest. Over me and you.
If you pray about a word of the year like us (or even if you want to give it a try for the first time), I have these really cute vintage key necklaces. And I can stamp your word on it to wear all year long! You can order yours here!