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A New Word for A New Year


I love these types of posts.

These are the posts where I get to share what the Lord has been pouring into me,

to proclaim His Presence that has so faithfully been here the whole time (even when my eyes can’t see and my ears can’t hear),

to acknowledge what He has been doing in my life,

to really press in and know Him and His ways more and more,

to recognize how He is fulfilling His promises to me (and all of creation).

Last year,  I heard the Lord whisper the word “fulfill” to my heart. And He was so faithful to continue to speak along these lines. It was amazing to see how He would tie in different circumstances, sermons, worship experiences, devotions, and conversations to continue to layer on His truth and to reveal His movement. It was humbling to watch, and I’m so thankful for the experience. He fulfilled a lot of personal words to me – promises of what He has done and will continue to do in my life and the lives of the ones I love. And He continued to fulfill His promises that He made at the beginning of creation – drawing His children to Himself, showcasing His power and majesty and might, accomplishing His redemptive work for all humanity.

My husband and I have really enjoyed the tradition of praying for a word from the Lord for the upcoming year, but it’s also a nerve-wracking experience for me. Each year around the middle of December, as I start to pray for a new word, I get a little anxious. I start to question if I will really hear from the Lord, if I will really be able to distinguish His voice and personal word for me from my own thoughts and all the noise in my head. But each year the Lord comes through, and He responds.

And I’m reminded again that He always does! Not always in my timing, but He does respond when I call on Him. (Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness and love for me.)

This year He surprised me by speaking early on – two words that were very closely connected. So I started praying and one word seemed more significant. (I’ll get to the second one in a minute.)

So this year, I’m excited to share that my word is Proclaim!

Eep! The Lord’s Presence has been so apparently surrounding this word and I have such a sense of expectancy about what He is going to do that I can’t help but share it!

According to good ‘ole Webster’s dictionary, it means
– to say or state (something) in a public, official, or definite way : to declare or announce (something)
– to show (something) clearly
– to praise or glorify openly or publicly

I personally felt the Lord defining proclaim for me as
– speaking truth – to myself, over my kids, to others
– to acknowledge by word and deed what He is doing in my life and Who He is
– to speak truth boldly with humility (a combination I believe is only possible through the Holy Spirit)
– to speak life and vision
– to claim by faith, in words and actions, what God has to offer me

One verse that He’s given me so far is Psalm 107:2, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (ESV)
I also really liked the following two translations:
“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story – those He redeemed from the hand of the foe,” (NIV)
“Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others He has redeemed you from your enemies.” (NLT)

Also, as I was reviewing my journal from last fall, I came across a scripture I had written down one Sunday at church:

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. – 1 Corinthians 11:26

I love how this represents that my actions – not just my words – declare what I believe and in Whom I believe (or also reveal my doubts and disbelief).

And then of course, this passage for me captures the heart of what the Lord is drawing my eyes and heart to this season:

Psalm 145: 1-8,
I will extol you, my God and King,
    and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
    and praise Your Name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
    and His greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall commend Your works to another,
    and shall declare Your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
    and on Your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of Your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare Your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of Your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
    and His mercy is over all that He has made.

 

What is interesting about this word so far is that it came in a season where I was really struggling. Things had gotten hard with being home with the kids full-time, it felt like school and just life in general was a struggle and fight every day, and I felt very dry and dead -spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. And so I confessed to the Lord, honestly and in confusion, that I didn’t understand. I was in a season where I needed someone to proclaim the Lord’s faithfulness and truth to me. How was I supposed to muster up the faith and strength to proclaim truth to others when I was having a hard time believing it myself?

But the Lord wasn’t telling me to proclaim to someone else. He knew I needed to be proclaiming the truth to myself.  I needed some moments, like David, where I asked myself,
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 42:5-6a

As I shared a little here, the Lord recently revealed that I need to incorporate a time of praise and worship into my time with Him each morning. This step has helped to still my heart and mind in such a way that allows my heart to really engage with the Lord, to acknowledge His Presence here with me, to receive His truth through His Word, and tunes my ears to hear from the Lord in a way that  I don’t know I’ve ever experienced before. It has led to a very sweet season with Him and I am so grateful for it. Before, without this ‘stilling process,’ I would usually read over a passage here, a devotional there, and then go on with my day, barely pausing in prayer and definitely not recognizing my current state of need.

And so I’ve found that as my mouth is declaring His truths during praise and worship, it is strengthening my spirit and my faith and it’s helping me to walk in freedom in areas where I’ve struggled in the past with defeat.

I’m not claiming that if you start every day with a praise and worship song that life is going to be peachy-keen and perfect, but I will say that I have experienced the Lord in amazing ways and it feels like victory and freedom for me.

So I’m excited to see what all the Lord wants to show me about proclaiming Who He is in truth, in word and action, in prayer and worship – to my own heart and then to whoever else crosses my path. Because He has been so faithful and I need to tell. If He has done this for me, then He will do it for you.

The second word that I received initially was actually a word that the Lord has for my family this year! This is the first year that it has even occurred to me to ask for a family word, and so I appreciate the Lord’s inspiration in leading me to ask for that.

So our family word for 2016 is Acknowledge (from Webster’s Dictionary):
– to recognize the rights, authority, or status of
– to express gratitude or obligation for
– to take notice of
– to recognize as genuine or valid

This word holds special meaning for me, as it’s something the Lord spoke to me about in college as I was claiming Proverbs 3:5-6 as my life verses:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”

The term acknowledge here refers to a personal, experiential knowledge. Oh man, I love that. It’s such a full picture of what the Lord wants with us – for us to experience Him first-hand, in an intimate relationship that reflects Who He is in truth and grace.  And then the natural overflow of this encounter with God is to share it with others, to proclaim.

So for my family, I believe this means that the Lord is calling us
– to press in to know Him more intimately, to abide and stay in step with His Spirit
– to recognize His Presence in our lives and to help others recognize Him as well
– to allow God and His truth to be our curriculum (for homeschool) and all that we learn flow out of our pursuit of Him

One verse He’s given so far is Ezekiel 11:19-20,
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my ways. They will be my people and I will be there God.”

So I’ll leave you with one of my current worship jams, and I invite to join me in proclaiming God’s truth over your life! Join me in worshiping the One that created everything, and is here with us now!

You Never Change – Austin Stone Worship

Oh may I run to no other refuge
No other rest for my soul
Oh may I drink from no other fountain
Where living waters will flow

Jesus, You’re all I need

You are my life, may You be lifted high
There is no other like Jesus Christ
You are my story, You’re my everything
You are my glory, my God, and my King
You are my rock, and You never change

No other power can break the darkness
No other hand that can save
Forever faithful, Your love is stronger
I trust in no other name

My strength to stand, all of my days are in Your hand
My light to see, Your glory goes before me
My King, You reign
My rock, and You never change
No, You never change

 

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