2019 Word of the Year - Really, God? Really?

 Like so many others, for the past few years I have asked God for a guiding word for the year. After the traumatic ending of 2018 when my husband of 26 years died unexpectedly, I must admit I was praying God would deliver a “light at the end of the tunnel” word.

 I’m in unknown territory. I’m 57 and I’ve never lived alone. For the past 26 years, every day I had my other half- my sweetheart with me. Now I don’t. It’s no wonder I was overcome with the painful thoughts of now being one, single, lonely. I don’t know how to live this! 

 One of my most painful moments while trying to survive the holidays was when I started writing out gift tags. As I instinctively began to scribble the “To: From: names,” I was stopped in my tracks. To: Ashleigh From: Mommy and ….   To: Cindy From: Donna and …

I was undone. Even now, a month later, the memory brings me to tears. Two names for so long, now replaced with just one.

 After Christmas, I watched friends post their awesome words on Facebook: Hope, Courage, Forward… well goodie-goodie gumdrops for you. I know I’m not supposed to think that, but I did.  Why was God silent? I wondered if He was as unsure as I was about my upcoming year. And then one day, He broke the silence. “I’ve already given you your word/s,” I felt God say. I imagined my eyes shifting back and forth as I wondered, “You did? Where? When? Did I miss it?”

 Before I could spend any more time confused and condemning myself, God said, “one.”

 I began my mental bantering with God, “You’re mistaken. The word, one, is a lonely word. There is no hope, no bright future in the fact that I am all by myself. That can’t be my word! That word is the echo in my empty house when I come home!  That word is the heavy weight on my chest when I lay down to sleep! According to Three Dog Night, “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do!” God let me talk myself out.

 And then the Holy Spirit revealed to me that a painful word can be a powerful word if you have the right perspective. The next day God showed me that the power of the word, “one” began with being one with Him. Phrases from devotionals, songs, scripture all around the idea of “one” jumped out at me.

 From Jesus Calling 12/30

“Marvel at the beauty of a life intertwinedwith My presence. The closer to Me you grow, the more fully you become you’re true self- the oneI designed you to be…  I enable you to follow this solitarypath while staying in close contact with others.”

 I heard Pastor AR Bernardsay “the ONE who gave you purpose and the ONE purpose we have.”  Seriously, it was everywhere- in my Pandora playlist, “One Thing Remains” played, followed by “One Step Away.” 

 And then Psalm 62:11“One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: power belongs to you God and with you is unfailing love.” 

 I was reminded of a vision I received a few weeks after Michael died. Michael and I were holding hands, and he took my hand and placed it in God’s. It was a powerful reminder that our marriage had been about the three of us making up ONE union. And although my earthly husband is gone, I am still in union with God.  So I’m embracing ONE. I am walking with Christ away from the pain and toward the power.

I am going to be ONE with God by practicing His presence and deepening my intimacy with Him. I am going to be the ONE, God created me to be, and pursue the ONE purpose God has given me. I will be single-minded, and focused on the ONE path He has laid out before me- even as that path takes me through grief. I will carry Michael’s love and memories in my heart and continue to lean on the ONE love that never fails.

You’re still scary, 2019. I ain’t gonna lie.