By now, January has gotten into full swing.  How is your hunt going for your word for 2019?  Has that word chosen you yet?  Sometimes your word chooses you!

About mid-December, I begin to dream and wonder what my word and focus for the next year might be.  As I’ve written before, 2018 was an amazing year, capping off with Urbana18 in St Louis.

My word for 2018 was unstoppable.  Urbana18, a global missions conference, hosted by InterVarsity Fellowship, truly gave me the vision of how Jesus is unstoppable.  Worshipping in an arena with 10,000 college students who want to commit to Jesus in some form or another was awe-inspiring.

During the conference, my word came to me.  Be Present.  I pondered that.  What could that look like for the upcoming year?  Be Present.

I had already felt that the next three months, January, February and March were to be quieter, especially after the work leading up to Urbana18 and the seven day, non-stop conference itself.  I wanted to savor what I had seen and experienced but also have time to sit at Jesus’ feet.

Other activities contributed to the “be present” movement in my life as well.

Our family decided to give ourselves an onsite family photo shoot as a Christmas present.  We had a professional photographer, who is also a friend of my daughter’s come for an hour and take family photos of our extended family.  One, it was so much fun doing it together and actually looking into each other’s eyes – being present. And two, the results as little moments in time captured for always.

What I realized from that photo shoot is how quickly the grandchildren are growing and changing and how much I want to be a part of my son and daughter’s families – being present.  The photos also reinforced the notion of us as a family and the importance of family right in front of our eyes.

As Matthew 11:29-30 says in the Message, Jesus will teach us to live freely and lightly.  I have not given myself permission to take a sabbatical, just because.  I have taken time off before because I was unhealthy.  I am taking time now to retreat, be quieter and rest because I am looking forward to “being present” and enjoying the time.  What a difference that makes in approaching this time away!

The next three months will be focused on things to nourish my “being present” – reading my Bible, praying and journaling and simplifying my home to welcome others into it as I spend time with family and friends.

Writing and encouraging is still part of who I am to be.  I am stepping away from the blog for now to fill my soul, be present to what Jesus has to say and retreat these next three months.

What about you?

What is your word for 2019?  How is it shaping your first 90 days?  I hope you are taking the time to ponder what your focus is and how you want to approach it.  Spend time in prayer and enjoy the answers that you get.

You may just be surprised at the outcomes for 2019!


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