My One Word for 2021

When I decided to choose a One Word for the year, I thought of “listen” as I wanted to pay attention more to what God is telling me and also to listen better to the pain behind the words of hurting hearts.

But lately God so often whispers in my heart, “Just rest, My child.” To rest in Him and His plan. To rest in Him concerning the hurts and burdens of others, also of my own. To rest in His power to comfort, to heal, and to revive. And I reasoned that in order to “listen” to Him, I do need to “rest.”

I still had some niggling doubts though, and I struggled with starting a blog post concerning it. But this morning God impressed on my heart that the word to focus on is “GRACE.”

While I still feel called to “listen” more attentively and I still know I need to “rest” spiritually, mentally, and physically, I need GRACE, that unmerited favor of God in Christ Jesus who has suffered and died for me and now lives forever for me. I need that unshakable foundation of God’s GRACE, or all my intentions and efforts will crumble.

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:6-9

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9

So this year I want to focus more on GRACE – to dive into the depths of its meaning. And I am convinced God wants me to allow His grace to permeate my being so that it will influence my heart and life to see every person, including myself, through God’s grace-filled lens and to turn a grace-filled ear to hurting hearts.

And You answer: ” My child, I love you.
And as long as you’re seeking My face,
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace.”

2020 Hope Whispers

The future is uncertain, but God’s faithful love will always be certain.

When It’s Hard to Understand God’s Plan

2020 has been a tough year. When we experience losses, trauma, and sorrows, it can be so hard to understand God’s plan for us, can’t it?

This year the most read post is one from 2015:

God’s Plan Is Greater Than Ours

“No, in all these things we are more than victorious
through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that not even death or life,
angels or rulers, things present or things to come,
hostile powers, height or depth
or any other created thing
will have the power to separate us from the
love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

Romans 8:37-39

Nature is a Retreat of Hope

“All my life through
the new sights of nature
made me rejoice
like a child.”
Marie Curie

Thank you to my brother John
for these stunning photos.
🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂
Chipmunk
Botta’s Pocket Gopher
Black-crowned Night Heron
American Avocet
Redhead Male
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Acorn Woodpecker
Osprey With a Meal of Koi

Hope Is Never Cancelled

Each of us have been affected one way or another this year by Covid. Things we took for granted have crumbled around us. Cancellations abound. And so many losses in various ways – physically, mentally, emotionally.

There are people already suffering from life’s trials, and Covid repercussions make them all the heavier. We live in a condo with 14 individual units connected by a hallway. One of our neighbors only recently found out she had leukemia and she soon passed away, leaving behind a grieving widower and children and grandchildren. Her body had to be cremated, and the funeral is postponed until April or whenever it is more safe to meet together. They are not the only ones who have had to put memorial services on hold this year.

A mental and emotional toll is draining people of the joy of life. Elderly people who are socially isolated are dying from loneliness. Other people are dying from Covid complications without loved ones beside them. Frontline healthcare workers are over-worked and over-stressed. Addictions and domestic abuse are escalating. Unemployment and homelessness are also increasing. I can’t even begin to list the rippling effects of Covid in households, nursing homes, hospitals, and our world. It’s so sad, isn’t it?

Behind the masks, we can see the defeated looks in the eyes of so many. Is it any wonder why so many don’t feel very celebratory this Christmas season?

But there is a reason to still celebrate! Out of His infinite, unconditional, compassionate love for us, God came down to earth to be born in our human flesh and laid in an animal feed box in a stinking stable. Homeless and helpless. Because of Jesus, hope was born, and that hope is and never will be cancelled.

Because of Jesus, joy and peace can dwell in our hearts. We don’t have to feel guilty to allow joy into our hearts when so many are suffering. Joy can coexist with sadness. Joy is not always dancing and shouting Hallelujahs. Sometimes joy is a quiet confidence and trust that God’s got us, no matter what.

Immanuel – God with us. God will never, ever abandon us, no matter how difficult the journey of our lives. No matter how much it feels like He’s forgotten us, He never will. No matter how much hate and evil is in this world, He has and will bring peace on earth. No matter how hopeless our lives feel, His heart of love and compassion delights to fill us with His eternal hope.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless.” Isaiah 40:28-29

“Let Your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in You alone.” Psalm 33:22

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

“Is there room in your heart
Is there room in your heart
Is there room in your heart
For God to write His story
You can come as you are
But it may set you apart
When you make room in your heart
And trade your dreams for His glory…”