As I pondered my word for the new year, I spent some time reflecting on the last twelve months. I’ve let go of many things during 2017. Leadership in women’s ministry at The Summit, and my all-time favorite ministry, Always Faithful Radio. Two areas of service that brought me great joy, yet I knew God was directing me to lay them both down.
It was not until November 5 of this year that I recognized that God had good reason to close those doors. He had a new assignment that would take all my ability to embrace and lean into, I never could have walked through this new door without allowing the others to close.
Since early November I’ve been in preparation mode for our involvement as a sponsor in the Women of Joy “Rescued” Tour 2018. This will require lots of traveling and was a huge leap of faith committing to such a huge undertaking. But God was leading and guiding and giving me the courage I needed to take that first step.
Word for the New Year
I sought the Lord for my word for this new year of 2018, and He kept bringing FAVOR to mind. At first, I felt like that was just me, being presumptuous … I wondered if pride could be creeping in. But He kept bringing that specific word to mind. As I looked it up on dictionary.com I couldn’t help but well up with tears of gratitude.
FAVOR: 1) the state of being approved or held in regard; 2) excessive kindness or unfair partiality, preferential treatment.
The entire way that the Women of Joy door opened was such excessive kindness from the Lord, such unfair partiality! But I can see so many ways that this defining moment in my life, the life of Redemption Press, and the lives of the authors who are going to be showcased through these venues, is bringing with it a new layer of God’s approval and widespread kindness.
What an example of God’s faithfulness, even after all the blunders I’ve made in navigating this gift called Redemption Press and questioning if God knew what He was doing putting me in charge! And then I see in His Word:
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
and you will earn a good reputation.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
(Proverbs 3:3-6 NLT)
If there is one thing I’ve learned from the husband God gave me, it’s the value of loyalty and kindness. Ross has demonstrated both those virtues in so many ways that it has helped me learn to live them out in the workplace in how I treat my employees and authors. And so, God’s favor is the result and I am so thankful!
Looking Ahead to the New Year by Looking Back at All He Has Done
I’m excited to step into many divine appointments in the new year, and am looking forward to God’s favor on Redemption Press and our authors. And so, I want to close this year with a challenge Dr. Jeremiah Webster gave to our Northwest Christian Writers’ group at our December meeting. He encouraged each of us to “write our creed” … and so, with praise to the One who saved me and continues to teach me His ways, I share what I believe with you, along with a blog post from the last 4 years that illustrates why I believe what I believe.
Happy New Year!
God uses ALL things together for good and never wastes anything.
God allows trials and tribulations to refine and teach me valuable lessons that have the capacity to conform me to the likeness of Christ if I will respond well.
Jesus walks with me through the valleys and the mountain tops, He never leaves me or forsakes me.
He is a good, good father, not an angry taskmaster. At the same time, when I do stupid stuff, He corrects and disciplines me because He loves me and wants me to grow into maturity.
Jesus comforts me in my suffering so I can be a comfort to others with that same comfort I’ve been given.
We are all given unique gifts that He desires us to use to glorify His Name.
He has given us authority over all the power of the evil one, and we are in a battle. I must be aware of the enemy’s strategies and fight against/resist him if I want to live a victorious Christian life.
It is MY JOB to guard my heart with all diligence and not go to sleep at night with anger or resentfulness if I want to keep the enemy from getting a foothold in my life.
As believers we overcome evil with good, hate with love, lack with generosity, harsh words with a gentle answer, and fear with faith.
He is a redeeming God who delights in His children, not an angry God who demands perfection and gives a stone when we ask for bread.
In case it’s not obvious, I believe the only way to eternal life is through Jesus, and the Apostles Creed as the tenets of my faith.
Finally, life is bittersweet. There are exhilarations and fears, success and failures, gains and losses, areas of fruitfulness and barrenness, life and death. I choose to trust Him in each of those seasons of life and embrace it all with JOY.
I love the concept of God’s favor and am so grateful for it, Athena. Thank you for posting this. Very meaningful to me. I hope you have a grand 2018.
Thanks, Barbara! We are very excited about this upcoming year. So blessed you are part of our team!