Word for 2023


Each year around November, I start praying about the word I am to carry into my new year. I ask God to give me guidance in the selection. Why? Because He knows what I need; what I need to learn, what I need to see, what I need to change, and what I need to hear. So I ask Him to show me what that word is for me personally. I hadn’t received my word yet as of last week, and so as I was working in my Loft, I prayed again for my word to be known to me. I immediately felt like I was to go to my “Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words”. As I opened the book, I came to page page 98, and my eyes immediately fell on the word CHERISH. I read the definition and correlating scripture reference, and I knew He had just given me my word for 2023. Here it is:

Cherish: to heat, to soften by heat; to keep warm as in birds covering their young with their feathers; to cherish with tender love; to foster with tender care; to take care of others as a nurse cherishes the children.

Cherish: (in other sources) to hold something dear; protect and care for someone in a loving way; keep hope in one’s mind; keep with special care.

What struck me was that. the feeling that I was to get that book and open it, that my eyes would land on this word, was amazing. But that is how God works. The part that hit me most was that it is to soften by heat. Does that mean that maybe, just maybe, there are some hard times where I go through the fire? That I am to also cherish THOSE times? Why? I asked God about that. I felt He told me that going through hard times or the fire, helps us know who we are and who God is. I may not be able to do a thing about it, but I know WHO can. What else? Well…maybe the fire is going to purify me and my heart and attitude. It hopefully will increase my trust quotient. Not so much warm fuzzy with that one. However, if we are willing to take that on, God can really work in us and in our situation.

I am a BIG “cherish-er”! I am the keeper of memories and special things. They have great memory and insightful encouragement for me. When I miss my folks, I can see something in my home that I cherish because of the memories that something invokes. In fact, my home is home to many others’ memories that I have been a part of. So what is the big deal about this word for me?

One of the other comments regarding this word was that I should be careful WHAT I cherish. What is really important in my life? What to I put above all else? Am a cherish-er of things? Money? Perfect home? How I look? What I drive? How successful I am in business? Who my friends are? My favorite hang out and a drink in my hand? The big question here for me was, “What do you cherish, JoAnn?” After that question came the statement, “Be careful what you cherish.” Ouch!!

You see, cherish means that I take the time to cherish what God has given me. I spend some time and thought there. I don’t get so busy in life, that I forget the idea of cherishing a cuppa and reading a good book, or listening to music, playing an instrument, or just sitting in a comfy chair and enjoying the lights on our Christmas Tree, or a time of prayer for those who need it. As I am willing to take that time, so shall my “cherish” moments expand and become bigger and bigger. Sometimes, we may find out lives feeling lonely even though we have people around us (or not), and even when we have a life that seems full. However, we can also get to a point in our lives where we are alone, or, it feels like we are. But God spoke a word into my heart. When He gave me the word “cherish”, I was listening to a speaker who shared, “You might feel like you are alone, but you are not. YOU are set apart.” Cherish that thought. Yikes! Was God shining the light on me or what?!?!? I mean, this year my word was SAVOR, and didn’t I do that? I sure did! However, I heard God say, “Go deeper child. Go deeper.” Alrighty then! I am ready for a new adventure! Let’s do this!

So… as I slide into the end of this year that will quickly move me right into the NEW year of 2023, I will make every endeavor to cherish God in my life, moments in my life, treasures in my life, my family, and as a good friend shared with me yesterday, ask God to show me the people He wants me to touch and encourage. I may need to put myself out there first in an act of faith…dip my feet in the water before He will part it for me and show where I am to go. Is it easy? No. Depression is a sneaky tool of the devil and I need to be aware of where my thinking is in this process. I hope my truth can resonate with someone reading this. I believe there is a someone who needs to hear this…God is always faithful!

Until next time…

~JoAnn

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