Word of the Year 2023
Updated: Jan 17
Took me a few days to acknowledge you’d arrived. 2022 and I had some stuff we had to sort out first.
Last year was a shake up to say the least. And like Taylor Swift some months I was able to shake it off and other months I felt like I was on shaky ground.
Moving countries isn’t all rolling green hills and chasing castles despite what Instagram might tell you. There are parts of me that were pruned and redefined, some old parts of me are grieved and missed and some new parts of me are welcomed and embraced.
Moving countries tested me on so many levels. It tested my patience, it tested my sense of identity, it tested my faith.
We came to Dublin so strong and convicted of our calling, and somewhere along the way in 2022 I’d started driving and striving without the power steering of the Holy Spirit. And I grew overly preoccupied with the past and fearful of the future.
But the beautiful thing about God is;
there is no struggle without a v i c t o r y,
no pain without p r a i s e,
no testing without a t e s t i m o n y.
In the midst of the uncomfortable, He brought us much comfort and convenience in our city centre apartment, in the midst of feeling far from home He blessed us opportunities to visit South Africa not once but twice in our first year, in the midst of seasons of loneliness, He blessed us with a growing group of local and international friends and a church family to make it feel like home, in the midst of making the difficult decision to close down my counselling practice, He made me dream new dreams, and affirmed my passion for Psychology again and again, in the midst of dark and cold months, He blessed us with people to host so that we could fall in love with our new city, in the midst of missing out on big moments for our special people back home, He gave us our own milestones to celebrate and opportunities to share in the celebrations of people in our life in Dublin, in the midst of the challenges that emigrating places on your marriage, He blessed Drew and me with a bond that gets stronger and a friendship that gets sweeter, in the midst of confronting cultural differences, He gave us courage and confidence to be His followers.
The parts I highlighted in bold don't delete the hard, but they sit there as evidence of so many prayers prayed and so many more prayers answered - some answered abundantly and some answered differently to what we wanted but more in line with what we needed.
I didn’t always see it last year, I didn't always feel God close by, especially in the periods where I felt I was on shaky ground and not so good at shaking it off, but God was there all along and none of it was in vain.
That’s why I chose the word s t e a d f a s t for 2023.
I had another word in mind for the year originally - the word simplicity - and as much as I want to simplify things I don’t feel God called us out of our comfort zone for simple living right now, I feel like He called us out of our comfort zone to grow a steadfast spirit!
Steadfast is defined as — dutifully and resolutely firm, unwavering, to stay the course, be fixed in direction, fixed in belief and purpose.
I am declaring steadfastness over 2023, to remind myself not to be swayed by circumstances but to remain confident that God has got this, and He has got me. I am declaring 2023 to be a year marked by a steadfastness in my identity because I am who He says I am, and my identity doesn’t lie in the opinions of others or the results of my own work. I am declaring 2023 will be the year I feel settled and at peace, resolute that we are where we are supposed to be for such a time as this.
I chose Firm Foundation (He Won't) by Maverick City as my praise anthem for 2023 and I start every day listening to it. I chose Psalm 18 as my scripture for the year. God spoke to me through this song and His Word separately, and it is only when I sat down to read the lyrics and the verse properly that I saw how similar the sentiments and encouragements are in both. I love it when God does that.
One of my two verses from Psalm 18 that specifically captivated my heart:
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights.
He is the One who makes our feet like deer’s feet where we can walk in treacherous areas and even when the rain comes, and the wind blows, we are safe with Him. This verse reminds me how sometimes God will smooth the paths of our lives, but sometimes He trains our feet to tread and reach new heights.
2. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.
One thing Ireland has a lot of is wide open spaces, and I know God brought us to Ireland with plans and a purpose, not to harm us, or to forsake us, but because He delights in us and delights in our obedience to Him.
The ocean and the mountains remind me that in Christ, there is freedom, there is an infinitely wide, and firm foundation to stand on. And He brings us into this place of abundance simply because He wants us. He delights in us. He does not want me to get trapped in a place of self destructive thoughts and a narrow vision. Because His vision is so abundant! And He doesn't want me to keep this freedom to myself, He brings us into His spacious place for a purpose and to share Him with others.
“Steady as she goes”, there’s something so quietly confident and dependable about these words. I want to look back at 2023 and be able to say that about myself.
But I know better now that I can only be steadfast, because H e i s s t e a d f a s t. I chose this word for 2023 to remind myself of that:
God is u n w a v e r i n g ,
God is i m m o v a b l e,
God is u n c h a n g i n g.
To remember that God is good and that everything He chooses for me in my life is for my good and out of His love for me.