I have chosen a word to live by each new year for several years. It is always a profound experience because most of the time the word I choose ends up having a completely different meaning to me by the end of the year than intended when I chose it.

Last year, my one word was EMBRACE. I had started the year off with the intention of embracing whatever God had in store for me, not knowing or ever imagining the magnitude and depth of the valleys that I would need to embrace. Embracing felt like colliding into a brick wall repeatedly but having that word in the back of my mind helped me at least attempt to maintain focus on Jesus through it all.

I started praying about my one word several weeks ago. I was spending a lot of time in prayer about other things as well as our family was being rocked, once again, by difficult circumstances in the trenches of parenting kids from hard places. I felt led to focus on my mental and spiritual well being in 2019 but couldn’t pinpoint a word that encapsulated that focus. Then I recalled this scripture when journaling:

Transformed by the renewing of your mind. Yes! That is what I need.

So, I started mulling over the word “transform” and searched for it in different scriptures and in different translations. That is when I stumbled upon the verse that would bring me to tears:

Y’all, I have been stuck deep in the valley of trouble for two years. From my stroke in October 2016 to moving away from the state I had longed to live in for so long in 2017 to the tragic accident that has left me scarred and battered, emotionally and physically, in 2018; wave after wave of junk has knocked me over every single time I’ve managed to stand back up.

This verse resonated deep in my soul. God is promising to restore what has been taken (for me: joy, purpose, motivation). Vineyards were symbolic of fruitfulness and blessing in the Bible. Notice that God didn’t say he would give her fields of wheat but rather vineyards of grapes, not just for her sustenance but for her enjoyment.*

In addition to restoring what was taken, He also says He will transform the Valley of Trouble (Valley of Achor) into a gateway of Hope. You can learn about the Valley of Achor in Joshua 7 but suffice it to say that no one would have expected hope to be found there. But, God. We serve a transforming, miracle working God and He (and only He) can take the last few years and TRANSFORM them into something amazing and good.

So that is my #oneword2019. I am anxiously, expectantly and thankfully waiting to see how God transforms my mind and my circumstances for His glory in 2019.


What is your word for the New Year?


*Resources from and

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