TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:20 NKJV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Good morning…. It’s been a few weeks since I posted. At the end of November, I posted my intentions to take a brief break…. My first in over six years. And to be honest — I kind of need another week. This week is the worst possible week for me to come back and share anything. But I know many of you have reached out, and I didn’t want to leave you hanging anymore.
Right now — I’m sick — physically, and I’m also heartsick. On Monday after Christmas, my husband and I had to put our 15-year-old Labrador, Beth, to sleep. It wasn’t like this was the first time I’d lost a pet, but it was the first time I lost a dog who was my own. And I admit — I have seriously been struggling this week. As much as I’ve always loved my cats, I’ve learned there’s a very big difference between losing a dog and a cat. If you’re a cat person — please don’t take those as fighting words…. I’ve seriously toed the line for the title of “Crazy Cat Lady” for most of my life…. I love cats. And while I’ve been sad by the loss of 7 cats to date, this was totally different. My dog consumed way more corners of my life than any of my cats ever have.
I wish the Bible were more clear about our pets. The only mention of them is when the prophet Nathan told King David the story about the poor man who had his pet lamb stolen by the rich man and killed for a feast (2 Samuel 12:1-15). I did tell God this week that I’ve decided that, for now, I just have to believe that heaven is big enough to include our pets who got caught up in this sinful, fallen world through no fault of their own…. And if I’m wrong when I get to heaven, and Beth isn’t there, then so what? I know that when I’m in the presence of Jesus, I will be in full agreement with Him.
So there’s that…. And then, two days after Beth died, I came down with this crud. I’m headed to the doctor on Monday if this doesn’t clear up. Please pray for us. My husband has it, and my mom and son have it too.
I’ve been a snotty, coughing, weepy, and disgusting mess for the last week of the year. In fact, my birthday was on Christmas, and my friend, Amy, who turns 48 in April, asked me to let her know what to expect. I texted her on Saturday that I give it a 0-star review and do not recommend.
To top all this off, since I’m doing all I can to thoroughly depress you on the first day of the new year — this was my vacation week. Worst vacation week of my life. If I hadn’t gotten sick, I would have just gone back to work to escape all that was happening.
Aren’t you glad I decided to write a blog post today??
My break wasn’t all bad, though. I spent a girls’ weekend with my friend Tracey in Asheville. We toured Biltmore (love Biltmore at Christmas!) and stayed at the Grove Park Inn to see the 12 Days of Gingerbread exhibit. Plus — an unexpected bonus — we were within two miles of my absolute favorite dress shop (of which there are only two in the country), and it just so happened they were having a 50% off sale that day! SCORE! Especially since my husband had just reconfigured my closet so I had more room for my dresses.
And we did have a good Christmas. My family twig (Wayne, Mom, Charlie, and Xan) and I chose not to exchange gifts, but we had supper and played the Saran Wrap Ball Game. Incidentally — it was our biggest Saran Wrap Ball to date, weighing a whopping 33.2 lbs with seven gifts side-wrapped because I couldn’t fit them in the ball. My daughter-in-law is super competitive, so it was a lot of fun. We finished the ball and did the big trade-off; that was our Christmas.
I’ve also enjoyed the launch of Season 3 of The Chosen! My Bible study ladies have been watching it together every week! Have you seen it yet?
During my break, I did hop on long enough to ask you about the idea of a podcast. Thank you to everyone who expressed interest! I had planned to launch a podcast recording this weekend, but it will have to wait until I am not coughing every five minutes (and no, I don’t have the C-word. I took a test).
I think that gets us mostly up to date. I’ve hit all the major things that have happened…
And now, it’s 2023. Honestly — the new year never feels new to me. I’m such a planner; I’ve been in 2023 for MONTHS and actually have struggled to write 2022, not 2023.
The first blog post of 2023 is, of course, about my Word of the Year. But before I tell you — let me just say that my 2022 word “Worship” was an incredible study. As usual, my biggest takeaway is the same as it is every year — I still have a lot to learn. But worship was a great word to set the stage for the 2023 Word of the Year…. Which will be “Purpose.” It’s based on 1 Corinthians 6:20, which says, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” As usual — God is amazing.
When I reflect on the words I’ve studied since 2017, I see the pattern built to this year’s word: Selah (Pause, Pray, Praise), Timing, Forgiveness, Contentment, Surrender, and Worship. Every single word I’ve studied points back to our purpose as God’s creation. We are called to slow down to pray and praise our Father…. We need to wait on His timing…. We need to forgive others as He has forgiven us…. We need to be content in whatever our circumstances knowing full well that God is in control…. We need to surrender our will to His…. And in all things, in all circumstances, in all situations — we need to worship Him. Even on those no-good, very bad, horrible weeks when getting into the worshipful mindset is especially challenging.
For my word “Purpose,” I chose a very specific theme — if you haven’t noticed, I love Tiffany Blue. It’s my very favorite color. My phone wallpaper is Tiffany Blue with a bright white bow because of my verse…. I have been given the greatest gift in order to fulfill my purpose — eternal life through Jesus Christ, and He bought me at the most excruciating and horrible price possible. Therefore, my purpose is to acknowledge Him and His sacrifice every single day, never taking it for granted!
In 2023, I plan to focus on my purpose…. which can be summed up simply: to bring God glory and praise. It’s the reason we were created. I’m excited to study “purpose,” and for the first time, my personal and professional words have coincided. And this time, I turn to my professional verse — Colossians 3:23, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” And in doing so — I fulfill my purpose.
Everything ties back together as beautifully as if God Himself put a giant white bow on it all.
Several of my friends also do a WOY study, and it’s always exciting to see where God directs us. I have two friends who had picked out other words, and then God put the same word on their hearts — Love. Other friends have chosen Obedience, Accountability, and Perseverance. If you do a WOY study, I would love to hear your word! Please leave it in the comments.
With all that said — because I’m sick, I’m going to close. I need to lie down; I’m sad I won’t be in church on the first Sunday of the year. And I’m sorry for being so down, but hopefully, I’ve ended this on a higher note than when we started.
Today as you pray, please join me in praying for God to reveal Himself to you in new and exciting new ways in 2023. Pray for revival. Pray that God will move in our world and country — that our nation will surrender itself once again before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! And ask the Holy Spirit to use you to touch other lives and demonstrate for others the transformative power of our Heavenly Father and Savior.
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.