We have flipped the pages of our calendar and found ourselves at the end of another year. 2015 is a memory and we are staring ahead at an almost blank slate. 2016 began slowly, surrounded by some family, as I eased away from a season of transitions into a new year full of the hope of new possibilities.
I turned the corner on a year where I set up the expectation that I was supposed to shine for God in my everyday. I learned that when God chooses a word for our year, it doesn’t mean that we have it all figured out until we reach the end and reflect on its meaning in our life. When God placed the word “Shine” in my heart for 2015, I learned that it wasn’t so much that I needed to shine, but instead cling to the One, who is the light of the world. Every new normal that I faced as I transitioned into retirement has allowed me to draw closer to God. His shining light was my beacon in the uncertainties, an anchor as I tread upon new waters and a guide in how to gracefully choose His plan over my agenda. This strong need to hold tightly to God has deepened my relationship with Him and in turn, He has shown me a new hope for the future.
When we enter a season of waiting and transitions, future thoughts get easily stuck in the present. Making it through a day can feel like a major accomplishment, when we cannot see what lies over the next hurdle. Our minds have difficulty seeing beyond what is happening any particular week. Glimmers of the future are quickly snuffed out because our minds are trained to think in the present. Our past can sneak in when we least expect it to and between the day to day routines and the past, we can feel like we have been beat up and left for dead.
[Tweet “In a season of waiting and transitions, future thoughts get easily stuck in the present.”]
2016 is the year of hope for me. It is my time to step beyond a season of waiting and changes into a future of hope. As of two weeks ago, I had no idea if God had a word for me this year. I didn’t see anything new waiting for me, but resigned myself to more days of transition and waiting for my “what’s next”. I was blessed with a plaque for Christmas from a close friend. Her words and the words engraved in the wood allowed me to see more than the life I was currently living. The words simply say “Hope changes everything”. God spoke to me through those three words and in that moment I knew that 2016 was going to be very different. When a season of transitions blooms into hope, we take a giant step forward into the future.
God does not call us to be stuck. He calls us to keep moving even in a time of waiting. Drawing closer to God shows a movement toward faith and trust in Him that the future will be bright even if the present looks ordinary.
As I begin 2016, I believe that hope changes everything. God is a God of hope and His plans for me are just beginning. Moving past a season of waiting and transitions will lead us ever closer to God. The promises He shares in Romans 5 are beautiful truths of glorying in our sufferings and persevering past them to reach the goal of hope.
[Tweet “Hope changes everything and will lead us ever closer to God.”]
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5
As I begin a new year of hope, I am blessed by everyone of you who joins me here each week. Will you join me on this journey to learning and believing that hope changes everything?
With God, all things are possible!
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Great word, Mary! Hope is such a positive thing! I love your quote, “God does not call us to be stuck. He calls us to keep moving even in a time of waiting.” That hits the nail on the head! My one-word is “live” because I have been stuck…stuck in the time my heart broke and I haven’t been able to get past it. However, while I wait for God to fully heal me, I am now moving forward! I’m going to live fully in His presence and enjoy all that He has prepared for me!
Happy New Year, Joan!!! What a lovely surprise to have you stop by here.
I feel like I have been living my life stuck because it becomes comfortable and routine. Stepping out, moving forward and taking chances requires bravery, faith and of course, God! I love how our words connect this year, Joan. We need to live our lives with hope knowing that God is always with us. I will be praying for you that 2016 is a year of moving forward and living fully with God.
Blessings as we journey together!
Yes, bravery and faith! I’m hanging onto those as I step forward in 2016!
Me too! 🙂
Beautiful thoughts to begin the year with.
Thank you and Happy New Year to you, Lux!
Hi Mary. A belated Happy (and hopeful) New Year to you! I love your focus word for 2016. It’s something all our weary souls yearn for, especially when holding onto hope can feel like clinging to frayed rope. But Hope is a Person and a promise. Even though my God-sized dreams seem to be stuck and stagnant, I long to join you in the hope of “a movement toward faith and trust in Him that the future will be bright even if the present looks ordinary.” Thank you for this inspiring post. I’ll be joining in and following along as best I can. Blessings and love to you! <3
I smiled when I saw you pop up here today. Happy New Year to you! I’ve been meaning to check in on you and you beat me to it.
Hope is a person and we are both blessed to be children of God. We all can have God-sized dreams and every time I read your beautiful writing I know you touch many with words that only God could bless you with. I am praying that we both feel God’s hope in every nook and cranny of our lives. Any time you join me is a blessing and your friendship is a gift.
I love your word, Mary! Hope is such as motivating word full of potential and surprise. May God be with you on your journey!
Hope does reveal much potential and surprise. When you have been in a place of waiting and transition, it means so much to be able to look forward with hope for the future.
\May God be with us all as we journey forward with Him. Blessings!
What a beautiful word and focus to choose, Mary. Or perhaps a better way to put it is that God (who is Hope) choose you, my friend! I love your heart and the expectancy in God you sit with each time I visit. I know that He will shine brightly through you each day of 2016 and beyond, dear friend!
When you sit in that place between yes and no, not moving and waiting on God for what’s next, hope is the best thing to hold onto as you look to the future. It took a friend and confirmation of God’s word to know for sure that “hope” should be my word, but God always knows what we need and for me it is HOPE!
Thank you for speaking of “expectancy”. I’m not sure why this word means so much to me, but it speaks of hope and trust that God has it all figured out.So glad that you are walking alongside me because it is people like you that pray me through whatever is next. You are a treasure!
“When a season of transitions blooms into hope, we take a giant step forward into the future.” Love this! We can get so stuck in the transitions that we forget to hope for what’s coming next. God has great things in store for you this year. I’m excited about watching it unfold…and maybe experiencing some of it right alongside you! Well, one can hope, right? 🙂 Love you, friend!
I’m sitting here thinking about how we can share some of those treasured moments together. God has a way of bringing us together so I am hopeful that this will happen in 2016.
I have been stuck for too long and that is not okay. God is showing me how things can look better with the hope of all things yet to come. So blessed to call you friend! Love you!
I am thankful that I have a small group of good friends…we call ourselves the “Perseverance Posse”. Together we have helped each other weather transitions ( good, bad, and just different). Together, we’ve learned that in our perseverance it builds trust in ourselves, each other, and in God. The trust in God is what ultimately brings hope. Praying for you and lifting you up that 2016 will be a year of building hope!! I’ve found that often hope comes when we faithfully follow God’s lead, putting one foot in front of the other…
Blessings sweet friend,
What a treasured group of friends you have in the Perseverance Posse. I love the idea that you are there for each other pulling each other forward when the next step is uncertain and scary. I have friends like that and it is a special blessing from God when He speaks through them.
I agree that faithfully following God’s lead is the path that leads us straight to hope. May we all have the trust that the next step is going to be amazing because God has already carefully planned each part of it. Blessings and hugs!
Mary, I’ve tried all day to stop by, but life happens. 🙂 I love your words about hope. And I’m so excited for you as you begin this new year with a word that inspires. I’ve been in those places in life where I have felt stuck. It’s hard to simply wait for God to move us forward. How beautiful that He has bookmarked this year with such a fabulous word. 🙂
I loved this: “God does not call us to be stuck. He calls us to keep moving even in a time of waiting. Drawing closer to God shows a movement toward faith and trust in Him that the future will be bright even if the present looks ordinary.”
I’ll be pondering these words as I head to bed a little later. Thank you for sharing your heart, my friend.
I am so blessed that you made a little extra time for me and stopped by. I love this beautiful community and how well they love and encourage. You are a treasured member, my friend!
God is showing me that looking ahead with hope allows us to trust Him in a way that looks different than just waiting for things to be different. There is a sense of sureness that God has great things planned. It is a much better place to be.
I pray that we all look at our ordinary through God’s extraordinary eyes. Blessings for a wonderful week!
I’m so excited for you, my friend, as you enter this year with your faith firmly fixed on the HOPE set before you! So thankful to be on this JOurneY with you!
Thank you for sharing in my excitement. It is a gift that has already blessed me in many ways. I am so lucky to call you friend and to have you walk into the new year with me. Praying for much joy and hope for all in this new year.
What an incredibly important word, Mary. I love the perfectly timed plaque from your friend. Hope really does change absolutely everything. I can’t agree with this statement more. The darkest days of my life have been at times in the past where I felt hopeless. The greatest gift for me when I accepted Christ so late in life was never having to feel that way again.
I’m so excited to walk alongside you in this hope filled journey, my friend. Your beautiful words and gifted writing always washes a much needed peace over me. Thank you for that. Much love and many blessings to you in 2016!
Who would have thought that one little four letter word would pack so much punch for everyone. I have treasured all of the comments this week because of the impact of one word that has already spoken volumes to me. Your story never ceases to amaze me friend! God has blessed you greatly and I have loved being a small part of that.
Thank you for walking alongside me. Your friendship means so much to me. Your words always bless me and your encouragement is a beautiful gift I don’t always feel I deserve. Much love to you and abundant blessings as we begin 2016.
Hello Fellow Hope Writer! Just stopped in to look around your lovely site. Precious and encouraging words. May this year bring you abundant blessings.
So glad you stopped by. Hope Writers is a beautiful community that I am just getting to know. I’m praying the new year brings you peace and amazing hope!
Hope, what a wonderful word full of meaning! Glad I stopped by to read your post, it was blessing! : )
Love having you here today, Cathy! May we all reach for the hope of God as we look to the future. Blessings!
Hope. Such an inspiring word, Mary. What a meaningful plaque! Yes, I will join you this year in believing and learning “Hope Changes Everything.”
I hope you all created cherished memories at the wedding! 🙂
I am so glad you will join me on this journey in 2016. I am so blessed to have so many people walk this walk with me.
The wedding was beautiful and every detail was well thought out. I am looking forward to reading about your one word. Blessings!
Welcome back, friend! I tiptoed over here the other day to see if you were writing again after all the wedding festivities and am back today to say ‘hi’!
I’m glad to have your company as we head into this new year, as we embrace hope and expectancy and all that will enable us to live this next season well.
Can’t wait to read what we’ll be writing about 12 months from now … it’s gonna be good!
My re-entry into writing and this community has been like a tiptoe into the familiar which can quickly become unfamiliar. I took a week off and it was one of the best things I did for myself.
Clinging to hope for 2016 is another gift I am choosing from God. We both know what transitions are like, but we can’t lose hope that God is still working behind the scenes of our lives. So together let’s hope in our future and walk into our next seasons together!
I love HOPE, it has been the anthem of my life since 2003. My first 31-day Write Challenge was on HOPE and the book I published thereafter has the subtitle of “Because Hope Changes Everything!” I will cheer you on this year as you explore and experience God’s Hope – it never disappoints, you know. xo
I love that you have walked down this road before me, Susan! Knowing that there are others ahead of me will certainly help me as I walk this path during 2016 and far into the future. You are the 31 day challenge queen from everything I know about you.
So blessed to call you friend! Glad we are journeying together!
Oh Mary! I love this! It speaks to me after having a fallow 2 years in many ways during some big transitions with my livelihood..my word is THRIVE which speaks to God ready to launch me into the world again..so I will love to join you as you move toward HOPE in the New Year!! Blessings to you! I’m really enjoying the ONE WORDS this year! My first go at it and I’m finding it more meaningful than I thought!
I love the word “thrive”. I feel hope and thrive are very much connected. When you have hope in your future, you will thrive because of the belief that everything will be better. I am so glad you shared your fallow years briefly because too often, we don’t acknowledge that we have a mess to get through before we get to the other side. Thank you for joining me in this journey and I will be praying that your focus is on thriving because you have trust in the God of all. Blessings!
I love this word for you and this year. Hope does indeed change everything!
Thank you friend! Hope will change every thing and I am looking ahead to all that God has in store for me. It is so good to be back here and I love seeing all of my friends like you joining me in my humble home!!! Hugs!
This touched me, Mary. Thank you for sharing.
You and I are in the same season of life with similar obstacles along the way. I’ve asked the Lord to give me one word for several years, and each year it’s been revealed to me by the first of January. This year I find myself with two words and I’m really not sure which way to go; Peace and Hope. Life has been in a huge transition for almost 3 years. There’s not an area of my life that hasn’t been in a state of upheaval. I would desperately love some peace and hope in my life, so they both fit. And so I wait and listen. This weekend I’m speaking to a group of ladies about living life with purpose and seeking SOULutions rather than resolutions. I’m sensing He’ll reveal something to me in the process. Maybe it’s not a word this year. Maybe there’s more to this present mystery that will be revealed soon.
Blessings to you, my friend.
We are in a similar life stage and I know that it is supposed to be the best time of our lives, right??? As we seek to follow hard after God, I am finding that life becomes more difficult before it gets easier. There is so much good happening and at the same time so much hard stuff to get through first.
As you shared your two words, peace and hope, I am thinking perhaps you will have two words this year. Or as you said, maybe there is more that is waiting to be revealed. I know that God has something great in store for you and I am hanging with you to find out what it is. Thank you for being here today and for being so vulnerable with me. I have enjoyed you teaching me and affirming my words through your own words. Blessings!
Hi Mary! Happy New Year to you and yours. This is a new year of change for you, now that you are retired. I know that the word ‘hope’ will fill you with a new sense of God’s purpose, and a reason to believe that He will reveal your path.
Go ahead and boast in that hope! All that grace, all that investment in His hope will come back to you many, many times over.
Can’t wait to see what the Lord will call you to do in 2016!
I have already felt a sense of freedom in even saying the word “hope”. God is perfect and choosing what we need and He knows that looking to the future with expectancy and hope will lead me ever closer to Him. I am boasting in hope and am reveling in all that will happen this year.
So good to reconnect with you! Happy New Year friend!
“Hope changes everything.” Yes, indeed! Love your one word choice, Mary. I’ve almost chosen “hope” several times, but something else has always come in at the last moment and overridden it. So I’ll just live vicariously this year through your use of it. 🙂 Blessings to you.
Happy New Year friend! I pray that as I journey through this year with hope that you will feel this in your own life. God is so good to share His many blessings with others.
So good to see you here today! Hugs and blessings!
Mary, such a beautiful post. As I read your words, this Scripture came to mind so I thought I would share it with you … “When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.” (Psalm 84:6-7, NLT) You are right – “God does not call us to be stuck.” He calls us to come through & as we do, we find His blessing waiting for us. I look forward to seeing all God has for you through this word – “hope” – in 2016. Blessings!
Thank you for taking the time to share Psalm 84 with me. A season of waiting can feel very dry and unfulfilling but God always has such beauty and promise for us around the next corner. I will be praying these words from Psalm 84 along with the words from Romans 5.
It is such a blessing to see you here today and I am honored that you are on this journey with me. May we all find the hope of God in our everyday. Blessings and hugs!
Good morning, Mary. Those verses from Romans 5 are some of my favorite in the Bible. They are ones someone shared with years ago, which was really the first time someone took time to share scripture with me for encouragement. They are verses that led me to Christ.
And yes, hope changes EVERYTHING.
I look forward to walking through another year with you as we grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)
Love you much.
What a beautiful sight to see you here today! I have missed you friend! How blessed you must have felt when someone took the time to share a scripture with you and then to be have them be Romans 5. The words in the first few verse alone takes my breath away. Thank you for sharing 2 Peter 3:18 because walking together in grace and knowledge of God is exactly what I want to do. Hugs from afar!!!
Hi Mary! Thank you for the beautiful thoughts. I am experiencing Hope this year too! Last year was a transitioning time. The end of this last year and beginning of this year I have great hope because I am leaving my path up to God and His wisdom for my life completely. Many Blessings for the New Year. 🙂
Happy New Year, Verona! What a pleasant surprise to see you here today. I am amazed at how freeing the word “hope” can make us feel. We are five days into the new year and my outlook looks so differently than how I felt as I was ending the year. I am thrilled that we are walking this path together and I pray that we both find our hope in God as we let Him lead us along the way. Blessings!