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For the last 11 years, I've lived one little word for 365 days. This year's word makes me laugh a skeptical kind of snort.
The word came to me late, a few days after 2016 was underway. I was hesitant to claim it, but it kept following me, like a lost dog in need of a home. I have an affinity for souls in need of homes. This word was a lost soul and begged to inhabit my 2016.
Those who are closest to me would tell you the parenting terrain doesn't get much more rugged than its been this year. We're learning trauma can cause extreme behavior, even years after its supposed to be over. We're learning overcoming a hard history isn't a warm and fuzzy event.We're learning that healing is a gnarled process.
Sometimes love is tough. It calls for the unimaginable. It calls for choices that no parent ever wants to make. We've learned to love in unprecedented ways, in ways that a year ago were unfathomable.
Meanwhile, my word keeps begging for me to pay attention to it.
It feels like a cruel joke, this little word of mine.
As the year unfolded, the trials continued, increasing in intensity. Month after month, James' words taunted me, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds."
I decided I wouldn't like being friends with James.
I've put off reflecting on my little word, because I'm doubtful there will be any connection between my word and 2016.
Count it all joy when you meet trials of various kinds...
There is a single word that means the same thing as the phrase count it all joy...
Treasure, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
(James1:2-4, The Message)
James understood things about faith that I did not.
He understood it is through challenges that faith is evident.
He understood it is through tests that faith grows deep roots.
He understood it is through trials that faith becomes indisputable.
I'm beginning understand these things, too.
It seems that 2016 lived up to its word after all. Although the events of the year have left much to be desired, my irrevocable faith will always be something to
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