My word for 2018 is “FLOURISH”. Several years ago I followed my sister’s lead into the #OneWord365 movement. It’s this idea that you select one word to focus on for the whole year vs. making some sort of New Year resolution. Well, actually, my words always seem to find me and connect together for purposeful living, which makes it kind of a God thing too. Finding Joy brought me to Illuminate, which led me to Truth, which has carried me to Flourish.
These words have guided our family through our relocation from the Midwest to Southwest Florida that started in 2015. When we moved here everyone told us it takes 3 years to get re-established and we are now in the middle of that 3rd year. Well before 2018 arrived, I knew in my heart that my one word for this year would be flourish.
(of a person, animal, or other living organism) grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.
Along with my word, I also select a scripture. I didn’t have to study long before it became clear what my verse for this year would be:
Psalm 92:12 (NIV) The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like the cedar of Lebanon.
There is beautiful, strong imagery at work in this verse, promising that the righteous will be like a palm-tree, which is long-lived and the winter does not change. What are the chances that my one word is biblically connected to a palm tree? It didn’t take much research to be confident that flourish was indeed to be my next #OneWord365.
It also hasn’t taken much time for God to confirm this was our proper next word either! Condensing a very long story into a blog-sized bit, I’m excited to share that unexpectedly and yet delightedly our family is moving for a 3rd time in less than 3 years!
There’s a house we’ve had our eye on that we tried to rent before moving into the home we are currently occupying. However, the timing wasn’t right a year and a half ago. The owner of that home was trying to sell, we were trying to rent; then, he was trying to rent and we were in a lease. But all of this time the home has been empty. I’ve felt for a while now it would be our next step, but our home in IL is rented and now this other home is back on the market. We’ve prayed and asked the Lord to make a way where there didn’t seem to be a way. Although the house is not my style per se, it has the size, features and locations we’ve desired since moving to Sarasota.
Last Sunday, on January 6th, there was an open house at this property. Tim and I decided, really on a whim, to walk through and take another look. Much to our surprise, the owner was holding the open house. Tim stuck his hand out and said to the man, “we’ve been looking for you”. The open house we went to on a whim (or likely a holy nudging) was in fact, a divine appointment. In the matter of an hour, we witnessed the Lord move in our favor 3 times.
Five prayer-filled days later, we got the call that we were approved to rent the home with a move in day of February 15th! While we are in shock – and a little denial – about moving again in 34 days, we are all equally thrilled about more space, 2 more bedrooms, another bathroom, and finally having a pool again!
I knew that 2018 was going to be my flourishing year, but I had no idea the process would start just 6 days into the new year. I am overcome with awe at how the pieces for this next step have come together so quickly and so sovereignly for our family. Establishing a new life at the midpoint of life has been hard. Our kids have all faced situations that have been hard. As years go, 2017 was excruciatingly hard. But, I believe hard has brought us to flourish. One of the commentaries I read on Ps. 92 powerfully explained:
“the palm grows slowly, but steadily, from century to century uninfluenced by those alternations of the seasons which affect other trees. It does not rejoice over much in winter's copious rain, nor does it droop under the drought and the burning sun of summer. Neither heavy weights which men place upon its head, nor the importunate urgency of the wind, can sway it aside from perfect uprightness. There it stands, looking calmly down upon the world below, and patiently yielding its large clusters of golden fruit from generation to generation. They bring forth fruit in old age.”
Yes, flourish is our word for 2018 and Psalms 92 is definitely a promise to hold onto as the rains, drought, burning sun, and urgent winds sometimes come into our lives. But, the promises are rich for those who hold on – yielding fruit that will last from generation to generation. Lord, let it be for me and my family according to your word.
Now, it’s time to pack!
 I was kind of a rebel that first year when I picked a two words instead of one.