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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

My Year in Four Words

How would you describe the past year? Challenging? Unexpected? Eventful? While a handful of consonant and vowels don’t tell the whole story of anyone’s year, they summarize. So I chose four words to describe this past year. They help give me perspective. They allow me to remember with balance. They give me reality pictures.

Transition has been the big word of the year. Most who read this blog know that my husband retired from full-time pastoral ministry a year ago. It was a huge transition. For a year it took away the routine anchors that had been a part of our lives. Replacing anchors is not an automatic job. It has taken time to discover new anchors. This time of transition has underlined what we refuse to live without. We need community, corporate worship, others-centered ministry. Transition has been a sturdy bridge to connect us to many next steps that include new ways to use these anchors.

Perserverence is the

word that summarizes my writing pursuits this year. For three years I have been trying explore new publishing options and for three years I have come up empty-handed. What feels like a stagnant process has actually been a distilling process because it forces me to ask the all-important question, “Why am I doing this?” The answers to this question help me find the perseverance I need to make and pursue the right goals for the right reason.

Juggling has definitely defined this year. Since I’m not coordinated enough to keep balls in the air, it should be no surprise that I can't juggle other things, either. For the first time, the circles of my life didn't intersect. It made keeping track of these different pieces of my transitional life very difficult. Though I have tried juggling writing, Lisa, home, interim pastoring, and personal needs, I drop the wrong things at the wrong time. I know I can't juggle forever. I have to find a balance that makes juggling a temporary necessity.

Embraced. This last word is very important to me probably because I feared it would not define a year of transition. A new group of women embraced me from the beginning of joining their Bible study. Our interim assignment connected me to more loving people who embraced me with their acceptance and brought healing in unexpected ways. And though I was warned that retirement meant “more husband,” I continue to know that I am no more loved anywhere than in the embrace of the man I married 35 years ago.

So that’s it, my year in four words, with a touch of annotation. What about you? Would you be so bold as to share your words with me? No explanation needed. Then, we can rejoice over the words that bring celebration and share the burden when the words bring grief.

Here's my New Year blessing for you :

May your New Year be

Plowed from the lessons of the past,

Planted with the seeds of something new,

And waiting to grow what God has been planning

That brings more than you knew to ask for.



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