Rest: How my “word for the year” became my greatest need of 2018.

One year ago, I sat with my bible open in my lap and a cup of coffee in my hand and I asked the Lord what he wanted to teach me in 2018. I kept hearing people talk about their word for the year and I just hadn’t come to think of one. As I prayed and thought about what all was on my agenda for 2018, I kept thinking about how busy it would be. I would finish my last semester of seminary with a full load of classes, I would complete my last semester serving with a ministry I loved more than I ever knew possible, I’d travel both for work and for fun. Just thinking about it all made my head spin.

There was still a lot of unknowns which made me a little weary on top of the busy schedule that was before me – what would I do after May? Would we leave Nashville? Would we try to expand our family via adoption or just the old fashioned way? I could feel the stress points across my shoulders to ache as I counted all the unknowns.

And then I was reminded to rest in him. And that’s when I knew my word for 2018. “REST. Of course, rest! If there’s a year in my life when I’ll need to rest, it’s this one!”

Around springtime, my husband and I were in a hard place as we prayerfully tried to figure out what would be next for us after my graduation from seminary. I had walked through a super long hiring process at a church out of state for a “dream job” and they passed. I wasn’t as much frustrated by the rejection as I was annoyed that we’d spent so much time in that process just to get a thumbs down. I was contacted by a ministry at a campus in another state but me and Micah were in disagreement about it so we said no – we need a unified yes or it’s a no.

Then the Lord reminded me of my word for 2018 – REST. We made a decision then to just wait and rest. That I’d take the summer to rest and work on some writing projects I’d felt the Lord leading me to write. I know it may sound funny but I was really looking forward to getting home from our New England vacation at the end of May because I was so ready to rest.

And then as we sat at the gate waiting for our flight home from Boston, my husband got a phone call. And a week later we felt confident that God was telling us both to say yes to a new job for him and a move for our family to a city we love. My summer of rest turned into nothing but moving boxes, spreadsheets (because I don’t function without them!), yard sales, and all that moving across Tennessee entails. Around the time we were starting to feel settled a couple months later, I woke up with a feeling that led to a surprisingly positive pregnancy test that led to loss the next week.

Alright 2018 – I’m not so sure about you!

When talking to my mentor about the anxiety I was feeling having experienced pregnancy loss and also feeling kind of lost in a new city. I was thankful that my husband loved his new job (seriously, he calls every day around lunch to remind me how much he loves it!)  but I still felt – well, bored and lost. She lovingly (and sternly) reminded me that I did not take the summer of rest that I needed. And she was right. And there more than ever, I needed to experience the overwhelming peace that comes from resting in my heavenly father.

The problem with that is that I quickly learned that I don’t know how to rest. I know how to work. I know how to lay around and binge netflix but that is not the rest I needed. Over the last few months of 2018, that word REST was spoken by me at least 5 times a day to myself and to others. As the pain of loss would rise up in my heart, I would remind myself to rest in Jesus’ arms. As my mind would rush with anxiety of what I feel is not right in this season of our life, I would feel Holy Spirit surround me with a heaviness that forced my mind to rest.

I still don’t think I really know how to rest (still working on it!) but I’m thankful that the Lord in his kindness gave me that word a year ago because He knew the year I would walk in 2018.

Maybe you didn’t pick a word for the year and that’s fine. Maybe you’re not into all the New Years traditions and resolutions. You do you, friend. But I can tell you that I needed 2019 to come. I needed the newness that comes in January. I needed the peace that I find when I walk outside and see big white and grey clouds covering the sky just over the dead trees. And I have decided to wake up each morning and treat it like it’s January 1 because his mercies are new every morning, a clean slate every day that will feel like a new year if we’ll let it and if we’ll rest in it.

Casey Grooms.
This post was written by Casey Grooms. Casey’s bio can be found under the “Meet Our Team” tab.

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