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For multiple decades, we have used each January to decide a Word of the Year to focus on the create forward movement in each of our individual lives, which benefits our marriage as we move closer to the plan God has for our lives. Last year Bill’s was Determination and Pam’s was Thrive and each provided motivation for some breakthroughs we have been praying over.
However, some years we both see a need for change in the SAME area of growth, so we select the same Word of the Year, and same verse of the year, multiplying our ability to gain transformation in that area of our life. When a couple focuses their lives on the same verse, this can bring amazing strength to a relationship.
Want a backstage pass to one particularly powerful and pivotal watershed moment for our marriage?
About 7 years ago, I (Pam) got bad news on my health. I (Bill) had gone through my own health issue a few years before that, so I was sensitive to the need make some changes in our life together. Pam called from a First Place 4 Health bootcamp, sharing the sobering health news with me. She suggested we choose the word: STRONG for our Word of the Year. We elected to focus on this verse as the motivation for the year ahead:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
The word strong here means to grow to be strong– so God says it is a process! Courageous is also verb meaning to make strong, bold and victorious. We felt impressed God was saying: “Don’t tremble, be in terror, be dismayed or adopt dread or fear—don’t let this bad news “shatter” you!”
The answer of HOW to overcome these negative emotions is in verse 7, “obey ALL the law (the Word), don’t get distracted (go left or right). And from verse 9, remember “The Lord will be with you wherever you go.”
And just as God went with us—God goes with YOU into 2019!
And we would also like to travel with you as you journey forward with God. We have an Our Best Year worksheet set for couples that we use (and you and your mate can use and also a set women walking solo too). These worksheets help us processes our Word of the Year and weaves the Word into our life in a way that results in life transformation. Let’s look at the components and what we chose to apply to gain life change:
Word of the Year: STRONG
Verse of the Year: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Motto of the Year: Stay Strong
Song of the Year: Stronger by Mandisa
Symbol/ Art of the Year: We made a poster with weights that spelled out STRONG and hung it in our office . We also got matching mugs with the word STRONG on them
And the key component that brings the power to this improvement project is asking a “Clarifying Question” all year over each of our life choices. The clarifying question for this year was: “Will this choice make me stronger? My marriage and family stronger? My health stronger? My walk with God stronger?”
God made me (Pam) strong enough to:
- Call a new doctor and believe God would cover these price of tests
- Give me the willpower to apply the wisdom that doctor gave
- Share honestly with friends, family and her First Place 4 Health accountability group so they could offer prayer and support.
- Add to my exercise regime more strength training and more cardio
The result in Pam’s life was the loss of 50 pounds, renewed strength and she has stayed healthy and fit since then. I also went on to write 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman to mentor women toward reaching their own God-given potential. (I explain in detail how to use your Word of the Year in a variety of creative ways to motivate forward movement in your life in 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman)
God made me (Bill) strong to
- Launch a new video production company
- Write a 10 Best Decisions a Leader Can Make and 7 Simple Skills for Every Man to help men achieve their God-ordained path to success.
- Speak in multiple weekends to equip men in relationship skills
- Maintain my own health and support Pam in her fitness journey
The results in Bill’s life was the ability to take on and achieve new and expanded responsibilities in our Love-Wise ministry.
The results on OUR marriage was God used this new combined strength to help us pen A Couple’ Journey with God to encourage and equip other couples to become stronger spiritually, emotionally, and relationally—and help couples like YOU live Love-Wise!
We would love to continue to offer strength for YOUR journey, STRENGTH to YOUR relationships and to YOUR life. Please consider joining the Living Love-Wise Community. Simply go to the subscribe page and select the membership plan that is the best fit for your life.
As you use the Our Best Year worksheet, pray and invite God to lead and guide your life and relationships. It is our prayer that this activity, whether a date with your mate, or a solo devotional time with Jesus, will make your life and relationships STRONGER in the coming year!
Pam and Bill