“As my life was slipping away, I remembered the LORD. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple.” Jonah 2:7 NLT
At this time of year for the past few years, ever since my dear friends Don and Diane Woodall gave me the book “One Word” by Jimmy Page, I have searched for the one word that would become my focus for the next year.
I pray for it, think about it, maybe talk to people about it, and when it is revealed to me, I place that one word on the front of my phone so every time I open it (yes, I still have a flip-phone) I can’t help but see it. Hopefully, it will remind me to spend time applying that word in constructive ways in my faith, and in my life.
Last year, my one word was “Resist” and I have to admit I failed more often than I succeeded.
What was I trying to resist? Well, the simple answer would be “Sin” but when I decided that was to be the word for the year, I envisioned all things that I would need the Lord’s help resisting.
The list goes on, but you get the idea. The plan was to use the word to resist those things, thoughts, and actions which would be contrary to what the Bible teaches, and would prevent me from doing God’s will and living life in a manner that would please Him.
Was I an abject failure?
Perhaps not compared to how I used to live my life, but certainly there were more instances of failure than I am (or should have been) comfortable with. I know that none of us is perfect, but I also know I could have been a lot closer than I was had I made a more concentrated effort.
But this post is not to discuss last year’s word. This post is to share with you all this year’s word. I had been trying to ‘see’ the word which held the most importance for me for the coming year and would best help me be that person God wants me to be, but it was proving to be elusive.
That is, until I had what was likely to be the last conversation of 2019 with the Woodalls.
During our ‘catch up’ call, I told them I had been reorganizing my room and going through a lot of old papers. I came across a list of names and numbers. They were men I had been incarcerated with an the numbers were their inmate numbers. I logged into the Bureau of Prison’s website and looked them up. I was happy to see some had been released. I was saddened to see others still incarcerated, some with a considerable amount of time left. Some had been transferred.
My very first cellmate, Stanley Happold, had died in December of 2017.
It was during the course of that conversation I suddenly knew what the word had to be.
I want to remember where I turned when I was near death.
I want to remember how hard I worked at being the person God wanted me to be while I was in prison.
I want to remember the men I was locked up with. Men who became like family to me, and helped me to grow in my faith.
I want to remember the pain that I caused those I love when I attempted suicide, and when they discovered the reason for it.
I want to remember the innocent victims I never met, but were still hurt by my actions.
I want to remember how much I loved building a relationship with the Lord.
I want to remember the perfect freedom the Lord provided me with while I was incarcerated, and live my life so I can feel it each and every day.
I want to remember how blessed my life has been since my released.
“REMEMBER” is the perfect word for 2020.
What’s your word going to be?