The Word

“I haven’t chosen my word for the year yet,” I lamented to the group of women who attended my Women’s Christmas program Sunday night. I began the practice of choosing a word for the year after reading Debbie Macomber’s One Perfect Word in 2011. In the book, Macomber discusses how concentrating on a single word has become a tool for God to work in her life, and in the lives of others.

one word“I know what my word means, but I don’t know what word encompasses the meaning,” I continued. “I want to learn how to just live in the moment this year, to just be, but I don’t want the word BE. It has to mean relax, revel, appreciate…” My voice trailed off. Most of these women were strangers. They couldn’t know how impatient I was, how I struggled to entrust the daily workings of my life to God.

A woman who was sitting nearby smiled broadly. “I know the word. It’s mine for this year. I learned it in Bible study this week. It means to relax, to reflect, to love, to listen. It’s used over seventy times in the Psalms.”

I could barely contain my excitement. I loved reading the Psalms.

“What is it?”

“Selah. The word is Selah.”

I’d never heard it. How could I not be familiar with what sounded like the perfect word for my year?

Turns out, the NIV version I use doesn’t include the word in the text, but as a footnote. Nor do Bible scholars agree on the Hebrew word’s meaning. Some say the implied meaning is a simple musical “rest” or pause. More scholars tend to go with the term meaning “pause and reflect.” And that’s exactly how my Everyday Life Bible, Amplified Version, with notes and commentary by Joyce Meyer includes it.

Psalm 32:7 You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah (pause, and calmly think of that)!

A third interpretation would include both the others, and claims the meaning is “lift up, exalt, and magnify” The Lord.

Pause. Reflect. Rest. Lift up, and exalt The Lord. This year, I want to pause and reflect before I speak, write, or schedule programs and events outside of work. I want to rest in the Lord, allow him to guide me in all my endeavors. I also want to include restful activities; quiet mornings alone, nature, shared moments with the people I love. I want to lift others up. And I most definitely want to exalt and magnify the Lord in everything I do.

selah

Selah. I found my word for 2019.

Cha-Cha-Changes

What will be my last column for the Manchester Press appeared in today’s paper.

last column.jpg

Next week I begin working at a library where, coincidentally, I was already scheduled to speak. I’ll be conducting my favorite parts of the last library job I had; planning programs, doing presentations, outreach, helping patrons find the next great book, and talking books.

With the hours I’ve freed up with my new job, I’ll be adding back some of the classes, workshops, and public speaking gigs I gave up last year due to lack of time. I already have writing classes scheduled for Hawkeye.

writing classes

I hope to find ways to utilize the Grief Counseling certification I recently completed.

grief counseling certificateAnd, I’ll soon be planning the second annual Heal Your Grief retreat that will take place at Shalom Center in Dubuque this fall.

It seems appropriate that these changes come during the month that marks five years since my husband’s heart attack (March 15th was his stent surgery) and subsequent death after he came home from the hospital.

It also seems fitting that these two Bible verses were written in the journal I unearthed a few days ago, the one I’d begun writing in December 2011, just months before I would lose my husband:

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”