Another year, another word of the year. In our case, we always base our word of the year on a chosen verse that guides our lives for the next 365 days. This year we're taking it back to basics. Going all the way back to Genesis with God's first words: let there be light.
I limped my way through the holidays this year. As the countdown approached, I felt a growing sense of dread knowing that we didn't have our word of the year sorted out yet. I went back to my grandpa's house to connect with aunts and cousins. We talked a lot about my sister, who died seven months ago, and I expressed my struggles to move forward in a world absent of her. We talked honestly about long-standing family feuds (nothing of any particular relevance, I think these things are par for the course in most big families…right?).
My sister started some of these discussions a year ago, and I was finishing them.
At one point, I raided my grandma's old craft supplies. I found acrylics and gel pens and rosettes that we sewed together. I found angsty tween notepads from my own years spent in this house and ones from my cousin, who moved into the very room I was raised in shortly after I moved out.
The irony was not lost on me that this was where we all found ourselves landing after a particularly trying season. This was the home that saved our lives.
I declared that we would make vision boards for the coming year. Very out of character for me, but then I find myself doing a LOT of things like that nowadays. We chatted as I clipped inspirational words from old magazines. My little cousins looked up at me and poured me wine and I talked vaguely about the bible and inspiration and aspirations for myself and my family, for them and their families. A variety of words fell into something of a sunshine-ray shape on my page, centralized around one big word: LIGHTER. “Lighter?” my oldest cousin asked, cocking her head. “Like a cigarette lighter?” I laughed and snipped off the “er.”
This was my intention heading into a new year. I wanted to streamline my processes and my burdens. I wanted to shed light on the dark places in our lives. I wanted to be a beacon to others. I just didn't know how any of that would play into our verse of the year…yet.
On the eve of the new year, Nate and I were sitting in our pajamas and browsing the latest movies. We came on one featuring the life of Stephen Hawking, a genius scientist known for his outspoken atheism. We turned it on, Nate pausing on occasion to offer historical anecdotes (as husbands are wont to do…right?). At one point, the main character is discussing the big bang, and Nate felt the need to weigh in. “I don't disagree with him on the big bang thing. I just word it differently. What he thinks of as a spark, I think of as God declaring, ‘Let there be light.'”
Let there be light.
The words hung in the air.
I browsed through pictures of 2018. There was some really sad stuff going on, but there were still some bright highlights in the mix. We traveled a lot. We learned a lot. We furthered our business, and we deepened our relationship with Christ. We experienced some crushing blows…and we got back up. Just as God spoke light into darkness, he spoke peace into our lives when we needed it most.
Looking over our words from previous years, we have a lot of guiding terms that have led us to the place we are today:
I looked into the etymology of God's usage of “Light” in the bible and I found the term repeated over and over again. Mostly, it was salvation for people stuck in despair. It was a way out. It was hope. It was exactly what we need right now.
I stumbled upon the term ‘fiat lux' numerous times and decided to turn that into a printable for our wall. It's the way God said, “Let there be light” in the late-4th-century Latin translation of the bible. More accurately translated it means, “Let light do.” I believe that is our job here on earth as disciples: to carry God's light forth and let it do. To create the way and the space for it in our lives and in others.
Simply print this out at Staples as an 18×24″ architectural blueprint and paste it onto a wood backing. It's the same way we made our Do Your Best printable.
Do you have a word of the year?