Word of the Year 2020 Update

Each year I pick a word for the year. I pray the Lord will show me what I need to focus more on, push for, and utilize for our family, our home, our business, and our faith. I remember when the word for 2020 came to me, but I was so busy trying to keep up with a move, the holidays, and, well, life, I couldn’t know in December what we, as a nation, would be facing in March with COVID-19. I couldn’t have fathomed that our world would be shut down, travel plans interrupted, conferences cancelled, schools and churches closed, and stores barely able to keep items on their shelves. Social distancing and shelter-in-place orders were not even phrases on my radar.

But, the word for 2020 was on my mind. Nurture.

When we nurture it means that we are caring for and encouraging someone or something so that it can develop and grow (dictionary.com). I was personally craving time to encourage my daughter in new things. As a publisher, I desired to spend more time creating tools for our authors. I was searching for ways to meet with other publishers and businesswomen. I was longing for downtime with my family to make memories we could look back at with fondness.

As a mom, wife, daughter, and small business owner, my list was long with the all the people and projects I wanted to develop and grow during this leap year. But, guess what? A pandemic has a way of challenging what you think is important, and God sometimes uses these times to prune the things have taken root in your heart and mind. Some of those more lofty “things” I thought I needed to focus on have fallen away, and as we have moved into the second month of this pandemic, my priorities have narrowed and my really long list of projects I wanted to accomplish has shortened.

Nurturing is such a fitting word for this year, and it has become the focal point of my time. I may not do it all perfectly nor can I say that I am nurturing in all the ways I should or could be, but I can say that God knew what I would need as my truth for the year.

As a family, we are spending more time together, making sure to keep a fixed dinner time and having ample time outside. My daughter has learned to ride her bike without training wheels. We have trimmed bushes and starting preparing for a small garden. We’ve watched some old movies (Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Hook) mixed with a few new ones (Spies in Disguise and Frozen II). We’ve decorated for Easter and had church together from our couch. We’ve colored, hosted LEGO challenges, and read many books.

As a business owner, I’m focused on developing content for our authors and readers as well as finding ways to interact with others online. I’m participating in industry committees and mastermind groups. I’m collaborating with agents and editors to encourage writers online. I’m planning for future titles, conferences, and projects. I’m praying that Little Lamb Books can survive this challenge and still be in operation in the months and days to come.

I’m struggling just like everyone else with the emotional highs and lows of being home all day every day and having new responsibilities added to my daily to do list (hello teaching science, I’m talking about you!). I’m struggling with wanting it to all be perfect and not all a mess. And, I’m struggling with the emotional impact too, but as we juggle all that is being asked of us as a families and businesses, I can see God’s love at work and His hand in the choosing of my word for the year. Memories are being made, time is being spent more deliberately, and life has slowed down and become less about going and doing, and more about using time to create, share, and love.

I know this isn’t what we would have chosen and it’s definitely not how I would have interpreted my word of the year, but I’m thankful that I trust in an all-knowing God who was preparing me for this time. Preparing my heart for what I needed to be ready to do. Preparing me to nurture.

“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9

What was your word of the year and how have you applied it to this new normal we are experiencing?