One Word in 2012: Strength

Monday was my silly–not too serious–writer post but today is my devotional post. And I’m serious. 🙂 

I read a post back in December by Beth Vogt at My Book Therapy Ponderers blog. You can read it here. She said, “consider this invitation: Don’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year. Instead, pick a word. Just one word. And then focus on embracing that word, living that word, for the next 365 days starting January 1, 2012.”

Something about her post struck a major chord in me. I felt like God wanted me to do this. But what was the word? I pondered on it and prayed about it for weeks. I never seemed to get it, but I knew I would and I knew it wouldn’t be too late.
One morning, in late December–right before I was completely awake– the Lord spoke my word to me. 
I’ve had some issues with my trapezus muscles. And I went from running a 5K to barely being able to jog one mile, simply because I haven’t stayed consistent. Obviously, my mind went straight to physical strength, but then as I thought…emotional strength, continued strength in my relationship with God…but that wasn’t exactly what He was saying.
On December 22nd, 2011, I got up and read my small Word for Today devotional. I had no real direction that morning. I flipped open my Bible and glanced down (this happens occasionally) and my eyes met Psalm 84:5-7.
“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca they make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; Each one appears before God in Zion.” 
The Lord whispered to me, “These are your life verses for 2012. Study it. I’m not simply talking about exercise, but you’re not getting out of that.” 
 I pulled up my study tools  and realized there’s much more to what God wants from me than what I thought on my own. 
In the KJV, the verse is: “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee, in whose heart are the ways of them.”
The Hebrew word for strength in verse 5 is, “oz” and it means, “might, strength–material or physical, personal, social, or political.” Political also means influence.
“Whose heart is in thee” in Hebrew is “lebab” and this phrase means:
1. In the midst of things
2. heart (of man)
3. soul
4. mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
5. resolution, determination (of will)
6. conscience
7. moral character
8. seat of appetites, emotions, passions
9. seat of courage
Strength in all of these areas. 
“Are the ways of them” in Hebrew is, “mecilalah” and it means, “highway, raised way, public road.” Pilgrimage is the word in NKJV.
A journey…a road to travel…one people will see
Verse 6 says, “As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a spring.” Baca means weeping.
The pilgrimage will be difficult; it’ll involve weeping (as least God is honest up front) but in those times, if my heart is with Him, those difficult times of weeping, can become times of refreshing…springs…pools…
V. 7  “they go from strength to strength.” This word isn’t the same Hebrew word as in verse 5. It’s “Chayil” and it means, “ability, efficiency, wealth, army.”
This road, this journey will take me from strength to strength, it will give me the ability to perform Kingdom tasks, not just writing for Him, but in all things He asks. I will be efficient, and my soul will become prosperous…I will be a soldier…
I won’t lie and say I’m not afraid. 
Strength is my weakness.
But I serve a mighty God, who loves me.

In fact, so much that a couple of days after this, I said to Him on the way to work, “Lord, I need a new Bible Study. I’m not writing one and when I’m not, I need one!” I planned on  hitting Lifeway after the holidays. That night, my good friend, my godly friend and Bible teacher, Donna Pyle sent me a message. “I need your address, I’m sending you my new Bible study w/ DVDS!”

Thank you, God! When I got it in the mail a few days ago, I read the title.


Get out! Nope, that’s the kind of God we serve! Donna had no idea about my ONE WORD! Visit her site (blog) and by all means, order her Bible Study! I know God has plans to speak to me through this study.

Let God give you a word. We’ll work on them together.
I’m writing this today as an encouragement to you. God has plans for you this year. He wants to develop you in every area of that one word, just like He wants to develop me in this area. And I’m writing it to keep an online journal of this journey. I’m sharing it. Publicly. 
This year, each Wednesday, I’ll be doing a devotion based on something God has spoken to me about strength. Join with me. Keep me accountable! And share with me what you’re learning and how you’re growing. 
A special thanks to Beth Vogt for sharing her post about one words. 
May God bless you for it, Beth.

Also another special thanks to Melanie Moore for giving me my Strength blog button for FREE! Check it out at the sidebar! Her one word this year is giving, and she’s begun by offering customized ONE WORD blog buttons. How sweet is she? Thanks, Melanie! 

I’m hosting at Living By Grace today. Come over and chat, encourage someone, be lifted up!

What about you? Do you have a goal, one word, an area you plan to grow in this new year? Care to share?

33 thoughts on “One Word in 2012: Strength

  1. What an encouragement your post is for me today!!! I started reading and thought about my word and how I've been this past year and I said strength—then I strolled down and read your word. :)) Yup– I need to be stronger for the Lord and not live in fear as I have for the past four years. Thank you and blessings!

  2. My verse for this year is 1 Peter 4:11b: "If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ."

    Guess we are all on the same track!

  3. I will pray for you as you seek strength, Jessica. What an inspirational blog! My word is "simplify." Last year, I simplified my physical environment by decluttering and moving to a smaller home. This year, I am praying for God to help me remove clutter in other areas of my life–clutter that keeps me from doing His will. I specifically seek to declutter my agenda and my brain., to free my time and my thoughts to open more space for God to dwell in my life.

  4. Oh my word…my word–ha! Strength, I might have to borrow that one. Just got a little emotionally beat up over the holidays, so I need to bathe in the reminder of God's love and his calling for me to be strong in him.

    Beautiful post!
    ~ Wendy

  5. Oh my goodness…this is pretty much the best thing I've read in I don't even know how long. Thank you so much for sharing about your word and God speaking to you…and I love that you're going to post about it each Wednesday. I will be returning… 🙂

    My one word is Love…I want to love Christ and others in a bigger, fuller way than I have before. A love that takes me beyond me…

  6. We do serve an amazing God. He's been speaking to my heart too, but I'm back at where you were in December, still pondering and listening. I always was a late bloomer – yet right on time for whatever His plans are:) Love, love, love what you shared and how it's connected with what He's doing over here. Your faithfulness is such a blessing!

  7. mmm,this must be the season for one words. My word this year has been impressed on my heart … Grace. I'm not entirely sure why, although I know from the outset I need to practice more grace in my actions and speech toward others. But I'm sure as the year goes on the Lord will enrich that word and show me even more meaning! Tonight I'm challenging our high school youth group on the difference between New Years Resolutions and Character Resolve. I'm going to give them the one-word challenge! 🙂

  8. There are a few reasons why I love this post so much. Your eyes and ears are open to all the signs God gives you–as are mine. I'm always amazed when God drills a point home with me by sending a cardinal flying or when my ears pick up on the chorus of a song. But I also love that you're so encouraging about focus. The first word that came to me was believe, but it struck me as not quite right. Trust is the word I'm focusing on.

  9. Strength is a great word! I hadn't thought about how I might change this year…I don't tend to make resolutions and don't like planning either, but I love this idea of one word.
    Great post!

  10. Terri: I'm so glad this post confirmed strength in your own life.

    Lynda: I'm finding so many others on our track. It's nice to have someone else living out that word for accountability!

    Diana: Thank you for your prayers! Simplify: A great word! I will return the favor and pray for you this year as well!

    Wendy: You crack me up! Ha! Borrow away! The more the merrier walking out strength this year.

    Melissa: You always inspire and encourage me with your comments! Loving beyond ourselves. That's a biggie! 🙂

    Susan: Thank you! I love that God is never late, but we do work up a sweat don't we?! Can't wait to hear what your word is when it comes!

    Jaime: "Tonight I'm challenging our high school youth group on the difference between New Years Resolutions and Character Resolve. I'm going to give them the one-word challenge! :)" This is awesome! Praying it goes exactly like you want and it takes root in their hearts. Awesome!

    Jill: Trust. Toughie. My friend just told me that was her word and wasn't happy about it. Trusting can be difficult. Great focus. Trusting God takes limits off what He can do in our lives!

  11. I got chills as I read your post.
    And tears in my eyes.
    And a huge smile on my face.
    I love it when God shows up. I love it when one of his children (you, Jessica!) listens to his voice and follows … and then hears amazingly wonderful loving words from his heart to yours.
    Wow. And wow. And … yeah.
    My word for 2012 is "trust." Kinda scary, that word.
    I've been digging into that word for the past few days, discovering the original meanings of the Scripture passage Proverbs 3:5&6, so I can anchor myself more solidly to the truth of what trust is. (You and me and word studies — we're a lot alike.)
    And I've got a beautiful button for my blog too, with the word "trust" — I'm just waiting for my web guru to post it for me.
    I'm excited to walk out the word journey with you this year, Jessica.

  12. You can do it, Jess! Loved this post.

    For the first time in years, I actually made goals in several areas of my life. And unlike in the past, they are measurable this time, so I feel like – with His help – I can accomplish them.

  13. What a great post, Jess, and an encouragement. Thank you for sharing with us. 🙂

    You already know my word(s) for the year. Now let's see how God rocks our worlds!

  14. My word is probably Faith, although I haven't spoken to God about it yet. I will make a point to do so, though.

    Great post!

  15. Beautiful, beautiful post, my friend. Your words touched my heart.

    My word is faith because I really struggled with it for the last few months of 2012. I'm determined to cling to faith in God no matter what circumstances come my way. Is it easy to do? Absolutely not. But God is faithful and continues to catch me every time I stumble.

  16. Love that word, Jessica! I always seem to see my "word of the year" in reverse. I think about it in January, but don't seem to discover it until December. I'll keep praying about it. 🙂

  17. Thank you for sharing with us how God speaks to you. Your journey will speak to us all this year. I look forward to reading your Wednesday posts and witnessing how God provides His strength to carry you through.

    It's going to be a great year!

  18. Good strong post on strength! It's a relief to know God can help us be strong in life. Best wishes for your new devotion/study!

  19. Great post, Jessica!

    My one word is JOY.

    We never experience it enough.

    I plan to experience more of it this year. I'm going to let the joy flow instead of holding it in.

  20. Great post, Jess! With all the excitement of a new year, it's easy to want to focus just on the positive. Strength is a good thing – but thanks for pointing out the fact that there will also be trying times, times when there will be tears. But when our strength comes from the Lord, He can turn those times of testing into times of refreshment for us and others! God bless you in 2012 with all the strength you need!

  21. Love your word!! I'm thinking about either Thanks or Praise. 🙂

  22. I loved reading this. Last year my word was "Assurance," which turned out to be just what I needed. This year I thought my word was going to be "Focus," but it just never felt right. Today, I keep coming back to the phrase "Be Still." That phrase makes me a little afraid, which probably means it's the right one for 2012!

  23. There is no greater gift than a whisper from God. I'm happy for you.

  24. Just beautiful, Jess. Love that God spoke to you this way. What a word! Praying.

  25. Excellent word choice, Jessica. My word for 2012 is PURPOSE

  26. Oohhh, that's a GREAT one! I haven't necessarily picked a word for 2012. I guess it'd be "unknown", lol.

  27. Patience. More patience!

  28. Awesome word, Jesse! I like it.

    I'm still deciding. Trust keeps coming up, as does "still." You know? Be "still" and know… I could use some stillness.

    I also am drawn to the word "zany." I've been in a very serious season of life, and God keeps whispering, "Be zany, Heather. It's okay."

    So, there are the three I've narrowed it down to.

  29. This whole concept is so much more meaningful – dare I say "beneficial" – than making some resolution I'm just going to fail at anyway.

    Thanks for sharing!

  30. My word has to be PERSEVERANCE.

    2 Timothy 4:7
    I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

    Remembering to stay strong, don't stop and keep the hope that it will all be worth it.

  31. Beautiful post. And judging by all your posts, I feel like you already have a lot of strength to build upon.

  32. A word that has come to my attetnion is "rest". Not necessarily physical rest but resting in His grace, resting in hope (Acts 2:26). The word came to my attention in Hebrews 3 and 4. Since then, I have been chewing on this word and I pray that God keeps opening my heart to it. Do a keyword search for "rest" or any other word/phrase at

  33. Also, rest from my anxiety and worry…I've tried to say the word "rest" when my mind wants to dwell on the worry…


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