Friday, January 18, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: A Word


A New Word for a New Year

A devotional by Victoria Bylin

“[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
~1 Corinthians 13:7 (NASB)

We’re at the beginning of a new year, and I’ve been thinking about a resolution I didn’t make. Typically, I chose a word to ponder as the cold winter days turned into warm summer nights, then into the crisp afternoons of Autumn. In the past, those words have been a beacon to me, a way to focus on growing closer to God, seeking Him in the midst of storms, or simply worshipping in the good times.

So why didn’t I choose one this year? Frankly, I’m wondering why, and if I should pick one now. Here are some of my favorites from the past:

Rejoice came straight from Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice!” This verse taught me about rejoicing when times are tough. I had no idea it would be a challenging word, but it was. My father-in-law was in the throes of Alzheimer’s that year, and there were difficult decisions regarding his care. His long, slow decline tore our hearts to pieces, but there was also great love throughout his life. Those memories sustain us now.

Worship was my word for 2013. It’s a contraction of worth + ship, and I took it as a challenge to worship God beyond singing in church on Sunday morning. What is His love worth to me? How can I share it with others? Again, I discovered a doubled-edged sword. There were days when worship came easily, and days when it revealed how self-focused I can be. What sustained me, good or bad, was the awareness of God’s love for all his children—including me.

Door isn’t the word I expected for 2017, and it didn’t play out the way I hoped. A door slammed shut when my publisher turned down a new proposal. I waited a year for a door to open at another publisher, but after several false starts, it slammed shut. Disappointing, yes. But during that long stretch of time, I was aware of all the doors Christ has opened and closed in my life, both joyful and disappointing, and always done in love.

In 2018, I chose the word Dig with the intention of digging deep and seeking God’s will for my writing. I dug all right, and ended up in a hole. Again, not the end I imagined! That hole turned out to be a grave where my old dreams died, but it was also the birth place for new ones. Somehow God’s love pierced that dark time and brought me back into the light.

Aha! I see a trend . . . My word for 2019 is right in front of me.

That word is Love.

I can’t think of greater word—or a greater challenge—but I’m confident that God’s grace is sufficient for whatever challenges arise in the coming year.

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Author Bio:

Victoria Bylin is the author of 18 traditionally published romances. Known for tackling difficult subjects with great compassion, she delights in stories that shine the spotlight of God’s love on ordinary men and women facing realistic challenges.

Writing has always been a part of Victoria’s life. As a child, she wrote hundreds of letters and scribbled in journals. As an adult, she worked as a freelance journalist and editor before taking on the challenge of fiction.

She had one goal when she started her first novel: to finish a book-length manuscript, good or bad. That first effort will never see the light of day, but it led to a second manuscript and a sale to Harlequin Historical. Since then, she has written westerns and contemporary romances for both mainstream and Christian publishers, with Together With You winning the 2016 Inspirational Readers Choice Award for Best Contemporary.

Writing is a joy and a challenge for Victoria, but faith, friends and family matter to her far more. She’s a wife, mom, proud grandmother, and a dog-mom to a wacky Jack Russell Terrier. Originally from California, she and her husband currently make their home in Lexington, Kentucky. When she’s not writing, Victoria enjoys long walks, travel, and dark chocolate.


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