onwardJanuary 3, 2013, I wrote in my journal, “Finally, Onward.  This word has stuck in my head since January 1.  Maybe it’s an order in my life, another prompt, like ‘Go’ and ‘Travel Light.’  We’ll see.”

I wrote a series of words and phrases around the same time:

  • Go – where I need to go, be where I need to be, not where everyone else wants me to be;
  • Do less – but make my time count for more;
  • Give more – get ride of the un-needed stuff, it’s just stuff;
  • Forgive – travel light by releasing others, and myself;
  • Write more – I have a voice to use;
  • Care – for those who most don’t care about;
  • Onward – waiting for understanding (Jan. 3)

It seemed that 2013 was destined to be a great year.  One with purpose and direction.  As the days ticked by, it proved to be a season that would challenge and stretch me in unexpected ways.   There were workplace issues, lay-offs, personal struggles, and a series of health issues that hit my family and friends.   I struggled with my faith after my dad was diagnosed with cancer.  After he died I was challenged in my belief that God was a healing God.  I felt abandoned.  I doubted.  Nothing was right.  I struggled to write – fear would grip me in a way that only another writer could understand.  I doubted myself and my purpose.  I struggled with my place in church– after 12 years I didn’t feel at home anymore.  Something was changing in me.  When Dad succumbed to cancer in November the members and leadership rallied around my family, especially me mom.  Even when I didn’t know my place, I could see the love and compassion and I appreciated their care.

But I was struggling.  I wasn’t sure that I was anywhere near the place that God wanted me to be.  I was flooded with self-doubt.  I had vision, but lacked direction.  I was going full throttle, but couldn’t shift into gear.

stonesOn January 5, 2014, I attended a church that wasn’t my home church.  We prayed together and waited together.  I was again struck by the word, Onward.  For a year the word resonated within me but it’s meaning eluded me.  On this particular Sunday morning, I was struck with clarity.  We were each given a stone to write a word on.  A word that would symbolize the foundation in which the new year would be built upon. I took the black Sharpie and wrote ONWARD.

God spoke to my heart that morning.  I understood that the struggles and challenges of 2013 were now behind me.  I needed to face that barren time and understand that continuing to dwell there would cause me to miss out on a greater plan.  It was now time to move.  Onward.  I reflected upon the time of loss, conviction, abandonment, and doubt with a renewed sense of peace and purpose and a new resolve to move Onward.  There were situations that needed to be addressed that would give me the ability to move Onward.  I began to walk that path.

Sometimes, maybe most times, seasons need to be endured in order to find a new resolve.  It’s time to move Onward.  The past is just that.  It is closed.  It’s time for healing.  It’s time close the door.  It’s time to turn the page.  It’s time for a new chapter.  It’s time to move Onward.  The last words on that final page needed to be written so that I could move onward.  Those words were being written.

It took a year, but Onward was now upon me.  I now understood.  I couldn’t appreciate it’s meaning until I had faced a barren time.  I couldn’t live in the fullness of “Go” to “Care” until I went “Onward.”

It’s time.

In the season that lay ahead, as I go, do, give, forgive, write, and care, I will listen with a renewed purpose.  I will understand in ways that I couldn’t appreciate without facing the emotional convictions of 2013.  My life has a story.  I’d like to hear yours. We need be quiet, be still, and listen.  Because everyone has a story.  


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