In December I began praying and seeking God for my word for 2023. I gave up resolutions and began doing a word of the year in 2009. Each year God faithfully directs me to my word by New Year’s Eve. The words, while being very varied, help me focus on an area to grow in mentally, emotionally, in my relationships and most importantly spiritually.
In late December, God revealed my word for 2023 would be “sufficient”. In the scriptures there are many varied Hebrew names for God. One name is “El Shaddai” which means “The All Sufficient One”. That name was related to when God asked Abraham to sacrifice His long hoped for, long prayed for and treasured son Isaac who was born in his and Sarah’s old age. When God saw Abraham was willing to obey God even to putting to death his precious son, God provides a ram in a thicket and spared Isaac.
Many of us are familiar with the song “El Shaddai” which was written by Michael Card. I first heard it sung in early 1980s by the then very young Amy Grant. A few years later heard this version by Michael Card.
The scriptures given me to go with my word sufficient are 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. In the context of the proceeding verses, Paul is asking God to remove his thorn in the flesh. Paul asks God three times and God replies not with healing but reminding Paul that His grace is sufficient and how Paul’s weakness showcases God’s power and strength.
 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV
I began living with my own thorns in the flesh when my health tanked suddenly in 2009. Chronic health issues and other challenges of life have given many opportunities to witness His sufficient grace and His strength at work despite my own weaknesses. Why did God wait to 2023 to have sufficient for my word of the year? Being the year is not quite a third of the way through I do not have all the answers. But I choose to trust that my sovereign God knows them all and has a plan to grow me and bring glory to Himself.
February 1 of this year I had a total knee replacement. The reminder of His sufficient grace carried me through the surgery, the pain and challenges of the first two and a half months of recovery. I would pray daily, especially when in more pain, for God to provide enablement for me to be joyful, to not be complaining and be kind, especially to my husband and medical staff. I need to remember His sufficient grace and have gratitude for how He met me in the past and pray for it now. Remembering His past sufficiency gives me hope for today and all my tomorrows.
Soon after my surgery, I ended up in a significant flare of my Mast Cell Activation Sydrome (MCAS) The chemical and fragrance exposures of surgery, a reaction to inactive ingredients in a medication, numerous extra dressing changes due to a gigantic 4 inch blister beside my surgical incision which required extra antibiotics and my twice a week PT visits in a gym like room with multiple physical therapists and multiple patients where they were constantly spraying disinfectant spray on the equipment after each use all contributed. My MCAS flair caused multi-system symptoms which made the recovery process much harder. Watery diarrhea and still using a walker led to some messes I will not describe. Some of my symptoms were constant GI issues, migraines, tinnitus, swelling of face and entire body that causes pain, flushing, extreme brain fog, fatigue and more. This led to more meds, further limiting of my diet, as well as steroids both oral and injected. Finally after over 2 months, I have improved quite a bit after my last steroid injection nine days ago. Midway through my flare I initially thought I was having increased symptoms but ended up being a 24 hour stomach virus that my daughter, son in law, five grandchildren and my hubby also had at the same time. So much weakness to show forth His strength and sufficient grace.
Recently, when all our huge amounts of Minnesota snow quickly melted in a few days of 80 degrees and higher weather that was followed immediately by heavy rains and more snow adding even more moisture to our already saturated ground we had water issues. Our original 1955 front steps with its numerous repairs and sealing of cracks gave out and water began leaking into the former well room underneath the front steps. The well room no longer has a well but is where our water main is located. It is attached and open to our basement but the floor in it is about a foot higher. We have kept a fan on high constantly blowing and hubby daily sprayed the walls with Concrobium to prevent any mold growth. We had a knowledgeable contractor from our church come by yesterday and He also agrees we really need new front steps. He also did not notice any mold (yay!). He will dig down and repair damaged areas of block wall in well room and then put a rubber membrane on the entire outside of the well room block wall and then rigid foam over that. All of it will then be encased in concrete. To remove the well room would cost several thousand more to have the city excavate from the street to relocate our water main. While having front steps replaced, we opted to have them enlarged a bit. Hubby will later build a peaked roof over it so have a place to get out of the wet weather for ourselves and our guests. Not in our plans to do this now with paying medical bills from my three surgeries this past year. We will need God to give us creative ways or to supernaturally supply to pay for this. To ignore it could be unsafe for our health if mold were to grow, so not something we can put off. Our knowing that He is sufficient gives us confidence so we are not shaken.
I have no clue what the rest of 2023 will bring forth but we have learned God often has “plot twists” that are quite unexpected. These plot twists grow us in our faith and confidence in His sovereignty, faithfulness and sufficiency.
Have you done a word of the year? I would love to hear your words and how God has used them in your life.
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