Words to Direct Our Paths
There's something about a new notebook, a blank calendar, a freshly tilled plot of soil that beckons us. It's a fresh start, an opportunity to create, to fill in the blanks and forget past mistakes. A new year is like that for many of us. We see it as an opportunity to plunge forward with new resolve. We asked staff and residents to share words or verses they had chosen to guide their paths in the year ahead, and several of them obliged. Below you will find their name and UGM association, followed by their answer. We'd love for you to add to this post by sharing your own words and verses in the comment section below.
Debbie Bitz is the administrative assistant for two UGM departments: Men's Recovery and Vocational Advancement.
My word this year is HOPE.
2018 was a pretty rough year for both of our sons spiritually. They both love Jesus, but they both need some encouragement that God is at work in, around and through them. Both feel let down by the church community and we all know how Satan loves to get us isolated and alone to tell us of his lies and discourage us.
Two of the many verses that I am praying over our sons are Romans 15:13 and Ephesians 3:16-19, that God would renew their hope and demonstrate His infinite love for them in a very unique way that is undeniably from Him. We all need to know how very much He loves us as this world quite often tells us differently.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may bound in hope.” Romans 15:13
“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19
Dave Wall is the UGM Director of Community Engagement (as well as our guardian of the stories) and many people's first connection to the work here.
Here’s my 2019 goal / resolution in three words …
LEARN - to walk by faith, fully dependent on God to lead and direct (Habakkuk 2:4 and 2 Corinthians 5:7)
LOVE - the Lord with all my heart, soul and strength / my neighbor as myself (Deuteronomy 6:5-7 and Luke 10:27)
LIVE - expectantly, anticipating what God has planned for me each new day (Lamentations 3:22b–26 and Ephesians 2:10)
Ike Whitaker is a resident in the Men's Recovery program.
Last week, I asked the Lord to give me a word to stand on for this New Year. After spending some time with him, I believe the Lord said, "sowing and reaping."
Galatians 6:7: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."As I started to think and talk with God about this, the words "sowing and reaping" made a lot of sense to me. One of my greatest struggles has come from believing I will receive God's blessing by living how I want to live, which is the farthest thing from the truth. I receive the blessing of God by giving him what he desires (my life). Therefore, today my reality is this: If I sow into my flesh, I will reap that of the flesh, but if I sow into what is spirit, I will reap spiritual blessings. Therefore, 2019 for me is about investing in that which is spirit and not flesh. In other words, denying my fleshly desires in order to posses quality of life in God.Qualities I am asking God to make rich in me are "commitment." When I commit to something I honor that commitment. Second, "honesty" - being brutally honest about past, present and future situations without fear of feeling less than or not good enough. "Assurance" in my faith as a child of God; a loving, helpful and humble spirit toward my wife and fellow brothers. Seeking identity fulfillment in Jesus. I am not what I do, but I am what he says I am. Finally, a spirit of endurance and perseverance through uncomfortable and challenging times. In the past, when the tide or fire came, I was a runner. So I am looking to grow roots in Christ for the year 2019, and it starts with sowing seeds into my spirit that honor God.
Michael Mathews, UGM Recovery alum and resident assistant at the Crisis Shelter for Women & Children
My word is “Chr1st.” I’ve been thinking about this one-word theme for a while and it just came to me right at this moment. I really like it because in all things I want to always keep him first. God, our Heavenly Father is also the Father of Christ Jesus, our Savior.
Chris Helms works in maintenance at the Crisis Shelter for Women & Children.
Rest in Him.
Sometimes life throws us curve balls, whether it be for health issues or financial issues or stress due to something at work or even the death of a loved one or friend…There are times where we get so overwhelmed we just feel like curling up in a ball and weep…But Jesus has told me it’s time to rest in Him and let Him take care of me and my wife and not to worry about life’s curve balls…He has that same promise to everyone if we let Him, and that’s what I am going to do from now on.
Danny Beard is Director of Strategic Partnerships.
My hope this year for my family, friends, co-workers and myself: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Marsha Reese is Director of Vocational Advancement for the Center for Women and Children.
My word for this year is “people”. God has been speaking something very obvious to me – people are more important than things. I have always been very task oriented, and have gotten rewarded for it! But this year, I am going to be very intentional to give people my full attention, to pursue relationship, and also to relax because I am “people” too!
Jess McLellan is a production associate at the UGM Thrift Store in the Valley.
I think I'm going to set a challenge that I have never hit before in my running journey - 2,019 miles total for the year. That's a little more than 5.5 miles per day. This is possible and achievable. I will just need to stay focused and motivated.
Michaelyn Hodges is a resident assistant at the Crisis Shelter.
Joy is the result of true fellowship with Jesus, our perfect friend. Regardless of the circumstances, you have been in the sweet presence of the Lord. It is said that J-O-Y is putting Jesus first in your life, then Others and finally Yourself. This order will bring perspective and true joy to our hearts. When we put Jesus first, we will cease to feel the disappointment that comes when we place our hope in others or in false loves of this world. His everlasting love never changes.
What's your word/verse/thought for 2019? Share with us in the comments below!