I'll be honest here. The fourth quarter of 2017 was very difficult for me. There was a lot of tough stuff going on so by the end of the year I was looking for a new start for the coming year. Every year I take part in Jennifer Fulwiler's Saint Name Generator and I was excited to see that she had come up with a Word of the Year Generator for this year to. I was pumped for a good word for my new start! I said a quick but heartfelt prayer to the Holy Spirit and hit the button. I couldn't believe the word that showed up on my screen...
What? I was so upset I couldn't even believe it. How is that supposed to motivate me? How is that supposed to help me to be more welcoming to the new year? I was devastated, and I let people know it, too. Whenever someone posted the link for the Generator, I was sure to let them know what my word was. Jennifer's Instagram account? You bet I posted on there. Her Facebook announcement about it? Yep. I was there.
Fast forward a week or so. A friend of ours works for FOCUS and she called to let us know that their upcoming conference was going to be in Chicago and she invited us to come down for the final evening's events. There would be a keynote speaker, a concert and a Theology on Tap event featuring Jennifer Fulwiler. Hmmm. Maybe I should go just so I could tell her how my 2018 was ruined by her word generator. Nah, better not do that.
But here is how God can step in and work His miracles.
Miracle #1: I hung up the phone and told the family about the invite. A Friday night trip into downtown Chicago in January??? I knew that wasn't going to go over well with anyone in the household. And it didn't; at least not till a few days later when it got brought back up again and one of my daughters said that she would go with me if I really wanted to go. Better yet, she got my other two daughters to say yes, too. Within a matter of minutes the four of us were signed up to go downtown. The fact that it happened, and happened so fast, truly is a miracle.
Miracle #2: We drove down and there was no traffic! On a Friday night! We made it in, found a space to park and showed up at the ballroom early. Unbelievable. Once there, we found out that the information we had been sent had the wrong time on it. Our info said the talk started at 8:30 pm. The people at the event said that the doors wouldn't open till 8:45 and the talk would begin about 9:00 or so. Had we known it was going to be that late, we all agreed, we would probably just have stayed home.
Miracle #3: I got to meet Jennifer before the talk began. While I was waiting in line to talk with her, I debated about whether to tell her about my word. I decided not to and we just spoke about our long time following of each other (she used to read my blog, too!) and other such pleasantries. The girls and I got seats in the FRONT ROW and waited for the talk to begin, and wouldn't you know it, but her whole talk was about her Word of the Year Generator and how people were going ape over her favorite word in the list. You guessed it: FAIL. I couldn't resist, I mean I was in the FRONT ROW, so I raised my hand and told her I was one of those walking wounded who got that word. The entire audience, especially the four of us, got a great laugh out of it.
She gave a wonderful talk about exactly why she put that word in there: if you aren't failing, chances are you aren't really taking any risks; you aren't letting God move you into areas He sees you need to be in but might not choose yourself; you aren't allowing yourself to be led down a path that might just not work out the best, but will leave you with some really good stories.
Miracle #4: I am now at peace with that word. I was blown away at the steps that God took to make sure I knew that He really does love me. I mean, really, all Jennifer had to do was to reply to my comment on either her Instagram or Facebook post, right? She didn't really have to fly out to Chicago and base her whole talk on that one word that sent me in to a tail spin, right? But our God is so smart (and I'm so stubborn) that He knew I needed more than just a comment on social media. He also knows how much I love to tell a good story, so He provided me with a great one. A fun time was had by all and I am forever grateful for all of the people who followed the promptings of the Holy Spirit so that I could be at peace with my word for 2018: FAIL.