"One Little Word" for 2008

Earlier this week, I ran across Heidi's post at Mt. Hope Chronicles about "One Little Word". Although the idea came from a scrapper whose work I admire, I skimmed over the post, thinking "I am *waaaayyyy* too indecisive to ever be able to come up with *one word* for the year." I am so, so, SO bad at summing up *anything*...I am one of those people that if asked to give a one-word answer, I give a sentence, and if asked to give a phrase, I give a paragraph. I always start to get the shakes when I have to answer a question that says "choose ONE". I am simply not good at *narrowing things down*.

But somehow within minutes of reading Heidi's follow-up post a day or two later, I came up with a word. I was walking through the house, thinking about goals and plans for 2008, all the things I want to accomplish and the changes I hope/plan/purpose/need to make in every area, and I realized that *much* of what I look forward to in 2008 *can* be summed up in one word:


Wow. I did it and I wasn't even really trying. But it works. I've been working on goals, plans, and schedules for the year, and some of them are pretty lofty. But there is a common thread through most if not all of the things that are important to me for 2008...personally, as a wife and mother, in our home, in our finances, in our schooling, etc....a thread of desiring (after several years of chaos in our immediate and extended family) peace and order and comfort in all areas of our lives. Not that there will not be, as Bro. Kent calls them "the storms of life"...we are still in the midst of some on-going storms, and there are more potential storms on the horizon. But I have become increasingly convicted that part of my role as wife and mother is to provide a haven...emotionally, mentally, and physically...for my family in the midst of those storms...and to lead and/or encourage them to seek God first as their spiritual haven.

I think it is interesting that I had not even looked up the definition of the word "haven" until I had typed the above. Then I thought, "I guess if I am going to use this as my defining word for the year, I should at least accurately define it." I knew that I was thinking of it as a place of peace and calm and nurturing, but decided to see what Dictionary.com had to say. Here is the actual definition:

1. a harbor or port.
2. any place of shelter and safety; refuge; asylum.
–verb (used with object)
3. to shelter, as in a haven.

  1. A harbor or anchorage; a port.
  2. A place of refuge or rest; a sanctuary.

A haven is truly a place of refuge in the storm. A sanctuary. I like that. Far from being trouble-free, the implication is that there are storms, danger, chaos all around, and yet in the midst, there is the haven. God tells us that He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. My first responsibility is to go to Him as *my* haven, to encourage my husband as he does the same, and to train up my children to seek God as their refuge and strength. But I also need to be available, as a wife and mother (and in other relationships in my life as well) to be the hands and feet that God uses to nurture and care for those around me as a haven. *And* I need to focus on making my home a haven, both for my family, and for those to whom God might want us to extend hospitality. Even our homeschooling can provide shelter and safety and a sense of security for our children as we train, nurture, and educate them.

"One little word" can sure say a lot. I'm convicted and inspired to make this the year that our family turns the "chaos" of 2003-2007 into the "haven" of 2008.


Heidi said...

Jennifer~ I loved your post! I, too, have been accused of making a short story, long. :) Finding the common thread in my long list of goals is what worked for me as well. Haven is such a beautiful word, thought, and focus. May you have a beautiful new year!

Nancy said...

I loved this post! "Haven" describes what I am looking to create in my home, also. I look forward to reading more posts on this subject - please share any ideas that you come up with!
Happy New Year!

Joyful Days said...

Fabulous word!! I love when one word covers so much.

Joy is still "my" word. It was my goal for 2007 and I think I will carry it through 2008.

Looking forward to hearing about "haven" in 2008!