I am not the best at shutting off my brain and relaxing. Often as I fall asleep at night, my mind races with what has passed and what is to come. I'm used to it and I've gotten better over the last year. But the other week we were at a hotel, and I was awake at night. I was praying and thinking, trying to pass the time until I fell back asleep, and the word beloved came to mind.

Last year my word for 2016 was still. It was a life changing year for me. I've learned a lot about myself, and truly, I have learned to be still in new ways I never expected. Some of them painfully beautiful. You know those kinds of lessons, I'm sure.

So...back to beloved. I knew that couldn't be a word for me. I know that I'm loved, but beloved feels like it’s meant for someone else. It’s cherished. A whole ‘nother level of love. Not for me, I quickly declared. But the thought reverberated again. Yes. You.

Oh my. I quickly flushed with concern. Who would be worried about such a fantastic word? Me. I’m good at fear and anxiety, and my thoughts went like this:

Kara was beloved.

She suffered.

So many people who are going through horrible circumstances are beloved by God. He loves them endlessly, and even in their suffering, we are witnesses to that love.

What does beloved mean for me?

Panic subsides as the truth resonates. With God, it will be okay. It might not be easy, but he is good. Beloved should be a precious word. A lesson I likely need to learn. Just like I needed to learn—and still am learning—to be still.

Okay, I whisper to God. Show me. What does beloved mean for me? I’ll try not to be concerned. I’ll reach for faith and hope and you. I’ll put on my grace dress and show up for the dance. Just make sure you’re my partner. No one else knows me inside and out and pursues me the way you do.

There is a large part of me that believes I am loved by God but at the same time doesn’t trust or understand the inner workings of that love. But I want to. I don’t want to stay stagnant. Growing is hard work. It’s scary work. But what else are we here for if not to grow with God? To honor him in all we do? We don’t get forever on this earth, but we do have the promise of it elsewhere. I’m constantly having to remind myself that THAT is what matters.

What's your plan for 2017? Where does God want you that you’re not wanting to go? Is he changing your heart piece by piece? If you’re concerned and afraid, he wants to help you and give you peace. If you have a word or a resolution for the New Year, please share. We love getting to know you. You teach me far more than you know.