Hope For The New Year

It’s been nearly 3 weeks since our dog died. Between my son’s birthday and Christmas, I didn’t write about it here, but mentioned it in my Christmas letter. Christmas eve, I took the kids to visit their great-grandmother, whose health had been slipping, and on New Year’s day, she too slipped through the veil.

I’m not sure I’ve processed any of it.


A wise man once said that there is a season for everything. In my head I hear the Byrd’s singing, there is a season, turn turn turn. While life turns over, this slow-coming winter season begins to blow its arctic breath over us. We’re turning over new dreams preparing to put our house on the market. Change comes whether we are ready for it or not.  All the while I’m rolling paint on the walls, my “One Word” for 2016 keeps rolling around in my head.

It’s funny to me, the ways God always, always gives us what we don’t seem to know we need.


Six years ago, when I prayed about trading an armful of flimsy resolutions for a single word, I didn’t have the imagination for what that could look like. For years, I’d made hopeful promises to myself, and to God about how I’d make every effort to better myself when the calendar rolled over.

We all know how these things go. Try, struggle, fail, quit. Resolve to make more resolutions, the next revolution around the sun.
The idea of choosing “one word” for the year, rather than making resolutions intrigued me. The first year I decided to try it, God clearly gave me the word, “obedience” and the year after that, it was “trust”. For two years, God took me at my word, and so He would teach me to take Him at His.

After trust, came the words, “heal” (2013), “release” (2014) and “spend” (2015). None of those words were words I would have chosen for myself, but each of them were the exact words I didn’t know I needed.
KrisNow, all these years in, opting for a word that means something, rather than a bunch of resolutions that mean nothing, I have have made peace with the fact that I usually don’t like my word–not at first anyway. This year, is no different. I wasn’t excited about the word God held out to me when I asked Him for it.

Isn’t this what we do? We ask for meat with want dripping off of our tongues, but then sigh with disappointment when God answers with manna–what is it, we ask. He doesn’t tell us, except to say the it is enough.

 He surprises us while we shrug and ask, is that really it? So it was with me, when I prayed for my word for this year.

I heard the word, but I didn’t want it. (Truth be told, I am just arrogant enough to think I didn’t need it.)


Hope. It’s a word so overused and abused by our society. Hope, a tagline for politicians. Hope, empty promises packaged and sold for mass consumption. I’m not going to lie, my first reaction was ugly. The word feels tired and trite to me. Besides that, I’m a perpetual optimist–aren’t I always full of some measure of hope already?


But for me, choosing a word for the year, really isn’t my choice. It’s really a matter of accepting a word, rather than choosing it.

The process mostly looks like this: I pray, asking God for a word. Then I wait rather impatiently, daily poking and prodding Him for an answer, (because can’t He SEE that New year’s Eve is rapidly approaching?) The answer comes, and inevitably, settles in my heart like a stone. I question God. I double and triple check for confirmation. All the while the Spirit presses it into me like a brand.

I feel it deep in my bones.

You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you…(Romans 8:9)

God has marked me with each one of the words He has handed down. Every year since I walked away from resolutions, God has carried on a revolution in my soul.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,..(Romans 12:2)

For the last several weeks, I’ve come face to face with the frailty of this world. None of this is permanent. Everything eventually returns to dust. Darkness presses in on every side.

But hope does not disappoint us. 

Already, I can see I will need this word much more than I care to confess.

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While I do live with a healthy measure of hope most days, I know God has much more to teach me about what hope looks like.  I hear the Spirit asking me questions, peeling back layers I’d smoothed down, planted a flag in and claimed victory over. In the coming weeks, I hope to share a bit of the journey with you.

The new year is off to a difficult start here. The painful reality of life and death is leaving it’s footprint on our hearts.We’re grieving a variety of losses, wrestling with change, making peace with transition.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

Take heart.

Have hope.

It’s going to be quite a year. 


Do you have a word for the year? What is it?



23 thoughts on “Hope For The New Year

  1. I think you said it all so perfectly. My word is surrender. Not a word I wanted, or thought I needed, until it became so painfully obvious that I did. And only six days into the new year!

  2. I love this post, Kris. I have also been doing one word for several years. Like you, I have found that I don’t choose my word. Somehow, it chooses me & usually I do not like it at first. One year, I jokingly said I was going to pick “chocolate” as my one word so that at least I would know I would enjoy the word 🙂 This year my word is “See” because I want to “Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joy of those who take refuge in him!” (Ps. 34:8) All that I see may not be “good” but when I see it through the eyes of our God, I will see the good in it. May God bless you, bringing you His comfort and hope, for “this hope will not lead to disappointment.” (Rom. 5:5)

  3. Kelly

    My word is struggle…,this will be the first time I’ve actively participated in something like this… & at the same time wish that it was a “nicer” word

  4. Did you know the word ‘hope’ is used over 120 times in the KJV?
    There are 15 different Hebrew/Aramaic words for hope, and 5 in Greek.
    They are all rooted in trusting Him, having confidence in Him, finding strength in Him, and waiting for Him.

    I love your word, Kris, and look forward to seeing how He reveals His plan for you and your hope.

  5. “Our Hope Remains.” is our family mantra year after year. An anchor for our souls. More than optimism.

    I’m praying over every nook and cranny of your heart and life.

    My word is “LISTEN.”

    This means I need to be still and quiet and open. This means seeking Him in His Word and prayer. This is where He promises to speak.

    “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you urn to the right or turn to the left.”–Isaiah 30:21

    I love you dearly.

    1. Kris Camealy Author

      Monica, I love the word, Listen. Such an active word. Thank you for your prayers, my friend. Not a day passes that you don’t come to mind. Praying over your heart and body, that God’s mercy would bring healing and relief, and that your confidence in Him would be ever-bolstered by hope in Jesus.

  6. Annie

    Love you, friend, and standing with you asking for hope to pour in to all those frail and broken places in your hearts & home.

  7. I confess I’ve never been very good at resolutions or words-for-the-year. By about March, I forget all about my word. That’s probably the trouble. It’s always been my word. Maybe it’s time to ask God what His word for me is? Now there’s an idea 🙂 Thank you for your faithfulness, honesty, and HOPE, Kris. Praying for you each day. xox.

    1. Kris Camealy Author

      Kimberlee, you are such a gem. I can *hear* you saying this and it makes my heart happy. I’m wondering if you’ve asked, and if He’s answered? Praying for YOU, sweet friend. YOU are a gift to me.

  8. Chandra

    I could have written this myself. I have never done a New Year’s word before, but this year the idea was put in my path so many times I couldn’t ignore it. And the word I have been given is the same as yours, Hope. It’s not a word I want. It’s a word I’m afraid of, quite honestly. The verse written on your hand in the photo above was given to me today as well, and tonight I was lead to read a blog I had never heard of before. I can hardly even believe it. Nothing is an accident. I’m looking forward to journeying through this word and year alongside you.

    1. Kris Camealy Author

      Wow, Chandra. Nothing is by accident. That is amazing-surely God has much goodness to teach you about Himself this year. Praying you will embrace the HOPE that is Jesus more fully this year than ever.

  9. Hey Kris, I love this post! I think we’ll be needing hope in 2017, too. Good thing God offers an endless supply! I actually found this post while doing some work for ForEveryMom.com, a Christian parenting site, and I wondered if you’d allow us to republish this post on our site. We would give you full credit as author, link back to the original post, and include your bio and head shot. What do you think?

  10. There is only one Abrahamic religion. One.And no one on this earth save a few righteous souls were ever 'obsessed' with obeying a higher power. If they did obey a higher power, we would not be in the mess we are in.


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