A Word for 2013

Snowy Porch

Every year after the holiday hoopla is over, I spend time reflecting over the last year. This past year was full of rejoicing, but not without periods of fear and confusion. If the last year was characterized by one word, I think it would  be “SEE!” Landing a book deal was definitely the highlight, as God told me for five years to trust Him and write. I ignored him for three and half years and signing the contract with Tyndale was a big “see” moment. See what I can do? See what I promised? 

I’ve worked through some difficult family issues this year and here again, I feel like God spoke through the hopelessness and said, “SEE!”I told you I can redeem all things. Michael’s health is impeccable and I’ve truly seen how little control I have over life and how God always takes care of us. This year, I have SEEN the goodness, the grace, the healing, and the mercy of the Lord.

Just a few days ago, I started praying about my word for 2013. I was barely two sentences into my prayer, when I had my answer.


I thought it was just the beginning of a long-winded lesson, but I prayed and prayed and that’s all I really heard. Listen is my word for 2013. As I thought about it more, it makes sense. My world is noisy. Chaotic. Stressful. I am up very early, scurrying to put words on a page, and often crawl into bed entirely too late. I am Martha. I blast music consistently. I try to use every spare minute to read and research and work and write.

And yet.

Writing is all about listening. As a writer, I am supposed to listen to the things people do not say, to the heartbeats, to listen to the sorrow in someone’s voice. I want to listen to your stories and listen well. Writers must train ourselves to hear that which other people cannot, to listen for the significant in the world of seemingly insignificant occurrences.

This year, I resolve to listen. Listen to the words waiting to be birthed. Listen to my heart cries & yours. Listen to the voice of God.

Honestly? I feel so inadequate most days as a writer, especially when I read other writer’s blogs or take note of their accomplishments. I can also feel inadequate as a wife and friend. Sometimes it necessary to turn off the social media and the incessant reading & comparing myself to others and  just sit back and listen. I want to sit in the wide-open spaces, waiting and listening for the voice of God.  I want my writing to be deemed great, not because I can respond to the latest post or string some nice sentences together, but because I’m a great listener.

I will listen in order to shed light on the human experience. I will listen to bring hope to the darkest corners of your life & mine. I will listen & watch for the interruptions, that so often signal a path that will change everything. This year, I will listen.

Do you have a word for 2013? What will you do this differently this year?

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14 Responses to “A Word for 2013”
  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! And a hearty “Amen!” Love your words this morning and THE word “listen.”

    So thankful for your writing ministry, Ruthie, and blessed by your heart for others. Can’t wait to see what great things God has in store for you and Michael, and I’m looking forward to the release of your book! I believe it will address relevant issues that young adults, singles, and others struggle with today.

    So thrilled to have followed you from the beginning. (Well, it actually started with China… Who knew? :) )While I’m a married wife of 28 years with two children 10 years apart, I’m always excited to point young women toward your blog. I love how you cover the “untouchable subjects” that so many folks want to talk about, but are too embarrassed or ashamed to admit. You cover it all in an upfront, Christlike fashion and with a heart that beats for Him.

    ~Blessings always , Cindy

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Cynthia! That means SO much. You have no idea. Thank you for your continual encouragement! I love that “China” connected us and am grateful you pass along my blog to young women.

      Blessings to you in this NEW YEAR!

  2. My word for 2013 is Ready. Ready for what, I’m not sure yet! I am both excited and scared.

  3. Kristen says:

    Ruthie, this post is so beautiful written. What I love most is that you LISTENED to The Lord about what He would desire to reveal to you about 2013. Good, solid, faithful listeners are a rarity nowadays; the gift of a writer fully present is an equal rarity. This morning, I heard God say two things: “unto completion”, and “in quietness and trust is your strength”. I am curious to spend more intentional time in solitude with God this year. Be blessed as God opens the way before you to bless others!

  4. Allison says:

    My pastor started My One Word (http://myoneword.org/) and actually just released a book about it. I had my first “word” this past year (Discover) and it was an awesome year of discovery! My word this year is ROOTED.. because I want to be rooted in God’s scripture and in hobbies/relationships that are God honoring. I’m excited for 2013! Thank you as always for your encouragement and wisdom :) Happy New Year!

  5. Ericka says:

    I am not sure of my word but I will be intently lisentening for God to reveal it to me. When I read this the word HOPE came to mind. I am an excessive worrier and I know I am at a point where it effects my daily life. So maybe hope will be my word. Not sure yet but if it is I can be excited as ever for God to show me the hope he has FOR me.


  6. Danelle says:

    What a great resolution. I look forward to your listening and reflections on here.

    • Danelle says:

      “We have lost our spirit of worship & our ability to withdraw inwardly to meet God in adoring silence. ‘Be still and know that I am God’, means next to nothing to the self-confident, bustling worshiper in this middle period of the 20th century.” A.W. Tozer

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Thanks. Happy New Year, Danelle!

  7. I thought this was a great idea until I started praying about what word to choose and immediately got the Taylor Swift song “I Knew You were Trouble” stuck in my head. You know, the one with the chorus that goes, “Trouble, trouble, trouble. Oh, oh, trouble, trouble, trouble.”

    Uh oh… : )

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      HAHA. I love this, especially since I’ve been listening to that song on repeat (ask Michael). Maybe you should watch out for boys who are trouble this year? :)

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