My Word for 2021

Happy New Year! I love new years, fresh starts, and clean slates. There is so much promise and possibility in the days ahead. And one thing I particularly enjoy doing at the beginning of the year is picking an anchor word to focus on throughout the year. Some years picking my word is easy, and I just know the right word. In 2019, I just knew the word Seek was the right word. Other years, picking a word turns into a battle of sorts. I might have a few good words in mind. But I don’t always know what word is the best word to go with. That was the case in 2020 when I finally settled on the word Grace. I do believe we should pray when we pick our word, so the Lord can help guide us down the right path and towards the things He wants us to focus on. This year, picking my word was easy. I knew what my word would be before we even reached December.

My word for 2021 is Cultivate.

This word kept coming up a lot towards the end of the year. I was part of an online Bible study with Proverbs 31 ministries that dealt with cultivating worship. At the time, the word really struck me and that was when I began to ponder making it my word for 2021. Then I read a poem by Daryl Madden with the title of Cultivate, and I knew that this was confirmation. Then I read a Dayspring devotional where the writer mentioned that her word for 2020 was Cultivate. And I saw this word continue come up a number of other times in different ways. I just knew deep down that this was the word for me.

According to Oxford, cultivate is defined as:

1 – prepare and use (land) for crops or gardening.
2 – try to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill).

But what does cultivate mean to me and why did I choose it? With each new year, I always think of different areas of my life that I want to improve. My relationship with God is always my number one priority. In my spiritual life I want to draw closer to God, I want to seek Him more, I want to spend more time with Him, I want to praise Him more, and I want to pray more. But there are also numerous other areas that I want to improve in my family life, personal life, work life, writing life, etc. I want to live an intentional life. I want to be present in each moment. I want to make wise choices with my words, my actions, my health, my finances, etc. To think about all of these things can be overwhelming. But this one word – cultivate – will be a reminder to me throughout the year to nurture the things that matter most. It will be a reminder to make good decisions and to live with intention. It will be a reminder to focus on the important things in life. It will help me to embrace life to the fullest. With each new day, we can choose what we will cultivate in our lives. I want to cultivate the things that last and the things that matter. I am excited to see where the word Cultivate will lead me this year.

If you have chosen a word for the year, I would love to hear what it is. Please share in the comments.

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(c) 2021 Bridget A. Thomas

A Year of Grace

If you have been following my blog for a while, then you might know that I like to choose an anchor word at the beginning of each year. The idea is to focus on this word throughout the year, keep it in mind each day, and hopefully it will help bring growth in the months ahead. In 2020 I chose the word “grace.” As the year is coming to a close, I have been reflecting on where this word led me this year.

Initially, I felt like I did not give grace the attention it deserved. But as I thought about it more and more, I realized that God still brought grace into my life in a variety of ways. I will start by explaining the ways that I tried to learn about grace this year. And then I will talk about God’s amazing work to teach me about grace.

In the beginning of the year, I read a book called Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine by Max Lucado. I have never read a Max Lucado book that I didn’t enjoy. His writing style is easy to digest and entertaining as well. This book was no exception. Grace was insightful, yet also humorous. Lucado has a way of keeping one’s attention with fascinating stories that bring the point home. Therefore, reading this book was an excellent way to learn about and focus on the grace of God.

Another thing that I did to help keep my mind in the right direction was to write the word “grace” at the top of every journal page, each day throughout the year. I also put sticky notes in a variety of places with the word “grace” written on them. These two things helped keep the word in the forefront of my mind.

Also, in the beginning of the year, I tried to make note of “Grace Moments” in my journal. These were moments in my day when I saw grace extended. These were moments when life slowed down a bit and love took precedence. Unfortunately, I neglected to keep this up though, as the year moved on.

The items above were the extent of my efforts. At first glance, I felt that I failed to embrace grace. But as I dug deeper, I realized that I learned more than I thought. Thankfully, God showed up, and helped fill in the large gaps that I left empty. Ironically, I needed God’s grace to teach me about grace.

It is no secret that 2020 has been a year of upheaval. I don’t have to go into all the chaos we saw, because you saw it yourself. But through it all, God’s grace was with me and my family. I was fortunate to work remotely for three months when the pandemic hit. I was fortunate to keep my steady job, when many others did not. I was fortunate that God provided for us and protected us through so much chaos. All by the grace of God.

There was something that I thought might come to pass this year, but it did not. It was disappointing, but I held onto the the words of Romans 8:28. The Passion Translation puts it this way: “So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.” All by the grace of God.

This year actually turned out to be a very rich one in my spiritual walk. I have a newfound love of the Psalms. I learned the importance and the joy of Praise. I developed a stronger Faith and Trust in the Lord. I also sought a more intentional life and a more confident life. And I must say that I truly have had more peace and contentment on the inside. All by the grace of God.

I have also learned to extend grace to myself. I am learning the art of balance. I am learning to let things go. And I am learning it is okay to be me, even if the world wants me to be someone else. All by the grace of God.

To be honest, I did not want “Grace” to be my word for the year. I really wanted the word “Joy” instead. But I felt God nudging me to choose the word “Grace.” But the funny thing is that Grace has brought me Joy. God always works things out in a divine way.

I have much to be thankful for in 2020, thanks be to God. Looking back, I am amazed at all the ways He has been by my side and forever extending grace. Only God can work in such miraculous ways.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him. – Psalm 40:1-3

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© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas

The Promise of a Savior

The world around appears dark
Wearing despair like a coat
But the promised Savior is on the way
We cannot afford to lose Hope

He brings what we are seeking
Death will meet defeat
We can finally breathe easy
He ushers in beloved Peace

The world rejoices at the news
Born is a blessed Baby Boy
The shepherds quake in awe
We finally understand pure Joy

What a precious blessing He is
Straight from heaven above
Emmanuel, God with us
He truly is a gift of Love

I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for being here and for walking by my side. This Christmas I am so grateful for you and I can never tell you how much your presence means to me. Your friendship to me is priceless. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And I pray you have a very Merry Christmas!

© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas

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A Christmas Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, we humbly come before You with full hearts this Christmas. While this year has been difficult for each of us and the entire world, we are still grateful. The birth of Jesus, the gift of Your Son, brings everything into perspective. This year, the world has been full of despair. But we are so thankful to know that You have overcome the world.

So, we thank You for giving us hope today and every day. We have hope in Your Son, Jesus. We have hope because You have redeemed us. We have hope of spending eternity in Your presence. And we have hope because You are by our sides every single day. Thank You, Father, for the beautiful gift of hope.

Lord, even before this year started, peace often seemed elusive to us. We long to have peace in our lives. This world we live in feels anything but peaceful. The things we face each day bring a lot of stress and worry. But then we remember Your Son, The Prince of Peace. Oh how amazing it is that Jesus left us the gift of His peace. So today we choose to take hold of that peace. We will allow that peace to work in our lives. And in turn we will also be an instrument of Your peace to those around us. Thank You for giving us peace.

God, Christmastime is often associated with joy. This year especially we would love to have more joy in our lives. But we confess that there are times when we let circumstances steal our joy. Deep down we know these circumstances come from the enemy. So today we are taking a stand. We will not let the enemy steal our joy any longer. Having Your joy gives us strength. And we will hold onto it tightly. Thank You for giving us true joy.

Father, when we think about how much You love us, we are speechless. We have no words to express how amazing Your love is. Emmanuel. God with us. When we reflect on those words, we feel Your love overflowing in our lives. Knowing that You loved us so much that You chased after us and paved a way to save us from death. We can never repay that debt. But we are so very thankful for You and for Your unfailing love.

Lord, we pray You can help us to hold onto hope, peace, joy, and love – during this Christmas season, into the New Year, and every day in the foreseeable future. We are so thankful for the gift of Jesus and what He has done for us. And we are thankful for all that He represents. Having Jesus in our lives makes all the difference as we face each new day. Thank You. We are so grateful. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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Gratitude Challenge 2020 Recap

What an amazing November we had! I hope you all enjoyed the gratitude challenge as much as I did. It turned out to be such a rich month, as we drew closer to God. Spending time with Him in prayer, gratitude, and praise filled our hearts. I hope to continue making prayer, gratitude, and praise a part of my daily life. And I hope you will too.

This year has been a whirlwind, to say the least. The world saw much fear and heartache over a number of different issues. And we each faced personal battles on top of all that. But the gratitude challenge showed us how much we still have to be thankful for. Between all of us who shared what we were thankful for here on the blog, we tallied well over 450 blessings. How amazing is that? Even when life feels like a struggle, God is still showering us with an abundance of gifts.

The journey we took together really highlighted the goodness of God. We saw how God is always there. We were reminded of the precious gift of Jesus and salvation. We remembered that God is our protection, our source, our strength, and our provider. Our eyes were opened to the beauty around us. We saw how spending time daily with God is vital to our wellbeing. We grew in our friendships and relationships with others. And I dare say we truly felt the love and care of our Heavenly Father.

What a wonderful month we had. And my heart overflows with gratitude. I am grateful for God, who was by our sides throughout this journey. And I am grateful for each of you who walked the path with me. It truly was a blessing to have you here.

I will share one more song with you. It is one that my friend “Perth Girl” shared with me in one of the gratitude challenge posts. (She is also a blogger over at Please check it out. You will love her enlightening and encouraging posts.) The song is such a beautiful reminder of what each day is all about, of what this gratitude challenge was about, and how our hearts should be focused on Him every single moment. Enjoy! Goodness of God by Jenn Johnson

Below are links to each of the Gratitude Challenge posts. I wanted to put them all in one place in case anyone was interested in revisiting them.

Gratitude Challenge Day 1
Gratitude Challenge Day 2
Gratitude Challenge Day 3
Gratitude Challenge Day 4
Gratitude Challenge Day 5
Gratitude Challenge Day 6
Gratitude Challenge Day 7
Gratitude Challenge Day 8
Gratitude Challenge Day 9
Gratitude Challenge Day 10
Gratitude Challenge Day 11
Gratitude Challenge Day 12
Gratitude Challenge Day 13
Gratitude Challenge Day 14
Gratitude Challenge Day 15
Gratitude Challenge Day 16
Gratitude Challenge Day 17
Gratitude Challenge Day 18
Gratitude Challenge Day 19
Gratitude Challenge Day 20
Gratitude Challenge Day 21
Gratitude Challenge Day 22
Gratitude Challenge Day 23
Gratitude Challenge Day 24
Gratitude Challenge Day 25
Gratitude Challenge Day 26
Gratitude Challenge Day 27
Gratitude Challenge Day 28
Gratitude Challenge Day 29
Gratitude Challenge Day 30

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© Bridget A. Thomas 2020

Gratitude Challenge Day 30

Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, there is so much we want to say to You today. Our hearts are overflowing with love for You. You have taught us so much this month. You have shown us how You are always there for us. You have shown us that You are always working behind the scenes in our lives. You have reminded us that You are our fortress, our refuge, our rest, our Shepherd, our provider, our source, and our comforter. We have felt Your unfailing love and meticulous care in our lives every day over the past several weeks. We are so very thankful for You and for the abundance of blessings You shower upon us. But even without the blessings, our cup still overflows because of Your steadfast love. Even if we had nothing else, You are enough. These past thirty days have been such a joy and a treasure to us. We have loved spending more time with You, in prayer, gratitude, and praise. We have felt more peace and love in our lives. We have seen that even when things go wrong in our days, we still have so much to be thankful for. So that is why we are choosing prayer, gratitude, and praise as lifelong practices. We want to continue on this beautiful journey, with You by our sides. Thank You, Lord, for opening our hearts in a new way this month. As we step forward and continue to navigate this journey, help us to remember that we have a choice. Help us to remember that gratitude, optimism, and love are decisions we can make every day from now on. Help us to remember to turn to You in prayer and in praise, even when we don’t feel like it, because there is power in prayer and praise. And help us to remember that every day is a gift from You, Lord. In Jesus’ wonderful name we pray, Amen.

Practice Gratitude: I have so much to be thankful for today as we wrap up this challenge. I am so thankful for the gratitude challenge. I am truly thankful for those of you who walked with me on this journey. I am thankful for the simple fact that we can choose gratitude each day of our lives. I am thankful for all the things that the Lord has taught us this month. I am thankful for our Father’s unfailing love and care. I am thankful to have Jesus in my life, because He is enough. I am thankful for the practices of prayer, gratitude, and praise, which draw our hearts closer to God. I am thankful to know that no matter what, God is always there. What are you thankful for?

Praise: Here is today’s song! Enjoy! Yes I Will by Vertical Worship

Please share in the comments if today’s reading spoke to you. Or you may add a prayer, your gratitude list, praise, etc.

© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas

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Gratitude Challenge Day 29

Pray: Dear Lord, we are so thankful for another beautiful day, another day to spend with You, another day in our gratitude walk, and another lovely sabbath. We thank You for this day and we hand it over to You. We seek to honor You in all that we do today. We will soak in Your love today, as our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and gratitude. There are so many blessings in our lives. But one in particular for which we want to express our thanks is Jesus. Just the sound of His beautiful name brings us joy. Jesus, who paid all our debts. Jesus, who washed us clean. Jesus, who wiped away our sins. Jesus, who made us righteous in Your eyes. Lord, when we think about what we deserve, and then remember that Jesus redeemed us, we are so overwhelmed. There is no way we could ever repay this gift. But we are so thankful that we don’t have to. This is something You gave us freely, because of Your tremendous love. Lord, we love You so much for the beautiful gift of salvation. We can never say “thank You” enough for this one thing. But, each and every day, we will still express our gratitude. We give thanks in Jesus’ most beautiful name, Amen.

Practice Gratitude: What are you grateful for? I am grateful for a sabbath. I am grateful for a long weekend. I am grateful for the incredible gift of salvation. I am grateful for Jesus. And I am grateful for the power of His beautiful name.

Praise: Here is today’s song! Enjoy! What a Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship

Please share in the comments if today’s reading spoke to you. Or you may add a prayer, your gratitude list, praise, etc.

© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas

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Gratitude Challenge Day 28

Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for another beautiful day as we continue on this journey. We have noticed more joy in our lives over the past several weeks. One key is that we have been spending more time with You, in prayer, gratitude, and praise. What a treasure each day has been, as we have drawn closer to You. And this has shown us how much more of You we want in our lives, on a daily basis. Father, we seek You, we want You, and we need You. Every moment of every day, we want to be aware of Your presence at all times. We really want to know You, Lord. You are always fully available to us. But many times we do not give You our all. Our eyes focus on the wrong things at times. So, Lord, we make You our number one priority. Each day we will set time aside for You. We will sit in Your presence. We will treasure the gift of the Bible. And we will make prayer, gratitude, and praise a part of our daily lives. Lord, we need You in our lives. And we know that having more of You means that we have to make the effort to give You more of us. Thank You, God. Help us to always remain vigilant when it comes to spending time with You and drawing closer to You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Practice Gratitude: What are you thankful for? I am thankful for the time I get to spend with the Lord. I am thankful for the power in His Holy Word, The Bible. I am thankful for the privilege and power of prayer. I am thankful for the beauty found in praise. And I am so thankful to know that God is always there.

Praise: Here is today’s song! Enjoy! Know You by Koryn Hawthorne

Please share in the comments if today’s reading spoke to you. Or you may add a prayer, your gratitude list, praise, etc.

© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas

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Gratitude Challenge Day 27

Pray: Dear Lord, we each have different concerns weighing on our minds, today and everyday. Life keeps us on our toes, to say the least. But one valuable lesson we have learned over the past few weeks is that we need Your strength in our lives. We need Your help, we need Your guidance, we need Your protection. God, the bottom line is that we need You! We thank You, Lord, for being there for us. You are always, always there. What a comfort that is. We have nothing to worry about because Almighty God is by our side. We just need to call out to You. We thank You for Your steadfast love. And we surrender our lives to You and we give You full control. Too often we allow our worries to take our eyes off of You. So we will make a conscious effort to hand them over to You. We will walk in peace, knowing that our Heavenly Father is on the throne. You go before us, You stand behind us and You are beside us in everything we face. Thank You, Lord, for these comforting truths. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Practice Gratitude: What are you grateful for today? I am grateful to know that God’s plans cannot be thwarted. I am grateful that God is always before us, behind us, and beside us. And I am grateful that I do not have to face anything in my own strength, but I can rely on the strength of the Lord.

Praise. Here is today’s song! Enjoy! Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies) by Chris Tomlin

Please share in the comments if today’s reading spoke to you. Or you may add a prayer, your gratitude list, praise, etc.

© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas

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Gratitude Challenge Day 26

Pray: Dear God, today we come to You with peace in our hearts. Today is a beautiful day and a day to cherish. We are so thankful for this day, and we pray that all goes well for each of us and our loved ones. We ask You to help us keep gratitude in mind as we go about our day. Help us to remember that we have so much to be thankful for. Help us to have rich fellowship with our loved ones, as we also keep You in our hearts throughout the day. Help us all to have a safe and memorable day. Thank You, God, for giving us this day. We are so grateful.

Heavenly Father, You are the King of kings and the Lord of lords. You are the Great I Am. You are above everything we know and anything we can fathom. We are miniscule in comparison to this grand universe You created. Yet You still love us, You see us, You hear our prayers, and You want to have a close relationship with us. Lord, this amazes us so much. To think that You, Almighty God, meet us at our level. You spend each and every day with us, right by our sides. You sent Your Son down to the earth in a human body, to die for our sins. And You also gave us each the gift of the Holy Spirit. We each have peaks and valleys to walk through in life. But we are so thankful we can walk through them with peace, because You never leave us nor forsake us. Lord, we are in awe of all the ways You love us. We love You, we worship You, we praise You, and we thank You. We turn to You, Lord. Hear our praises rising. You are worthy of all our praises, Lord. Today we are so thankful for You. It is in Jesus’ most holy name we pray, Amen.

Practice Gratitude: What are you thankful for today? I am thankful for this beautiful day. I am thankful for Thanksgiving. I am thankful for my hubby and all my loved ones. I am thankful for each of you. I am thankful for my furbabies. I am thankful for my job. I am thankful for my home. And I am so thankful for the Lord, who deserves all of our praises.

Praise. Here is today’s song! Enjoy! Hosanna (Praise is Rising) by Paul Baloche

Please share in the comments if today’s reading spoke to you. Or you may add a prayer, your gratitude list, praise, etc.

~~ Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Whether you are in the U.S. or not, I wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! I pray you all have a blessed day with your loved ones and with the Lord. And Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law! ~~

© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas

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