My Word for the Year: YES

Jan 4, 2017Find joy today

Last year’s word, well, it was something! S U B T R A C T I O N. It was a word I knew deep in my bones, one that had teeth, particularly around the end of January when Patrick lost his job. Always the humorist (with a strong dose of DRY), he told me, “I didn’t realize your word for the year would rub off on me.” Well, yes, it did.

Thus we embarked on a six-month jobless journey (for him) while I picked up other jobs to make ends meet. Honestly, God carried us. Beautifully so. As I look back over 2016, I’m profoundly amazed.

I also had an inkling at the beginning of the year that one of my professional relationships would be subtracted, and it was. Deeply painful, that process was. But in retrospect, exactly what I needed–even though it could’ve meant financial hardship.

If you had told me that I would be in the black as I started 2017, I would have laughed at you. When I started 2016, red was the color of my ability to pay myself. I simply couldn’t.

But God had some surprises up his amazing sleeves. The Restory Conference funded in June and happened beautifully in September with about 250 people in attendance. I got another book contract for a book I’ve been passionate about several years in the making. I had the privilege of traveling overseas to speak to writers and American military women.

So although subtraction on the surface meant loss to me, God turned it around to gain–mostly in my heart. Because of subtraction, I’m more settled in my calling. I don’t have this obsessive drive to MAKE EVERYTHING HAPPEN. Instead of being reactionary to my circumstances and making decisions based on panic, I’m slowing down, hoping to hear his voice, then acting on it. I no longer feel burdened by the publishing industry. I simply do the next thing.

This year, I sense the word God is giving me is Y E S. What a nice, positive word! The reason I illustrated it with an airport is because of my friend Bile (pronounced BEE LAY). He prayed for me in 2015, and as he did, he “flew” like an airplane to demonstrate that God would be calling me more and more to speak in different locales. That did happen in 2016, but I believe it will happen more this year. And I’ll need to say yes in faith because some of those invitations may not involve payment. (Please be praying for me as I hope to teach writers in the Ivory Coast this year at Bile’s church).

The yes is also winsome because this year I turn 50 on February 10th. How did this happen? To “celebrate,” I’m training for my first marathon. I’m not even sure I can do it, but working toward it has been hard and amazing. This is my personal year of jubilee, a year of emancipation from the past, a yes to things that scare me.

My big fear in getting older has been that I would settle into routine and stop trusting God for bigger things. With yes as a backdrop, by God’s strength, I hope to trust him more and more and more. I want to step outside of the box I’ve made that is so dang comfortable. I hope you can hold me accountable for this as well.

So in the comments today, would you share your YES TO GOD stories? How have you been brave, stepping into unknowns?


  1. Sherry Stahl

    I love how honest you are! I love how God works. Only God could subtract to multiply! I really do like His math better 🙂
    I have been saying YES to God in deep ways since 2011. It all started when God asked me to reopen my heart to love again after a hurtful marriage and a bitter divorce. This YES may seem pretty minor for onlookers since my hubby is such a wonderful guy but to this girl it was one of the scariest I’ve ever made. I think saying YES to love set me free to be brave and say YES to God more. Since then I’ve said YES to writing two books, speaking and the list goes on.
    My word for this year is VICTORY. I believe that God has said this year will be marked by “overwhelming victory” (Romans 8:37) for me and my family as longstanding bondages are broken forever!
    Praying you say YES to all that God has for you this year and that you soar above the clouds to lands far away fulfilling the call of God on your life.
    In His Grip,
    ~Sherry Stahl

    • Mary DeMuth

      I love VICTORY. I love that you took that leap with your husband. You’re one of my favorites.

      • Sherry Stahl

        Mary, you’re one of my fave’s too 🙂

  2. Mary DeMuth

    Love that song, Jill. Thank you.

  3. Lisa Enqvist

    I had YES two years ago. I was on an amazing journey to Thailand (our Children’s Home 40th Anniversary), and to Sri Lanka, my childhood home country (as Missionary Kid).

    A year ago it seems that my word was STOP. Health issues forced me to Stop, Look, and Listen.
    This year my word is UNCLUTTERED. (David’s prayer for his son, Solomon: 1 Chronicles 29:19)

    And give me an UNCLUTTERED and focused heart
    so that I can obey what you command,
    live by your directions and counsel,
    and carry through the plan you have for me.

    • Mary DeMuth

      I love that 1 Chronicles passage!!!

  4. Jennifer O.

    I decided to begin Mentor My Sister…My ministry that only God can lead..I’m excited…It’s a huge vision! Right in line with my word for 2017… Embrace!

    • Mary DeMuth

      So cool, Jennifer! I love that idea.

  5. linda

    My word for 2017 is “hope”. I hit a deep depression in mid-December and ended up in the hospital “stress management” unit. I spent New Year’s there. I need to be active in my healing and day to day functioning. I need to pursue Christ, stay the course. I need His strength, grace and mercy. Your year was certainly a challenge and it is encouraging to me to see God’s faithfulness to you and your family.

    • Mary DeMuth

      May Jesus truly infuse your soul with hope.

  6. Susan G.

    WooHoo! “YES” sounds good to me! A great word…saying Yes to whatever God has for you. And turning 50 as well! Happy Birthday to you in February! Fifty is nothing to worry about…wish I was still there! 😉 I haven’t picked out my ‘word’ for 2017 yet, but have seen several blogs and devotionals on it in my email today, so I think my time is about up thinking about it…
    God’s best for you in 2017 Mary!

    • Mary DeMuth

      Thanks for the birthday greetings!

  7. Mollie Lyon

    After years of jumping from one job to another in nursing, I am too, learning in your words, “To not be reactionary.” My job separated from me the week before Christmas, as I was descending into burnout. I couldn’t write due to the burnout from the job. I couldn’t think. I felt betrayed when I got the “pink” slip, but I told God I would not leave this job until He pushed me out. Well, that happened.
    Now, I am slowing down. I feel financially able to listen to God’s voice and act on it. Some days, like today, I feel a real peace about that. Yesterday, paranoia and depression tried to tie me up, as I searched for paper work and my new printer didn’t work. I needed this information to apply for jobs I don’t want. That drove me to my knees to pray.
    My word for the year is “Dream.” The decorations, gauzy and blowy, at Barnes and Noble, where my novels are on the shelf, provided the inspiration and picture. Do I dare dream I can be financially independent with my writing? Do I dare not?
    I only know today, I need to wait on God. I need this time to hunker down, alone with Him to hear how my writing should proceed. And when I can apply and prepare for nursing jobs without being near tears will be the time to take the one He has for me. If that doesn’t happen, I hope it means my Dream with the work behind it becomes real.
    Either way, I am in God’s will and responsive to His calling. That is where I always need to be.
    Enjoy the second half of your life, Mary. I’m five years into it and much has happened since I embarked on the published writing career at fifty. God bless you.

    • Mary DeMuth

      What an encouraging post, but so full of unknowns. I’m heartened by your resolve to dream and not to fret! May new jobs come your way in surprising ways this year.

      • Mollie Lyon

        Thank you. I’ll be advertising soon on your blog. I have to create my ad.

        • Mary DeMuth

          How fun!

  8. James Watkins

    I said no to identifying as an “author/speaker” and yes to simply being a “friend of Jesus.”

    Also, just to be contrary, I need to note that NO is also a perfectly good word: 🙂

    • Mary DeMuth

      No is a good word too!