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My quest for the word of the year …

I finally started my quest for the word of the year God would have for me during the last week of 2022. I was struggling with looking back over 2022 to see any repeating scriptures or thoughts from my journals.


“Lord, I don’t have a clue what you are saying for 2023 and what Your word for me might be and I can’t even find all my entries since they are scattered from Facebook to journals to digital journals. Help!”


My journaling was daily and extensive, but not organized at all. I became defeated before I ever started! How could I figure this out? Discouragement set in.


A friend suggested I go back to my weekly newsletters and Facebook posts. That helped, but as I did, I saw the highlights with the accompanying lowlights. The dilemma came because there was not much detail on the lowlights especially since that was all in my journal.


So, all I could do was cry out to God … Lord would you help me find Your word for me for 2023?


I have to admit I felt defeated from the get-go. I didn’t keep my 2022 word REFLECT in front of me for the whole year. I pretty much felt like I was on it for January but then it went bye-bye. When I mentioned to a close friend that even with reflect as my word for the year, I didn’t really feel very reflective. She came back with:


“So… Just look at your newsletters – they almost always are reflective of a past circumstance and how it ties to your present. You reflect weekly on your circumstance looking for truth and hope. You reflect every single morning as you spend time in the Word and reflect on how it applies to your current need. You and Ross reflected together as you wrote a book with the purpose of encouraging others in their marriages. I think your word reflect was pretty successful! In fact, I think you also learned that sometimes in the reflection there is a time to reflect and share and yet other times it’s used in your personal life to change you. Sometimes God uses the word we choose without us even being aware but when we look back and remember what we have done, learned, and experienced over the year, we see it was He who did it, and that makes it even better!”


Can I just say, WOW? When it is God’s word for us, not just one we pick because we like it, He really does do the work, with or without our focusing on it. That is so encouraging to me!


So just a few days before we enter into the new year my word came to me. I woke up praying, “Lord will You reveal Your word for me for 2023?” As I moved into my quiet time, two different scriptures came to mind.


And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory I Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10


I noticed this one more than once in my journals and it always provided hope in the middle of a lowlight moment.

The other was one God spoke to me just a few months ago and it brought much clarity to my light and momentary affliction of that time … even though it felt severe, not at all light

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan demanded to have you that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers (sisters).” Luke 22:32

I knew that the word God was giving me was STRENGTHEN, but from two perspectives. That He would strengthen me in my suffering and that I would also be strengthened in the battles so I can, in turn, strengthen my sisters. WOWZA.

Now if He would just confirm my choice, I sure would appreciate it.

And faithful God that He is, this message came to me just a few hours later, from a friend whose life was impacted by the early moments in our She Writes for Him virtual events. We aren’t in touch consistently, so it means even more that God used her in this way!


Athena, you’ve come to mind several times over the last few days. Each time, I lift you in prayer. I read this quote from Elisabeth Elliott today, it’s now recorded in my journal.

“You can always tell a Godly man or woman. When they pray, they always pray for things that are so impossible, unless God does it, it cannot be done.” ~Backt Singh of India – An evangelist who God used to raise up over 1100 churches in India.

I can’t help but think about all the Lord has done with She Writes for Him.

May our Lord strengthen, lead, and revive you as you seek His face.



Jeremiah 31:12 today 

Stunned! There it was, and there was no way I could miss it. I knew God was confirming the word STRENGTHEN. Funny thing, I didn’t even think to read the scripture at the end of her message, so I just now looked it up.

They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord—the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. Jeremiah 31:12

WOW again. Double encouragement.

As I looked back on 2022, I saw so much sorrow: death, betrayals on multiple levels, sickness, mental health issues, backlash to standing firm for the truth without compromise, serious spiritual battles, financial struggles, and more. But sprinkled throughout were the bounty of the Lord in the new bookstore, the incredible team the Lord has solidified at Redemption Press, Publisher of the Year award by the Soul Café awards, certified for the second year in a row “Best Christian Workplace,” a successful book launch for Ross and I, continued healing in my life and my family, and a joyous holiday season.

A lot to reflect on for the year of 2022!

And now… moving into 2023 I see how the reflections of the past year have brought me to the place where I can be strengthened. First, I am being strengthened by my God who is actively at work as I stand firm and walk on the road where He has placed me. And second how He provides me with the power to strengthen those who walk along with me as I transparently reflect and learn from each sorrow.


Have you found God’s word for you for 2023 yet? I’d love to hear what it is and the correlating scripture!


Thanks for spending some time with me today!


Athena Dean Holtz
Welcome, I'm Athena!

I start each day by tithing the first hour to the Lord in prayer, reading the word, doing word studies of the Text, and asking God how I can live out what I am reading. This time is usually met with meditation on devotionals that are usually written by dead guys like Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, AW Tozer, and Andrew Murray.

Right now, I’m reading a daily devotional with a friend called Tozer on the Almighty God for my focus for the day. It's fun to see individually what pulls us in to spur one another on to good deeds!

The Bible is filled with action steps to walk out in practical and intentional ways. This sets my day in motion to walk it out! I hope this is your heart, too.

Consider this a personal invitation to join me in this journey!

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