Purposing to love and live loved

love word WoJ

We’re entering that season again when some choose resolutions to try to keep and others choose a word to focus on for the year ahead.

Long before I began blogging, or heard of oneword365, God had already whispered a word at close of year, or just on the cusp of the new, that He wanted me to pay particular attention to.

This practice has continued and the last few years have been ones of gentle, divine invitation to ‘Come, Listen and Rest’. 

As I sit with derailed dreams and postponed plans, I’d hoped for something more dynamic to come.

I want to witness change for the better, be given hope for the future, motivation for renewal Click To Tweet

So when this word embedded itself into my consciousness, threading soft as silk but with an iron persistence, I resisted it to start with.

My spirits deflated and my heart sank in disbelief. Did I really need to revisit the basics?

Because after being a Christian for over 40 years, I’d written about and thought I knew pretty much all there was to know about ‘love’ – a given for all believers in Christ, yes?

Turns out I was wrong.

God revealed my urgent need to learn how to fully accept His love and begin to live freely as His beloved.

I need to allow the knowledge I am loved to journey from my head to my heart. Click To Tweet

Maybe you do too?

God was saying, in essence, that He required me to believe, receive and cleave to Him more than ever before.

My scarred, wounded soul was wary because being loved doesn’t come easy for me. I’ve been afraid to let love in, automatically keeping barriers up and defences ready.

heart locked up file image used on WoJ

Yes, even with friends and family, my heart has stayed locked up to some degree.

When you’ve been deeply hurt by childhood abuse, it makes trusting and loving others (or yourself) challenging at best.

I remain scared I won’t know how to change (or actually want to), because those barricades built up over time will have to be broken down in order to allow love full access.

I need to learn to accept God's love for me, love myself in a balanced way and freely love others Click To Tweet

This feels like raking over old embers I thought had been extinguished. Who wants to revisit the past?

I panic for a few days until God reveals how it’s  actually an ongoing part of the deep inner healing work He has in mind for me, the next, necessary stage of the process.

And I breathe out again when I remember how God is Love personified; it’s His defining characteristic and should be ours too as His disciples.

As we embrace our need of saving love, we embrace God; we embrace Love Himself Click To Tweet

‘Being the beloved’

Let love become

the very essence

of my being

Let love reveal

the very need

of all receiving

I, who can hardly bear

to gaze upon

my own face

must look now

into Your own

and see somehow

what my heart

has always known

I am loved

and I am saved

I’m Your beloved

by Your grace


And as I wavered still, these reassuring words came to me:

“You are surrounded by Love. Can you not feel its tug? It’s the heartbeat of the universe. It’s the sound of My voice.”

It could be a faltering journey, my friend, as I flounder or flourish in this enterprise.

Do you have a ‘word’ to focus on for 2016? I’d love to hear about it.

**PS** ~ Ann Voskamp has an excellent free printable resource here to help us keep to our SOULutions plans for 2016 and purpose in our hearts to follow through. Do check it out. I’m purposing to give it a go and hope to share my progress with you soon.


  1. Joy, this touched me deeply. I’ve walked with God for many years and still have a hard time accepting His unconditional love for me. I continually focus on my brokenness, forgetting the price He paid to make me whole. I am looking forward to you sharing your journey and pursuit of your Beloved in the coming year.

    1. You too, Barbie? Thank you for sharing your own story and for joining me on the journey to live loved this year and beyond. I pray you will be touched by a greater awareness of God’s love for you and find it both life changing and liberating. May we grow together in living as His Beloved.

  2. I can relate to building walls around my heart and not allowing love to
    penetrate. I’m working on letting my guard down but it truly is a process. Be patient with yourself and allow our Great God to lead and heal you. Many blessings!

    1. Oh Carrie, it’s so easy to build walls around our hearts, isn’t it? The problem being that we think we’re keeping pain at bay but fail to see how the walls are a barricade to “allowing love to penetrate.” Letting our guard down is hard after years of not even realising it is in place sometimes. But as we are patient with ourselves and hopeful of God changing us, then we will begin to open up more fully and freely to Him. Thank you for your insights. Bless you, friend!

  3. This deeply resonated within my own heart, Joy. It amazes me how much alike our desire for this year is. “God revealed my urgent need to learn how to fully accept His love and begin to live freely as His beloved.” Amen. My post for this year’s One Word will be coming out tomorrow. I believe God led me to “open,” because I need to open my heart more to His healing love and grace. I am looking forward to journey with you to be more accepting of God’s love for us as His precious beloved. Blessings and hugs!

    1. Trudy, I’m not surprised to hear that this resonated with you. Your beautiful blog’s major focus is on the freedom to fly free from a painful past, and walls are a hindrance to that happening. My friend, it’s a privilege to share this journey toward greater healing and wholeness with you! Being “open” to change is the first step toward moving forward. It sounds like God has some great plans afoot for you in 2016. I’m looking forward to hearing more about it. Blessings and hugs!

  4. Your words are such a blessing to me. I always seem to need the message that you write. Love is a word that never grows old and is one that we never fully know unless we see ourselves fully reflected in God. Beautiful!

    The LOVE graphic is perfect. Did you make it? Happy New Year!

    1. Mary, your words never grow old to me either. They are like refreshing rain on a dusty day. I agree that with love “we never fully know (the depth of it) unless we see ourselves fully reflected in God.” because He is the perfect embodiment of Love and His character becomes manifest in us as we trust in Christ. Yes, I made the LOVE graphic with a little help from a free image site. Happy New Year to you too! May this be one where you grow strong in hope and sense the comfort of God’s love and grace in life’s hard places. Xx

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