Posted by on January 22, 2020

MB Dahl -Gift - Word of the Year - Still Broken2019 found me broken, crying in front of strangers, losing my temper with the plumber, and being told not to hear the test results alone.

Ironically, my word for 2019 was GIFT.

To Be Better and Stronger

I chose that word because I wanted to motivate myself to think of life and the things I do as a gift. It was an effort to create a better, stronger, more useful version of myself. I thought living to give would surely make me more outgoing, kinder, and caring.

That didn’t happen. If anything, I went the other direction—withdrew, became more cynical, and sent fewer cards.

My year of the GIFT ended with me being more selfish and disparaging than when I started.

Love from the Brokenness

But now, I’m wondering if I had it wrong. My heart squeezes a little tighter in my chest just thinking of this. Maybe, the gift thing had less to do with me being a blessing for all mankind and more to do with God’s sweet love and redemption.

I wanted to be brilliant, flashy, and clean and thought trying to be a gift would get me there. Instead, I’m finding that it was my ugly, sweaty, tear-stained brokenness that paved the way for real change. The change that could only come from the truth – from me being me, not some pseudo-everything’s great person, but this one—this broken, messed up one who desperately needs a savior.

The goal behind me choosing GIFT as my word last year was far more self-centered than altruistic.  It was rooted more in me wanting to look good than anything else. But God had better plans – plans to remake the girl who yells at the plumber and can’t stop crying or worrying.

MB Dahl - Romans 5:8 - Good news for the brokenHe had deeper things in mind.

Things like him being enough. Like how it doesn’t matter so much what the world thinks as what he thinks. How he can bring the miracle, show you the sign, or stay silent, and you still know He is GOD. He can take a scary prognosis and turn it into a thankful heart for a life blessed, and he can take a broken heart spilling tears of loss and hurt and heal it. He makes our brokenness whole and breathes new life into us.

And he can take our ugly reality and turn it into something we can’t even dream of yet.

And What About You?

It’s ironic, I guess. How me not being the gift I desperately wanted to be brought me a fresh perspective of the gift of God’s love and acceptance. How failing so miserably in so many ways actually uncovered more of the depths of his love. He takes broken things and loves them, and that’s what makes the difference—what brings the change.

His love is the gift, and that love brings life, and hope, and so much more than we can ever imagine.

GIFT was my word for 2019. What was your word? How did it go for you?



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4 years ago

Mary Beth, my word for 2019 was BREAKTHROUGH. After 7 years on the sidelines, God revealed that my next arena of service will be as a mental health counselor. Thus, in August I entered grad school to become a Licensed Professional Counselor. I enjoy having a vocational goal to work toward instead of continually wondering what God has for me next from a big picture standpoint.

Beth Alley
Beth Alley
4 years ago

Marybeth, How beautiful! Our small group is learning to follow Jesus ‘ example of tenderness toward weakness. Others and our own. It is transforming our lives to adopt this upside down thinking. Jesus is anticipating each one in your family stepping into what he has especially picked out for you this year. He is beside himself as he happily waits for you to open it. Huge blessings to you and my favorite DDiv.

Tammy Van Gils
Tammy Van Gils
4 years ago

I love the way you express your struggles–clear and with such passion. May God bless you in 2020 with peace of mind, a joyful heart, and time to spend with your Savior!

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