Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Happy New Year, Overwhelmed with Gratitude, & My Word for 2023

 "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
Isaiah 43:19


I am so thankful to be alive and well to see another new year! This past year was difficult in many ways, but praise the Lord, He is ever faithful and brought us through. 

Over Christmas, I kept telling my dear husband and son how grateful I was to be alive. I just praise the Lord from the depths of my soul that we are all three still here, that all is as well with us as it is, and that God has bestowed such abundant mercy on us. My mind often goes to the lines of a song that says,

"As I look o'er the past I behold, how His wide arms of mercy held me." Oh, how true that is in my life! 

On the days leading up to Christmas, we were affected by the winter storm and lost power repeatedly due to intentional blackouts implemented by our electric company. Then our heat completely broke, and we could hardly stand the cold even when the power was on. It was so awful, and I gleaned even deeper compassion for the shivering homeless who sleep on the streets of our city. How my heart goes out to them! Then we lost internet and phone for a few days, and on top of all, our car broke down. But God restored all, and everything was fixed and back in running order in time to take our dear boy out for a nice meal on his birthday—the day after Christmas. Oh, God is so good! He kept us all healthy through the holidays and blessed us with a beautiful New Years' time together, also. I have never been more thankful for life, heat, and shelter from the cold. We are so abundantly blessed and deeply grateful.

The older we get, the deeper our gratitude becomes as the most minor accomplishments seem precious to us, causing us to realize with intensified clarity that it is in God that we "live, and move, and have our being." Acts 17:28

When I was young, my dear parents strongly emphasized Ecclesiastes 12 to me, especially verse one. "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them." Thank the dear Lord, I did remember my Creator in the days of my youth. I was saved at the age of ten and have dearly loved Jesus ever since.

I used to read the rest of Ecclesiastes 12 and try to absorb the meaning of its poignant description of old age—the time Solomon referred to as the years when we will say, "I have no pleasure in them," and I would think about how far removed from me those years seemed. Now, I am much closer to that season of life, and I am feeling the reality of Solomon's description in verses two through seven. How quickly life flies past us! The days are long, but the years are so short, indeed. Mom often told me, "Cheryl, I can't even remember so many years of my life!" Now, I understand.

I owe an outstanding debt of gratitude to so many of you for reaching out to me concerning the promotion of our new book

You can order it here if you wish.

As I sat at our table last night, hand-printing the index cards I use for mailing labels, my heart was overwhelmed by the stack of cards in front of me. So many of you have walked this blogging journey with me, and to know that you are invested in the success of turning these blog posts into this book series just means the world to me. I hope you know how thankful I am for you and your unfailing support!

As I have told many of you, the books take a little while to get to me, but as soon as the copies are in my hands, I will be mailing them out to all who have let me know they would like to promote the book. 

If you are interested in promoting our book and have yet to reach out to us, please email us anytime at homespundevotions@gmail.com. It is most certainly never too late! This post explains the process.

I apologize that this and my other blog are so neglected. With my creative energy and so much time being poured into editing past posts to get the books published, it is challenging to create new content. This is the season I am in, and I am doing my utmost to follow the Lord's lead to finish the books.

Speaking of seasons, as I sort through the 800+ posts for the books, I am humbled by the reminder of the many ways God has used this platform over the years, many of which I had forgotten. It has evolved and gone in so many directions. It is God's and always will be—to do with whatever He wills.

I am so thankful for each of you faithful readers. Some of you have been with me since the very beginning, way back in October of 2011! I welcome all new subscribers, and however long you have been here, I sincerely appreciate each one of you.

I haven't done a word for the year in a while, but this year I have repeatedly felt the Lord bringing one to my mind that corresponds with some specific things He has been dealing with me about. I kept hearing the word "Open" in my spirit, but I wasn't 100% sure it was my word for 2023 until New Year's Eve, as Kevin, Zach, and I got ready to pray the old year out and the new year in. Right then and there, God instantly brought this acronym to my mind to accompany the word "Open," and I knew. 

Opportunities Promotion Experiences New

It was really something how He brought the acronym to me in such a real and powerful way, and it is also quite interesting to note that the word God gave Zach for the year is "Opportunity." 

God has done wondrous things for my family and me over the past few years, as He has led us into ever-deepening places of consecration and dedication to Him and His service. I must confess that when I first began to hear the word "Open," it was accompanied by a sense of panic over what that may mean. What am I "opening" to? What am I saying yes to by opening myself even more to God? Do I dare to open to an even greater capacity? 

I even found myself wanting to change the "P" to "possibilities" instead of "promotion!" Not only because of fear but also because it feels a little boastful. But, I am leaving it as God initially gave it to me, and I press forward by faith in the One who has never failed me and never asked more of me than what He has provided accompanying enabling grace to do.

May God's richest blessings fall upon each one of you in 2023!


  1. I'm so glad you left the message you heard coming from the Lord as you heard it, Cheryl. As the year progresses, I'm sure all that God wants you to know will be revealed to you.
    I'm so looking forward to reading and reviewing your book! I'm going to post a blog tomorrow that talks about my word of the year. I do hope you will tune in when you can. :)
    Blessings, dear friend!

    1. Thank you, Martha. I believe you are right. He will make plain what now seems like such a mystery. I am SO grateful for your support of our book, and I can't wait to read about your word of the year! You can count on me tuning in! I love reading your posts and am always encouraged by all you write. Love and blessings to you, dear friend!

  2. What a great word, Mrs. Smith! I love the words you picked for the acronym too. I too desire to be more open, though I must admit, sometimes it's a little scary to be so open, especially since we don't know the future. But many fun, exciting things can happen when we are open to new experiences. :) And God will be with us the whole way.

    Lots of love to you,

    1. Thank you, dear Ashley! Yes, it surely is a scary feeling, but I know God has more for all of us if only we will open ourselves to Him more. Sending so much love back to you tonight and trusting God to bless you in immeasurable ways in 2023, dear friend!

  3. Cheryl,
    Thank you for sharing the faithfulness of God in your family's life! I'm so sorry for what you all endured and I thank God for His care and protection over you.
    I'm excited for what the Lord has in store for you! My prayers are with you, friend. I received your sweet email- thank you! I'll reply soon. :)
    God bless,

    1. Thank you so much, Valentine! I so appreciate your sweet visit and kind words! I got your sweet email and will answer you soon, too, Lord willing. May the Lord's richest blessings be upon you and your family in this new year!

  4. "His wide arms of mercy held me" so truly reflects how we were held up through the years of trials, right? And it is only in Him we "live, and move, and have our being." Amen! Thank you, Cheryl, for the encouraging reminder to look back to the times God held us through tough stuff even when it didn't feel like it at the time. Love and blessings to you!

    1. I'm so sorry I am just responding! I meant to respond to these comments months ago and just realized I hadn't done that. I hope you are well, Trudy. I haven't seen a post from you in a long time. May God bless you.

  5. What a blessing it is to have this book published sweet friend! I know it is such a drain of your energy to go through the process. I pray that the blessings of the Lord promised in y our OPEN word for this year will unfold in new and heightened ways this coming year! With much love and prayers for you in this new year!

    1. Thank you, dear friend. I am so thankful for you and your support and friendship. I can't believe I failed to respond to these comments. I am just now seeing that didn't get to. May the Lord bless you.

  6. "I press forward by faith in the One who has never failed me and never asked more of me than what He has provided accompanying enabling grace to do." Oh, how your words spoke to me this morning. Cheryl, you know I have ventured out in a new direction this year, and I find myself doubting my abilities and whether I can honor the Lord in my endeavors. So, remembering that He will "never ask more of me than what He has provided accompanying enabling grace to do" is an encouragement to me. Thank you for your words. God bless you and your family. Warm hugs.

    1. I'm glad these words ministered to you, Nancy. I am so sorry I am just now responding to your kind comment. I meant to reply to these months ago and just realized I didn't do that. God bless you, too.