As we embark on a new year, many of us choose a guiding word. A little light on a little stick that illuminates our path and sets the tone for the months ahead. This year, my word is “entwine.” This word feels the perfect follow on from last years word of shalom – peace with nothing missing. So many of the words I have prayed for have been like intertwining branches stemming from a singular source. They have bled into the next year effortlessly. Which is why entwine has such a powerful meaning for me this year. I have come to understand that it will take a whole year of pressing in, testing, being tested and being uncomfortable for the fullness of this word to properly take shape. No word is easy. All come with a price tag. Something I have come to realise over the years of praying for a word for the year.

Last year is a prime example of this. Whilst my word was peace, it took great effort to imbibe even a fraction of the depth of its meaning and purpose. Months of grief counselling to deal with my father’s passing, now a decade ago. Difficult conversations, tears, sorrow and utter frustration because I couldn’t understand why I was not at peace. Why I wasn’t able to live in that shalom peace with nothing missing. Simply because my soul, my mind and my heart were in turmoil and distress that had been supressed. I couldn’t enjoy the simple things, or sit in peace because my internal being was in chaos. The old adage of being careful of what you wish for played out throughout the year.

Embrace grace.

Now as we begin a new year, I am finally understanding that as you choose to lean in to your word for the year, embrace grace as you do. You will need grace in abundance because whatever your word is, and I have had some choice ones in the past, know that when you face those trials, those tests, those frustrations, it is to develop the meaning of that word in your foundations. That when you get to January next year you will be able to glance back over your shoulder and see the testimony of character development. You will identify the strength garnered and the grace given as God guided you through it all.

Let’s dive deeper in to the meaning of entwine. A word which kept presenting itself through a scripture writing practice I did through Advent last year. It also popped up a lot whilst I was doom scrolling on social media. Something I did far too much last year.

Words to lean into.

The Vines & The Branches
“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me.”

John 15:5 (CSB)

This beautiful imagery of the vine and its branches is one that very much resonates with how all the words I have been given so far are entwining me with Him. The need for me to mimic the movement of vines, encircling and embracing Jesus in order to become strengthened by Him. To embrace grace as I recognise my own weaknesses and need for His perfect peace and strength. Because without Him, I can do nothing. The nurturing of that deeper relationship to the point of abiding, being held and kept with Him and He within me. That is scary and exciting all at the same time.

The Cords of Love & Ties of Kindness
I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.”

Hosea 11:4 (NIV)

Entwine is often synonymous with rope or cords, the binding together, which beautifully describes God’s love. His cords of kindness and ties of love. By choosing the word entwine I feel the prompt to acknowledge that whilst I am binding myself to Jesus through love and kindness, there is a need to extend those qualities towards others too. Becoming an advocate for the benefits of embedding in Christ together, reflecting His divine love for us all.

rope entwine heart

Five facets of life to become more entwined in.

Unity in Christ

Ephesians 4:3 “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Unity can bring down walls, build a stairway to heaven and defeat an overwhelming army. When we are unity with Christ and each other, when we close our quick mouths, and open our ears to hear what He is saying, there is little we cannot achieve in Him. Entwining with His will towards His purpose sounds easy enough but it takes sacrifice. I know that diligence and perseverance will play a huge part in this facet of imbibing the word entwine this year. Especially on those tired or hormonal days when I just don’t “feel” like it.

Love and Interconnectedness

Colossians 3:14 says, “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Phil always quotes that “love is not a feeling, but a conscious act of the will” and it is so true. To truly love like Jesus loves us can often take every fibre of our being to do it on purpose. Loving the lovable is easy, loving the unlovable is a different story all together. One area I struggle with, especially where the unlovable are concerned, is that I often find myself the unlovable person. To love oneself on purpose feels selfish. Yet how can you put on love if you do not hold love for yourself? This, I am sure, will be a year long work in progress.

The Marriage Covenant

In Genesis 2:24, it says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” This year Phil and I will be celebrating 13 years of marriage. We entered our marriage with 4 children in tow. Meaning we had to consciously put alone time in the diary each month. As with all things life can take over and there have been more than a few times when we haven’t been singing from the same hymn sheet. Through several conversations at the tail end of last year we recognised that we hadn’t been putting aside that time for each other. Time to remain entwined with each other. Being accountable to each other and being active participants in our spiritual journey together. This is something we have already begun to rectify.

Fellowship and Communion

Acts 2:42 (NIV) “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” We are so blessed to have found a home in our local church. The family and community is so welcoming there. However, we both feel the pull to draw closer to our church family. As an introvert this is an area I have already been making an effort in. Talking to, praying with and just living alongside my church community. However there is always room for improvement!

Covenant and Commitment

Jeremiah 31:33 (CSB) “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days”—the Lord’s declaration. “I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” The bible is filled to the brim with commitments and covenants entwined with Gods blessings for His people. Knowing how much He wants to draw us closer to Him we make ourselves too busy. Entwining with Him means purposing to spend time in the Word and in prayer. Even when it may seem like I don’t have enough time. I want to open my heart enough for Him to hand write His teachings on it. To know what it is to be truly His.

Entwine may not be your word for the year. You may not even have a word for the year yet. Regardless, be encouraged to sit down and write 5 facets of your life that you want to press into. Perhaps this may reveal a common theme you can draw your word from. Be prepared to spend the whole year pressing into that word. To being moulded, and strengthened as you entwine yourself with the journey you head out on. Above all else, ensure you embrace the changes and challenges with grace. That you find peace in the reworkings of your life.

If you do have a word, I would love to be able to pray into that for you. Please drop it in the comments below. I can then come back here often to continue to lift you up as you traverse your year.

Be blessed with grace and peace,

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