Sunday, December 31, 2017

Cultivating Your Heart in 2018: A Word, A Scripture, A Quote

"Each of us has in his possession an exceedingly good servant or a very bad master, known as habit."
~ Charlotte Mason

In my last post, I shared with you how I have been thinking about this past year (of 2017) and how I have been preparing for the year ahead. This could quite possibly be a very big year for us - we definitely are beginning our homeschooling journey from March, and we may be heading overseas for a year in August (at the moment, it is quite a maybe!).

With all this in mind, I have been praying and I have felt really led to organise all that thinking in a succinct way. I am a very visual thinker - I work best when my thoughts are down on paper. (And it helps if it is pretty!) I have also felt led to broaden how I prepare my heart for the coming year. 

This has led me to create a three-part focus for cultivating my heart for the new year: a word, a Scripture, a quote.

Why All Three?

I believe this is a really helpful way to get my heart ready. Having all three aspects is broader than say, just having a word for the year. It acknowledges that having a word for the year is a helpful anchor to keep you on the path you believe God is leading you down. 

As a Christian, however, our anchor is God and His Word. Anyone can pick a word for the year, but the Christian has the Word of all eternity to hang on to. And, not just to hang on to, but to be absolutely transformed by. And that is our hearts - to be made new, transformed, changed into the woman God wants us to be. So picking a verse to guide us - that brings a living truth to our intentionality - this is what binds it all.

At the same time, we also don't want to ignore the wisdom of many godly men and women who have things to say that can change our lives. Gleaning biblical truths based around the theme you are cultivating in your life is the other bookend to the three-part focus. Being an avid book reader, God has used many books as tools to create Christ-like change in my life. So we shouldn't forget the wisdom of others for our focus.

So, I'm sure you want to know - what are my three?

My Word: Habit

This has been a word playing over in my mind for awhile now. I believe it is building on the faithfulness God has been helping me pursue in my daily life. And I am needing more of that building! I know how much we need good habits in our life - not just myself, but my children, too. And I don't just mean physical habits, but also habits of character. This is why I love the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education - it is holistic, taking in the whole person of the child (and mother).

My Scripture: "For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galations 5:22-23

I am surprised by this verse, actually. I actually had a different one from Galations in my mind. As I was ready to write it down in my journal, I opened up the last section of Galations and my eye fell on this one. And I knew: this was the verse the Lord wanted me to anchor my year on. 

In some ways, I know why: this new year of homeschooling will hold it's own challenges that I will need the strength for this kind of mothering. God has also been working on gentleness and self-control in me this year. He has been changing me just so much as a mother! (Which I am increasingly grateful for as I see how wrong I have been in different ways.)

Yet, in other ways, I have no idea why this is the verse for my year: but I trust Him and His Spirit that leads us when we ask for guidance. Only He knows the whole picture as to why this is the verse He wants me to stay my heart on for the coming year.

My Quote: "Mothers work wonders when they are convinced wonders are demanded of them." Charlotte Mason

I will probably write a whole post on this another time because it is such a challenging and beautiful thought from Charlotte Mason. But, altogether, it sums up my heart for motherhood: that when we submit our lives fully to God then, as mothers and through Him, we can nourish and raise His children the way they need to be. This is always what I mean by "wholehearted". This is something I need to be reminded of daily as I seek to be the mother I know God asks me to be.

So friends, I really encourage you to do something similar for yourself as we begin a new year. Goals and resolutions are good - but often they can fail because we forget an important factor of change. Before any outward change can take full effect, it is our hearts that need to be transformed first. It's taking me so long to learn this, but it is a truth I really need to grasp. I really believe it will make the difference in the year ahead for myself and for you, too.

Free Printable

I have created a printable planning page for those interested in doing something similar. There are a couple of questions to help flesh out your thoughts and to pray over where God might be leading you, or what He may be revealing to you. Then there is a page to copy down your three-part focus. You could put it in your Bible, your journal, binder, or put it up on the wall. 

Click to Get The Printable

If you use this, I would love to know if it has been helpful!

Tell me, can you relate to any of the work God has been doing in me? Has God been leading you to a particular focus for 2018?


  1. Sarah, I really like your printable and the focus on those three areas. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Leslie, you are so welcome - I hope it blesses you!

  2. Visiting you from Faithfilled Friday link-up. I so enjoyed this post. I also chose a word for the year, but I haven't yet chose a scripture or a quote. You have encouraged me through this post to make time to do so. I look forward to reading more about your journey this year. Thank you for the great printables. Sweet Blessings to you!

    1. I'm so glad it was encouraging and helpful to you, Cheryl! I hope you find a verse and quote to help you this year living for the Lord! :D x