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  • Writer's pictureDawn Ward

Choosing to Stand Firm When Life Is Hard

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

woman looking away
“Stand firm, and you will win life.” Luke 21:19

Looking Back

Reflecting back on this past year, I felt I didn’t make the progress I hoped for. My own health issues and subsequent surgery, my son’s mental health breakdown, and grieving the death of my mother had the cumulative effect of leaving me feeling that all I really managed to do was tread water.

As far as reaching any of my goals, sadly, it seemed all I really accomplished was wasting precious time, effort, and money with little to show for it.

All too suddenly, 2020 was upon us, and it was time to set some new goals. Ugh. I was still reeling from those left unmet in 2019. But it was time to give it another whirl, so I started thinking and praying about God’s purpose and plans for me for the upcoming year.

With a fresh start and new-found resilience, I determined to make 2020 the year I would finally succeed in accomplishing the vision He had given me.

First thing on my goal-setting agenda was to find my word for the year. I mean everyone needs one word they can plan their entire year around, right? So, I took a Word of the Year (check it out…it’s kind of fun!) This uniquely personal test (sarcasm intended), gave me the word “Stand.” I quickly wanted to throw it out in search of another, until I realized that God was trying to show me something through this word.

What’s In a Word?

Webster’s Dictionary several meanings for the word “Stand.” My first thought was “to remain stationary or inactive,” but I knew that’s not what God was trying to show me. I kept hearing the word “Established.” I decided to look deeper. In the transitive verb form, it means:

-to endure or undergo successfully

-to tolerate without flinching: bear courageously

-to endure the presence or personality of

-to derive benefit or enjoyment from

-to remain firm in the face of

-to maintain one’s position (stand one’s ground)

-to think or act independently (stand on one’s own feet)

-to exhibit courage, strength, and calm, especially in the face of adversity

And Finally…

-to be established: to make firm or stable, to put on a firm basis, to put in a favorable position.

Hmm…”Stand” isn’t such a bad word of the year after all.

I finally adjusted my focus, and instead of fixating on what I did not accomplish, I realized all the progress I made despite many obstacles.

As you read this list, think about the small victories, the mini-goals, you accomplished even if you didn’t quite reach your big goals.

•For the book and bible study I didn’t finish, the Lord reminded me that this is not easy material I am studying and researching. I am writing on the deeper spiritual roots of addiction and the Lord’s heart for those trapped within its clutches. Of course, the enemy doesn’t want it written, much less published.

•For the growth in the ministry I had hoped to see, he reassured me that ministering to hurting hearts is more important than if I ever get social media right, become a non-profit, or get those studies written.

•For my own personal health and wellness goals, what I see as setbacks, were really roadblocks I blew past. A serious health issue, surgery, and a shoulder injury did slow me down this year, but I kept moving. Alright, I admit it. I am getting older, but I am figuring out how to work around these obstacles and keep taking care of my health. It just looks a little different than it used to.

More importantly, He reminded me that I am a work in progress. Lessons learned during this past year came through life experiences. There was no other way for me to grow closer to Jesus than to experience the pain of heartbreak, grief, fear, and disappointment that comes with living in the loss. Loss of life, hopes, and dreams. Loss of myself and my own selfish expectations.

He encouraged me to remember that all of the effort I thought accomplished almost nothing was working a transformation in me, and that’s the most important part of this whole deal.

Choosing to Stand

For 2020, my word is “Stand,” and I will graciously accept the challenge.

I choose to stand in the face of obstacles thrown my way, criticism, rejection, and my own self-doubt.

I choose to stand when I feel like quitting.

I choose to stand in honor of my mother who taught me to never give up.

Finally, I choose to stand for my son who chose to pick himself up when all hope was gone and fight for his life. Today, he stands as my personal hero.

I look back over 2019 and gratefully realize that I did just that. I stood firm. It wasn’t easy. I had to walk away from tempting opportunities in order to stay true to the calling God placed on my life.

We all face those temptations to give up and give in along the way, don’t we?

Today, I will choose to stand firm and do what I believe God is showing me by remaining on the path He placed me on.

What path has the Lord placed you on? Stand firm. Don’t give up. Press on.

The journey may not be easy at times. You may question your own goals, and that’s good. Make sure they line up with God’s plans for you.

Choose Your Word

For those of you who have decided on your word or theme for the year, I would love to hear what that means to you. This is a great time for us to hold each other accountable, pray for each other, and encourage each other.

For those of you who have yet to explore your word for 2020, take the test today. can be very insightful and thought provoking.

If you prefer to share my word of the year “Stand,” please feel free to do so.

Here are some scriptures to help you stand firm no matter what this year brings your way.

May you stand tall because you are stronger than you know and because Jesus is standing with you always.

“They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise and stand firm.” Psalms 20:8

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

“He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he causes me to stand on the heights.” 2 Samuel 22:34

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:58‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Pinterest pin woman looking away

Dear Lord.

We praise you for your word. Thank you that it strengthens us when we are weak. We choose to stand back up when we get knocked down because you have made us strong. We stand because our hope is in you and our eyes are on you. We stand because we know this battle is worth fighting. We trust you for our lives and for our year. In Jesus name we pray.


Beautiful Blessings. Dawn

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