This verse shaped my life in 2017 more than any other verse, quote or reading. Studying the book of John I came on it and I promise, I’d never seen it before. It took complete hold of me.

First, I pondered, prayed, then memorized John 7: 18. I wanted to become a woman of truth – known for telling the truth, telling the truth at all costs, in the big things and especially in the little things of seemingly no consequence.

Praying this verse for most of the year took me to some inner places I fully expected; I was ready for them. It’s what I didn’t expect that blindsided me and by the hardest changed me a little.

I expected to take the Jesus-way-out. This verse was speaking of Jesus. He always spoke perfectly giving God the honor, fully a man of truth. Wasn’t I being a little ridiculous putting myself into this verse? Was I seeking the impossible?

I expected to be convicted of untruths. I expected that I would notice a lie the minute it left my lips. It happened.

I thought I might notice that many times, even in Christian circles, I was speaking on my own and for one reason – to bring honor to myself. Ouch!

Yet, I didn’t expect to find I lied more than I thought I did. Exaggerations, white lies, saying something for impact, rather than simply saying,’I don’t know’ or refraining from saying anything.

I never thought I’d begin to look at speaking engagements or even a business appointment as a time I was being sent by God.

I never thought I’d feel so sorry for lies I told people years ago and who I can no longer confess to or say I’m sorry.

I didn’t expect when a friend casually asked me one day what she could pray for me and I told her ‘please pray I become a woman of truth’, big tears rolled down her cheeks and she said, ‘Oh my, pray that for me too.’ I didn’t see that coming.

Most of all, I wasn’t expecting to have to confess to anyone; surely there wasn’t a lie that big. There was.

I cannot call myself a woman of truth; those are pretty big shoes and this is a lifelong desire. What’s real is the freedom that comes from confession and knowing what it feels like to be wrapped in His love even while shaking in my boots. 2018’s verse? I am a little excited (and a little scared), waiting to see what it will be.

Here are questions 2 & 3 (out of 10) for January’s looking back to move forward (question 1 here):

Other than the Bible, what was the most influential book you read in 2017 and why?

In the past year when did God speak most clearly to you?