Ten years ago, I sat down to write this journal entry:

“Leading up to today, I’ve been excited. I’ve felt my heart stirring in anticipation of today’s reflection. I’m ready to put last year down and jump into 2010. I’m excited, plain and simple. When I look ahead, that’s what I see and feel. Excitement, anticipation and a readiness to hopefully get a break from the struggles and receive blessings from the Lord through good and happy times. That is my biggest prayer.”

Little did I know a precious baby girl had just been conceived and one year + 30 days later, I’d be honored with the role of her mommy. As I reflect over the past 10 years today, I’m struck by God’s faithfulness in my life, and how He’s oddly prepared me through a yearly “One Word.”

danielleripleyburgess-unexpected-4-small

One Word for the Year

The “One Word” trend caught on a few years ago, which has been exciting to watch. In 2007, I made a habit of journaling on New Years Day to both reflect back and look ahead. In 2010, I began to sense the Holy Spirit putting a single word on my heart to guide and direct the upcoming year. (It’s been awesome to work with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and meet the guys who wrote One Word that will Change your Life about this very same thing!) 

Intentionally pausing and discerning One Word each year is now a favorite personal tradition. It was my way to self-reflect way before bathroom selfies became popular. This year is extra special because I’m not just reflecting on 2019, but the past decade. Thank you God that I got to live it!

mikey-danielle-nye-2018

A decade of “One Words”

How did God prepare me for the decade? Here are the “One Words” I sensed on January 1 and the major milestones that followed each year.

2010 – Excited

While still on staff with The Avenue, the church we helped plant, I began freelancing and sensed big changes up ahead. We started the adoption process in September. (Little did we know our daughter would also be born that September.)

mike-danielle-burgess-2010nye

2011 – Fulfill

On January 31, 2011, we brought our daughter home after a 3-week adoption whirlwind. In my journal, I deemed it “the mom year” as God fulfilled so many desires of my heart.

burgess-adoption-story-devotional

2012 – Devotion

I devoted my life to chasing around a life-filled toddler. Also, my doctors were suspicious that I had Lynch syndrome and recommended I get a hysterectomy. (Although I didn’t receive the official diagnosis of my genetic disorder until 2013). Their devotion to my care, and my devotion to preventive surgery, has kept me cancer-free.

danielle-mae-hospital-bed-hysterectomy

2013 – Refuge

I joined the staff of Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) as the first Communications Director. I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back, I can see how God gave me this job as a refuge—it was a position that provided the funding, relationships and encouragement I needed to process my trauma and find my voice.

danielle-fight-crc-washington-dc

2014 – Brave

I needed bravery as I stepped into larger-than-life moments like sharing my story on The Today Show, attending Stand Up to Cancer and touring the White House. I ran a 10K and we underwent our first major renovation project at home—finishing our basement. (Which made it possible for our friend Doc to move in!) Being brave defined my year.

2015 – Thrive

I committed to counseling and began experiencing trauma healing that helped me not just survive, but thrive. Dad came to Call-on Congress with me and the #StrongArmSelfie social media campaign our Fight CRC team created took off. Mae thrived too as she headed into pre-K.

dan-danielle-ripley-sam-graves-conc-fightcrc

2016 – Dwell

I learned what happens when God dwells with us… strongholds fall. I faced many fears (like birds) and held it together through big changes (like Mae starting kindergarten and Mikey facing a layoff.) I walked with Doc as she went public with her alopecia story. My mom and I experienced breakthrough in our relationship and deep reconciliation.

carol-danielle-christmas-cookie-tradition

2017 – Freedom

On the soft sands of a Florida beach, I found total freedom and got an arrow tattoo to commemorate it. After hard goodbyes, we were led to Navah Church and docked in with a new faith community. Digital Division recruited Mikey back, which brought a new sense of security and more freedom.

danielle-ripley-burgess-butterfly-holding

2018 – Trust

I returned to full-time freelancing as a comms pro; God called me out of my full-time role at Fight CRC to be at home for my growing girl! Exciting projects came at just the right time. Trusting God to direct my next steps led to self-publishing Unexpected: 25 Advent Devotionals.

mike-danielle-burgess-unexpected-advent-devotional

2019 – Slow

I took a mindset of slowness into a lot of new places from Mexico to Guatemala, Portland to Hollywood, which helped me soak in precious moments and find deep gratitude for life and beauty. The slow process of writing my book paid off in November when the switch flipped to suddenly and I signed a contract with Redemption Press.

danielle-ripley-burgess-signed-redemption-press-author

A new decade of One Words

As I look back over this 10-year timeline, all I can say is, “Thank you God!” Thank you for preparing and guiding me with One Word each year! Thank you for a decade of excitement, anticipation and readiness—thank you for turning my struggles into blessings. God heard and answered me.

It hasn’t always been easy… the decade was full of pain and disappointments. (Trauma healing is no joke friends). But, it’s so, so worth it. Freedom is possible!

burgess-family-christmas-2019

2020, here I come

Today, as I sit and journal—January 1, 2020—my entry mirrors the one I wrote 10 years prior… and my life does too. I’m on the cusp of more excitement as I look to September for my book launch. I sense God has more big things for me, not just in the next 365 days, but in the decade ahead.

I’m excited, anticipated and ready… again! This year, He’s telling me to invest.

I don’t know what I’ll be writing 1 year, or 10 years, from now as 2030 nears. (And I’m aware it’s not guaranteed I’ll see it… although I hope I do!) But, should I be given the opportunity to live another decade, or even if not, I know what I’ll be saying.

God is good. He’s got a plan for me. He never, ever fails. We can trust His Word.

Get encouraged every Monday morning. Subscribe to Danielle’s email list now!