One year it was L O V E;
another it was T R U S T;
this past year was C O U R A G E / B R A V E.
And how do I know it was Him? The words would come up too many time to be coincidental. Sermons would be taught on the subject, gifts would be given with the words, or experiences where all I could do was let go and listen to Him. And these are hard words to learn from.
I had to experience loss to know what it meant to fully love;
I had to experience uncertainty to know I had to trust;
I had to be scared to know I should be brave.
It doesn't sound fun, and it wasn't for some (even most) of that time. But it didn't happen all at once, and was given to me in amounts that I wouldn't crumble underneath.
You know the passage where Paul talks about how God will not give us more than we can handle? I've heard a lot of controversy about this verse, and it has been taken out of context a lot. I liked it when someone explained it as "When God gives you more than you can handle, it's so you can be strengthened by Him." He won't give you so much that you fail; God gives you just enough so that you have to depend on Him. He wants to be the source of your strength. You will experience things that you will think you will never make it through, but God is there. A solid rock for you to have firm footing.
"The temptations in your life are no different
from what others experience. And God is faithful.
He will not allow temptation to be more
than you can stand. When you are tempted,
he will show you a way out so that you can endure."
~1 Cor 10:13, NLT translation
Even though I've often felt alone, I have never been. Despite the struggles of everyday life He has been right there, guiding me. And that is one of the most reassuring things I think anyone can experience. The knowledge that the God of the universe, the Creator of life, cares about you, and is wanting to lead you.