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  • Grace A. Johnson

welcome to 2023


So, 2022 happened. Like, it came...it went...it was experienced and enjoyed (and despised a few times)...and now it’s over. Just like that. Every month was like a chapter that was just too short, and now the novel has ended with fewer pages than I’d expected.

But the passing of one year means the dawn of another. I personally love how G.K. Chesterton put it: “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.”

Each new year is a new chance, a fresh start, an unturned page, and an unlived season. Let’s embrace that and live each moment (no matter how short) to the fullest!

First, however, we’ve gotta reminisce about 2022.

what I did last year

Y’all, this was The Year™. The year I finally published Bound and Determined. Unlike the basically unfruitful past two years (2020 and 2021, both of which were pretty much spent entirely reading), I focused in 2022 on finishing BAD, getting it beta-read and edited, and publishing it a little over three years after I typed the first sentence.

And it happened. It actually happened.

On top of that, God threw me for a few loops. I ended up writing a devo a day in January, which resulted in a devotional published in April. In February, He gave me the idea to put together a Christian romance anthology, which will release this February and is now available for preorder! He even worked things out so that my friend E.K. Seaver and I could start an editing business, which has taken off quite well, all thanks to Him!

There were some things that didn’t happen—namely, I didn’t get my driver’s license like I had semi-planned to—and there were others that happened entirely according to plan, mainly me finishing my last few classes in my marketing certification course.

But even in the surprises and disappointments and mistakes and celebrations, you know what stayed constant? God. His grace. His provision. His love. His mercy. His forgiveness. Every day, I realize all over again how deep, how amazing, how beautiful, and how vital each of these things—every aspect of God—are.

As far as my personal life, the year went fairly smoothly. No lost jobs, no near-death experiences. My nana fully recovered from her heart attack, although she’s now having eye trouble. We had either The Virus or the flu (which finally came back after being banished by The Virus) back during the Fourth of July. And my brother broke his leg, which was crazy at the time but hardly memorable now, strangely. Other than that...gosh. What did happen in 2022?

(Y’all, that’s how fast it went. Or rather, how bad I am at remembering things. Let’s just go with the former, shall we?)

To sum up, in 2022 I…

  • Published Bound and Determined

  • Published With Fear and Trembling

  • Organized Tell Me You Love Me

  • Edited at least ten books, most of which were with S&J Editors

  • Got Instagram (whoop whoop!)

  • Finished my small business marketing manager course

  • Launched S&J Editors

  • Release Sky’s the Limit Literary Journal (and then let it fall by the wayside)

  • Conducted some (but certainly not all) research for my super secret special project

  • Met and exceeded my wild and crazy goal of selling 1,000 books on Amazon in a year (which was due to a bunch of free promotions, but it still counts)

  • Read about 66 books (although my goal was 100)

this year’s goals

Y’all, my goals for 2023 are many. I literally have three lists of them! So let me try to dial it down to the main ones…

  • Publish Tell Me You Love Me

  • Write Something Bright and Beautiful (the sequel to Daylight)

  • Write and publish a Daughters of the Seven Seas Christmas short story

  • Write at least five short stories

  • Write a new devotional

  • Start an Etsy shop and/or launch a web design business

  • Grow my blog, Instagram, newsletter, etc.

  • Consistently sell at least 10 books a month (hopefully more)

  • Start making passive income/a steady income

  • Relaunch Sky’s the Limit Press

  • Grow S&J Editors

  • Actually get my license for real this time

  • And last but not least...begin plotting/outlining the second edition of Held Captive (aka, The Rewrite™)

Do I guarantee I’ll do any of those things? Not at all. But will I try with all my might?

You better believe it.

It’s your turn now! What are your goals for 2023? What did you accomplish in 2022? How do you ring in the new year? What are you most excited for in this new year? Share all you’d like in the comments below!

scripture of the year

Last year, I debuted a new yearly tradition: Scripture of the Year. Everyone else picks words. Or, rather, a word. How boring. Why not pick an entire paragraph of God-breathed scripture?

So I did. In part to be different, in another part because I couldn’t think of a single word, but mainly because Psalm 91 was so heavy on my heart at the time.

Well, 2023’s scripture came to be in the most unlikely of ways...not from soul-searching and Bible-studying and praying (although that’s not to say I didn’t do those things). This year, all it took was a song.

It goes a little something like this…


How long ‘til the world will be completed?

How many times will history repeat it?

How long will it take, how long, how long?

I want to go, will you show me the way?

How long, how long, how long will it take?

How long?

How long, how long?

I want to go, will you show me the way?

How long, how long, how long will it take?

How long ‘til the world could be completed?

How many times will history repeat it?

How long ‘til the words fall to the pages?

How many times ‘til all we can say is save us?


Does that not sounds familiar? Perhaps like something you’ve thought or prayed? Perhaps something like...


How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?


Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,

lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him,’ lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

Psalm 13. The one Psalm (of many, really) that always echoes the cry of my soul. The Psalm I think we’ve all been praying. We’ve all been asking “How long?” “How much longer?” “How many times?” “How long will it take?”

We’ve all been waiting. And that’s what I feel like 2023 will be. A season of waiting. And maybe, for some things and some people, only a season. Maybe 2023 will also be the year their waiting ends and they receive what they’ve been waiting for. But for others, in other areas, it may be the beginning of the waiting, the middle of the waiting, the waiting that takes the most strength.

That’s it right there. So often, we think of waiting as grueling and hard, as needing strength to endure. When do you think of waiting as giving and building strength?

[B]ut they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

You may be asking “How long?” You may be waiting in 2023. But waiting doesn’t mean lacking. It means receiving God’s grace, His peace, and His provision as you prepare for the next step. It means gaining strength and endurance to run the next leg of the race. It means learning and growing just for “for the next,” but for the now.

Waiting means trusting, rejoicing, singing. It means abiding in and resting in the steadfast love, salvation, and presence of God.


From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear,

no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.”

Isaiah 64:4

May you experience the peace of God in your waiting. May you understand the steadfast, never-ending love of God. May you taste the goodness of God. May you be strengthened, encouraged, uplifted, and rooted during this season, whatever it may look like. May you remember to call upon the name of the Lord with your questions and your praises, and to trust in Him and His timing above all.


I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord

more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”

Psalm 130:5-6

Lord, bless us all this year and every year after. May we trust in You as we await Your redemption of our broken world. May we find strength in Your presence as we await Your answers to all our questions. May we rest in Your love and Your grace as we await the next season of our lives. And further, may we come to understand that no matter what our lives may look like at the time, every day, we are living out our calling and our purpose on this earth, and every second is a new opportunity to grow closer to You and to be who You have called us to be. For that, we never have to wait.


The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”

Lamentations 3:25

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Psalm 27:14


yours in spirit and script,

grace


#welcometo2023 #lifeupdate #yearlyupdates #wrapup #goals #updates #news #waiting #scriptureoftheyear #happynewyear #newyear

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