One word can change your life. As an author you might think I would say it’s a book full of words which can change your life. While I love books, I’ve learned the right word spoken or written at the right time can mean all the difference, especially if it comes from the Creator.

Several years ago, God began giving me a word for the year. I think He did that because He knows I need simple reminders to stay on track. Oddly enough it coincided with 2013. On Dec. 30, 2012, I wrote in my journal, “God says my word for 2013 is grace.”


At the time I had no idea why He had given me that particular word. Then, on January 1, I sensed He tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Now is the time for you to write the book that matters.”

I thought, “Really God? I’ve wanted to write a book for years. What is this book about?”

Then, I saw it laid out in the heavens. It was the book about my weight loss journey. I knew the story line, beginning, middle, end, anti-climax, climax, purpose, audience. However, I didn’t know the title of the book.

While writing my memoir I began to plummet the depths of how the grace of God has been at work and is still working in my life. He gave me grace for every time I failed Him, turned my back and didn’t listen to Him. His grace is what kept me alive.

It wasn’t until I’d written the book, decided on the name of Sweet Grace and held it in my hands that I remembered what my word for the year was. My word was grace.


On Jan. 1, 2014, I asked God, what is your word for me this year? I wanted it to be some awesome word like hope, joy or love. Instead He clearly showed me my word was focus.

Focus? Focus on what, God? It was a ridiculous question, really. I sensed Him standing there tapping His foot, knowing look on His face, head cocked, waiting until I got it.

It was clear. I was to focus on God. As I focused on what He wanted, it was as if He took me by the hand and led me intentionally. Leading Sweet Grace study, doing television and radio interviews, starting Sweet Change Weight Loss Coaching Group, writing Sweet Change book. Each was not my idea, but it was the idea of the One on whom I was focusing. I wrote Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation in 2014, but it was published in 2015.


I was looking forward to 2015 wondering what the word would be. I was distressed when God gave me the word Shine. As a matter of fact, I sort of went limp all over went I sensed He was giving me that word.

“I don’t want to shine, God,” I explained. “I just want to be Yours.”

I always know the word for the year because it both resonates with me and stretches me. Shining definitely was a stretching word for me.

During the year I was constantly reminded the only way I shine is when God is shining through me. He is my light and light is power.

It is only by the grace of God that I have lost 260 pounds. I have only been able to do that by owning my weakness for certain foods, focusing on Him and accepting it is His power source, which shines through me.


I was freaked out by my word for 2016. I know it’s God’s word for me because it scared me and reverberated throughout me all year long.

I learned this year that God says so much about wisdom in His Word. He tells us if we need it to just ask God and He will give it to us.1 He tells us it is more valuable that rubies,2 if we prize wisdom it will make us great.3 It is a tree of life and will make us happy4 and it is sweet to our souls.5He adds, “wise words are like deep waters.”6 One way wisdom enters our lives is with humility.7 Wisdom is understanding not only who God is, but how He works in my life. It is not that I am wise. It is in trusting and seeking God for the right answers, I gather wisdom.

I am understanding more and more each word God gives me builds on the next. Grace is a foundation word. It’s where we start with God. Focus is a growth word. It is necessary for discipleship. Shine is a promotion word. I can’t shine unless I become nothing and He becomes everything. Wisdom is a come-up-higher word. It’s a word which says God is ready to impart new truth to me. He did that when I was writing Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off and Sweet Freedom Study Guidewhich were released in 2016.


Last year, God also told me that “favor follows wisdom.”  I chewed on that phrase for most of 2016. I was well aware in every circumstance and every decision of my life that I needed to ask God and as He promises in James, He would give me the wisdom needed to go forward. Still, I was very aware that in order to go forward I have to take action. To do that, I need faith.

James says that we are to ask but we are to “ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man (or woman), unstable in all his (or her) ways.”7

I’ve not totally learned that lesson yet. I’ve learned this year that God’s wisdom is readily available, but my tendency is to overthink how I respond. Does He mean this or this other thing? Is it really God’s voice or mine? What happens if I act and I fail miserably? I don’t want my actions to reflect badly on God. Ha, as if anything I do can damage God’s reputation!

God told many people in the Bible some crazy things. Mary had a baby and she was a virgin.8 Say, what? Joshua led the Children of Israel to win a major battle walking around a city, blowing ram horns and shouting.9 Say, what? Jesus told the disciples to feed at least 5,000 people with nothing. However, with His help, they did.10 I’m of the opinion that after Jesus blessed the five loaves and two fish, the disciples had to act on faith.  They had to distribute the foodand in the distribution the miracle of multiplication continued to happen.10 Say, what?

My word for 2017 is faith. It’s a pretty scary word as is every word God gives me at the beginning of the New Year. I wonder what lessons I will need to learn this year in regard to that word? I wonder what additional thing I will need faith for this year? I do know this, at the end of 2017, I will have learned a whole lot more about what it means to intentionally take faith for my journey.

Why Faith?

Some of the biggest things we need faith for, we don’t even realize until afterwards that it was our faith in action that got us through. The biggest example for me has been losing 260 pounds. In the midst of beginning and going through that journey I didn’t realize I was walking in faith. God was teaching me, though, to trust Him and allow Him to lead.

Any time we go on a change journey of any kind, it is also a faith journey. For 2017 your word may have to do with going on a weight loss journey of some kind. If so, I want you to run, not walk, to Sweet Change Group and join today. It will by far be the best decision you have ever made. I say that because God is leading the group. I am the coach, yes. But I can only say what He tells me to say and I’m always amazed at the outcome.

Sweet Change is not for those who want quick fixes, though. It is for those who want to make permanent lifestyle changes and transformations that involves everything—body, soul and spirit. So jump in with us. The water may feel like it’s deep and getting deeper, but it will be exactly where God wants you to be this year.

Let 2017 be the year you allow Him to change everything. Among other things, Sweet Change Group now includes the phenomenal Video Vault which is growing each day. It currently has over $3,000 worth of resources for use by group members any time and as often as they like. Join today. Don’t wait. Go HERE.

1James 1:5 NLT

2Proverbs 8:11 NLT

3Proverbs 4:8 NLT

4Proverbs 3:18 NLT

5Proverbs 24:14 NLT

6Proverbs 18:4 NLT

7James 1:6-8 ESV

8Matthew 1:18 NLT

9Joshua 6:21-22 NLT

10Matthew 14:13-21 AMP


Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. Her other books include: "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, both available under the weight loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab on her website. Also check out her blog and Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast under the tabs by those names.