January 2021

Retrospect

In this first Sunday of the New Year, I am finding myself strangely reluctant to let go of the one just finished. I’m not sure I’ve ever come to the end of a year and not been eager and excited for the new one to unfold. It is not so much that I am timid at approaching 2021 as it is 2020 was so full of abundant life and pivotal happenings. I find in retrospect that I have lived and experienced a surprisingly rich and greatly fulfilling year of leaning in to the Father with more and more dependence.

The year began with a bit of tumult as I had just started a new job, immediately requiring us to search for a new home in closer proximity thereto. January and February found us consumed with packing, moving and unpacking as I was desperately trying to find my footing in my new responsibilities at work. His grace upon us and our labor during these weeks is a miracle for which we continue to thank Him.

My daughter came to spend a couple of weeks with us toward the end of March just one day before the shelter-in-place was implemented, and she stayed for three months as she waited out the school year to receive her degree in Elementary Education. I still marvel at God’s timing and provision for these weeks, as we were so grateful to be together, and it was a gift of time we might not otherwise have had. And, my sister and I were also writing and hosting an on-line bible study with weekly group FaceTime meetings.

During this time I was working from home, and the added pleasure of being in our new home all day every day was especially grand. It gave me time to wrap the house around us and express gratitude for so many small things. Work was especially intense at this time, and I was able to put in long hours at my computer, which resulted in a surprise bonus in December.

We had the privilege, in early August, to be with our family and my sister’s family at the beach for a week. The fellowship was enriching, and the slow moving hours were restorative. This proved invaluable as new demands at work came in the third quarter, and I was again putting in long hours.

During the Fall, my sister and I hosted a weekly virtual bible study on two different days of the week, and we both felt the experience was one of the most blessed we had encountered in all the 20 years of bible teaching we had done, both individually and together.

In mid-December, my sister’s family and several in our church community were stricken with Covid, and even now there are many that I know who are suffering. God’s mercy and comfort and healing are real for us, and His grace is sufficient for all that we are facing in our human limitations and weaknesses. The number of testimonies of His goodness and grace seem to be ever increasing, even as the reality of circumstances and situations around us is constraining and would appear oppressive. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “…we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed….” This is part of the mystery of belonging to God in Christ. Our experience of life does not define God for us, rather our experience of God defines life for us.

So, as I reflect on this past year, knowing that many feel that 2020 happened to them, I must say that my heart is full of gratitude for all His goodness, for all His kind intentions, and for the beauty of His kingdom of light. I’ve experienced greater intimacy with Him as I have pressed in to be with Him and hear His voice on matters too high for me to attain and too complex for my mere human understanding. Truly His grace is sufficient.

As we move into the New Year, our church family will spend most of the month of January in prayer and fasting, as has become our custom, and I am moving forward with a desire to be more devoted to Him, to His kingdom, and to the people He puts in my path.

Until next week, dear one, seek His Kingdom and let His grace be all sufficient.

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