In Conclusion: 2020

Wow. 2020. Where do I even begin?

In the middle of May I saw a meme joking about how the biggest waste of money spent in 2020 was for a planner. Hah. I couldn’t help but chuckle (even these photos were originally meant for a very different post). I don’t think anyone imagined how this year would pan out. Even at that point, I never imagined how true it would still be for many of us throughout the rest of 2020.

For so many, this has been a year of loss. Of disappointment. Of fear. Of confusion. Plans, vacations, and travel were cancelled. Many brides faced difficult decisions of postponing the day that they dreamed of or just deciding to elope. Families faced total rearrangement of schedules as children came home from school and people worked from home. People faced loss of physical community, the ability to mourn together, and many faced isolation. 

For, myself, I mourned the loss of my mom getting to be with me while I delivered my first little one(due to restrictions). We mourned not being able to celebrate and share our daughter’s first days with family and friends. We mourned the loss of the opportunity to for so many to meet her and say goodbye before moving halfway across the country. We mourned financial losses (as did so many others) 

& our losses were so insignificant compared to so many.

So many people faced momentous financial, job and/or business loss. There were those that lost loved ones or have struggled as they have watched loved ones mentally, emotionally, and physically decline because of the forced isolation. The Coronavirus is only part of the craziness of this year (expanding on the rest would require a whole other entry); but 2020 has felt like one ongoing lose/lose situation.

I have found myself crying out (on more than one occasion) to God asking, “Will NORMAL ever return?! What is the purpose in all of this?!” As I write this, a renewed sense of grief washes over me. There is also a frustration. 

Frustration, mostly towards feeling a loss of control. As humans we often plan and plan & we like to have ‘control’ over our lives (some of us, more than others). In reality, we really don’t have control…but it’s easy to forget until something comes along that just blows everything apart. 

My mother-in-law often says, “God isn’t up there wringing His hands.”

And it’s so true about everything happening now too. God knew everything that was going to happen this year and NOTHING is out of his control. It is so easy for people to get frustrated at God or say there must not be a God, or ‘why would He allow these things to happen?’ And of course I could go into a whole theological discussion about sin and brokenness…but maybe that is a blog for another time. God is omnipresent (not bound by time) and he has this HUGE picture that we can’t comprehend, and he knows what he is doing.

We can choose to succumb to the disappointment, hurt, and confusion of this year, or we can see 2020 as a wake up call. It is a HUGE reminder to us all, how little we really do have control over the plans of our lives. But what can we control?

We can control what we put our faith in.

We can control our responses to what happen.

We can control if we choose to learn and grow from a situation.

We can control how we treat others. 

I have learned this year that I really have no control over my plans…often times things won’t work out the way I foresaw them. But I can make the decision to put my faith in God and seek after him, no matter what. I can’t control what happens, but I do have control over whether I choose bitterness or joy. I can give up and live in defeat or I can choose to allow the Lord to change and mature me. I can’t control others thoughts or how they treat me, but I do control my response to them and whether I choose to love others or live in selfishness. 

Some people faced way more devastating losses and struggles than others; how can we support, honor, and encourage them?  When plans don’t go the way we thought…how do we choose to spend our time? Do we spend our time on things that won’t matter, or do we choose to pour into others and spend time learning and growing? As 2020 comes to a close, what will you choose? We can see 2020 as a waste, or we can see it as an opportunity to learn, to cherish the little moments (like enjoying the sunshine in the outdoors, a conversation with a good friend, or watching a baby learn to crawl). 

Choose hope. Choose encouragement. Choose love.