Encouragement · Faith, Life, and Marriage · Gratitude · The Encouragement Corner

What a Year And Oh How I am Thankful For it

What a year.

Honestly, I feel that about sums it up in a sentence…just…what. a. year. Pandemics, murder hornets, hurricanes, protests from all sides, a crazy election, job losses, loss of loved ones. It feels like a year where we have been tossed in the middle of boxing ring with 50 boxers on all sides, all simultaneously taking 1-2 punches, spinning us around & not letting up.

It felt that way to me back in March, for sure. Our business was forced to close during the shut downs here in NC, we went 163 days closed (so far), the grocery store was emptied out without knowing when it would feel “normal” again, my “essential” job was impacted, & I didn’t know when I’d be able to see my parents again. Everything shifted under me & I had no clue what to do because…well…there was literally nothing I COULD do. And looking back on it now, 9 months later, I can genuinely say I am thankful for this year, the shift it brought with it, & the lessons God taught me through it all.

Who knew I’d be thankful for a year like this?…but honestly, I am.

That very first night, not knowing what was coming, what the future was going to look like, I just gave it all up. I didn’t know what else to do so I just turned on some worship music & prayed because that was the only thing I knew to do…& low & behold, the first song to play was “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle….the first words of the song go “Letting go of every single dream, I lay each one down at your feet, every moment of my wandering never changes what You see…” & let me tell you, I bawled. That moment really was a “letting go”.

With all of this, looking back over 2020, I’ve finally seen the trend. I have looked back at what God has done in my life & I can see Him working & moving in me, in my life, in my circumstances. He has been working, He has been stripping away the distractions, & while it has not been comfortable, it has been for the best. When I first truly began my relationship with Christ when I was 22, it was because He had been stripping away the distractions of what I THOUGHT Christianity was based on the institutions, based on what Christian “leaders” say & do. He was stripping away the distractions of who I thought I could rely on in my family & friends. A few years later, He continued moving in my life & my walk with Him by stripping away the distractions of reliance on my own achievements & accomplishments, where I had been putting my value. In the past 2 years, He has stripped away the scales on my own eyes about how I view my self & my walk with Him, helping me see that I am just as sinful as anyone else, that I am lost without Him. And this year? He has been working in me by stripping away the distractions of where I found my comfort- in routine, in the comfort & security of the source of my wants & needs, in a busy schedule.

This year, He has opened my eyes, He has slowed me down, He has re-centered my comfort, my foundation in Him & Him alone. I came to realize that when I couldn’t even feel like a normal human at a grocery store, that it was probably time to make sure my heart was centered in the Bread of Life rather than the bread of aisle 5. Because really, what would I do if there was never a “bread of aisle 5” again? This year, He has quieted my spirit. In the middle of the chaos, when my heart & tongue were raging with anger, bitterness, & frustration, He showed me the importance of taming my tongue & showing grace because I am just as sinful, just as messed up as the next person, BUT GOD still loved me enough to come for me & you.

As we are potentially facing a repeat of the 1st half of the year, potentially more shut downs, potentially more loss…it sounds crazy to say it…but I am actually more at peace than I have ever been. Because while He has taught me where I must anchor my heart, mind, & comfort…He also taught me the WHY.

Why? Because He always remains faithful. He always provides. He always brings glory to Himself & works out every situation for the ETERNAL good of those who love Him…even if the current, temporary doesn’t feel good now…He works it for our ETERNAL good & His glory. He didn’t remove the difficulties of this year, but He also didn’t remove Himself. He has walked with me every step of the way, I have seen His provision in every situation. So as we face more, I know I can still trust & rely on Him & OOOH how thankful I am for that!!

I challenge you, too, to check your heart. Check what or who you are anchored in. Are you anchored in circumstances, things, people, institutions, yourself, or God. Where are you finding peace…because if it’s not in the right thing, you will be shaken. Decide now who you will be & in Whom you anchored. Don’t wait until it gets worse.

So…yes…while this year has been one of the most difficult on record for so many people, including myself, I am still thankful for it because through it He has continued to reveal WHO He is & WHY I can rely on Him. Because He has grown me in myself but more grown me in Him. So for the lessons He has taught me this year…I am thankful.

Be blessed, friends!

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

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