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Recently, I saw this quote on a friend’s Facebook post, asking viewers to respond using a word ( or several ) on how they would describe2020. To my surprise, I saw the words “ a blessing ” along with a heart emoji right next to it. Wow, someone had a good year. And then I thought, so did I . It in fact was a blessing.
THIS.YEAR. Was hard.
If you were not affected somehow by this year at all – God bless you… but if you’re like the millions of others on the planet that were, well you’re in good company. From reading tragic stories of lives lost from the virus, to hearing about families claiming bankruptcy, losing their businesses, or losing their sanity, nothing about this year seemed to go right for anyone. The world stopped. We all found ourselves in the same place – desperate for answers; Desperate for relief. And even until now we are a world still searching for hope and peace from a year that shook us to our very core.
I had Covid-19 this summer and practically spent it in my room. I couldn’t see my fiance for a few months at a time, nor much of my friends or family. On top of that, Joe was working on a Covid floor when it all hit in March. We were also planning our outdoor wedding, I was teaching virtually a couple of hours a day, and taking two classes, all while trying to heal from the virus. Oh – and we were also trying to find a place to live. Want to talk about stress ? However, this blog IS NOT to compare the trials I faced to your own. I’m sure whoever is reading this right now is going through your share of setbacks as a result of 2020. I’m writing this in hopes that someone out there can relate.
Basically, I feel you girl !
This week during my devotions, my husband and I discussed this year in review and were completely amazed at the goodness of God in our lives. That despite this pandemic, despite my contracting the virus, and my husband working on the frontlines of it all – God showed Himself faithful ( as He always does). As I’ve been sinking my teeth a little more each day into the Word of God, The Lord keeps giving me this verse from the book of Isaiah chapter 30.
” For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying , ‘This is the way walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.’ “
I got this picture of God in the front of a classroom sitting behind the desk watching his students with compassion as they complete their tests, rooting for each student to pass. ” You can it, Christa. Remember what my Word.” I believe He is rooting for you too !
Although this year felt like the biggest test of our lives, know that your Teacher was there. Maybe silent, but observant, and still in the room with you. Maybe you didn’t have great experiences with teachers however I am here to help you see God as a teacher that is FOR his students. He is always watching ready to guide you and lead you to the next step. I love that image of God being behind us, gently telling us where to go. He also lets us make our own decisions in hopes that they align with all that He has taught us. Because a teacher should want the best for their students and look for their best interests even in the midst of hardship. He only hides himself for a moment, so that we could turn to Him in need of answers. He doesn’t withhold the answers from us but gives us insight into where to go next. And guess what? He goes with us.
Adversity and affliction aren’t words we would like to have define our lives, ( honestly, they sound icky), however without them, we would only continue to grow stagnant; complacent in a world that needs the power and the hope, and most importantly the love of Christ Jesus our Lord. Beloved, your teacher is with you. With tears welling up, I want you to know the Lord has not abandoned you but He is growing you more, even through what feels like chards of glass.
Remember, Beloved, you have a Teacher, a Good Shepard, a Heavenly Father who cares for you. He does not sit waiting to see you fail, but he is actively listening and involved in your life providing discipline as a loving father would to His child.
I believe God is shaking up this world, to remind us that we are not in control of our circumstances. In His mercy, God is pleading with His people to turn to Him. Why? Because He is the overcomer of the world ( John 16:33). We can trust Him, even in the midst of pain and hardship.
As someone who struggles with mental illness, I have let my mind wander into some deep and dark places. I was so afraid I would lose Joe this summer. I was so afraid I was going to succumb to this virus and leave behind my love, my family and my friends. I remember calling out to Him, earnestly praying that God would heal me and would bring me back to my fiance and that Him and I would get married. I didn’t know if this was going to be the end. I prayed more than I ever prayed in my life and held onto Psalm 91 – great chapter by the way. I asked Him everyday, God, would this be it for me?
BUT GOD – Ok, I’ll brag on God now.
- I landed a virtual teaching job that actual paid me more money than I would’ve earned working somewhere else
- I received a little over $1800 for the classes I took in the summer – No student loans were required and the courses are completely paid off !
- I lived with my parents when I had Covid – and they never got it !
- I tested negative twice in August from the virus and was reunited with my sweet Joe
- Joe never got Covid !
- Joe and I got married on a beautiful day in October at our friend’s ranch and it was the best day of my life – also, no one reported getting sick from the wedding!
- God found us a beautiful home in New Jersey, a month before we got married. Joe and I didn’t start to live together until after the wedding so we got to go straight home together
- Joe and I went on a honeymoon to South Carolina, in Murrell’s Inlet – beautiful spot!
- I finished my last course for my ESL (English as a Second Language) certification this past semester and will be student teaching this spring semester
- I have two more courses to take and will be receiving my Masters in Teaching English as Second Language by the end of 2021
All the things I was worried about, God took care of every single request and answered every prayer! Trust me, I have fallen short before the Lord and I haven’t always made the right decisions, but God is faithful, and just as His word says, He hears the cries of His people and He answers. I don’t deserve His grace at all – but He still loves me with a love so unconditional it practically melts my heart. *Insert Olaf quote*
I sobbed as the clock struck 12 on New Year’s Day. My husband looked at me and said “Baby we made it.” The tears couldn’t stop rolling down my face. We held each other so tightly, as fireworks bursted outside our living room window. We prayed and praised God for His faithfulness during 2020 and welcomed the New Year fully committed to seeking God with all of hearts.
Beloved, if you take anything from this, I hope it’s that you can trust in His goodness, even when everything around you is crumbling. He is for you and goes before you, eager to lavish you with compassion and mercy. Don’t let what happened in 2020 discourage you from the destiny and plan God has for you and your life. As we put 2020 behind us, let us take the lessons we’ve learned from that year and let it compels us to look to Him always – our Father, sweet Friend and Teacher.
Happy New Year!