Suffering has most certainly been a daily theme playing out over the course of this last year. We know, you probably just want to shove it aside and not talk about it anymore. But the truth is, we did find some treasures in the midst of all the hard.
A global pandemic has brought new weights of worry as to how to keep our family and friends safe, as well as economic concerns, social unrest, and emotional discomfort. The disparities of injustices present in health care, education, and communities has heightened visibility. Essentially, the life we knew in 2019 had come to a screeching halt in 2020.
Grief, anger, fear, anxiousness, uncertainty, and doubt are emotions you may have experienced at one point or another during this past year. Maybe all at once?
We all wrestled with how to bring a sense of “normalcy” to our families when nothing felt “normal.” Perhaps you thought turning the clock forward to 2021 would distance us all from toilet paper shortages, stay at home orders, and online learning.
To use a term coined by Katherine Wolf, author of Hope Heals and Suffer Strong, what if 2020 was a “good hard” year and now that it’s in the rearview mirror, we can consider what good it brought in the midst of hard?
What if we stepped back to see it from a different perspective?
A clearer perspective.
What if we could see it from God’s perspective?
God’s 2020 vision
The decreasing of kid activities were a gift of TIME for creating new family rhythms and deeper connection. Feelings of loneliness and isolation gave us the OPPORTUNITY to LEAN into Him more, trust Him more, and evaluate where we put our hope. A slower daily rhythm allowed us to not only see the injustices, pain, and suffering around us, but to maybe ACT in love toward our community.
God’s 2020 vision provides a different perspective. A vertical one rather than a horizontal one. Through His lens, we are seen, regardless of the year or circumstances, allowing us to finally see others. We are not the only ones suffering. In 2020 we began to see others and their struggles. Maybe we developed some empathy muscles?
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
The daily burdens of working from home, monitoring online learning, managing kiddos that seem to disagree more than agree build RESILIENCY in us moms. In our kids. We were stretched to near breaking points, yet tangibly felt God meeting us and helping us carry our burdens.
“He tends his flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in His arm; He will carry them close to His heart and gently lead those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:11
The hopelessness felt in our world with rising political tension, surges in COVID cases, mounting racial tension, and continued isolation have been an opportunity to surrender the baseline of our faith. Our HOPE is found only in Jesus.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
The omission of gleaning happiness from travel, sporting events, concerts, or eating a meal out was an awakening to CHOOSE joy and happiness in God. Maybe not every time, but we sure had opportunity. For in praying for joy, we are asking for God to grow the Fruit of His Spirit to sustain our hearts, rather than holding tight to our calendars.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.” James 1:2
Mamas, as we reflect on the year 2020, may we be encouraged in knowing that God has been with us every step of the way, even if we haven’t felt Him. As we prepare to venture further into 2021, consider taking time to remember and reflect on what God has done in you and through you this last year. He is at work. Even in the darkest of seasons.
We are so thankful for each of you and the opportunity to walk together in raising daughters rooted in God’s amazing grace and abundant love.
Be loved and love well.
Steph West & Beth Kershner
Courageous Girls Leadership Coaches