This Year

This year was a lot.

And that’s saying the very least! I can still remember the extreme excitement and the new slogans people came up with for 2020.

“We gonna have plenty in 2020!” As well as all the lively celebrations that come with ringing in a new year.

To be honest, 2020 did start off with all the pomp and circumstance that it initially promised to hold.

However, not even 26 days past the ball drop, we got our first inklings of the collective tragedy and shared grief that would mark these last 365 days.

I still remember January 26th like it was yesterday. I was shopping at one of my favorite spots (a consignment store…LOL!), when I got a heart stopping text from my husband.

Kobe Bryant had died.

Suddenly.

Tragically.

And without any kind of warning…he was taken from “us”.

Not only that, his daughter Gianna, and seven others who had families, loved ones, friends, emails, work deadlines, phone calls, basketball games, date nights and everything else that comes with this life, still on their horizons were snatched away in an instant!

Looking back on how this year would play out, I feel like that horribly tragic plane crash that dealt a devastating blow within the inner circles of those lost nine, would almost be symbolic of what the rest of this year would sadly be like for so many of us.

Between the sudden, worldwide sweep of COVID-19, the heightened racial unrest, a presidential election that would pit neighbor against neighbor and in some cases, mother against son, this year has felt like a continuous plane crash against a hillside in Calabasas, CA!

Grief, depression, worry, loneliness, uncertainty, job loss, health loss, social loss, financial constraints, reduced hours, a strained healthcare system, mixed messages from almost everywhere, partisan leadership, anger, fear, distrust, conspiracy theories, and sooooooo much more has stained this year!

Writing it all out is tiring let alone living in it on a daily basis.

But, despite all this, I would say there has been more.

Regardless of the levels of frustration I feel due to wearing a mask every time I step foot out my front door, in spite of spotty connections over what has now become the norm of “Zoom birthdays”, and even though I am sick and tired of having to be aware of “social distancing” whenever I go into a public gathering…

I

Still

Have

Hope.

Joy.

Peace.

And love.

As I flicked through the hundreds of pictures I’ve accumulated these 365 days on my iphone (shout out to all the real ones!) I smiled. I remembered. And I felt satisfied.

2020 was a REALLY hard year!

Shoot, it’s probably one of the hardest that I can personally think of to date.

However, 2020 was also a GOOD year.

Not in the sense that I’m flippantly disregarding the deep emotional pain I’ve experienced and the countless tears I’ve cried. I’ve had friends and extended family die from COVID this year. I’ve had friends lose jobs. I’ve had friends and family experience other losses and helplessly watch them not be able to experience the nearness of comfort that in normal times they’d usually be afforded.

I am not ignorant of the crotch kick that 2020 felt like at times.

What I am saying is, let’s not forget Who spoke and turned nothing into something!

Let’s not skip so quickly past the One who turned water into wine and also calmed a raging storm with but one word.

Let’s not downplay the One who took on flesh and dwelt amongst us.

When I look back over the memories I captured on my phone from this year, I feel hopeful for what God is still doing outside of these trials and tribulations we continually encounter here on earth.

I am joyful that God gave me GOOD laughter with my children.

I am still madly and insanely in love with my husband…probably even more so now.

I was able to still connect with the people I hold dear, even if it was over a 6 feet invisible barrier in my backyard.

I have still peace that God is in control.

Like for real, for real! God REALLY is in control!! This is not a cliche. This is not my opinion.

This is a fact!

And because He is in control, I need not worry. I need not fret. I need not get myself worked up into a tizzy over whether or not the vaccine will or will not work. Or whether or not the GOP will successfully overturn the election results later next month. I do not have to stress over whether or not myself or any of my loved ones will get COVID, and possibly even succumb as a result? And I don’t have to get worked up over these folks who keep playing around with this stimulus check!! 🤪🤪🤪

All that to say, these are very real concerns. They are valid. They are important, but they won’t rock my peace.

God’s got this!

And most importantly, I’ve got love.

I have the love of my Heavenly Father! So much so, that He sent His only Son to come to this wretched earth and die for little ol’ me so that I could be forever connected to Him for eternity!

There is NOTHING that can separate me from this eternally unchanging love.

Nothing!

In the words of my dear brother, Paul…

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[o]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. – Romans 8:35-37 NLT

And then, Paul got a little happy in these next verses when he wrote…

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[p] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39 NLT

All this to say, 2020 had more downs than we can count! But, let’s not forget the ups. “What are the ups?”, you may be wondering. They are the unshakable truths that were written before the foundations of the world were laid.

Because of Christ, we still have hope. We still have joy. We still have peace. And most importantly, there is nothing we could ever do or have happen to us that would make us lose His love! For that alone, God is worthy of all the praise, glory and honor as we ring in this new year!

Thank you for your love and support throughout this year! I pray you have an amazing, amazing new year!

Rejoice for OUR Emmual HAS come! God is with us!!!

Blessings,

Courtney

Published by Courtney B. Dunlap

Christ follower. Wife. Mother. Friend. Writer...and excited to grow! I believe there's a need for more down-to-earth online spaces in which moms like you and me and anyone else in-between can explore the in's and out's of homeschooling free from competition yet rich with encouragement. My hope is that all that you find here will provide just that!

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