These are God’s things.

This picture. I took it at Marcy’s house on May 19, 2019 when Cacy and Brian stopped by to see us as they drove out to Durham Town to camp. I remember distinctly looking at the photo on my phone screen and contemplating if I should send it to my mom’s phone. But, she was in such a sad place and said she wished she was with us that I didn’t want to send it to her and it come across as “Here we are all together, but you can’t be with us because you’re not feeling well.” That could make her feel left out and even more sad, so I decided not to send it for fear of upsetting her. I would just show it to her tomorrow when I went to visit her. 

Well, that visit never happened. The “tomorrow” I had planned was the worst day of my life. And I have to be in the right frame of mind and heart or this photo can haunt me. It actually makes my stomach hurt to look at it too long.

What if she had seen the precious faces of her grandkids who think she is awesome and fun and loving? What if this photo would have been just the encouragment she needed to push through her pain and confusion? What if she would have realized how many people love her just the way she is and, besides, who else will send the birthday cards and buy the popsicles for their visits or let them have too many sweets?

But I didn’t send it.

But what if I did send it and the outcome of her life was the same? Then what? Would it haunt me in other ways? What if you had not sent her that photo and driven her into more of a depressed state? What if you had waited to just go see her instead of showing her a photo of the grandkids that she didn’t feel good enough to be around?

What I’ve learned as I have walked through grief (there is not an actual end) and have since been close to others who also are walking through grief of their own is that we all have “What if” questions that threaten to take us down. We all wish we could go back and have another chance to say how we feel about our loved one, to make a different decision surrounding the circumstances of our loved one’s death. 

I am reminded during these downward spiral of thoughts of what Josh once told me as we were laying in bed and I was spewing out my feelings and questions about my mom. 

“These are God’s things, Kristy.”

And they were.  And they are still. Sometimes I think I have made amazing progress and I have let all of the “what ifs” go and then something triggers an onslaught of them. I take a deep breath and remember that these are God’s things. I won’t know all I think I want to know. I am not God. My decisions aren’t paramount. My power is no power at all. But God is God. His power is unlimited. His abilities aren’t thwarted by me. 

I trust He is not overwhelmed with all the “things” He has to do and all the people He has to keep up with. So I will keep casting all my cares upon the Lord because He cares for me (I Peter 5:7). And He cares for you, too. Trust Him with all the things.

Reflective

If you had told me five years ago that I would be sitting in Charlotte, NC and hanging out with my dog, going to a gym three days a week, and my kids would be in a real school and not at home with me, I would not have believed you. Afterall, five years ago I didn’t like dogs. 

They say five years is about how long it takes for a place to feel like home. I remember scoffing at those words, thinking surely it won’t take me that long. I mean, how hard can it be? I am a friendly person.

a-hem. Excuse me while I eat crow.

Five years is actually pretty gracious. For me anyway. For here. For this season of life. 

But here we are almost five years in Charlotte and all of those things are true about my life—the dog, the gym, the school. I had a meeting with Ruby’s School Guidance Counselor about her Senior classes, so I have been a bit reflective as I consider that my own child is going to be a senior in high school. I remembered that she was only starting 7th grade when we moved here. She turned 13 not too terribly long after we moved here and now we are considering colleges.

Indeed, life has ticked on at its own pace.

Coinciding with my reflectiveness on life, I have been in Corinthians and 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” I remember reading this several years back and thinking how I didn’t feel like I was triumphing here in Charlotte, but was comforted that even though it didn’t feel like triumphant living, God was leading me in triumph. His Word says so. 

A few days later I was in chapter 6 of 2 Corinthians and found “2017” written in the margin of chapter 6, verse 10, “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” Sorrow most definitely marked my days and nights here. Yet God graciously taught me to be joyful too. You can have joy in sorrow. I knew that in theory before moving here; I walked it out in those first few years. 

I thought back on how a group of my close friends from Georgia drove here during their Thanksgiving Break to love on me and see our new place. I needed that encouragement. I thought back on the many evenings Josh and I would sit quietly together after dinner. We didn’t want to overwhelm each other with all that we were actually feeling. We did from time to time, but we also could see in each other a breaking point. These days strengthened our marriage—not because we relied on each other for rescue or cast all our cares on each other, but because we took them consistently to the Lord, and we were fully aware that He was the only one who could shoulder these cares of ours. I thought back on how I gave in and got a dog because I wanted the kids to be happy about something and enjoy living here. I thought back on our floundering to find a place in church. I remember Sundays being the most dreaded day of the week; this couldn’t have been more opposite for us as a family. I remember needing my GPS for absolutely everywhere I wanted to go. I remember not knowing where the closest Target was and not having a close Publix to get groceries from. I remember Mack turning double digits and Molly getting her first guitar and teaching herself how to play in those lonely days.

So now I reflect on our years here with great fondness. It has been a time of deepening my walk with the Lord. “You don’t know He is all you need until He is all you have.” they say…and in a sense this was true for me in Charlotte. He really met me right where I found myself and was to me all that I needed Him to be.

So when I got to 2 Corinthians 9:18, “And God is able to make ALL grace ABOUND to you, so that ALWAYS having ALL sufficiency in EVERYTHING, you may have an ABUNDANCE for EVERY good deed….You will be enriched in EVERYTHING for ALL liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God,” I was able to say AMEN. He has been more than I could have imagined and met my every need and so many wants. And I can genuinely say, “Thanks be to God for indescribable gift!” (2 Cor 9:15). He is the giver of the gift, and He is the gift. 

We haven’t been here five years quite yet, but I love looking back and seeing how the Lord has walked us every step of the way. He is good. He is trustworthy. He is able to supply our every need. And I just wanted to thank Him for all He has done for us and been to us in this season.

HOMECOMING 2021

Well, I am figuring God is letting the kids know that things that are super fun and traditions that they thought they would be a part of but can’t be because of covid restrictions are just not as important as they once thought. And who am I to doubt a good God and His ways? So we daily entrust ourselves to Him as we grapple with disappointments or crushed expectations. And then we make the best of a tough situation and have a great time along the way.

Homecoming 2021 was held this morning. No dance or date. No basketball game or pep rally. No big crowds in the gym. BUT there was a parade. If we have learned anything through this global pandemic, it’s how to bring back the parade!

Josh and Molly hung out most of the morning together. They are so cute.

I am proud that Molly got chosen by her peers to represent her Sophomore class mostly because I think she is friendly to all of the students and loves people. I love how God made her! She is a light!

Let me tell you who I am also proud of….Ruby. She is such a good older sister to Molly. She keeps her grounded in ways she may need to be grounded. She uses her wisdom and discernment and shares it with Molly often. AND she wrote Molly a sweet note and left it in the bathroom for her to find this morning when she got up (she got to come in to school later than the others). It made my heart swell with pride and love for Ruby when I found out she did that for Molly. Always encouraging and loving on her sister. They have such a gift in each other, and I am sure they will realize it the older they get.

Sweet Ruby videoing Josh and Molly in the parade. LOVE HER!

So it was fun! And it was cold! And it was a great memory, a bright spot on a dreary day in a dreary season. We are choosing to be grateful and celebrate the good! I hope you are doing the same wherever you are.

20 YEARS

January 2001.

The beginning of a new century.

Harry Potter and the Socerer’s Stone, Monsters Inc and Oceans 11 were top movies to watch that year.

Friends was the most popular tv show.

They say the “Most Famous Real Person in America” was probably Angelina Jolie and “Most Famous Fictional Person in America” was likely Harry Potter.

1st Generation iPod was being sold at $400.

“Emily, Madison, Hannah & Ashley” were top baby girl names.

George W. Bush was inaugurated as President.

Rudolph Giuliani was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year (my how things have changed).

2001 also marked the biggest tragedy in America in my lifetime: The 9/11 attacks.

Arizona Diamondbacks were World Series Champs, Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl & LA Lakers were NBA Champs. 

Also noteworthy, Josh and Kristy got married January 27.

Twenty years ago. Two decades ago. It’s hard to believe that much time has passed, and yet I can hardly remember life before Josh. Our marriage, while imperfect, has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Having a husband like Josh is a gift straight from God and just the partner I needed to walk through life with. 

I took some time last summer on our early 20th anniversary trip to West Palm Beach to journal about our marriage. My mind was rested, my body was relaxed, the sun was beating down on the beautiful sand while I watched the ocean waves crash, so the word for each year came to me with ease. I thought I’d record that journal entry here to commemorate our 20 years together as husband and wife. 

2001: FUN. Newlyweds, new apartment in Florida, back to Georgia, just a good time all around

2002: CHANGE. Moved apartments, found a new church, met new friends, learned new city

2003: UNKNOWNS. Josh quit his first job, signed contract on new house, Josh got very sick, found out we were pregnant with Ruby, Josh started new job

2004: ANTICIPATION. Waiting on Ruby’s arrival, Josh growing into new job

2005: SURPRISE. Molly was born (only 14 months after we welcomed Ruby to the world)…we forget the rest.

2006: GROWTH. Pregnant with Mack, led a growing Sunday school class of young families, Josh continued to grow into his job in the commercial real estate field

2007: HARD. Three babies (2 year old, 1 year old, newborn)

2008: DRAINED. I hit an emotional wall at the end of this year, turned to God in all of my emptiness with nothing to offer but my tired, weary self. And He was faithful to meet me.

2009: EMPTY.  We built and moved into our “dream home” that sucked the life and money right out of us. 

2010: FAITH-BUILDING. As we let go of our dreams and plans and trusted God for His plans and purposes for our lives…

2011: GRIEF. Deb —Josh’s mom— went to heaven, leaving a hole in all of our hearts. Also, HUMILITY.  We moved back into our old house after selling the dream home.

2012: FREEDOM. From debt. From trying to be anything or anyone other than who God wanted us to be. From trying to carry out our own dreams apart from God. Freedom for Josh to take on another job in ministry, in addition to his commercial real estate work.

2013: THANKFUL. Loads of friends at church, homeschooling a 10, 9, 8 year old (sweeet ages!), went to Haiti as a family. Life seemed manageable and not as stressful as in recent years.

2014: STRETCHED. Josh’s two jobs stretched him in many ways. The ministry was booming. He was still teaching and leading a large group at church, his real estate job was going very well, but this year also provided a very stressful financial situation to walk through, not of our own doing. 

2015: RESTLESS. This was a busy, full year with many wonderful things going on in our lives, YET, we were both restless and couldn’t put our finger on what needed to change or what we were doing wrong. I had a vision of Jesus picking me up and walking away with me. I had no idea what that meant exactly but shared it with Josh and wrote it in my journal.

2016: BIG MOVE. Through a series of events, God made it clear that He was calling us to a new adventure — He just didn’t make it clear how hard it would be. We went to Africa in June with the ministry Josh served with and by July we were selling our house, buying a new home in Charlotte, NC for the job Josh would start Sept. 1!

2017: OVERWHELMED. Everything was new. Work was difficult. Loneliness threatened to take me under. I started counseling to have someone to process this with. Could not find our place in a church.

2018: PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH. Josh was managing his new role much better at this point. I began taking care of my physical and mental health and went from barely surviving to thriving during this year. 

2019: GRIEF AND TRAUMA. My mom took her own life. Horrible in every way. LETTING GO. The kids started attending a private Christian school, which was needed for them and for me in this season. God’s timing and provision could not be denied.

2020: WEIRD. COVID-19 entered the USA and turned everything upside down in ways only a global pandemic can. More disappointments than can be named….and yet, God increased intimacy with Him and strengthened our marriage and our family through the unknowns of a very strange year.

2021: We are only just beginning and only God knows what word will rise to my mind when I think about this year as it relates to our family and our marriage. But I have high hopes for less masks and less disappointments and more growth with deeper intimacy as we celebrate 20 years and pray for 80 more!

HAPPY 20TH ANNIVERSARY, JOSH! I LOVE YOU. You are a fabulous husband in every way, and I love and respect you so, so much.

1997: our first photo together, just friends sharing french fries at Huddle House
2000: dating several years, this was after UGA vs SC baseball game—he’s on the field and I’m in the stands cheering, very fitting for how I see our marriage
2001: rehearsal dinner
2001: wedding day
2020: our early anniversary trip to EAU Resort in Palm Beach
20 years together! relaxed, happy and more in love than ever

“I have found the one whom my soul loves.” Song of Solomon 3:4

Low Carb=Mean Mama

Y’all doing ok out there? The world is upside down crazy. I won’t even begin to type the list of things going on in the U.S.A.  Suffice it to say—it’s chaotic and can be stressful if you ingest too much of the media.

It’s kind of stressful in the Dorminy house these days, too. And before you get concerned, you should know it’s nothing major. I have, however, started eating low carb. I am on day 7 and everyone is still living and breathing in this house, so I can count that as a success. BUT it was touch and go for a while there. 

I am just mean. Mean, mean, mean. Annoyed by everything, patient with no one. 

I forewarned Josh and the kids. Plainly, I stated, “I’m about to start eating low carb for a couple of months so be patient with me. I’ll be mean. Just ignore me. It will probably get better in a couple of weeks.”

Well, it’s hard to ignore a nagging, impatient, cranky middle-aged woman who threatens to take away all technology privileges if you don’t obey her every word and even read her mind. They tried. I overheard one of them say to the other two, “You know, she did tell us to just ignore her. It’s gonna be fine…”

Then today I got a call from God. 

Not actually God, but definitely a divinely appointed conversation. A relative whom I adore and who is a few steps farther down the road than me called to thank me for a book I sent her, and as we talked about life she spoke right to my heart. She was talking about her life when her kids were younger and how life goes by so fast and how many of the times she thinks she was often self-centered and wishes she hadn’t been. She said she thinks she would have enjoyed her kids more if so much of her decisions didn’t put her at the center. 

Oof. 

That was convicting. I stopped wiping down the counters as she talked and knew these were words for me. 

No doubt there was pushback that bubbled up as I continued my conversation with the Lord about this later that day. Just like a teenager, I had some words I felt the need to say: 

“But, Lord, I have given so much time to my kids over the years. Done so much for them. Been pretty patient with them. Don’t forget those ten home school years!! That has to count as something. And they are super close in age—remember Ruby was only 2 when Mack came home!! A two and one year old and a newborn! I mean, that was hard. And this covid business is nothing any of knew was coming so the stress just makes things worse and I’m trying. I am trying!!” (I didn’t add, but could have, and He knows already: “and I’m hungry and tired and they’re home doing school here and driving me bonkers!!!”

And He lets me vent and try to defend my indefensible self. And He loves me still, but doesn’t let up with the pressure on my heart. The truth is: The world doesn’t revolve around you, Kristy. Your family doesn’t revolve around you, Kristy. Your emotions aren’t given a pass because you want a biscuit or even because life as you have known it is changing rapidly and there seems to be no reprieve. 

Strangely ironic that the message seems more suitable for a gaggle of toddlers or for my three teenagers and yet, here I am as a 43 year old woman with my patient, long-suffering and loving God having this same conversation.

Big sigh. Sometimes in life you think you’ve gotten farther down the road and then this same, elementary, basic lesson lands in your lap and it’s tempting to be discouraged and throw your hands up at your lack. And actually, throwing your hands up is a good place to start. Just don’t let them drop. Keep them raised in praise to the Good Father who sees you and is so patient with you and wants to help you keep moving down the road of looking more and more like Jesus. 

It’s going to be so worth it one day. 

Names

Josh and I have known people who gave amazing thought and prayer into what to name their children. The origin, the meaning, the family history. I have genuine admiration for all of their effort and creativity; truly, I do.  

However, our ways are not their ways. Conversations around naming our kids went something like this.

Me: Hey, Josh, I have a few options for names for our baby.

Josh: Oh, good. Lemme hear them.

Me: Scout.

Josh: No way.

Me: Gladys.

Josh: Ain’t happenin’

Me: Ruby?

Josh: Maybe. You can leave that one for now.

And this went on for months. Quietly one day he affirmed Ruby and that was that. The same type of conversations occured while naming Molly and Mack. I did all the work, and he approved or disapproved. I wanted simple names that were easy to spell. Kristy, as I have learned over the years, can be spelled many different ways. Mispellings of my name don’t bother me, but still. Why not choose a simple name that is obvious how to spell, if you can, right? Our only hiccup comes when people think Mack says his name is Matt. We try to coach him to say, “Mack—M-A-C-K—like the big truck,” but he thinks that is goofy. I say not any goofier than answering to Matt instead of your real name. But what do I know?

This morning I read in Mark the list of the twelve disciples. Mark 3:16-17 reads, “And He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to them He gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder);”

G. Campbell Morgan focused on this part of chapter—-And I loved reading what he said:

“This Simon was impulsive, restless, inconsistent, lacking cohesion. Yet He nicknamed him Rock. The name was an indication of his unrealized natural capacities; and of the Lord’s ability to realize them. The sons of Zebedee, James and John, He nicknamed Sons of Thunder. They were men of gentle, filial nature, quiet men, content to abide at home in the service of their father. Yet Jesus renamed them Sons of Thunder; men of authority and power. The principle was the same. In James was the capacity to be so loyal to a Master and a cause as to die for them. In John was the mystic power which would make him a seer, and an interpreter of the great things of life. The Lord was able to bring these things to realization and to employ them for His own glory in cooperation with His service.”

I wonder what God sees in my kids—what might be their “unrealized natural capacities”? What name is he calling me? Josh? How does God want to “bring these things to realization and to employ them for His own glory”? I can’t wait to see it unfold.

Just last night Molly said, “If you had to pick a job for each of us based on what you know about us right now, what would you say we should do?”

Now, I have ideas and wanted to share them, but Josh spoke up and said he didn’t want to say anything because God is so much bigger than any of our thoughts about and dreams for each of the kids. He shared how God overruled and led him right where He needed to be, despite listening to what others thought he should or should not do. And I can’t tell you how many people have told Josh he missed his calling and should have been a preacher. Yet, I think God would have let Josh know if that was what He wanted Josh to do. As for me, I chose the easiest, simplest route to getting through with college—for me, it was teaching. I taught one year and did not like it much. I sometimes think it was such a waste or wish I had someone see something in me and call it out and help me find my way. And yet, I can also say that God overruled in my life, too. Being a wife and mom is a sanctifying, hidden work. And God knew I needed this path to become all He wants for me. And He isn’t done with me yet. 

We shared with the kids the strengths and qualities we see in each of them, but stopped short from telling them what career we see them best suited for. Only the Lord knows! Only the Lord can call out in each of them all He has for them….which makes spending time with the One who knows us best so important. I am amazed at how He has walked us through life and to purposes He had planned for us. What a personal God we have the privilege to know. 

Happy New Year! 2021, we welcome you.

Wrapping up the year with fun

After Christmas we spent a few days at home. Taking down Christmas decorations topped our list of to do’s. I do not subscribe to the leaving it up til January 6th idea. My neighbor saw us taking down the manger and star and said, “Dang! Y’all must be over it and ready to get that s@!% down.” Welllll, not exactly. Over the Christmas decorations, yes. Not over Jesus…..but anyway, we also rented a theatre and watched The Croods 2 with about 15 other friends. It was fun!

A few days later we headed to Augusta for one night.

Next stop—Alabama.

The skies were beautiful! I sat in a swing for a couple of hours and enjoyed the quiet.
Mack shot a boar. Josh shot a couple the night before. Lots of doe sightings but they were holding out for a buck that never showed up.

Lots of time in the woods and no tv. Good food. Good rest. Plenty of family time! Thankful for time away and just as thankful to be back home. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Welcome, 2021😊

Christmas 2020

This Christmas Molly decided that we should not wake up Christmas morning and do our usual opening of stockings, breakfast and then gifts from under the tree. She thought that Christmas afternoon can be depressing once everything is over. She thought we should sleep as late as we wanted, wake up slowly, have breakfast, open stockings, play a game, work on the puzzle, take a nap, prepare for dinner, and then after dinner she thought it would be a good time to open presents.

Molly and Ruby and Josh were immediately on board with the idea. Mack and I, however, were unsure. Him, because he loves gifts. Me, because we’d have to endure Mack’s complaining if we put off opening gifts.

In the end, he agreed—after getting to open a very small gift in exchange for no complaining. He definitely didn’t NOT complain, but it was much less than I thought. And we actually all enjoyed the day together and really liked opening the gifts Christmas night.

Now, I’m not saying this is what we will do every Christmas, but this year it worked for us.

Ruby got her new phone she asked for. Mack got new airpods and her old phone with access to music and texting—not a number or internet. Molly’s main gift was a violin. A couple of weeks ago a neighbor mentioned she was giving away a cello she had in her attic, so I went to her house and got that also for Molly! She was thrilled and has already begun screeching around on the new instruments.

Josh got an air rifle for pesky varmints in the backyard. And some new shoes. I got new sunglasses and coffee bean grinder and some workout clothes (of which I really need to use after this crazy year and food-filled holiday)!

There were other fun gifts exchanged, and I’m so glad we had this day together. The food was amazing. Smoked prime rib, twice baked potatoes and salad. Delicious!

And yet, by now the leftovers are in the fridge. The gifts are all in their places, empty boxes and balled up wrapping paper fill the trash cans, bellies will be hungry again tomorrow and gifts soon lose their luster—no matter how badly they were desired just days ago. And visiting family members may be beginning to wear out their welcome. It is critical that none of these parts of Christmas take center stage.

I am grateful beyond words for the truth of Immanuel, God with us. I wouldn’t want to know what would have come of me by now if not for Him being with me. He makes Christmas. He is the greatest gift ever given. Let Him be to you all that He promises He will be. He won’t lose His luster. He satisfies like nothing and no one else. He’s the gift that keeps on giving. His goodness and faithfulness and kindness and mercy and grace never run out. He is our Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father…today and every day! Merry Christmas!

Normal, it’s overrated. :)

It’s safe to say that, besides January and February of 2020 (of which I can’t really recollect), not much this year has been normal. And now things that are normal would have been considered quite strange at the beginning of the year.  Disappointments abound when we hold too tightly to expectations…to what we perceive as normal.

I woke up in the night and had a thought, like I was in a conversation with the Lord immediately upon opening my eyes, and as clear as day I thought these words: I need to give Jesus any and all expectations for normal as a gift this Christmas. 

Strange to have those thoughts in the middle of the night and maybe I should have gotten up and finished the conversation, but I slept some more and woke up with those thoughts fresh on my mind. With coffee in hand and Bible on my lap, I sat with the Lord and with those thoughts. I recalled many times in my life where I had given God my expectations, my disappointments, my empty hands, and acknowledged that I don’t have the best plans. I don’t know what is best for me.  And yet, here I was this morning with this same “gift” to give God: the surrender of my wishes and hopes. The reality is that I don’t think the way He thinks, so I need to surrender anew all of my wishes and hopes, especially this one to  “just get back to normal.” And honestly, I have had that thought many, many times this year!!! 

We did school at home for ten years, which is not necessarily normal, but became our normal. Then, we started “normal” school in 2019—just in time for the wheels of that “normal” school experience to become not normal. And this fall has proven to be not normal, though the school, the teachers, and the students have tried. It’s just not normal—not what we had gotten used to at the beginning of the 2019 school year. 

This Christmas season has not been normal. Our home is usually open multiple times for lots of people and food is cooked and served and crafts and cookies are made and shared. And we tried some of those things on a smaller scale and even those best laid plans resulted in not normal. It’s annoying, if I’m being honest. I’m so tired of the masks and not talking to people as I go about my day out and about. I’m annoyed by social distancing pressures and how we don’t even make eye contact much anymore. I’m irritated that it is now rude to hug or handshake. I’m overwhelmed at the many times of having to explain to my kids why we can’t just invite a group of friends over to hang out. It’s not normal.

But I did sense God asking me this morning to again surrender. Surrender my desire for my normal. Surrender my expectations. Surrender my annoyances. Surrender my sadness over what I feel was lost this year. Surrender, open-handed, and trust Him to be the only sure thing, the only unchangeable One, the only consistent One. I sensed a nudge to Hope in Him alone. He has, after all, never failed me.

God doesn’t commit Himself to work in normal or expected ways. And I am reminded this Christmas as we focus on Jesus’ birth that this idea was not normal! The manger that sits in my front yard with a light shining on it and the John 3:16 sign tells of the “not normal” way God showed His love for all people. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

My hope for today, for tomorrow, for 2021 and beyond is not that things would get back to normal, but that I would hope in God more with each passing day. I pray that it would be normal for me to look to Him for all I need, that it would be normal for me to respond to disappointments with trust, even normal to respond to broken people with love, that it would be normal for me to hold my plans loosely as I entrust myself to my faithful, good God. 

Psalm 33:18-22

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness, to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O Lord, be upon us, according as we have hoped in You.

2020

The Lord is Near

As I look back on 2020, I would say that through every new situation I was faced with, every disappointment I experienced or had to help my kids walk through, and every use of the word “unprecedented,” the number one comfort has been that GOD IS WITH ME. He is unchanging, caught off guard by nothing, sustaining, faithful, kind, and always good. 

This Advent season I have been reading a lot about peace and joy—these are huge themes as we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus and look forward to Jesus’ return. But in the midst of the day to day that we have all experienced, peace and joy can seem out of place. As a Believer in Jesus, I can have peace in disruptive circumstances. I can experience joy in hard times. 

Soooo, Am I? In these days, in these past months, have peace and joy marked my life? 

My kids are watching Josh and me. Every night at the dinner table we discuss, in some way, shape or form, current events. We hear them vent their frustrations. We hear and encourage their critical thinking. 

Experiencing peace and joy doesn’t mean living oblivious to reality. It’s a wide awake grasp of reality firmly planted up against the facts about Who God is. 

We won’t live in fear of a virus or of cancer or of a car accident because we can trust our lives to a Sovereign God.

We won’t fight tooth and nail to protect our health by isolating and being afraid of germs because this is not our home and we aren’t committed to only here and only now. We know there is life after death, and we know where we are going. We can trust God with all that life brings our way. 

We will pray for God’s protection. We will ask Him to hold back the virus’ spread. We will pray for those who are sick to be healed. We will pray to be shaken awake to the reality that many people who have died this past year have died without Jesus. I pray this breaks our heart more than our own disappointments or our own inconveniences over all that Covid has created. 

So I end with how I started. Our only comfort is GOD IS WITH US. Do you know Him?

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord aways, again I will say, Rejoice!

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The LORD IS NEAR.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

The things you have learned and received heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.