Most of the time, I am right alongside the people ready to put the old year behind us and excited to start a new year. Forget the old! Start fresh! We are getting a reboot! I’m usually ready to break out a new notebook and make some resolutions, set intentions and goals, choose a word of the year, and create bucket lists. The point is to forget the last year and focus on what will be ahead.
But since this new year started, I’ve been thinking differently. I don’t want to do what I usually do. And maybe what I share will make you think about things differently as well.
I want to carry this past year with me. I don’t want to sweep it under a rug or pretend none of it happened. I want the memories of this past year to be my reminders of hope and the proof of my courage this year.
You might be thinking, Where in the world is she going to pull hope and courage out of all the awful of 2020? And it’s true. So much was dark and sad and scary. There were struggles and unknowns, heartbreak and fear, never-ending valleys and constant change. There is no other way to say it, last year was brutal, painful, and heavy.
But let’s take a moment to recognize how far we’ve come. Even though it seemed impossible to make it through, we did. Look at what we’ve survived to make it to where we are today. Think about all the things we did that we never thought we would’ve been able to do, let alone need to do. Did you become a homeschooler? Did you get crazy creative with food in your pantry? Did you learn to make an income stretch further? Did you spend huge amounts of time alone with your spouse or kids? Did you work from home and resist giving hugs?
We went through so much. We worked hard and poured ourselves out. We learned how strong we are and how to hold onto the light when the dark seems all encompassing. We saw that we can be brave and courageous and to stand tall through the difficult. We stayed the course when we felt like giving up. We may have pleaded with God every day for the strength to keep going, but we see now that He upheld us.
After everything we’ve been through, we still have so much hope. If we take away the celebrations and unrealistic resolutions of a new year, we’re left with hope that the days ahead can be better, that good things can come even still.
We don’t know how things are going to turn out or what lies ahead for any of us. We don’t know how long this heavy season will last or how many more changes will be coming. But we will make it through because we have the courage — perhaps more now than ever before — to trust God. We have evidence and testimonies that we can trust Him.
Trust in Him gives us hope, so let’s not dismiss what this past year held. Let’s not forget everything He’s brought us through. Let’s remember how we depended on Him each step of the way thus far and that we can keep going — one day at a time, making the best of every situation, being courageous no matter what we face.
What a year we’ve had! God has walked you through it all, and He will do it again. You’ve got this! You really do.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9 (NIV)