Reflections from 2020
I’ve been thinking about this post for the past couple of days, mulling over words and stringing together sentences in my mind. How can we describe this once-in-a-century season adequately? It has been so rich and so treacherous and so heartbreaking and so full of hope all at the same time.
I filled seven journals this year. Seven journals of prayers and tears and lessons and love. Seven journals of my thoughts to God and God’s thoughts back to me. Seven journals of stories and wisdom and frustration and faith. I spent NYE reading through the pages and I’ve captured below the experiences and truths that have settled deep into my soul from 2020:
- The wilderness reinforces our identity.
A story that captured my heart all year is in Matthew 4. Jesus, after being affirmed by his dad (God), is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. He endures 40 days with no food and no friends (aka March/April 2020 quarantine — just kidding) and then he’s tested by the devil. He’s tested to reveal his strength, not his weakness. He overcomes the devil’s deception with the truth and proclaims his provision, power and protection are found in God alone. People could say that 2020 was a wilderness year. I partially agree, but I believe whatever was exposed in our hearts — whatever weakness creeped up — there was and still is an incredible opportunity to find our strength in God. His majesty is so beautiful when we see what he has done for us. And as we see him rightly, we see ourselves rightly and our identity is solidifed in our souls.
- The rainbow reminds us of the promise.
I haven’t seen as many rainbows in any year as much as I did this year. Rainbows are personally meaningful to me because I asked God for a rainbow the day my grandma died when I was a little girl and he gave one to me. But I think the rainbows throughout 2020 were for all of us — to remind us that God’s promises are still promises and those promises will never be taken away. Sometimes I feel like the word HOPE is written across the sky when a rainbow appears. It’s like God’s saying, “I know it looks scary and dark right now, but look up. Look up and see what I’m doing. Look and see what I have done.”
- John Krasinski killed it this year.
Eight months ago, John Krasinski launched Some Good News out of his home office. These silly videos showcased inspiring stories of hope and brought joy to thousands as we all began to go stir crazy in our homes. It was a creative, low-budget (haha), unifying series that highlighted to us the best parts of humanity.
- “God my days look empty. No, your days are available.”
I accidentally took a nap today and when I woke up, I sensed God say, “Lauren, do you know that rest is the highest form of worship? The posture of rest is one of great trust and belief.” Without sports seasons and gym classes and concerts, there sure was plenty of time for physical and hopefully spiritual rest this year. The verse “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10) garnered new meaning in our lives as we learned to be still and to simply be.
- Everyone is made in the image of God.
I’ve been absolutely wrecked this year realizing that everyone carries God inside of them. Every person reflects a part of God’s creative expression in the world. For believers, Christ in us is the hope of glory. The Kingdom of God resides in us first and then it touches everything we touch.
- Our words are so important.
In the beginning, Genesis explains that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit were all together. The Holy Spirit hovered over the waters as God spoke the Word and creation came into being. Another translation says “God’s spirit gently vibrated.” If God speaks something new into existence, everything in the universe scrambles to take on the shape/form of what He says. In the same way, every word we speak and every thought we have carries a frequency, a vibration. The Jesus inside of us partners with the Holy Spirit vibrating around us and our spoken words to create things. Our words and how we speak about people carry so much more power than we realize.
- God comforts us so we can comfort others.
Two and a half years ago, my dad passed away and it was the most painful experience of my life. The first year following his death, I felt like a zombie as I learned how to navigate grief and felt incredibly alone. So many of my friends have lost loved ones this year. In some ways, I feel like God prepared me two years ago to step into their journeys today. He has given life to the verse, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3). It is truly an honor to walk with friends through the most tender and vulnerable places in their lives.
- The best is yet to come.
One of my favorite things about God is that he orchestrates so many surprises behind the scenes. He is good and he is kind and he has so much in store for us. What we see isn’t the full story. The best is truly yet to come.
I bless you as you reflect on your 2020 and pray for a filling of hope as you envision 2021. Happy New Year!