Photo by Aman Upadhyay on Unsplash

How are we already at the end of another year? We all know that 2020 has been a year to go down in history. Looking back on the last 12 months, so much yet so little has happened. Fellowship, family gatherings, parties, work life and more has changed the way we interact with others. December has always been a month of reflection, on what God has done in my life, as well as accomplishments and failures. With a new year within our grasps, what are you planning to focus on in this next year? Not as a resolution, but as a follower of Christ, being called to always pursue Christ. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness,” Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us. God grants us the breath we breathe and the days we tick off on the calendar, waiting for this year to be behind us. But, come January 1, 2021, God’s mercies are still going to be new, because great is HIS faithfulness.

Most of us are spending more and more time in the home, and with new guidelines, maybe less time fellowshipping. I wanted to encourage you with a few things I’ve been learning over the last few months. If we have learned anything from 2020, is that God is still in control. He still reigns on His throne.

First, I have learned the importance of setting time aside for my relationship with the Lord. This looks differently than it had pre-quarantine. I could go to a coffee shop with my Bible and just read while sipping coffee. Now, I have to make a purposeful shift in my day to make those quiet times happen. Honestly, they look different. They aren’t at 5am anymore. I chose to listen to worship music, upbeat worship music, while working out, as it's my only alone time with my kids awake and husband at work. I chose to put Bible verse everywhere, and I mean everywhere.

That leads me to my second takeaway from this year. Recently, we have started putting up Bible verses and hymn verses all over our house. We had them printed off on vinyl and we put them in places we congregate frequently: the dinner table, the bathroom, the kitchen, our bedroom, to give you some ideas. Over our dining room table we have Psalm 1, which talks about choosing to walk in the counsel of the godly, knowing that we strengthen our roots when we choose to bask in the presence of the Lord. We are told in Deuteronomy 6:4-9 to put God’s Word on our doorposts, to see them everywhere in our house. What a better time than now to do just that. When is the last time you fellowshipped with someone outside those in your home? I would challenge you to put up Bible verses, quotes, hymns all over your house, so no matter where you look, you are looking at Scripture.

When we are choosing to look at Scripture everywhere, we are choosing to take our thoughts captive, as 2 Corinthians 10:5 states, “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” The current state of the world we live in challenges us to do just this. Do I binge on another season of my favorite show, yeah, it’s not the most wholesome OR do I choose to watch something (or read) that is honoring to the Lord, edifying to my soul and uplifting to those around me? Now is not the time for complacency. Do I have another glass of wine because my kids are especially on my nerves today and it’s five o’clock somewhere, or do I choose to love them by asking them how they are feeling? Do I choose to resent my husband because he is asking me for sex again and since we are stuck in our home together, with not much else to do, or do I remember my role in our marriage? These aren’t easy questions, but ones that I know have crossed our minds from time to time.

I know there are more lessons that have been take-aways from the year. These are the ones that are on the front burners, the ones the Lord is chiseling away at me. What are your take-aways from this year? I would encourage you to write down what the Lord has taught you over the year 2020. It is far easier to write down the hard, the complaints, the annoyances rather than look at where God has shaped and molded you. I would encourage you further to make a date night out of this with your spouse. Each sit down, write down your take-aways, how God molded you, then share them with your spouse. Allow the other to ask questions and to learn more about you, as a person and as a Christ follower, as you both seek to become more like Christ. Not all the lessons learned were pretty, some may still be covered in mud as you seek the right course of action. Let these experiences draw you together as a couple, with God on the front burner of your mind as you enter into 2021. Finally, write down some specific goals for 2021 that you, as a couple, can achieve. Start small, find an accountability couple (or a life group) that you can walk side by side with in this journey.

Here’s to 2021 ! While I can’t be with you in person, I pray the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26).