A year ago, you and I were looking forward to a New Year! A new decade! 2020–a year of perfect vision!
Also, this time, last year, I was two weeks away from launching my first book. It was an exciting season, brimming with joy and expectation.
For All Who Wander is my recollection of wrestling with God, a relatable message for anyone who’s grappled with their faith, for the one who finds her/himself trudging through a spiritual desert. If ever there was a year to have questioned God, 2020 is it. Maybe a year ago a book like this wouldn’t have been on your radar, but now it feels incredibly relevant.
Promotion in anticipation of my book’s release began after Christmas and was building steam as we approached her official launch date. January 14th came, I celebrated with friends over brunch, and a special launch celebration took place a few days later. There were podcasts and radio interviews and a super fun media blitz with a swing through Nashville. (in)courage was gearing up for an incredible online bookclub!
But, then….Covid arrived…
And soon after that, the tragedy of George Floyd…
And, rancid icing on top of a bitter cake–the saddest, most vitriolic election cycle I’ve ever witnessed.
Even though I believed the hope-filled message of my book was needed more than ever given all we were collectively experiencing, I struggled to share about it. No matter how carefully I arranged my words, it felt tone deaf in view of a hurting world. While I absolutely believe it’s important to steward the work God gives you, I came up lacking when it came to my work and words.
Twenty-twenty has brought personal loss and pain to me, and I’m guessing, to you as well. But, this is what I know, and I long for you to know, too: God has never stopped working. In the midst of our suffering, setbacks, or loss, God is working all things together for good, and isn’t that good news? As we look to what we have in Christ, in his life, death, and resurrection and what he has done on our behalf, we always, always have hope. He is our hope!
We’ve seen things happen in 2020 we weren’t anticipating–wearing masks in public, quarantining, rationing toilet paper, for goodness sakes. Maybe you marched in a protest for the very first time (I did). Perhaps you realized just how much faith you were putting in people or politics.
This year I have learned a thousand times over how much I need people. Flesh and blood, real life people to encourage me, show up for me, challenge me, listen to me, who give me opportunity to serve, and who point me to Jesus. As 2020 unraveled in sensational form, I’ve found grounding in the basics. Humanity, faith, the great outdoors, my wayward little veggie patch, my family.
I want to remember everything 2020 brought us–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Even though we had some bad and ugly — friends! Don’t forget — we still had good!
On Christmas Day, I bossed my family around a little bit, to be intentional about remembering everything 2020 held: I created a simple form with lines for each month and directed them to record special or significant moments for every month. Thank God for our phones, calendars, Instagram, and Facebook posts, lovely little memory holders when our brains fell short.
I’m convinced it will be a treasure for each of us one day. Even just a year from now, 2020 will already feel distant. (If you haven’t penned some sort of remembrance like this, take my queue, consider this a sign, and just do it!)
So, this New Year’s Eve as midnight draws closer, I’ll celebrate in ordinary ways. I’ll have good food with people I love. I’m already wearing velvet because it feels fancy, and why not? I’ll wish friends and loved ones well and mean it with all my heart. I’ll thank God for His goodness past, present, and future.
And for the next few weeks, I will celebrate the birthday of my first two books! I have untold stories to tell, not-yet-heard podcasts to share, and giveaways awaiting a new home.
I hope you’ll join me. When it comes to celebration, the more the merrier!
In the meantime, DO share something significant you’ll remember about this year.
Let’s focus on the good…I want to celebrate with you