As January of the new year comes to an end (how is that even possible already?!), some of you may be feeling weary. Maybe the beginning of 2021 hasn’t lived up to what you had hoped. We can’t expect life to change drastically just because the numbers on our calendars have flipped. Life with this Covid stuff is hard and it may never be like it once was. Or maybe there are other challenges trying to snuff out your hope. Maybe you are walking in the wilderness, like I am right now, and have been for some time.
During my time in the Word this week, God clearly spoke. His words leapt off the page-worship me in the wilderness. Not only does He want us to come to Him on our knees in the wilderness, but He wants us to go deeper and worship Him in the struggles. This has not been a daily practice, but it’s a missing piece in my walk. Lifting my eyes towards Him in worship feeds my soul and fills me up when I am running on empty, those times when I need to serve my family but have nothing left to pour out. He will fill us, but we must let Him. In doing so, we can pour from The Living Water, rather than keep driving our parched selves in the middle of the wilderness.
One of my favorite avenues of worshiping our Heavenly Father is through music. Here is my Worship Him in the Wilderness playlist that helps to direct my heart towards Him:
So Will I (100 Billion X)-Hillsong UNITED
Give me Jesus-Jeremy Camp
Great Are You Lord-one sonic society
Touch the Sky-Hillsong UNITED
God of Wonders-Mac Powell, Cliff Young & Danielle Young
It is Well (Live)-Bethel Music & Kristine DiMarco
Our God-Chris Tomlin
Olorun Agbaye-You are Mighty (feat. Chandler Moore & O/B/A)-Nathanial Bassey
A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, -Ecclesiastes 2:24
This year, more than ever, we need hope. Of course, Jesus, is the one we really need to hang onto and put our hope in. We can do other activities we enjoy to help brighten our days too. Here are some ways to help us embrace 2021 and remain hopeful:
1. Drink from the well that is Jesus
2. Pray fervently
3. Count your blessings
4. Take each day as it comes
5. Try something you’ve never done before
6. Remember God’s promises (here are a few to hold onto: Isaiah 49:13, Hebrews 13:5, Nahum 1:7, Deuteronomy 7:9, Isaiah 40:31)
7. Find something to laugh at each day
8. Seek out things that put a smile on your face
9. Help a friend in need
10. Look for ways to serve others
11. Love on people even when you don’t feel like it
12. Try a new recipe or create one
13. Memorize new verses
14. Rely on God for help
15. Make new memories
16. Create something every day (creativity can take many forms!)
17. Use your talents to bless someone
18. Gather songs that bring a sense of joy and hope, then create a 2021 playlist
19. Surrender every part of your life to God
20. Focus on the present
21. Snuggle an animal for comfort
22. Shift your perspective and focus on what you can do, as opposed to what you can’t
23. Come up with a bucket list for this year
24. Utilize technology to remain close to loved ones
25. Print out some of your favorite Bible verses and quotes, then post them throughout your house
26. Learn a new craft
27. Try Bible journaling
28. Ask God to help you choose one or two words to focus on this year that will help you become more like Him
29. Do everything as though you are doing it for the Lord
30. Make a list of books you would like to read this year, then cuddle up and choose one to read
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -Colossians 3:17
As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. -Psalm 71:14
It can be difficult to see the possibility of change and blessings in such dark times. Last year sure was a ride! And while the pandemic has turned our lives upside down, it doesn’t mean our future has to look bleak. What are you hopeful about this year? Here are 21 things I’m looking forward to in 2021:
Drawing nearer to Jesus
Finding creative ways to spend time with my family
More game playing
Growing closer to my husband
Increasing my trust in God
Coming up with fresh content for my blog
Cooking with our girls
Teachings from God
Being more present
Reading the entire Bible
Writing more poems
Capturing Alaska with my camera
Observing Alaskan wildlife
Catching fat salmon
Writing my book
Continuing to heal
Finding other ways to serve God
Canning salmon and veggies
Moving to the beach
Collecting seashells at the coast
Even when life hammers us, and we aren’t sure what blow we’ll take next, let’s continue to put our hope in Jesus. Let’s praise Him and enjoy what we have been given. Find and cherish the small joys. Sometimes it’s just a matter of wiping enough of the fog from our lens to clearly see all that we have to be grateful for and the opportunities that await us.
So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. -Ecclesiastes 8:15
I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready for this year to be over. Before it’s over though, I need to remember the things God has blessed our family with. When I sent our family Christmas video this year, my childhood best friend texted back something that struck me- “So happy for all the blessings you’ve been shown this year.” She’s right. Although I’m having difficulty seeing them at this moment while struggling with a bout of depression, we have been shown many blessings. I’m hoping a little reflection on our year will help remind me of the positives and small joys God provided us with. Here are a few things we’ve been fortunate to experience this year:
His Presence-Always there for us no matter what we’re going through, God has been our rock through it all. He never fails us and we’re learning to trust Him more each day.
Family-Living through a pandemic can be a very lonely season, but we have each other to lean on during this difficult time. My husband is always doing so much for our family and our girls are forever trying to put a smile on my face.
Fresh Alaskan caught salmon-In September, right after arriving in Alaska, we caught and froze twenty-two meals of fresh salmon within a few weeks time, right in our back yard.
Safe Travels through Canada to Alaska-During a big move across the country we made it over the Canadian border to Alaska safe and sound without getting Covid.
Tubing in Bend, Oregon-We had a blast visiting Mt. Bachelor for the first time and getting some tubing in at the beginning of the year.
Seeing relatives-We got to visit my parents before our big move.
Finding a new favorite beach-After moving to Alaska and exploring new sites, we found our new favorite beach on the Kenai Peninsula.
A Summer on the river-For the second year in a row, we got to spend the summer off-grid camp hosting in beautiful Central Washington.
Seeing wildlife-On our drive through Canada, we spotted five bear and a couple of moose. Then, shortly after arriving in Alaska, a mama moose and her two calves strolled down our driveway and peeked right in our front window. We have also seen several bald eagles and one golden eagle fly overhead.
Halloween party fun-Instead of trick-or-treating this year, we surprised our girls with a Halloween party that included a fear-factor style game, a caramel apple bar, and a candy scavenger hunt.
New Recipes-With more time stuck indoors, I’ve had the chance to create several tasty new soup recipes. I also tried Shepherd’s Pie for the first time ever (I know, crazy!) and created my own yummy recipe that we can’t get enough of.
Technology-While still difficult, having the technology to Facetime relatives during Covid has helped to make these lock downs not quite so tough.
Craft time-Slowing down and creating upcycled crafts with our girls has brought me joy.
Vitamin B injections and other new supplements-I found some new treatments to really help lessen the fatigue caused by the persistent Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome that I struggle with. This has made a world of difference.
My Yeti mug-For my birthday this summer, my parents bought me a “Duck, Duck, Moose” Yeti Mug that I just love. It brightens my day to drink my daily cold brew from it.
My husband’s job-Having already had a work-from home job before the pandemic, this has been a Godsend.
A new Christmas tradition-I mentioned in a previous post, that we started a new Christmas tradition writing Christmas Kindness Notes to each other beginning in December and throughout the month. We opened our stockings full of notes on Christmas Eve and it was so sweet to hear all the loving words written to each of us.
Doggie snuggles-I can always count on my pups for some afternoon snuggles.
Health-God has protected us and kept our family healthy.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. -Psalm 136:1
While I’m thankful that the year is coming to an end, I’m even more grateful for the adventures and memories He’s allowed us to make. So long 2020! Bring on the new year!