I had never given much thought to how close Heaven was or how “seen” we are by our loved ones that have passed until I lost my husband. When he died this last year, I devoured every book, article, and blog that I could get my hands on that would describe Heaven and what my husband was experiencing.
When we think about the celebration of Easter, of course, we immediately think of Jesus’ death and rising in fulfillment of scripture. It is a time of rebirth, a renewal of our baptismal promises and celebration. For most of us, last year (and most likely this year) the celebrations look a little different.
A few months ago, I joined an online writers’ group with the intention of having some writing fun in my retirement and learning from others. I had no idea that God had another plan in mind. As I began reading posted writings, as well as the comments and reviews, I started noticing a few Christians. Soon I was asked to join a group of writers who sometimes post about how God is working in their lives, a way of sharing their faith.
After doing this the previous January at our retreat, I wanted to single out a word for 2020. I had a word in mind and, with the encouragement of a friend, began to think and pray about it. I don’t even remember what my original word was, but I had a clear sense that God wanted me to select a different word…“perspective”. So I went with it. Little did I know how appropriate that word would be for the year ahead!
I have been a Christian all my life and have loved and read God’s word regularly. I have read through the whole Bible several times, always using a Bible Reading Plan that broke the text into manageable readings for each day. This time I tackled my reading differently. I tried to read each book in one sitting, or in the least number of days I could manage.
I am a nurse working in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Since March, I have been working with both patients positive for COVID-19, and negative for COVID-19, depending on the day and the needs of the hospital. The ICUs, along with the rest of the hospital, have always been busy, even prior to the craziness of 2020. It seems that COVID-19 has exacerbated this business, testing the breaking point of each unit and each hospital. I’ve witnessed coworkers go through seasons of exhaustion and burnout, as I myself have fought to find the motivation to approach each shift with a positive attitude and a heart to serve my coworkers, my patients, and my patients’ families.
Even Jesus warned that “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 17:33) Take heart! Hope! Fear not! All words we need to hear today, but how do we live them out? My husband and I constantly remind each other that “God is still in control.” God is Sovereign, omniscient, omnipotent, and faithful. For us, it boils down to trusting Him.
In the Old Testament covenants we find three themes: land, descendants, and a special relationship with God. The bottom line can be found in Jeremiah 30:22, where God says ‘You will be my people, and I will be your God.’ In order for that to work both ways, Israel had to keep herself focused on that special relationship that God was offering to her. When I compare this relationship to a FB status, I’m not being cheeky or disrespectful.
We had set goals for ourselves, our relationship and our careers for 2020. The biggest item on our list was to continue our fertility/pregnancy journey through IVF. We had received amazing news right before Christmas that our first round of IVF had resulted in one genetically normal embryo. We were over the moon and were so excited to complete another round or two and then get back to our clinic to transfer this perfect little embryo.
During this time of the year, our thoughts seem to turn to the future. We realize we are on the final calendar pages of 2020 and decide it is a good time to give some consideration to the year ahead. Whether you are writing resolutions, making business plans, or setting personal goals for next year, many of us are focusing on what we would like to see happen. Simply stated, we try to analyze where we are, look at what we’ve accomplished in 2020, and make some judgments about the year ahead.