But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.Luke 2:19
God’s View of 2020
One of my favorite hobbies is planning. I love to pick out a cute planner (or four) at the beginning of the year, decorate the weekly pages with cute stickers and washi, and write in my plans with colorful pens. For as much of a writer as I am, I don’t journal nearly as much as you’d think, but as I look back on my 2020 planners, I view them as something of a journal. I see my busy days and my relaxing days, my highs and lows, my joys and sufferings of 2020. When we make an examen of conscience at the end of the day, we try to view our day from God’s perspective. After 366 days, I try to look back on my year through God’s eyes.
Just like this past year, hindsight is 20/20.
A Spiritual Annual Report
Before Christmas, I received an email from Blessed is She about something called a spiritual annual report. Instead of recording the facts and figures of the year, BIS’s spiritual annual report invited me to recognize where I’ve turned to God and how I’ve become more like Him. The PDF printable had three simple questions that prompted me to reflect on 2020. I flipped through my planners, scrolled through my phone’s camera roll, recalled some memories, and even re-read a few of my blog posts. I allowed myself to reflect on how I’ve grown, where I felt God’s hand, and what I’m thankful for from 2020.
My Journey to Surrender
It seems like everyone’s saying that 2020 was the worst year ever. In many ways, 2020 wasn’t the best. I can’t deny that things have been taken away from me, and I’ll admit that I had some major struggles this year. I think it’s safe to say that this year didn’t go as planned for any of us, but if we take a step back, we can see that God still blessed 2020 and gave it to us for a reason.
This was the year that I learned to let go of my will and what I want so that God can be in control. My word of 2020 was “surrender,” which was fitting because I learned to suffer well and accept everything that God has planned for me. “Surrender” helped me understand that God’s plans are greater and more beautiful than any plans that I could dream up for myself. Throughout the difficulties and tragedies of 2020, I accepted what God gave me and allowed Him to take from me graciously. I leaned on Him at all times, especially when I had no where else to go. As much as I don’t like the phrase “offer it up,” I learned to do just that and I saw the blessings and beauty in what broke me. I became more patient and gentle to those around me, and I set my fears aside to grow and go forth.
He Guides His Daughter
This year was when I learned that God truly is with us always, just like Jesus promised in Matthew 28:20. I wandered through 2020 like a small child holding her Father’s hand. Slowly but surely, He guided me through the year and revealed more of His plans for me. He nudged me to improve my prayer life so that I can spend time with Him every day. He helped me to complete my Marian Consecration and Fiat 90. He gave me the grace to detach myself from the world so that I could seek and fill myself with holy things. He gave me the peace that only He can give. If I did nothing else this year, I can honestly say that I spent 2020 learning more about and falling more in love with Jesus Christ and His Church.
A Moment for Gratitude
My heart still overflows with gratitude even though so much has been taken away this year. I passed milestones that I’ll cherish forever, like graduating from college, starting my post-college life with Franciscan Mission Service, celebrating my first anniversary with Nathan, and looking forward to our second anniversary in just a few weeks. I embarked on unforgettable adventures, like SLS 20 in Phoenix, West Virginia with my friends, Erie with my family, and Washington, DC, which I now call home. Before the world shut down, I finally got to see my favorite band, the Lumineers. I spent some much-needed time at home with my family, and I fell more in love with Nathan. I watched my friends Allie and Ryan tie the knot, and I had so much fun as one of their bridesmaids. Most of all, I grew in prayer and discipleship as I found my worth as a daughter of the Lord and sought to know Him more.
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Looking to 2021
God placed the word “surrender” on my heart just around midnight one year ago. “Surrender” helped me remember the One who carried me through 2020. I don’t have a word of the year for 2021 yet because I’m hoping to have a similar experience of God giving me a word on New Year’s Eve. No matter what, I’m sure that God will give me a word that reminds me to look to Him throughout the New Year. I pray and trust that our Heavenly Father will go before us in 2021, and that no matter what happens in the next 365 days, He’ll bring us ever closer to Him, using our highs and lows for our sanctification.
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