What a year! I’ve seen more challenges this year than in any other year of my life. Still, when looking back, I’ve learned so many lessons in 2020, and I plan to us those for years to come.

Over the past few months, my family has dealt with the loss of two family members. God has used this to remind me that life is precious; I should not get so busy that I don’t spend time with my family and closest friends. This year we have been cautioned to stay away from people, but I’ll use FaceTime if need be. I want to make memories while I can. 

Also, I have learned the importance of giving a compliment.  For instance, so many times, I think, “Her hair looks great!” or “I love that outfit,” and I don’t express my thoughts. I know compliments go a long way in encouraging others. God has allowed me to take notice of thoughtful words that have been spoken to me, and He has helped me realize the importance of kind words.

My niece, Kinsey, reminds me so much of myself when I was at 19 years-old. She’s in college, and at times, she feels so overwhelmed. She mentioned biology II, with terror in her voice. Thanks to the Lord, she made it, and she’s talking about Chemistry II next semester. We’ve all faced seemingly impossible situations this year, but Kinsey’s story reminds me that hard work pays off. When things get difficult, persevere and be strong.

Another important lessons I’ve learned in 2020, is to appreciate the little things. There have been times that I have rejoiced at finding dry beans on a grocery shelf, and I’ve looked everywhere for a pack of toilet tissue. I’ve always found success at one place or the other. I’ve looked in the meat counter and read the sign, “Limit 2,” and I’ve walked and looked at the empty shelves that once held miles of cleaning supplies.  I was also reminded that God always sees us through; I haven’t misses a meal, and I haven’t ran out of the essentials I need for everyday living. 

Looking back, I find it hard to believe that our churches had to shut down, and I was quickly reminded that we can still worship together online. My greatest blessing came when I started watching my son, Zach, teach Sunday school online. When his church reopened, I just knew this would end, but no, God had other plans. Zach had so many folks asking him to continue his lessons; I’ve realized God opened the door for a new ministry. Many of the folks who watch the lesson online are the people who don’t go to church. It doesn’t end there. There have been many times I’ve logged in and watched my dad lead the singing at his church. Oh what a blessing it is when I see my dad rejoicing in the Lord at 84 years young. 

Lastly, I’ve learned to be thankful for good health. If we can see, let us praise the Lord. If we can walk, speak, and if our limbs all work, we should praise the Lord. My family and I have walked through some health issues, but we are still standing on the solid rock and the firm foundation. 

As we turn the page on a new year, I pray that we will reflect on God’s many blessings during 2020 and wait with anticipation to see what God has for us in the coming year.

Sherry Lewis is pastor of New Beginnings Worship Center.

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