I haven’t written on here in a while. For about 8 months I switched to writing on a platform called Medium because it gave me the opportunity to interact with other writers, and also earn a little extra money. But I ended that membership last month.
Although I enjoyed the connection with other writers, the platform introduced some policies that I was not comfortable with. On top of that, being on that platform made writing a competition, a business as I strived to gain followers, increase my viewership and make money. I didn’t like that.
So I am back to the blog I started so many years ago. Here, the writing is about sharing hope, faith, joy and love. It doesn’t matter if 100 people read it or no one reads it. I write because I love it, and because I want to make someone’s day better.
So, let’s get to it.
2020 – what a year it has been!
Who could have ever imagined that the first year of a new decade would be so crazy?
It’s been a year of shock, sorrow, fear, anger, defiance, illness, hatred and instability.
We’ve witnessed a pandemic sweep across the globe that has resulted in loss of life, loss of income, loss of relationship, loss of security, and loss of the existence we knew.
Many countries recovered from the first wave of the pandemic, only to now be hit harder in the midst of the current second wave. I sit in a country that has had more positive infections in the last 6 weeks than it did in the first 6 months combined.
Like thousands of others, I have gone for the Covid test as I developed symptoms that were worrisome. Thankfully, my test results were negative.
Personally, I’ve struggled through many things throughout this unprecedented time including loneliness during quarantine, anxiety about being out in public, and depression over losses.
Living overseas, away from family and close friends, is difficult already. Now add a pandemic that means I can’t go back to my home country and no one can visit me. I’ve had some dark days as trips and plans were cancelled.
For me, September was cruelest month yet. Mid August brought the news that my nana was hospitalized. As family discussed options for her for when she would be released rom the hospital, doctors announced she would need to go into hospice care. She was not expected to last more than a few weeks. She passed away September 24th.
I wasn’t there.
I didn’t get to say goodbye.
There was time to get back to Canada, but the pandemic meant I would have been forced to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. I never would have seen her before she died. So I stayed in Czech and grieved alone.
My nana and I had a special bond. We understood each other in ways others didn’t understand us. Our bond was solidified when I was in my 20s, and lived much closer to her and my grandpa than I did to my parents. I spent many weekends and holidays in my grandparents’ guest room.
I didn’t know the last time I saw my nana would be the last time.
As strong as my faith is, I can admit that in recent months I’ve asked, ‘Where is God?’
Where is God in all of this?
His answer? It was the same every time.
‘I’m right here, my child. You are not alone.’
And He is. He is right here. But many of us have been too distracted to notice. He’s been right here all along.
As I look back over the 8 months, I see His presence clearly. It’s so obvious that I wonder how I could have possibly missed it.
I see His presence in the friends and co-workers who called me and checked in on me during the weeks of quarantine.
I see His presence in the provision of opportunities over the summer that were a direct result of the pandemic. I was able to participate in 3 English camps for Czech teenagers that normally would have had teams from North America travelling to participate in them. I was only needed because those teams could not come. As a result I made new friends, connected with many Czech youth, and was affirmed in the direction my ministry is meant to go.
I see His presence in giving me a new church and church family to be a part of, where I can serve well, and where my gifts and abilities are wanted and valued.
And although I was not there, I see God’s presence in my nana’s death. He was there when He made sure my mom arrived in time to hold my nana’s hand as she passed. He was there as she took her last breath while ‘Eye of the Sparrow’, my grandpa’s favourite song, played on Spotify. He gave us assurance that He was taking her home to be reunited with Him and my grandpa.
So, where is God?
He is here in all of the good and all of the beauty in this challenging time. He never left. We just stopped paying attention.
We can take comfort in His presence. In the midst of uncertainty, we know there is hope. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of age.” Matthew 28:20b, NLT