Looking Back and Ahead: Reflecting on My Words for 2020 and 2021

Resilience was the word God put on my heart for the year 2020. When I chose the word I thought the year would be about healing some past hurts. It did, but in ways I did not expect, but even more unexpected was the worldwide pandemic that literally changed almost everything. My life, the world, my family…none of them look the same. Resilience was what I experienced, what my kids experienced, what I think the world experienced.

At home learning for the kids. Isolation and social distancing beyond what most of their peers were and are experiencing. My oldest had her freshman year of college and life in the dorms cut short and never experienced an entire freshman season of husker track. She had to move home early. A very sick and hospitalized mom and tayta (grandma). A broken bone for Rowen and our first major set back with any of the boys with DMD.

Periods of pure stir crazy from being shut in and away from everything we knew up until this year. Grief for what we were losing and how the world was changing. Two periods of quarantine, an intensive home remodel that we lived in. My full-time employed husband suddenly acting head coach for a varsity football team he had played for decades before. An election unlike any before. Rioting and tension and unrest.

Before that my husband’s short journey with skin cancer, a season ending injury for Chance and our first hospitalization because of Duchenne for Rowen.

We made it through all of that and regardless if 2021 will resemble that in some way, we were resilient in 2020. I learned so much about my own heart, the broken hidden little areas that needed access to the light. Visiting those areas, acknowledging those areas and finally giving them up was resilience.

I’ve spent several years chronically my joy in this journey of life. In 2019 I fell behind. I was so sad about the changes in Rowen’s disease progression that I forgot to look for the joy. In 2020, in the midst of pandemic, God helped me find my way back. Overall, our year has been joyful. I am counting the joys and blessings again.

Jason is home now; for a long time before the pandemic he was dreaming of a home office and now he has one permanently. He is happier. He is here for everything. When I need extra help with the boys he can come out of his office and help. He knows the kids better and he and I know each other better. I can honestly say we are more in love now that we have ever been. As we prepare to celebrate our 20th year of marriage in 2021, it feels like a pretty good place to be.

When everything else in the world shut down and things stopped my family experienced kindness that did not. In the middle of a pandemic we were given $70,000 to buy an new handicap accessible van that will hold 3 power chairs. Another $10,000 to purchase and install a ceiling lift system. Our boys are so loved. It is a humbling and beautiful and tear-producing and amazing gift to experience a love like that.

Rowen did fall and break his leg and he does walk less; but he does so much more!!!! His quality of life has improved.

I was brave enough to listen to an answer to a prayer I wasn’t sure was right. It was and my son is happier than he has been in years! I also learned that if you are going to ask God to help you where you are, you better be ready to say yes to what he asks! The thing he has planned is so much better than you can imagine will go wrong. Perhaps the best lesson I learned for 2020!

Lexi moved out permanently and I was so sad about that. But, as much as I thought she would not be here enough, she has come for several visits and stays and humbly shares the bunk bed with a 6 year old. Even more though, she has grown into such an adult. She balances school, work, and the demands of being a college athlete and pays her own rent. As parents, we could not ask for more. We are so proud of her and love seeing the woman she is going to be start to take bloom!

The kids have been fighting since Thanksgiving. The colder weather has basically forced them to live on top of each other as we avoid going out and crowds during the pandemic. It’s not been the most joyous part of the year; but they are happy and healthy!

Another positive thing this year brought was a pool! With everything closed last summer we finally did what we’ve dreamed of for years and the kids benefited so much from it! And finally, after years of talking about finding a neuromuscular clinic closer to home, the pandemic forced us to take that step and we could not be happier about the change. We are even going to be able to switch our clinical trial site to Denver so that we don’t have to take separate trips to Kansas City in the future. It could not have worked out better.

That’s 2020 for you. The word God gave me was perfect and so I’m trusting God. My word of the year 2021 is trust.

It’s not the word I wanted. I wanted love. If someone were to ask me what I want people to remember about me once I’m gone I would tell them that I want to leave a legacy of love behind. That is my goal, that is what I want out of this life.

God said the word this year is trust. I knew it was the right word the moment it landed on my heart. I heard someone say recently that if you think you are not loving Jesus enough, it is not a love problem, it is a trust problem. When the word trust fell I knew it was exactly right. I need to learn to trust Jesus more with my life, with my family, with my future. If I want to love better, I need to trust better and so I pray that 2021 is a fruitful year for trust in my life and I pray that sooner than later I can love like he does. I’ll be back to share my journey with this word. I know already that his first challenge to me has been issued and I will work to love me like he loves me and trust myself with what he trusts me with.

Happy New Year friends! I’m sending my love and prayers for all of you.

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