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I don't know a single person who is not ready to say goodbye to 2020. I am tempted to rehash the events we all witnessed, but that is not necessary. We all have our own version of what this year offered, took, instilled and left us all feeling. We each had a different set of challenges, fears, losses, and much uncertainty. I'll just leave it at that. No sense in reliving it from my perspective. We will all have a different story to tell ourselves as we each reflect on this challenging year.

Personally, I am the type that likes to reflect. Each year around Christmas time, I try to take a time out and head to a beach for my yearly sabbatical. This time simply allows me to reflect and sort through the year I am about to say goodbye to - I also enjoy taking the lessons it came to teach me. This year has certainly been full of disappointments. It also has been full of an array of blessings. Let's face it, we have all felt so out of control about everything this year has brought to our table. The blessing for me, is that it showed me I am not in control of any of it - I would like to think and believe I have control, but in reality, this year has taught me so much more than my lack of control.

I had big plans for 2020 and nothing was going to stop me! I even made a Vision Board to remind me of just how freaking fantastic 2020 was going to be. Looking back, I just have to laugh at that kind of thinking. My plans were to host an array of healing retreats, and lead grief groups for those suffering a loss. I was growing quite weary of taking death calls, and felt called to come alongside those who were hurting after the funeral services were conducted. Once the funeral services are conducted, we all just seem to go our own ways and deal with our feelings in our own way, right? Yet, somehow, I felt deeply called to help those who are suffering in silence. I was determined to make a difference in the lives of others. Now, I just have to laugh as I see I never really had any kind of control over anything.

I learned from 2020 to simply be quiet, and to lay down my own agenda. It taught me that it's not about me and what I want. This challenging and frustrating year taught me the art of surrender. I learned to lay my will (ego) down, and was literally shown that I needed a shift in my prayer life. I stopped praying for what I wanted, and simply prayed, "Not my will Lord, but your will be done." It was a little uncomfortable at first, but every time I prayed that, an abundance of peace seemed to flow over me. The inner struggle disappeared and I learned the art of how to float in a rough sea of heated and tormenting emotions.

I turned off the worldly news, as all it seemed to report was fear. Personally, I know I was not given a spirit of fear. I got off social media for a while as it was just as bad as the news media. I was sick of the fear feeding and I hate politics with a passion. The world around me seemed to be turning into a dark abyss and I am not a big fan of that kind of darkness. Witnessing the bitter words of friends and family attacking each other openly, ruined relationships, gave the term social distancing a whole new spin. Witnessing the country I love being divided in so many ways.

I felt such a deep depression inside of my soul. I wrestled with that darkness that was all around me. I couldn't control it, I couldn't stop it no matter how hard I tried. I saw hurting people everywhere I looked, and world in deep grief - Yet I felt so helpless as if my hands and feet were tied and bound to watch a hurting world self destruct. I just couldn't bear to look at it anymore. I realized I wasn't the only one feeling out of control. Everyone else was sinking in a kaleidoscope of fear and grief. I was simply looking to be a life preserver to throw towards them, but I couldn't seem to get loose from my own self doubt to help them.

The exhaustion was all around me and I simply began to look up instead of down. The world, after all, was still turning. The sun was still shining and the moon always founds its way to illuminate the darkness. As I began to look up, my perspective began to shift to a much higher power.

I can see so clearly, that God holds the pen to new beginnings. This time of sabbatical has shown me that it's okay to make plans, but God holds the pen and he determines the timing as to when the desires of our heart will be fulfilled. It became obvious to me that I was not ready to fulfill the plans I had made for myself for 2020. This time I have spent at the beach has been more of a heart awakening for me as God has revealed himself in so many ways.

That feeling of total awe as I stood before the roar of the ocean and felt so small in comparison to the vast creation he simply spoke into existence. As I looked up at what we were calling The Christmas Star that peered over the beaches I was reminded that He was providing us with hope for a new beginning. I know we have all been told that Jesus was born on Christmas day - Personally, I believe he was conceived by the Holy Spirit on Christmas day. The Star of Bethlehem guided the kings of this world, to travel and bestow gifts the family would need in order to survive. I mean, when you stop and think about it, that star of hope shone to show them where he was at the time of their arrival. Jesus was not an infant when they arrived, he was about two years old. That is why King Herod ordered the deaths of all male children at the age of two years and under. God was showing the world that life begins at conception. Jesus was born in a manger and kept safe from the evil of King Herod.

The ministry of Christ on this earth was the span of thirty-three years. He must have experienced his own 2020 as he prayed the prayer, and sweated droplets of blood, and prayed, "If it be your will Father, let this cup pass from me ... Not my will be done, but your will be done." I can't even imagine the darkness that was upon his spirit during those moments. The Christmas season reminds us all to be deeply grateful for what was done on this earth for each of us. I have never in my entire life known a love like that. I am merely trying to learn how to surrender my life like Jesus. He is the blueprint for humanity to follow. Sadly, I find myself falling short and landing in the traps of sin day in and day out. Yet, he died for me as a gift of forgiveness. He died for the entire world for those who are simply willing to receive that gift of everlasting love and forgiveness. We don't have to work for it, we don't have to carry shame and guilt because we fall short - We just receive his gift of love. Now how beautiful is that?

My eyes are tearing up just thinking about it as I write this. My heart is overwhelmed right this moment. It's such an incredible experience to simply sit alone with him, talk with him, thank him for everything .... yes, even the bad things that happen. He is still in control and he is still guiding our paths. If only we would slow down, be quiet and still, so we can experience the love He is so desperately trying to reign down upon us as His children. He is the God of all comfort and he knows everything about us. He knows the plans he has for us. He knows that everything that has caused us pain and anguish has a higher purpose. All we have to do is simply ask, "God, where are you in all of this? What are you trying to teach me in this moment?" You'll be amazed at His answers. I am.

So as I look towards the upcoming year, I simply have to thank 2020 for teaching me that I am not the one in control, yet I am grateful. I love nothing more than to sit at the feet of my Mighty Creator with a pen in my hand and ask, "What are the plans you have for me, Lord?" The words flow like a calm river in Spring and the sounds of babbling brook provide the language that God and I share together. It is truly a Kairos moment in time. There is such a bigger picture than what we all face in our short time on this ball of dust we call earth.