A whirlwind would best describe November and December 2020. These were hands down the most challenging days within a most challenging year. Within six weeks a friend was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and covid; my wife’s sister had emergent surgery (which Lauren responded to by flying to her in Colorado and spending a month with her to assist); the brother of a close friend overdosed and died on fentanyl; I was in a traffic accident which left me very concussed and without a car; I flew to the east coast to mourn with my friend and his family, traveled to Charlotte to meet Lauren for the first time in a month and to celebrate Thanksgiving with her dad’s side of the family, mourned the loss of my grandmother and finished my first semester of seminary strong despite the concussion. In all of this, God was profoundly good to us, drawing us closer to him and teaching us how to pray. Our Portland church community was amazing and we felt loved. We were able to minister to those here through their trials and be ministered to by them. On December 15th I got to take a full day of space alone with God at the Portland Grotto where God refreshed my heart before heading to Sequim to be with family after the passing of my grandmother. On the 20th we flew out to Denver to meet with Lauren’s mom’s side of the family and even one of my lifelong friends. It was a joy to watch Lauren’s niece and nephew open presents at 6am on Christmas morning as well as explore the ‘Garden of the God’s’ in Colorado Springs with 60+ degree weather. We were blessed by Geico with a week long car rental that allowed us to see family and friends again in Sequim as well as pickup our dog from dear friends in Bremerton that drove down just to pick him up while I was concussed and needed to rest. NYE with them was much different than the previous year in Victoria, but we got to read scripture, pray and celebrate all that God had done in our lives. What a sweet time.
During these uncertain times it would be easy to ask God “why,” when the better question might be “what.” What do you want to show us Lord? What do you want us to learn? Dr. Carl Laney states in his book Biblical Wisdom, that we don't need to know why when we know God (p. 29). Lauren and I are currently enjoying the uncertainty that comes from both car and house shopping at the same time while profoundly feeling the presence of God everywhere. I simultaneously hold high hopes with low expectations in tension together for 2021. Why are we in closed Portland when we could be anywhere in the world for school via Zoom? Maybe we will never know, but it doesn't matter anymore. We're here and so is God. All in all I’m profoundly grateful for what’s occurred over the last year and how God has used that to shape us.
Pre-Christmas celebration with my family before flying to Colorado for Lauren's family