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Sunday, 3 January 2021

 Hey there, friend.
I hope you had a special and memorable holiday in spite of all that was different.

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I would like to start this post by wishing you a Happy New Year, and congratulating you on making it right here. I want to acknowledge the loss that you experienced in 2020. As my sweet friend Nadine said in her post on Friday, no matter who you are, you have now experienced some form of trauma. It's about time you were given some credit- because whoever you are if you are reading this I can almost guarantee that you have survived far more than you ever thought you would have to. 

and I for one, am proud of you.

Like many others, I have spent a lot of my time this week reflecting over all that has happened in the last year- as well as everything that I have learned. 

Given all the tragedies we have all seen and endured, I feel more determined than ever to make sure I make 2020 count. And if there is one thing I have learned during the last 12 months, it's that I believe in a God who makes all things work for our good (Romans 8:28). 

Now I don't know for sure, but if I were to hazard a guess, I would say that the majority of my readers wouldn't call themselves believers (or Christians). So with this in mind, before I say anything else I just want you to know that I am not here to use my platform to pass any kind of judgement, or to make you feel bad about yourself. 

In fact, it's quite the opposite. 

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So... what do I mean when I say that I believe in a God who makes all things work for our good?

Well, I think the easiest way to answer that question is to start by telling you clearly what I don't mean by it: 

I do not mean to say that the coronavirus is from God, and I most certainly do not think that it is good. I do not mean to say that the mental health epidemic is from God, and again I absolutely do not think that it is anything remotely near being good.

Under normal circumstances, I would probably tell you that isolation isn't a good thing either. As humans, we were not made to be alone (Genesis 2:18). However, I do think that being in isolation or quarantine has worked for our good. 

On the most basic level, I believe it has saved countless lives.

I was supposed to go to Home Church for the Christmas Eve service. However, I made the very difficult decision to stay at home because my parents and I have all been out either working or on placement in the run-up to Christmas, and I didn't want to put anyone at risk. It was a tough call to make... but I'm so glad I made it, because a couple days later I learned that I had contracted the virus. 

See, although staying at home was not the option I would have naturally chosen for myself, it ended up working for my good and for the good of my church family.

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I believe that God's plans far surpass that simple analogy.
His plan is not to ignore or gloss over the tragedy and many struggles which we have faced.

Ultimately, tragedy and struggle were not in God's plan for us. 

God did not intend for you to live in a world of pain... but that doesn't mean he can't use your experiences for good. The amazing thing is that God doesn't just stop at using your experiences for 'good'; he wants to use you to save many others! (Genesis 50:20)

See, life is so much sweeter when I really invite God into the process- and it is only when I do exactly that, that I can start to see the outlines of His purpose in the good times and the bad times. 

As I look forward and think about the many ways that I want to ensure I make 2020 count, I am reminded that I don't have the strength to look very far ahead or to make any elaborate plans on my own. But I can pledge to take it one beautiful day at a time- and let God take care of the rest. 

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During 2020, I listened to a bunch of Christian podcasts; one of them being 'The Grove' podcast, which is hosted by Shelly Giglio as part of Passion City Church's ministries. In one of my favourite episodes, Louie Giglio gives this piece of advice: 

"Don't shout at the wind- 
fix your eyes on the father"

Shouting at the wind won't make the storms of your life go away. But when we fix our eyes on God, we slowly start to see the context in which these storms are coming, and the truth is that God is so much bigger than any storm that could possibly come our way. 

There is power in running to God with all our baggage, not simply because He protects us from the storms, but because He takes the weight of the storm off of our shoulders. What this means is that if we really have faith and trust in God's goodness, it is no longer our job to be in control, but instead our job becomes trusting in the one who is.

Ultimately, we are called to point towards God; not try to be God !

When we run to God instead of trying to take his place, we find a father with open arms. God desires to look us in the eyes and tell us with a voice of love and kindness: "welcome home".

Is there a need in your life today?

Run to the father. 
Because he is where your help will come from.

Credit: Tony Eight Media

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Until next time...

Sara Louisa xo

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