The trees are down. Decorations put away. Almost. There is one little tree left in the guest room because I have a plan for that one. (Rambling thoughts for my first blog of 2021.)
I bought three trees in October of 2018 and they fit perfectly in different areas of the little cabin we lived in, graciously provided by dear friends of ours. It was cozy and warm and felt homey from the first time we walked in. I needed the twinkling light from those trees in my home to soothe my aching heart over the enormous turmoil my heart, mind and emotions were in—not to mention the physical problems that had arose as a result of the chemo and radiation before we left for Bolivia. But we won’t go into that today.
We are now in our third house since moving back home, but we are back in the house we lived in before we left. The house where the dreams were dreamed and plans made–and faith grew. Even though this house is much smaller than either of the other two we lived in since being back, I was determined to put the three trees back up. As I half dragged the big box for the 7 foot tree to the back porch and exclaimed loud enough for Jeff to hear as he was walking to the house, “I’m not putting up any trees next year”. I was pooped. His reply to remind me that I “would change my mind” was 99% truth. I’m holding out 1% in case I don’t.
Nearly every year I find one left over and misplaced decoration that got left out of the Christmas storage boxes…and I have to remember to tuck it away some place safe so I can find it in 11 months. Or 10. Depending on how 2021 goes. I joined the ranks of thousands of women all over the nation who doggedly pulled the trees out at the end of October and first sign of November to bring a little joy to this crazed world.
After most all the decorations had been packed up and the big tree, standing naked in the living room I grabbed the top to jerk it off the main trunk and my hand felt the ornament. The last one. The one on the back side that I never saw. Oh, I decorate the back too, even though you don’t see it. For balance sake you have to even out the whole tree, otherwise you will come in and find it on the floor (as I saw a few pictures of on Instagram).
When I pulled the little ornament free from the branch, I realized it belonged in the very bottom box of the heavy stack of five and I wasn’t about to unload and search out it’s nesting place. I wrapped it in tissue and tucked it inside a little box and shoved it down into a secure place in the top box. It was a tiny snowman. I have a thing for snowmen. I guess because I live in Florida and it rarely ever snows. Like maybe once every 10 or 12 years. So instead of living in snowy areas, I have a few little snowmen who hang on the fake snow-covered branches of my Christmas tree.
As I sat there exhausted from the clean-up, I wondered what in the world is all the fuss about. Why did I continue to make things difficult for myself?
I realized I do that so often in day-to-day life as well.
As 2021 was approaching I realized it was high time I made some serious changes. For myself.
In the dismantling of the Christmas decorations, I thought about all the unnecessary things we (I) have layered into my life. Stacked it right on top of each other -and I have felt like there were times either it, or I would topple. Only I can fix this.
Coming back home after living in a foreign third-world country I realized I lived without a lot of things that I now have [again] in my home or on my shelves.
I had no dryer. I hung up all our clothes and ironed every single thing we wore. Now, I have a dryer—and I still iron. But that’s a choice.
I had no dishwasher to make life easier. I washed every single dish and dried it and put it away. Today, I have a dishwasher. It does everything BUT put them away. And I’m tons more exhausted now with all the extra helpers of appliances than I was then. So, what’s the deal?
Personally, I think it’s the race we’re in. It’s kind of invisible, but it’s there nonetheless. The minute my feet hit the floor it begins. We accomplish no more than if we stopped and took a breath and paused and drank a cup of coffee with a friend.
I love the one-on-one talks with friends. Covid has sort of taken away the privilege of that necessary cup of coffee with a friend…unless you Zoom it in…and that’s just not the same. So we have all hibernated away in a sense. At least parts of us–we tucked away because we couldn’t do the things we were accustomed to doing the way we were accustomed to doing them.
Yesterday, January 1, 2021 I experienced my FIRST grocery pick-up. I can truthfully say that I would be fine to not darken the doors of Walmart again–this was so NICE! It saved me from unnecessary purchases and it saved me about an hour out of my day….not to mention the exhaustion accompanied by the grocery shopping. SO, THIS was one new change brought about by Covid that I actually LIKE!
It might have been difficult for you to walk into this new year using the words, “Happy”. You may have lost the dearest person to you in 2020–so you are likely super skeptical about 2021. I would be too. I felt that way about 2019. Physically I was in such a mess from the damaged thyroid from cancer treatments that showed up in life altering ways–that I didn’t feel happy…about much of anything.
I had painted our mission field experience in bright colors and expected things to turn out the way I had envisioned…. On this side of it, I remind myself that our lives are designed by the Master Creator. And even though there were so many things that were unexpected…. I believe He was glorified by our faith and trust in Him to fulfill the dreams He had placed inside our hearts—even though things had changed. Tucked inside the harder days, there were many happy ones. Time spent with our friends–happy times. Monday night ladies Bible Study–even though I had to work hard to understand what was said, happy times. Walking the streets of Bolivia holding the hand of my sweet love (and Costa Rica), happy times. Baking cookies or creating a new dish for Jeff, happy times. The list goes on.
The discovery that my “happy” times were times spent with those I love, or doing something for them let me see that my times of discouragement came from within my mind–where the enemy stalks and throws out reminders of what was missing from my life. And even though it was so painful–these two years later, I finally see that I am the only one who can decide who the winner is.
If our happiness is dependent on our circumstances–I guess we could all find places to sit down in the mud of life and quit.
Our true “happy new year” will come from the LORD. Even this morning–in the wee hours when I was half asleep/half awake–the enemy tossed a few reminders into my head about the missing pieces that once brought joy. As I thought about them, I soon realized what his plan was; for me to enter 2021 with sadness and more depression. But I cannot allow that any longer.
My joy comes from the LORD. He is my rock and my salvation. I must make every effort to be conscious of the tactics of the enemy–staying aware. Staying armed with the Word of God will defeat the enemy EVERY TIME. I may not jump up from here this morning dancing with glee….but I will get up with the strength which comes from my Father. I will rejoice and be GLAD of heart for ALL that He has brought me through.
And, since I’m still breathing…and apparently you are too, HE has something yet for us to do. As I make conscious efforts to keep in step with Him, guarding my heart and thoughts, I pray for you, that YOU are able to see Him standing beside you, hand extended. Ready to hold you when you need holding, lead you along the way, and guide the direction of the path you should take in 2021.
I believe with ALL my heart, Jesus is coming soon. Use what He has given you. And, have a HAPPY, confident in Him, Jesus filled New Year!
© Angie Knight 2021. All rights reserved.
*blog changes coming soon*