I feel like every time I have something planned for my personal blog (hi and hello), something crazy happens. In August, life got pretty crazy with trying to get my daughter ready for school during the unknowns of COVID. In September, we were hit with an unexpected almost Category 3 hurricane, which was supposed to be a mild Category 1 hurricane at best. My trusty MacBook of almost seven years decided to die on me, which meant that I lost hundreds of pictures and pre-recorded podcast episodes that we needed to re-record. Then, last Saturday, my mom texted me to let me know that my aunt (her first cousin) was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer. This past Monday, I found out she passed away in her sleep.
All of this to say, despite the world around me falling apart, I can stand here and tell you that God is still good.
When the world around you crashes, God is still good.
Don’t get me wrong, COVID and the pandemic is a terrible, terrible situation. In fact, my family recently lost two people very close to us due to COVID. However, because of this pandemic, people are much more conscious of their health. I know I am– I realized that I need to eat healthier and get more exercise. People are doing better at not sending their sick kids to school (which I have had so many issues with in the past). And we’ve learned to slow down. We don’t need to keep up with society and do all the things. We’ve simplified our lives due to this situation.
The unexpected hurricane was awful and it was scary for so many who have never experienced a hurricane. One of the worst parts was that Skanska failed to lock down their scores of barges and several broke our main bridge connecting Gulf Breeze to Pensacola. This has caused an increase in traffic and has disturbed so many daily commutes. But when we look at the bright side, due to this pandemic, many companies have allowed people flexibility in their schedules and have allowed them to work from home. Trust me when I say, the traffic could be doubled if we were all still working from offices!
Then, personally, the weekend before the unexpected hurricane, my family spent the weekend in Gulf Shores, AL. Since we spent the weekend at the beach, we didn’t make our usual grocery run. Had we done not gone away, we would have gone grocery shopping and would have lost hundreds of dollars of food due to losing electricity! I hated tossing all our spoiled food out, but it was minimal compared to what it could have been.
My MacBook crashing caused a lot of angst due to all of the items I had lost, however, it’s a first-world problem. And it could have been worse– I had thankfully saved 3 out of 4 interviews we had pre-recorded. The last interview was with our new friend Joanna Politano who was gracious enough to re-record.
And then my aunt. That one is a hard one to grasp, y’all. You may have seen my posts about her on my personal Facebook page or on my Instagram, but for those of you who haven’t read my tribute, just know that she was someone we were close to. She was upbeat and lively and she was always so good with me and my brother as kids. And she was great with my older daughter who was just a baby the last time we gathered together in person.
My aunt and my mom are technically first cousins and since they were the same age, they played together as children and did life together as best they could despite the miles between them (her being in Toronto and us being in Florida). In February, while my parents were vacationing in the Philippines, my mom came down with Guillen Barre Syndrome and was very, very sick. My aunt just so happened to also plan her vacation to the Philippines during that same time. She was able to change her itinerary to visit my mom in Iloilo which is on a completely different island than where she was. She and my mom and their other relatives were able to spend time together. For the last time.
And that all happened right before the lockdown occurred. It’s like God knew my mom needed that all to happen so she could have one last hurrah.
As I was thinking about my aunt this week, I vaguely remember her telling me: “It isn’t goodbye; it’s I’ll see you later.” Those words are deep and meaningful now as four years ago, I just assumed she’d come to visit or that maybe we’d take a family vacation to Toronto. I assumed she’d live a while. But now, it truly is “I’ll see you later” and I trust I’ll see her on the other side of the pearly gates one day.
Where I Find Hope
As a believer in Christ, my hope has been focused on God and His promises. He has carried me through these last several weeks, well, through 2020. He has seen me through the big things and even during the little things. Is it hard? Absolutely. Are there days I just want to throw my hands up and say, “WHY ME!” Of course– and honestly, some days I do. Some days I question God’s goodness and I question why He allows certain things to happen.
But then I think back to the my very first Bible study of 2020. I studied the entire book of Genesis which seemed to have one train wreck after the other. Despite all of the crazy, the heartache, and the sadness, God reminded His people again and again that He was still God and that He would send a Lamb.
Back to life today, when these terrible situations happened to me and my family this year, I purposefully and actively looked for the good. What did God spare us from? What did God provide instead? How did God show Himself in this situation? As soon as I start reflecting, I realize that God’s got it all under control. I know that God sees the big picture and He sees all of the tiny, miniscule details of our lives. And while I can’t see what’s going on from this point of view, I have faith that God does.
Verses of Encouragement
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
John 14:1: Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me…
Isaiah 55:8-9: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.