2019 Melissa doesn’t know what’s about to hit.

2020 will go down in the history books as this century’s 1929. I for one am not the same girl who toasted the new year with a kiss and a cheer. I doubt any of us are the same people we were. Over and over, we’ve popped our heads out of the foxholes only to be shot at again. We’re all looking forward to the election, the cure, the relief check, the finish line.

That said, I have gone places with my faith this year that I wouldn’t have if everything were rosy. I see a distinction in my family and my soul because the Lord is with us. Every time we faced something scary and exhausting, God showed up- every single time. Car troubles, bank errors, school finances, a hurricane that wasn’t predicted to hit us… Everything 2020 has thrown at us, the Lord has been our strength and a shield around us. Four times this year, sadness and despair overwhelmed me. I grabbed my Bible, or I went for walks to pray and cry, and God showed up. His Word restored my hope and confidence. He neither hurried me through grief nor abandoned me in the middle of it. He is an ever-present help in times of trouble.

The Password for 2020

This 40 ft. tall oak tree blew over, narrowly missing our roof.

Living present and with thankfulness is a theme in my life, ever since our family’s recovery from being addicted to busy. One daily habit I maintain is to name 5 experiences or things I am grateful for. 2020 has illuminated even more people, structures, and resources that I depend on.

Sadly, Sally sank our Seacouts saiboat.

All the losses this year enlarged my sense of gratitude. Gratitude keeps my head up when there is much to be upset over. I am grateful for the neighbors that graciously coached us through our first hurricane, the linemen who reconnected our power, the sailboat that made quarantine bearable, the ruined bridge that will one day again shorten the drive to my friend’s house, the freedom to travel, to gather, and to one day throw parties again whenever we feel like it. I hope that writing this down cements the quality o gratitude deeper into my character.


A typical 2020 day: The UPS guy had a heat stroke on our lawn and the BMW locked itself with the “smart key” in the ignition.

Quiet Down and Listen Up

The Psalms don’t call him our Help for no reason. This year has also reinforced the importance of listening for God’s voice. Many times he pointed me towards the right person or resource just when I needed it. I swear I specifically heard him say a few strange things that I needed to stock up on before we knew Sally was going to pick Perdido. Anytime I discount that inclination, or I am too busy to weigh it out, I miss the help he is offering. Often, it’s just someone’s name I hear, because God keeps us connected to care for one another.  I finally started asking myself this question at the end of every day: “What did you hear today?” If there is someone on my mind or a directive dropped in my lap, I write it down and try to follow up.

Humble Parenting Pie

This wouldn’t be a Life of the Family blog if I didn’t share about our parenting journey. Addison turned 12 this summer and he also cleared insane amounts of hurricane debris with his dad like a man, day after day. He and I locked horns several times recently and though we both apologized, we were at an impasse. I watched him in the yard, serving his family. It humbled me. My internal parent motor changed gears. From now on, I give Addison a wider berth and the different kind of respect he deserves. I will only pull rank with more forethought from now on. Just kidding! I am going to mess up 100 more times, but my clear understanding will help me form the right apology.

The Passage for 2020

I don’t allow myself to throw my hands up and condemn the remainder of the year, though OH MY LANTA is it ever so sorely tempting. I believe when we ring in 2021, despite everything, my family will get to look back with me and say about Jesus, “You crowned the year with a bountiful harvest. Even the hard pathways overflowed with abundance. The river of God had plenty of water.”      (Psalm 65)

Written by Melissa Brendtro