Archive for December, 2020

Lessons from 2020

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

A family photo we did for the upcoming project.

Well, what a year. I just realized I haven’t blogged since the Covid-19 pandemic started. I put out a couple of video blogs (if you’d like to follow me on YouTube, you’ll find my channel here), but otherwise, it was just an instantanious life-change, as I know it was for everyone.

My industry is one of the ones that was “affected.” And by affected, I mean, it disappeared overnight. The week everything shut down, I went from having my entire year booked for events to moving or canceling every spring and summer event I had in about 5 days.

What a weird, fraught spring. I had multiple zooms with speaker groups, and everyone’s story was the same – our industry was gone. Tour managers, videographers, sound technicians, speakers and musicians, all of us who “do” large events for a living were just instantly unemployed. It was pretty devastating. And doubly devastating for those of us with partnerships (I am a Compassion International Artist) to realize that this also meant that none of our Compassion kids would get sponsored at those events, gravely affecting children who are already among the most vulnerable on the planet.

Simultaneously, all my kids were sent home from school, and we were instantly trying to homeschool. Our college daughter had to come home, and our high school senior saw everything canceled – her prom, her senior performaces for her symphonies, her graduation. She couldn’t even say goodbye to many classmates she’d been with since kindergarten, and we were trying to figure out whether she would be able to start college. Every kid seemed to have every class on a different platform, and we were scrambling to keep up. And over it all was just fear. Our son’s heart condition puts him in the highest risk category from the CDC, and we were terrified. I learned how to get groceries delivered, and we literally stopped leaving the house.

That spring I did a couple of my events online. I did a message for NKY Outpost which we streamed online rather than having the event in person (you can watch that here), and I did some music and a short message for The American Baptist Women’s Ministry for their 69th birthday celebration. It wasn’t the same, but it was something.

During the summer, my daughter and I took advantage of the unexpected downtime to work on and complete a new project unlike anything I’ve ever done, and that was actually really fun! But since I didn’t know when events would be possible again and everything was so fraught with the pandemic and the election, we decided to release it in 2021 (more coming on that soon).

Also in the summer, my music video for “A Greater Love” won two awards at the Great Lakes Christian Film Festival – we won for Best Writer and Best Cast Performance. That was a happy highlight for us, even if they couldn’t have the awards in person.

As the fall came, most of those events canceled or moved as well, which by that time we were expecting. Frankly, it was something of a relief given Noah’s situation not to take the chance, but it’s also pretty terrible timing with two kids in college. The nature of my job is that most of my income is from events. So, even though I have worked pretty steadily all year to keep up with moving things and redoing contracts, etc, none of that is work that gets paid if the events don’t happen. But God is so faithful, and we are thankful and grateful that Nathan’s job is not affected, so while it’s not ideal, we are really mindful of our blessings.

I did do one weekend in person in September at a church near Washington DC. I ended up driving because I didn’t feel safe on planes, and they were incredibly careful with their Covid planning, but they felt people were struggling and didn’t want to wait a year. We did a very distanced women’s retreat on Saturday, and then I stayed and gave the message on some very distanced services that Sunday as well. Even though we had to cap numbers quite low and I felt a bit rusty, it was just so nice to be back with people watching God working. I know He’s always working, but it was fun to get to see it.

Our family started to get into the rhythm a bit more. My kids did online school because going in person wasn’t an option for us. I continued to cancel and/or move all my fall and Christmas events. What’s weird is that we are getting close to circling back around to those first March events that pushed out a year, and I’m not sure we’ll be able to do them when we get there again, and who saw that coming last March? So much waiting, so much limbo.

So, what have I learned?

I will be real with you all – this year has been a struggle for me. My life has looked really different, and I didn’t choose it. I have been angry with the people who won’t wear masks or stay distanced to help those of us who can’t take this lightly. I’ve been angry with the extremely divisive nature of the election, with the racial divide and inequalities, with the selfishness I’ve seen, with people being unwilling to listen to others, or to try to see any other side of things. I’ve been so fearful for my family, for my son, for my daughters trying to navigate pandemic-era college, and sad for the very real losses they are having. I’ve been sad that we aren’t able to see our extended family, and worried about our parents. I’ve been sad that, as a nation, we can’t seem to work together. I’ve had to choose, over and over, not to carry anger, to forgive and try to see another’s point of view, to try to gently (not angrily) share our perspective, to continue to show love and empathy in an increasingly angry and divided country.

Honestly, I don’t have it in me. I am not that good. But God is. And how incredibly, overwhelmingly, profoundly THANKFUL I am that God, in His great mercy, continues to help me with this, and continues to forgive me when I fail as I do so often. He continues to help me with my fear, even when I am wallowing, He continues to draw me back to Him even when I’m hardly giving Him the time of day. He reminds me that He loves everyone, and we’ve all made mistakes. He is so good, even when we don’t deserve it at all, but after all, isn’t that the entire story of Jesus? He pursued us and came for us, loved us and died for us, even though we deserved none of it. Praise God, and alleluia for Christmas!

Fear and anger and selfishness are always going to be a struggle, but God is so much bigger than these, and He is faithful.

I am truly hoping and praying for a better 2021. But I also sincerely hope and pray that we do not forget the lessons that 2020 had for us. God is good even when things are bad (Psalm 100:5). We need to be the light and not the darkness (Luke 11:34-36). We need to love others in action and in truth (1 John 3:18), and that means often thinking of others as better than ourselves (Phil 2:3), and doing everything we possibly can to live in and demonstrate peace (Rom. 12:18). God knows us and has redeemed us (Is. 43:1), and there is so much more than just this life (Col. 3:1).

I’ll leave you for 2020 with one of my favorite verses. Praise God for Christmas, praise God He is so much bigger than 2020, and peace be with you and your families! Praying we see you in 2021.

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – Jesus