The last year has been…different, a trial, soooo long? It seems like forever since we thought the wildfires of Australia would be the defining event of 2020. So much happened to upset our plans.
2020 was supposed to be an amazing year for our family. A spring trip to Florida to visit my family, and then, to celebrate our 30th anniversary, my husband and I had planned a May trip to England, our first ever and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
And even more momentous, our only daughter was getting married in July. Plans for so much family to come to our town to celebrate with us.
There were writing related events, too. New releases to launch, a reader’s day-long event, writers retreats, conferences.
So many things wiped out. Gone. So many things changed irrevocably. So many things postponed.
With all this weighing on my mind, my writing suffered. It was difficult to concentrate, to get my mind into that creative space required to create a fictional world. I found myself so easily distracted, so out of sorts. Not to mention, I am usually a coffee shop writer, and all my favorite haunts were closed. I managed to write a novel during 2020, but when I got my editorial letter back from my editor, I knew every word she wrote about what the manuscript needed was correct. My 2020 novel, my 40th published work, needed the deepest edits I’d ever received.
As I look back on all these…losses, it can be easy to respond with more negativity. As if everything that happened in 2020 was bad. It can be easy to overlook the good things that happened, or to pass by the things for which I should be grateful.
So, I intentionally made a list of things to celebrate about 2020.
My husband and I celebrated 30 years of marriage together. After his cancer diagnosis of 2016, every anniversary is especially sweet, no matter where we spend it.
My parents remained healthy and happy throughout the pandemic.
We were able to get away for an isolated few days to the North Shore of Lake Superior. A pandemic can’t close the beautiful lake scenery.
The wedding went ahead! Not exactly as planned, but the wedding date fell in a window just after the first lockdowns ended and the second wave came along. The newlyweds had a memorable day, were able to get away for their honeymoon, and are happily nesting in their new little house affectionately dubbed “The Cottage.”
I did finish my book before my deadline, though it was a struggle. My family pitched in and picked up my slack, encouraged me, and listened when I needed someone to talk to about it all.
My son moved out into his own apartment, making my husband and I empty nesters!
Our church completed the search for and found a wonderful new pastor and things are looking up for our little congregation.
Through it all, God has been faithful. Though my plans were thrown into the hurricane winds of 2020, God never ceased to be both sovereign and good. He never took His hands off me or my family, and He was not surprised or shaken by events that have unfolded. (Which, oddly enough, was the spiritual thread for my characters in my novel of 2020…God is so cool like that.)
As I have focused on and changed my perspective to gratitude rather than mourning lost plans, I am reminded anew that God is sovereign, faithful to keep His promises, and good to me.
If you’re still feeling the effects of 2020, I encourage you to make a list of good things that happened, blessings you received, and memories you made that you might have forgotten or overlooked in the face of such uncertainty and upheaval.
Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.
Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.
A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England.
Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor) and Instagram (@EricaVetsch).