“We’re getting threatening angry calls because people think you are over the limit in your guest count. You’re not over the limit and are clearly following the rules, but we think you better call off the reception” – the day before our wedding.
“We do not have your PCR test results yet” – only minutes before boarding closed.
“You were in what we doctors calls ‘A state of delirium‘” – weeks after being in the hospital with a diagnosis of Covid-19.
These were all statements Peter and I were told throughout 2021 that left us anxiety-ridden. (And Peter is NOT an anxious person lol!) Let’s be honest here: for most of 2021, our faces were probably looking more like this than anything else 😉
Okay all joking aside, 2021 was a year full of last-minute changes, unexpected happenings, some joyful surprises, and some suprises that left us devastated. It has been a year of mourning an old self, but also a year of welcoming newness, and an amazing kind of love I did not think could exist between two humans.
Though we had expected many changes to happen due to the pandemic, there was no way we could have predicted these particular things.
Normally what I just wrote would have left me drowning in my own pool of anxiety and self-pity, complaining that there’s no point in planning if anything can side-swipe those plans. Or worse – letting my mind spiral down into the “what ifs” and becoming paralyzed in my own inability to control things.
But Jesus had given me a soft reminder at the beginning of 2021 that left me, as Peter told me, “cool and calm as a cucumber“. Peter used these words to describe me after we had a different incident when a lady at a German airport demanded we fill out a form – which on that exact same form, stated we did not need to fill out the form – only minutes before boarding our flight to Turkey.
“We abide by the rules of this airport, sir, not the rules on that form. And the rules of this airport say you MUST fill out that form,” she had told us.
Rules and regulations change constantly no matter where you are in this pandemic. Some of it keeps you on your toes in an exciting manner – some of it just creates pure, plain anxiety. (We knew getting married and travelling would be risky and difficult during this time, but apparently God is still at work during a pandemic and had other plans for us besides living in constant fear lol)
Maybe I shouldn’t call that reminder in January 2021 “soft” because it wasn’t really “soft” at all. It was more like a blaring truth that was thrusted in my face after I shared a particularly disturbing dream with a friend of mine. The dream had tickled a fear into rising to the surface of my thoughts. After an intimate conversation, she sent this verse:
You will prepare their heart.
This verse poked me with a double-edged sword. On one hand, it enabled me to name the exact fear I was facing and realize that I was believing a lie that God does not prepare us. On the other hand, if God does actually prepare us, why didn’t He prepare me before?
Because of my human tendencies, I shoved this question aside for sometime. But of course things have a way of re-surfacing themselves.
In a chat with a spirtual mentor, I was encouraged to ask God why I believed that God did not prepare me and why I believed He wouldn’t equip me for the future.
On January 7th, 2021, I had written in my prayer journal to God, “I felt like you didn’t prepare me for the deaths of young loved ones that happened in in 2019. I felt like you didn’t prepare me for the real world after school in some ways.” This is why I believed that lie: past incidences that left me devastated.
Because of this, I feared that I would not be ready for marriage (even though we did pre-marital counseling AND took an online marriage course) or equipped for a life abroad.
A quiet nudge urged on. “Would you have believed me if I told you what was going to happen?”
Immediately I knew my answer was “no”.
“Oh Lord,” my soul responded, “My idea of ‘preparation’ is not yours.”
What I did not know at the time, was that God did prepare me. He had equipped me through a grieiving process I had to go through earlier in life – defintely not my grand idea of proper “preparation”.
A month and a half later, I made one of the best decisions of my life: marrying Peter. And I can truthfully say I believe I was readied by God for this calling to be Peter’s wife. (Mostly because Peter warned me ahead of time that he can be kind of stinky – haha just kidding 😉 )
This doesn’t mean I didn’t have moments of deep aprehension, moments of crying out to God or wondering why my preparation couldn’t be some other way. It simply means that some hind-sight and reflection allowed some light to be shed and some questions to be answered. Which means sometimes all we have to do is wait and God will show us things in His timing. (And sometimes, yes, “His timing” means not until we die.)
Throughout 2021, this truth about God preparing us went with me. It has allowed me to place uncontrollable moments in His hands, and I hope it encourages you to do the same.
Truth really does set you free! I know, it’s sort of cliche to say that, but I can’t even begin to count the number of times God has shown me truth through His word or through His servants that has allowed me live in such incredible freedom!
Truths from 2021 to take into 2022:
- God DOES prepare and equip us (Psalm 10: 17, Hebrews 13:20-21, 1 Tim. 3:17)
- He prepares us in ways we cannot always fathom
- He prepares us with seasons of discipline sometimes (discipline – not punishment, there’s a difference – Prov. 3:5-12). This is something we don’t always like, but something our Father does perfectly (unlike earthly fathers because no human is perfect)
- There are things we cannot control and things we can – we must let God prepare us in His ways, and also take responsibilty for the preparation we can do
- I can trust God to ready me in His ways!
- I do not have to feel so prepared all the time
- I can rest in these truths 🙂
2021 was definitely a year of stories to tell and truths to hear. May you leave it behind, but take those truths with you to experience God’s transcending peace, living as “calm and cool as a cucumber” 😉