I don’t think I’ve experienced a year this odd in my almost 31 years of life. When we said goodbye to 2019, none of us could’ve predicted what you’d bring. However, you’ve made the truth of Genesis 50:20 come alive when it says, “…you meant evil for me, but God intended it all for good.” While we’ve dealt with a pandemic, racial tensions, and more, the Lord intended it for our good—teaching us every step of the way.
Tearing down our altars.
In March, our family was in the thick of a tough season. I told my husband I wish we could watch March Madness so we could tune out our problems for a while. There’s nothing wrong with basketball, but when I’d rather run to it, instead of the Lord, there definitely is.This year, sports, school, jobs, money, schedules, and more have either been taken away or drastically changed. Sadly, we’ve placed these things (and more) on altars and worshipped them instead of God. Sports are prioritized above church, earthly possessions loved more than Christ, our schedules determined by us instead of the Lord, and more. The Lord has broken down our man-made altars through 2020’s events (Hos. 8;11; 10:2). Though we’re ready for school, sports, and normal to return, we must ask the Lord to reveal our idols and what needs to change so things are in their rightful place when they return. As we disciple girls, we’d be wise to also ask them this tough question and help them discern what the Lord reveals to them.
Discipleship doesn’t require bells and whistles.
When Jesus gave the disciples the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), there were no camps or cool events. They had the gospel, which was enough. Though many wonderful things are cancelled, our call to make disciples isn’t. Possibly, the Lord is showing us the gospel is sufficient for us too.Maybe, He wants us to pause and evaluate our ministries. It’s easy to be on cruise control and do things as they’ve always been done. This year, though, we’ve been forced to be creative. I believe this can remind us of the need for discipleship-driven ministries, not event-driven ones. It can remind us that while fun events have purpose, so does discipleship in the unseen, messy moments of life. Though most of our usual events are cancelled, we have the gospel. Let’s use this time to remind ourselves and our students that God’s Word and His gospel are indeed enough.
When our world is ever-changing, God is not.
Many days, 2020 feels too heavy. The list of unknowns are long, and seems to grow by the day. 2020 has taught me to rest in God’s unchanging character. Daily, I list what I learn about God’s character from the Scripture I study. I meditate on this to help myself cling to them. “He’s good, faithful, loving, sovereign…” is often my inner dialogue. As we venture through the rest of 2020, we must continue clinging to God’s character, and help others do the same. Here are a few practical ideas:
Ask our girls which characteristics of God they’re clinging to. Together, create an ongoing list of who God is that can be referenced to in times of need.
Weekly, choose a characteristic of God and verse that teaches it. Encourage one another to meditate on that and memorize it.
Create a lock screen listing God’s characteristics (this would be a great way for girls to use their gifting for God’s glory!)
We were made for community.
We’re image bearers of our triune God (Gen. 1:27), and we reflect this as we live in relationship with one another. A main way God gives us to do this is through our local churches. 2020 has increased my love for the local church and reminded me of its immense value. Though I’m grateful for the ability to worship through livestreams, it pales in comparison to physically gathering with believers. There isn’t a sweeter sound than believers joining together in song to the Lord. There are few things more beautiful than sitting under the teaching of God’s Word alongside those who rejoice with us as we rejoice and mourn with us as we mourn (Rom. 12:15). Simply put, the internet can’t do these things. May 2020 propel us to love the local church more and disciple our girls to do the same. Let’s point out to them the wonderful benefits of gathering together and the need to prioritize it (in wisdom and safety, of course).
2020, you’ve definitely been sanctifying. This list barely scratches the surface of what the Lord has taught me. Though you’ve been tough, you haven’t been all bad. You’ve taught us to slow down, enjoy family dinners, and the beauty of spending time in God’s creation. We still have several months left, and I trust the Lord to be faithful to continue to work all things together for our good and his glory (Rom. 8:28).
A challenge for 2020.
Years ago, the thought of a new year made me anxious. The Lord led me to start a New Year’s Eve tradition I cherish. I fill a page in my journal with ways the Lord was faithful that year. It calms my heart and fixes my eyes on Christ, who knows what each day of that new year will bring. I challenge you to do this and have your girls do this as well. Together, rejoice in the Lord’s faithfulness. We need sisters in Christ to help us remember the Lord, rejoice in Him, and keep our eyes on Him. This will do just that. Though 2020 has been hard, I think you’ll be surprised at how quickly you can fill a page with God’s faithfulness!
All glory be to God, who’s the same yesterday and today and forever (Heb. 13:8), no matter what 2020 or any other year holds!
Cassie Pattillo is a wife to Jack, and mama to Hunter (5), Isaac (3), and is in the process of adopting from India. Jack is a student pastor, so she loves serving alongside him and investing in teens’ lives. She is passionate about biblical literacy along with writing and teaching about Scripture. She is also a big fan of slow mornings with a cup of coffee, a good book on the beach, and Gamecock football. Connect with Cassie: Blog // Facebook // Instagram