IN 2020, we learnt that life is precious and unpredictable. We spent more time with family and precious loved ones and got a chance to truly discern the people who we value and who in turn value us.
Some people learnt that simply being blood related or having a marriage covenant does not mean that we automatically have people we can rely on. Having these relationships doesn't automatically mean that they are on your team and are pushing along with you to the same destination. But take heart. Don't sit sadly, wallowing in self-pity. That only ages the soul. Don't sit in denial. That only wastes precious time. Instead, understand and accept the dynamics of those relationships and the truths that you learnt in 2020 and use it to sow more wisely in 2021. Some relationships need seeds of grace and peace and not of passion and pursuit. Scatter grace and peace and pray for God to do His work. And even though some of these relationships require patience, don't mount a stool waiting with bated breath. Release the outcome to God and keep your heart pure.
Of course, some relationships ended in 2020, shattering families and confusing children. An international study pointed to several factors causing relationships, particularly marriages, to break down last year — too much time together working from home, the general stress of the pandemic, lack of finances, differences in views on how to spend the little monies that were left in joint accounts, etc. Regardless of the reason, heartbreak is real for the spouse who wanted to work it out. In 2021 sow seeds of hope and renewal in community and in self. There are people who want to embrace you and help to rebuild. God can marvelously use community to enrich your life and you can eventually transform that pain into a new passion. But don't force it. Wait and heal. Don't wallow. Change your focus. Sow something different in new fertile ground and keep your heart pure.
And then some people learnt that being blood related and having a marriage covenant is all they could have desired and more during 2020. COVID really showed us our true family! I have a family member who contracted the virus and it was amazing to behold how our family rallied around her even while maintaining a level of safety. I have seen several spouses come to confidently rely on each other even more and rediscover the joys of their commitment and sweet friendship in their marriage. Let's not take these beautiful relationships for granted. Say 'thank you', 'I love you' and 'I miss you' often, with a hug, kiss, a gift, a gesture or just the simple words. Spice it up some more and say, 'you are so awesome,' 'what would I do without you?' and 'you are a godsend'. And of course, don't forget to keep, 'I'm sorry' and 'please forgive me' in the mix to balance things out. All of these are seeds of faith, hope and love in the value of your relationships. Sow them well. Sow abundantly and reap even more in 2021.
Let us therefore make the new year a season of believing and sowing your best life; your best family life regardless of how tremendously or how terribly things worked out in 2020. This may mean redefining what or who you define as family. It may also mean investing more time with the people who matter more and less time with the people who matter less. At the end of the day, let's be intentional and sow and reap better family experiences in 2021.
Shelly-Ann Harris is the author of several books including her most recent title God's Woman . She is also a change management and communications expert. Follow her on Twitter @Harrisshellyann.