Last year at this time, I was in Fort Lauderdale for my first Q Christian Fellowship conference. I spent several hours writing a “2019 in Review” post, and it turned out to be a beautiful opportunity for reflection and gratitude. We had no idea what was right around the corner, did we? 2020 has been a dumpster fire of a year in so many ways, but a lot of wonderful things have happened too. Both can be true.

I’m always grateful for this time of year, for a chance to look back, to reflect on the events of the year. Nothing like a trip through your Instagram to bring it all back. Join me?

January

February

March

April

  • I launched my first “2.0” support group for men who had already been through my “first level” support group with The Christian Closet. I was excited to welcome special guest speakers Trey Pearson, Alan Manning Chambers and Robb Kornoelje.
  • We celebrated Easter online with The Quest.
  • I appeared in the video for Tash Holmes‘s song “My Heart in Your Hands.”
  • I was the guest speaker for one of Adam Evers‘s Believr App meetups.
  • I was the featured artist for one of QCF’s online Q Night Live concerts. I played an hour of original music and worship songs with my daughter Emily on guitar and vocals and my son Jacob on percussion and vocals. Watch the video here!

May

June

July

August

  • I was featured on the Shipwreck Over Safety podcast.
  • I was featured in another Facebook Live conversation for The Journey Center of Chicago, this time about spiritual pain vs. religious pain. Watch the video here!
  • I started my fourth year teaching transitional kindergarten at Sonoma Country Day School.
  • I enjoyed a lot of good, health-conscious cooking and beautiful hikes.
  • The Journey Center of Santa Rosa board of directors said goodbye to our physical home of 13 years and transitioned to an all-online format.

September

  • On September 12, my son Jacob married his longtime girlfriend Kajsa. I was blessed to be able to officiate the wedding with my friend and father of the bride, Corey Johnsrud. It was much smaller than we had originally envisioned it, just immediate family and bridal party. But grandparents and extended family Zoomed in, and we spent a beautiful evening together feasting and drinking and dancing and celebrating.
  • We celebrated Emily and Zachary’s 19th birthday.
  • My landlords completed the bathroom remodeling project in my apartment, so I bought a stackable washer/dryer unit to go with the shiny new shower and new appliance hookups. If you’ve ever spent years doing your laundry in laundromats and/or friends’ houses, you know what an upgrade this was. It deserves to be on this end-of-year list because of the vast improvement it’s made in my life.
  • I was featured on Rev. Sophie Whitmarsh‘s podcast, Sackcloth and Coffee.
  • Q Christian Fellowship shared the video from the panel discussion on spiritual and mental health I was on back in January. Watch it here!
  • For the fourth year in a row, Sonoma County was afflicted by wildfires. School was disrupted, and many people were displaced for weeks. But thank God my friends, family and I were safe.

October

November

  • I phone banked for the first time in my life, calling registered Democrats in Pennsylvania and encouraging them to get out and vote for Biden and Harris.
  • Like the rest of the world, I waited on pins and needles to hear the news about Biden/Harris’s victory. I wept with relief and joy at their speeches on the Saturday night it was called. Now if we can only get to January 20.
  • We celebrated Kajsa’s 23rd birthday.
  • Sadly, we had to move our church’s annual Thanksgiving celebration feast to an online format, but it turned out to be a meaningful, intimate time together. God is always able to bring good out of our disappointments.
  • My boyfriend and I were able to have lunch with Cara Meredith in Sonoma. Again, it was so, so good to see a friend NOT on a screen.
  • I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and my family, and it was so meaningful.
  • After a nine-month bout of writer’s block, I finally got back to my blog, posting about identity, Advent and not losing heart in the hard but worthwhile work of ministry.

December

  • Tony and I welcomed Rev. Mandy McDow, senior minister of Los Angeles First United Methodist Church, for a powerful “Up Close and Personal” conversation about church, inclusion, and outside-the-box ministry. Watch our conversation here!
  • Alas, we had to cancel plans for our first in-person worship gathering on December 13, but we did the next best thing, broadcasting live from the building in Novato while still producing the worship service for an online-only audience. We are excited to be “back” in this “next best” way until it’s safe to meet in person again. As I say on Twitter every Sunday, “You don’t have to worship where you’re not wanted.” If you’d like to worship with a church that believes #BlackLivesMatter, that celebrates LGBTQ+ identities and relationship as sacred and that acknowledges the gifts and callings of all genders for all levels of leadership, please join us some Sunday at 10am PT/noon CT/1pm ET. You can find us live on our Facebook Page or on YouTube. And please follow us on all the socials! We have changed our name to reflect the reality of our “not just Novato” church family, so look for us @ We Are The Quest.
  • I am so thankful for the ways that God is growing my spiritual direction practice. I have clients who come to me through The Christian Closet or The Journey Center, or simply from encountering me on social media. It’s such a privilege to meet with folks monthly, to bear witness to the good things God is doing in their lives.
  • It was wonderful to celebrate my first Christmas with my boyfriend. We’ve been together six months now, and things are really good. I’m grateful to have found a good man who loves Jesus and is committed to a life of ministry like I am. He makes me a better man and a better Christian, and I’m so grateful.

Last year, I ended my year-end review by listing all the live theater and concerts I had enjoyed. A few years back I started a list on my phone. Who knew 2020 would turn out like this? But here’s to a new year and to the hope of gathering again to enjoy and support the arts.

As I close, I want to thank you for reading and for being a supportive presence in my life. Writing this post took way longer than I had planned, but it was such a good thing for me to see that even during this painful season of dashed hopes and crushed expectations, God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine. Thanks be to God for all that has been, and may 2021 be a much brighter year. I know tomorrow is just another day, but as @KhristiLauren said today on Twitter: “If something as mundane as the turn of a calendar year provides hope, then let the people hope.” Let the people hope. Amen and amen.

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