Dear me from a year ago,
It is January 21st, 2021.
I know, you are probably wondering if I’m typing this from Asia. You are wondering if I got to go back to Washington and Oregon with the girls this year. Maybe upcoming concerts even. You are excited because you had an exceptional year last year and this year could only get better, right?
I will start with the honest truth, you didn’t do any of that, in fact, I am typing this from my room here at home with the family. There is no way you are going anywhere and that trip to Oregon in December was the last trip you have ever taken. Absolutely no traveling in 2020. You haven’t hugged your friends nor have you stepped into a kingdom hall since March. I know, I know it sounds horrible. You miss it all so so much and you are trying to keep positive. Don’t worry! You haven’t done anything wrong either, it’s more of a world circumstance that you simply have no control over. It is something everyone everywhere will go through.
What I want you to know are all the great things that did happen, but before I do, I want you to know that you are much stronger than you think and always will keep getting stronger as long as you keep relying on Jehovah. Ultimately, he has all the unimaginable strength to push you through, never forget that!
I also want you to always always try your best to focus on others. This year, every time I/you thought about ourselves too much and got caught up in our own mind for too long, things felt worse than they were. Focusing on others is what will help you as well as lots and LOTS of prayer.
Keep busy. Plan things, even if planning isn’t your strength, it will be by the end of the year. You’ll be such a good planner because it will be a lot easier to plan. Maybe this is preparing you for something huge, something huge we still have no idea what, but things are changing fast. Staying at home wasn’t the hard part, but filling all this extra time was what made it hard.
As for the good things… no… GREAT things:
You have made so many new friends, and have strengthened friendships with those you had already met. It’s incredible! These people make going through everything so worth it because they have proved to be a sense of encouragement for you and you for them. It’s that exchange of encouragement that you want to hang on to. It’s these friendships that you will want to cling to for years to come.
The family has gone through dark times. Times will feel so dark, it will feel as though there is no way out, but remember 1 Cor 10:13 “No temptation has come upon you except for what is common to men.” Remember that no matter how rough things get, it isn’t the first time in history that it happens and Jehovah is an expert at helping you through anything that presents itself. Keep. Hanging. On! You will see how Jehovah never ever fails you! It only makes your faith in him so much stronger which is an added plus.
Whatever you do, just keep showing love. Even if something feels overwhelming, pray about it and try your best. This way, the love you share will be backed up by Jehovah, and his love is infinite! Really, if he’s backing you up, you will never tire out. Anxiety will also become more common, but you will learn ways on how to cope with this too which ends up being a great thing.
Now, I feel so different from the person you are in regards to how I plan for the future. It’s also funny how you always believed that traveling is how you grow, but really, you can grow anywhere! I think I’ve become a lot more introspective this year as well. Don’t ever limit yourself to knowledge and friendships and opportunities to show love. In fact, you will take everything you’ve learned in 2019 and try to spread it as much as possible. THIS is what keeps you going.
You will learn how insignificant certain things are compared to your family and friends and your relationship to Jehovah. When you look back at previous experiences, you won’t think about how cool a place looked, you’re going to remember the moments you had with your friends and with those wonderful brothers and sisters you met. After all, it’s them and the people who enter your life, that make each experience worthwhile. Maybe someday, after I’m able to get out again, I’ll look back at times like these and miss the funny jokes and sweet moments I shared with the family: these have been especially valuable.
This will be an unlikely year for you with so many challenges but it will be matched with so many blessings. You always said “Value the bad experiences, cherish the good experiences. Both teach you something.”
Prepare for a whole lot of plot-twists coming your way!
-January 2021 Andrea