Saturday, January 11, 2020

Dear 2019

Dear  2019~

I never expected the gifts and scars you had in store this year. You were one for surprises. And tonight, I want to remember you.

We slew old fears and picked up books and a radio show we foreswore years ago during a hard cycle of OCD. We read books about gods fighting minotaurs (D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths) and comics about a Spidey who always wins. We prayed from the Valley of Vision when we had no words; we read the life of David in company with other believers, awestruck at how it all felt so real this time. We actually prepared our heart leading up to Easter with The Incomparable Christ. And remember that first day of the year? Yeah, that first day a friend asked us if we wanted to join a 100-day challenge with a devotional (100 Days to Brave, Annie Downs) We were kind of nervous about the time commitment, but now we know we were supposed to do that. Because on the day she talked about calling, we took stock of our talents and where to take them for the rest of our single years, and that ignited a journey of college applications and a strong call to counseling girls who are struggling like we did.

We nailed down the genre we want to write as we head into the future: historical mystery and espionage. We actually read comp titles, some of which weren't around when we were trying to shop WoL in a market saturated with other genres. That beautiful pink cover with a WW1 romance interwoven with mythology (Lovely War). The female detective with those wonderful, authentic UK details and that disturbing edge of spiritual off-ness (Maisie Dobbs). That first book in the series about WW1 codebreakers (The Number of Love). And that one novel about Sherlock Holmes and his girl that we've had checked out from the library for months, unable to let go of (The Beekeeper's Apprentice).

We followed clues with British detectives solving murders (Foyles' War, Poirot) and fangirled as Regency belles dressed themselves for a night of dancing and zombie-fighting (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) We stole time on Monday mornings to catch the release of Les Miserables on Masterpiece and skipped buying books and sushi on vacation so a DVD of it could come home where it belonged. We caved and read the Avengers' Endgame plot spoilers because we didn't know this year would hold a binging of over fifteen Marvel movies, kickstarted by a magical girl who brought them into our life. We ran away with a Time Lord in a Tardis (Doctor Who, season 5) and cried on his birthday because how can one human soul be so beautiful? And we caught Nicholas Cage misquoting the Declaration of Independence in National Treasure on a late-night home alone while polishing off avocado toast.

We sat in the car and gently closed the last day of our first real job. We cried over a baby nephew we never got to hold and sat in numb grief in a Chick-fil-A before watching a play we had wanted for years to come to Grand Rapids (Titanic). We cried over students writing out pain in their stories and felt the deep ache of wanting good for them. We organized that website we've been meaning to get around to and learned about newsletter funnels and actually got a kick in the pants to start using hashtags on Instagram. We learned that staging pictures can be fun. We tromped outside in the rain and swung in a hammock. We got a milk frother to make tea lattes and a plant light to keep succulents alive. We slept alone in the room we've shared for years when our sister went on her first trip. We slept alone for the first time in the house when our family traveled and we stayed behind. We binged too many shows and sometimes (ok, most times) didn't try to wrestle our eyes from the things of earth to the eyes of heaven. We got our first magazine article published in our favorite magazine and found out entirely by surprise (Bella Grace). We paid unexpected bills and wrestled with the emotional trauma of two car accidents. We sat in the old blue van for the last time after it was totaled and it played the local Christian radio station we've come to love. We wrestled deeply with relationships ("If You Fall," JJ Heller). We found a new church home that brought our heart safely to rest. We received deep and generous love from friends who made room in their hearts for us. We felt the voices of Twitter take up loud residence in our head discussing the role of women in the church. We were able to be a safe place to help a frightened girl find her brave. Our heart felt tired and adrift by the end of it all.

We broadened horizons that the Schuyler who started this blog wouldn't have broadened. We're a woman now, and sometimes we wonder where all this is taking us. Is it safe? Is all of this shaping us in good ways? Are we loosening our standards or growing in grace? But no matter what, we are on a journey in the hands of Someone who will never forsake the saving of our soul. And just before the end of the year, he reminded us again how much he loves us.

2019, you took much and you gave richly. May the tares we sowed together wither quickly, and may the good, true seed rise strong before the face of the good Father who holds us in his grasp.
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