The last day of 2020 was filled with Hope for the future. Hope that the pandemic that has plagued the world, our small community in 2020 will soon come to an end. Hope that the vaccines will protect us from the coronavirus. Hope that the economy and all those still unemployed will recover and find employment. Hope that our world will again be opened to travel. Hope that our lives will again begin to intertwine with others face to face. Hope that we can once again embrace and show our love and concern to those who need our loving, physical consolation. Hope that all those who have lost loved ones from COVID-19 will find peace, healing and the presence of Jesus in their lives. He is always with the brokenhearted. Always.

As I began 2020, my reasons for choosing Hope were based on the eternal Hope I know I have in Jesus. The Hope I have that His Word anchors me in both the good times and in those that are difficult. His Hope gives me confidence and joy in living each day.

As the year continued, I saw the great need for His Hope in my life to ward off the fears of isolation, desperation, confinement, loneliness and, above all, grief. He led me so that I was able to learn and grow despite all the confusion and helplessness I was feeling. I learned new ways to connect with others, the value and need to be connected and how to function together with others without being physically with them. I am eternally grateful for the Hope I have in Jesus that sustains and leads me. The lessons God taught me about His Hope caused my faith to grow and increased my assurance that His Word is true in every way. His Hope brought me in new directions — His direction. Though I struggled along the way like most everyone this past year, I made it through with a heart filled with trust, gratefulness, increased compassion, and more trust in Jesus than I ever imagined.

As I reflect upon the 15-plus friends I have known for more than decade who have lost their lives or have lost a loved one to COVID-19, my heart and continued prayers go out to all the families. You were not just another counted statistical number, your life mattered to many, more than you probably ever realized. Thank you for making such a powerful impact on my life.

What word will you ask God for in 2021? In 2019 my word was Trust. I saw my need for trust in God grow through the events of that year and the truth of God being Trustworthy. As I look toward 2021, God has been saying to me that my joy is in Him. So, this year I am convinced that Joy is my word for 2021. My mom once told me that the word Joy stood for: “Jesus, Others, then Yourself.” May God lead you as you reflect upon His goodness, patience, love and mercy as you end 2020 and look into 2021 with a Hope that only Jesus can give!

JoMarie Grinkiewicz is a member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Avon Park. GriefShare sessions will be conducted online via zoom beginning in February. If you are interested in registering, please contact JoMarie at jo.marie719@outlook.com.

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