December 30, 2020

Graduating 2020

We welcomed in the new year, expecting our schedules and big dreams to go as planned. Instead, our lives drastically altered with the dawn of 2020. The pandemic gave us the collective sense of “we’re all in this together” which was somewhat encouraging, but I’m sure we can all agree that the lockdown felt very isolating and burdensome. 

I’ve had my fair share of disappointments this year due to the cancellation of events I had been so eagerly looking forward to; in particular, my college graduation ceremony and my summer-long Europe mission trip. Both events would have celebrated the completion of my long-term goals – 1) earning my bachelor’s at Liberty University and 2) being sufficiently trained to spread the gospel abroad. I had also hoped to blog about both events, so the added anticipation only worsened the blow. 

Although my (20/20) vision for this year didn’t unfold the way I had planned, I’m grateful for how God developed my character in the midst of my challenges and setbacks. I practiced patience and learned how to adapt to all my classes transferring online through Microsoft Team, so that I could finish up my last semester and graduate. I trusted God with my family's health and safety while I was quarantined on my college campus in Virginia, away from my home in New Jersey where the virus was spreading quickly. As for my cancelled summer mission trip, I chose to intentionally focus on the opportunities around me to serve and witness to other people (but I am continuing to study German just in case I am eventually able to travel to Germany as a missionary)! 

When I was finally able to return home in May and celebrate my graduation achievement with my family and loved ones, the lack of a proper graduation ceremony didn't seem so disappointing to me anymore. Our trials and letdowns in life can be beneficial in how they tend to put things into perspective and remind us of what is most valuable or ought to be most valuable to us. Our setbacks also remind us that we're not ultimately in control of our situations or futures. While our plans don't always succeed, God's perfect plans prevail, so we should strive to solely rely on Him for our protection and prosperity.

Graduating from college during the notorious year of 2020 has got me thinking that we’ve all technically graduated from this year in a sense. At least, I think that’s a good way to look at it. Rather than look back at 2020 and say that we survived, I think it would be more optimistic to say that we graduated from this crazy year. We adapted to the times, faced our challenges head on, and braved our fears of contracting the virus whenever we decided to step out of our homes. I think that all deserves a pat on the back, does it not?

So, congratulations, to all of the graduates of 2020! We made it to end of this year after all. Let’s look toward our future with hope and continue to believe in the value of our dreams and goals no matter what tomorrow holds. And, when the unexpected storms of life do roll our way, let us not claim victimhood but dare to be heroic, facing our adversaries head on with our eyes fixed on Jesus as past generations have done before us. 

Let's ring in the new year in unity and thankfulness. Here’s to 2021 and all the inevitable craziness it will bring. Happy New Year!

Warmly, Madison Taylor


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