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Megan Swaim reflects on the most important lesson from the past year and how it’s giving her hope for the new one.

One thing I like about Facebook is seeing “memories” pop up throughout the year. I like seeing pictures and events from the past years, but what I really treasure is reading the captions and comments that help me remember how God was at work in our lives at the time. Especially after the events of this past year, and stepping into the new year knowing that there is still much uncertainty before us, examining God’s work in the past helps me to remember that He’s still at work in the present and He’ll be there at work in our future too. 

A few days ago a picture showed up in my memories that stopped me in my tracks. It was our announcement to family and friends of an upcoming move. At that point we were 18 months into a grand adventure. We’d made some pretty big changes that took a leap of faith: my husband pursued a new career which led to us quitting our jobs, selling our house, moving hundreds of miles away (while in the final month of pregnancy), and my husband starting a fellowship that would involve at least two more out-of-state moves. In all of it, we knew that there would be a finish line, but we had no idea where or when it’d be.

20210112 MSwaim 

Somehow in the midst of all that uncertainty, we felt the peace of God. We were certain that He’d asked us to do this. We were certain that He’d been providing for us each step of the way, and that we could trust Him. During those months we prayed fervently for two things: for a good job for my husband and for a home and community where our family could thrive. 

Quite suddenly and out of the blue, that first prayer was answered last Christmas. My husband was invited to interview for a job in Kansas, and, more quickly than we were prepared for, we found ourselves taking yet another leap of faith: packing up our children and home and moving across the country to a place none of us had ever been. We had to trust that even though we could only see a clear answer to our first prayer, the rest would follow; we had confidence that Jesus was already preparing a place for us there.

We had to trust that even though we could only see a clear answer to our first prayer, the rest would follow. #catholicmom

That was a year ago.

When I looked back on that picture and post, I remembered all the hard things that immediately followed: the long days of packing and moving, arriving in Kansas just weeks before Covid-19, Josh starting a new job in healthcare in the middle of a pandemic, the search for a house in the midst of a shut-down, the days of loneliness and isolation, wondering if we’d ever be at home here. But then, I was flooded by the good memories: the warmest welcome from countless strangers our first Sunday at our new parish, finding a house in a neighborhood filled to the brim with young children who have befriended our daughters, neighbors who care for us and love us as if we’d always been here.

And it reminded me: Jesus was here, preparing a place for us.

In everything that’s happened this past year, I’d forgotten that. Seeing that picture, reading those words, gives me so much hope for the coming year and beyond, whatever awaits us in the future. It won’t be without hardships, but Jesus will be there. He’s already there.

Copyright 2021 Megan Swaim
Images (top to bottom): Pixabay (2015); copyright 2021 Megan Swaim, all rights reserved.