faith, Pandemic Wisdom

Oh 2021: We Had Such High Hopes

Today is January 11, 2021. How can we only be 11 days into this year which originally looked so sparkly and hopeful? Is it just me or has the last 11 days seemed like a whole year already?

Last week when I wrote here, my family was in the middle of fighting Covid in our home. We were locked down and not sure about anything since December 31 when my husband tested positive and was quite sick. Maybe all that skewed my sense of time. Update: he is better in every way and was cleared for in-person work last Friday. Our youngest son and I recently tested negative. We don’t yet know if we had it too but it seems we are in the clear. We are so grateful. Antibody tests to follow as we continue to try to patch it all together.

Tonight we are celebrating Christmas, yes Christmas, with part of our family. Our tree is still up and there are unopened gifts underneath it. Maybe that warped my sense of time a little as well.

In last week’s blog, I wrote about trusting God with our hard things. Life for so many I know has become even harder since then. People are fighting this virus, fighting to survive, losing jobs and loved ones. One of my friends, a physician, wondered aloud if it was possible to wear out the praying hands emoji because prayer is what we are depending on in so many situations right now.

Oh, and then last Wednesday happened. In our quarantine lockdown we watched, like you did, horrified as the events in Washington D.C. unfolded. It tore my already fragile heart wide open. Since then, we’ve all had our opinions and spins on this. I have wanted quick answers, clear resolutions and of course, that has not yet happened.

Once again, I’ve had to face how little I control anything, how much I need to trust God and to just humbly pray that I not contribute to the problem.

The hate, the violence, the rage, the lies, the destruction and the loss of life that we witnessed is a full stop for me. Remember the standards of how we measure right and wrong: is what occurred about love or hate? Is it about truth or lies? Does it label and vilify whole groups of people? (people of color, Jewish people, Democrats, Republicans or journalists.) If so, then no, just no. I’ve seen people on Facebook and Twitter lamenting their loss of friends or followers to which I gently must say, does it have anything to do with what you are posting, who you are elevating? There are consequences to every action. Our words matter. Are you posting love, truth, goodness? We are living now with the consequences of spewed hate, lies and discord. It has affected us on every level. Families have been ruptured. Friendships have been torn. Our nation, divided. How can this be of God? How can this be Truth? How can this be Love?

I pray every day to live into a different narrative. I want to be a part of a better story, one of light, life, equality, inclusion and love. I pray every day for God to help me keep my eyes up, my words filled with grace and my actions pure.

2021, we had such high hopes but so far you’ve been a disappointment. Together, can we redeem you? Will God redeem you? Will love win? Will truth win?

I purchased my 2021 planner way back in 2020. I didn’t pay much attention to what it said on the front. I just liked the color. I only noticed today that it said. Just Breathe. A couple of days ago I read again about the Hebrew word for God which is YHWH/Yahweh. It’s not really even a word when you pronounce it correctly. It is meant to be the sound of breath, in and out. Isn’t that stunning? God’s name sounds like our breath.

What I’m trying to say is that we need a better narrative than any one of us can muster on our own. We need a God-breathed story for ourselves, our families, our community, our country, our world. Right now we are all in a season of hard things. May it be enough for now to just breathe in God and breathe out love, truth, kindness and grace. Maybe as we breathe, God will redeem it yet.

Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor and Mosa to Keller, Pace and River. To read more blogs, see upcoming events or to learn about the weekly Jesus Calling Prayer Call she co-hosts live each Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. CST, go to

7 thoughts on “Oh 2021: We Had Such High Hopes”

  1. As always, your words comfort and reassure me. Please keep my dad in your prayers. Tested positive for covid on Friday and is in the ER now with fever. He went in to get a Regeneron infusion and then developed the fever. He’s 80 but in great health and shape otherwise. Thank you!


  2. Hi Cindy, I have referred you another person who is struggling with her spiritual life and wanted to talk with someone.  I recommended you but then I realized I didn’t know if you were doing this kind of work with individuals, and if so where.Can you give me an update.  Glad to hear your family is getting through this, although with some hurdles along the way.Take care,Jack

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