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

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

  1. 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

    1. 20 February, 2021…..Saturday

      Hi there Dr. Cindy Ryan!!

      Elle K here. I’m new to Jesus Calling. That’s how I got to your blog (plus) I listened to last week’s prayer line message earlier today. I will be joining you all on Tuesday a.m.’s {smile}. Thank you & the Pastor from Texas- her name escapes me, unfortunately. I felt soothed & grateful to have listened. As I discipline to expand my horizon’s (and knowledge of Jesus). I just wanted to add some thoughts, regarding your blog about 2021. Something that came to me as I read, “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?”.

      Well, what came to me…..YES, it would be cool/marvelous if all the negative from the beginning of 2021 miraculously went away. But, 2021 is just a time frame, a year and it ends 31 December, 11:59 p.m. [then] 2021 is over.

      When people choose the negative, in a variety of ranges >those people< are the ones that are 'tarnished' (so to speak) and have the lessons to learn/need to redeem themselves if positive change is going to happen for them. 2021 did not do the negative. Those that choose to be a part of the negative- be it through violence, words or indifference. Then there's the pandemic & other social issues that cause yucky/negative energy and feelings, that's what affects us all…..Oh Man!!!!!

      2021 just showed up. Isn't it said that the 1st step toward positive change, is showing up? If change starts with us/PEOPLE…..maybe 2021 looks to people and wonders what our moves will be. Wonders how we will make the changes. I ask: isn't it really interdependent though? 2021 is counting on us/people, in the same kind of way we- as people are counting on 2021.

      WOW… is overwhelming to think about everything!! But, I still believe in 2021 {and} AM grateful for my connection to Thee Divine (and) people such as yourself, Dr. Cindy Ryan!!

      Thank you for your time.
      Hope all is well & safe with you.
      Elle K

      1. Hi Elle, Linda is the staff member from Jesus Calling who hosts the phone call each week. I am the pastor from Texas. I’m so glad you found Jesus Calling and my blog. And you are so right, it is not the year that caused any of the hardships…in either 2020 or 2021. I think what I was trying to say was that we all had hoped so much to turn the calendar page and have the hardships go away. It will not be that fast obviously. I trust in God’s faithfulness, protection and provision AND I’ve seen that God is at work in all things, weaving something good. Romans 8:28. Again, thanks for reading, writing to me and listening to the call. Prayers, Cindy

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