I picked up the book Searching for Certainty by Shelly Miller shortly after it released in mid-October of 2020. Something about it just pulled at my heart and I knew that this was the message I needed to hear. My heart and mind were weary from 2020- the uncertainty, the constant questions, the unexpected quarantines, the extra stress at work and at home. Then the rescheduling of a trip to Maine to see my mom- twice- and then just choosing to leave a credit on my account with American Airlines, because I had no idea when to try again.
I wanted certainty. I wanted something to go according to plan. I longed for it.
Just a week after the book arrived in my mailbox I started seeing posts on social media that the author, Shelly Miller, had unexpectedly and suddenly passed away. I was just a few chapters into her story when it happened. I was shocked. It took me a few days to pick up the book again. How could an author, just releasing a book be gone 2 weeks later? She had book launch activities, interviews, celebrating! Where was the certainty? She had family and kids and my heart ached for them.
Now, as I read Shelly’s words, I was also realizing these were her last words. That this book was a part of her legacy. These last words compiled in a book for all to read. And this truth stuck out to me:
“It is human nature to turn inward, self-reflect, and assess current uncertainty through the lens of our circumstances. But God requires something different from us. Look up and make eye contact with him amid the disruptions of life.” ~Shelly Miller
I continue to read, underline and consider her words through November and December. How often I do this very thing- look at uncertainty through my current circumstance. I need to be looking up at God, staying focused right there and trusting in His big picture.
And here we are now, at the beginning of a new year. Magic didn’t happen when we flipped the calendar from 2020 to 2021. The uncertainty of 2020 has not abated at all- but my mindset has changed- because what I’ve learned from Shelly’s book is that there IS certainty in our uncertainty- and this truth allows us to face 2021 with that certainty close to our hearts.
Our words matter, pursuing our goals matter, writing books, loving our families, serving others- doing what God has called us to do matters TODAY- it all matters. We truly never know when we won’t be able to do it again.
I think about Shelly’s family, especially her kids and I think about this gift she has given them with her words. What a comfort that must be. I remember when my father passed away, my mother asked me what I might want that belonged to him. I asked for his words, something in his handwriting. I wanted to touch the paper that his hand glided across and to see his familiar script on the page. She gave me his prayer book.
I won’t be perfect. I’ll stumble and forget…but Lord willing may I be found more often with my eyes up and remembering the truths that are certain more than anything else.
So, what does 2021 have for you?