Sustaining Lessons

Sustaining Lessons

My Mamaw Mrs. Loyce Tucker Dyar passed away on September 30, 2020. She used to always tell me that she didn’t have any talents to teach me. She thought just because she didn’t sew or crochet or play the piano that she couldn’t contribute to my learning. What she doesn’t know is that she taught me how to play board games (especially Wahoo); even more than that, she taught me to enjoy winning AND taught me how to lose like a good sport. She exemplified to me how to grow gracefully with an aging body yet remain young at heart. She taught me never to use soap and water on my face and to lather Jergens cold cream until your face slides off the pillow at night. She taught me how to laugh at myself and not take things so seriously all the time. She taught me how to dress with style and how to wear bling with dignity. She taught me that mascara and lipstick can go a long way when it comes to maintaining vanity; she pretty much taught me all things girlie with a taste of Southern style. She taught me that eating sweets is good even when you shouldn’t, and she taught me that music speaks to the soul every day. More than anything else she taught me that home and family are all that matter! She
loved her children…and she loved her children well! I wish I could tell Mamaw all these things she taught me, but I don’t think I really knew these sustaining lessons learned until she was gone.

It makes me wonder, how many sustaining lessons has God been teaching in 2020? I mean, I know He’s always teaching me something, and I don’t doubt I’m learning lessons; but I wonder if I’ve paid enough attention this year?

This year has been different; it’s been hard.

Church doors were closed. Traditional schools were closed. Many jobs went remote for months. Weddings that had been planned for months were cancelled; funerals were downsized to grave side family-only gatherings. Mental health issues have sky rocketed. Social distancing and mask wearing have become the “new normal.”

In the book of Jeremiah, the Israelite people were in Babylonian captivity. They hadn’t had a good year either. In fact, they were exiled in captivity for 70 years! Can you imagine living out this 2020 pandemic for 70 years? Yes, that would be until 2090!!

But in the midst of captivity, God spoke through Jeremiah to encourage them and convey His promise to deliver them.

“For this is what the Lord says, ‘When seventy years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm my promise concerning you to restore you to this place. For I know the plans I have for you’- this is the Lord’s declaration-, ‘plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart’.” Jeremiah 29:10-13

Never forget that these words were spoken during some dark days of Israel’s history, but through the dark days God was teaching Israel sustaining lessons. Even in their captivity, God was still in control; God was still providing for them; God still had a purpose and a plan for them; God could still be found by them; God was still speaking to them; God had not left them!

The year 2020 may have been hard because it was different, but churches kept going because church is not a building; it is made up of God’s relational people. Schools kept teaching because to learn you must be taught. Employees kept being productive because work ethic can always be exemplified. Weddings still occurred because fancy decor doesn’t make a marriage; two people in love trusting and following God do that! Funerals still took place because death is a reality. Mental health has always been important and should never be dismissed no matter what year it is, and friendly words and kindness cannot be stopped by social distancing and masked faces.

Look for the lessons God has been teaching you this 2020 pandemic year and when you know what they are don’t ever let them go….I know my Mamaw would rather have heard about the sustaining lessons God taught me than the ones she taught! That’s just how she was!

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