By Del Duduit
What a year.
Yes, I am talking about 2020.
Yes, I am talking about the same 365 days that most people describe as bizarre, unprecedented, and unforgettable, no matter how hard we try.
The Coronavirus wreaked havoc on the world and brought death and destruction to lives, businesses, and outlooks.
School was canceled, small business owners shut down for good, and thousands of people have had to die alone because of something we cannot see.
Suicide and depression rates skyrocketed because of the pandemic, and the United States of America witnessed a very disruptive and polarizing election, one that many consider to not have fairly reflected the will of the American people.
Did anything good happen in 2020?
From my perspective, yes.
When 2020 began, Angie and I had been trying for months to start a business, but we kept running into obstacles that prevented it from happening. It was a blessing in disguise that we were prevented from sinking our life savings into something, only to have been forced to close under a pandemic. God was watching out for us.
Then I was laid off in April and remained unemployed for months. How is that good?
Some doors have opened for me to possibly walk through that I might not have encountered during “normal” circumstances.
In a year of chaos and uncertainty, I worked with my publishers to launch three books on the market.
Michigan Motivations, Auburn Believer and Bama Believer all hit the stores – the ones that were open, Amazon, and other online bookstores.
Granted, it was not the best timing for any of them since they all deal with college football. The season was shortened, and few could attend the games. Still, these books went forth into the market and hopefully delivered the inspiration and motivation needed in a time of turmoil.
It was a good year in that aspect.
Over the past few months as a literary agent, I secured eight publishing contracts for first-time authors.
In a year of discouragement, these opportunities meant a great deal to these writers. For them, 2020 will be remembered as the beginning instead of the end.
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While I was unemployed for several months and my wife was even furloughed one day a week during the summer, we were still blessed financially and were even able to pay off a large debt. God provided even when it didn’t make financial sense.
Our children were blessed as well. My oldest son and his wife bought their first home, while our younger son and his wife announced they are expecting in June 2021.
And amidst the negativity in the world, our grandson turned 1 in May. We celebrated this milestone of his precious life in a dark world that promotes just the opposite.
While the news loaded the world down with propaganda and piled on lie after lie, some of my books managed to win prestigious awards.
That told me that my work mattered, and that people still want to be encouraged.
Dugout Devotions, First Down Devotions and Buckeye Believer were all recognized with awards throughout the year.
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Looking ahead to next year, I have four books that will be published:
- Dugout Devotions II
- First Down Devotions II
- Heart of a Hoosier
- Kentucky Passion
But the main event this year will be the birth of my grandson in June.
Though 2020 has had its challenges, God has helped my family and me to meet them head-on. I realize many have experienced serious struggles. I personally knew three people who recently died from COVID-19, including a man I played high school basketball with who was just a year older than me. He was taken from his family much too soon. These harsh realities have taught me some valuable lessons:
- Don’t take anything for granted. My classmate was 55 with a wife and daughter. Tomorrow is not a guarantee.
- Tell those people closest to you that you love them. If anything, this mysterious virus has made me take inventory of my life. What matters the most to me in life is my family.
- Stop putting off until tomorrow what can be done today. Procrastination will catch up and leave you with nothing but regrets.
- When God says no, remember that He sees the big picture. View His answer as His protection on your life and your family, and remain ready and available for the plan He has for you.
- Make sure your home is in order – physically, mentally, and spiritually. After the holiday season and my 77th sugar cookie, I will hit the gym again on a regular basis and get the weight off. We will continue daily devotions and attend our church. Inner strength is just as important as our outward muscles.
He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.
(Isaiah 40: 29 KJV)
This year was devastating for many. Discouraging. Deadly. Disappointing. We should not lose sight of that and must continue in prayer for peace and restoration that only God can give.
But there is hope for 2021, and I look forward to God’s blessings.
It will be delightful when my grandson is born.
It will be dynamic when four books launch.
It will be a dream come true when I venture to Tokyo for the 2021 Olympics.
And I will remain open to the plan God has for my life.
Put 2020 behind you, and be ready to discover what God has in store for you in 2021.
Happy New Year from the Duduit bunch.
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.