Looking Back … and Ahead

For the past few years, I have encouraged the members of the KPC Writers Group to choose a focus word for the year. Last year, I chose the word “further,” and I’ve been thinking about whether or not I made any progress in making that word a reality in 2020.

I’m sure more than a few of you will agree that 2020 wasn’t what we’d expected, planned for, or dreamed of. We weren’t far into the year when we found ourselves cancelling vacation plans and family events, doing the majority of our shopping online, and getting graduate degrees in Isolation 101. And that’s just, as they say, a drop in the bucket of upheaval.

While 2020 probably wasn’t easy for any of us—and harder and more challenging for some—I still found myself infuriated and saddened (which is an odd combined emotion) when, in January 2021, I saw a commercial advertising a popular dating site. This site “matched” 2020 with the devil. And they were partying. Add to that the social media comments paraphrasing “Good riddance, 2020!” in all manner of disparaging terms, and I found disappointment washing over me like a flood.

Yes, 2020 was different. Difficult. Discouraging. Disappointing in many ways. But each day was still the day the Lord had made, and each came with its own call to rejoice. Yes, each day brought its own brand of trouble—just as Jesus told us long ago that it would, but we were still called to rejoice in the truth that Jesus has overcome. And through Him, with Him, in Him … so have we.

But what about my focus word in 2020? Before writing this, I read over my last post and was a bit surprised (as you often are when you read your own writing) at my enthusiasm and anticipation for seeing that “further” work itself out in the coming year. I really was excited.

So, how did I do? Um. Well. Did we agree that 2020 was a challenging year? I think we did. Even so, how many of us found ourselves being driven closer to the Lord, deeper into the Word, and closer to each other? In those aspects, I can definitely proclaim I moved further up and further in. With my calendar pretty much cleared for several months, I came to be more and more aware of the Lord’s presence and companionship. I may have been isolated, but I was never alone. I dug into the Word further than usual, and my confidence in who I am in Christ grew.

As far as writing, I’ll admit I didn’t make as much headway as I could have on my current WIP (work in progress).  I couldn’t say I didn’t have the time, that’s for sure. However, an opportunity to do some ghostwriting (with one of the most beloved friends of my life) opened up new avenues. Although my name isn’t mentioned anywhere, we saw three books published in 2020! And, again, while I’m a “ghost” in these books, I can hold a finished product in my hands and see words I wrote on a real page.

I can definitely see that I moved “further” in my writing—especially as these books were nonfiction, and I fancy myself to be primarily a fiction writer. Thank You, Lord, (and thank you JDW) for not letting me sit entirely idle but moving me further along.

As for 2021 … I’m once again awed by the variety of words chosen by the writers in the KPC Writers Group. As you look through these words, are there any that touch your heart or quicken your spirit? It’s not too late to claim a word, a promise, a dream!

I think you’ll agree that these words each have a sense of hope and movement about them. Last year may have had its disappointments, but each word is a declaration that 2021 will be different! I think all of these words should have exclamation points!


And there are a few words that seemed, to me, to be whispers, poignant reminders of Whose we are and how we should live each day.


As for me, my word was odd. I thought of several others I thought could encourage me and remind me of what I hoped to accomplish during the year. But the word that kept coming back to me was “see.”

Years ago, a friend of mine “gifted” me with a quote saying it reminded her of me. While I don’t “see” it myself, I do find that the quote fills me with longing and the hope that it really is somehow, or somewhat, true—or will be.

“She always had that about her, that look of otherness, of eyes that see things much too far, and of thoughts that wander off the edge of the world.”

I found a graphic with a dandelion puff with the caption, “Some see a weed; some see a wish.”  

And another, “If your eyes are opened, you’ll see the things worth seeing.”

And I reclaimed a picture from last year’s focus word. “Each step in the right direction allows you to see further in that direction.”

For me, “see” carries with it the intrinsic command to be fully present in each moment. To not miss a thing. Jim Elliot, the martyred missionary said, “Wherever you are, be all there.”  And, to paraphrase Ann Voskamp, “You profane the moment when you are not fully in it.”

Not only do I want my eyes to be opened to see the blessings, the stories, and the truth around me, I want to live my life so that I continuously “taste and see that the Lord is good,” and offer the prayer “Lord, let them see You in me.”

Such a simple word, but it’s one that can change my day, change my future, change my writing … and my life.



Looking Back … and Ahead — 3 Comments

  1. Thank you for this very thoughtful and thought-provoking post. I love all the truths you’ve pointed out about the word “see” – all of them, so important in our lives and our walk with the Lord. You are so precious, dear sister, and I wish I could “see” you more often. I’m so sorry I haven’t made the Zoom meetings. Sending love and blessings your way!

  2. Enjoyed reading this Evelyn, thanks for sharing. Altho we missed being with family, friends, church and others, for us too 2020 was an opportunity….to slow down, to watch the birds and smell the bread baking….to sit on the porch and watch neighbors walk by, to watch the flowers develope day by day. And to pray for, call, think about those for whom it was so hard.