Thankful and Grateful: Reflections on 2021

“Reflections.” Raystown Lake, 16 October 2021. Photo taken by Mandy Sweigart-Quinn.

2021 has been full of personal failures, struggles, joys and growth. I will freely and humbly admit that this past year was the worst year that I can remember in terms of my daily Bible reading. While many people are encouraged and strengthened by reading from different portions of the Bible daily, that is not for me. I have learned that I am a person who needs a chronological or book by book reading plan! My reading plan for 2022 will follow the order of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and the canonical order of the New Testament.

The last few weeks of 2021 I have really resonated with the Apostle Paul’s statement, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19 ESV). I hate and despise how much time I spend looking at newsfeed headlines. I am not nor will I ever be a gambler/slot machine player; however, I have allowed my brain to be rewired to crave updated news headlines. I realize how ridiculous and pathetic this sounds but it is absolutely true. I absolutely hate how much time and effort I give to reading things that have very little earthly value. I despise how I allow myself to tune out Nathan, my mom and others because I am on my electronic device.

There are times when PQ (my cavapoo puppy) wants to play and I do not want to be bothered because I am scrolling through newsfeeds (praise God I have my notifications turned off or it would be even worse!). This grieves my heart more than you will know! I know what the right thing to do is but the minute I have down time, if I am not on guard, my rewired brain literally searches random stuff online. I am thankful and grateful that the Holy Spirit is working on me in this area. I welcome accountability from y’all so never hesitate to ask me how I am doing in this area. I cannot stress this enough: if anyone ever thinks that I have it all together, I assure you that is a lie from the pit of hell!

2021 has been a year with a lot of firsts. On January 2, 2022 Nathan and I will be married four years and this was the first full year where we were not moving. Praise God! I can honestly say having an established residence did not prevent Nathan and I from having some serious disagreements. In all my relationships I need to be quicker to listen, slower to speak and MUCH slower to anger and frustration. I pray that in 2022 I will learn to be a more godly wife, daughter, aunt, niece, friend, mentor, blogger, teacher etc.

I am thankful and grateful to God for the church family that He has given us at Faith Bible Fellowship Church. I am so thankful that God has provided us with a church that teaches sound doctrine! It has been a massive joy to share with the youth at TCAC as well as being a part of their Tuesday night Bible Study. I am so thankful and grateful for sound churches who are rightly teaching the Word of God!

While my personal reading was not as great as previous years, I am thankful for the community God has given me with likeminded believers! I am thankful for Alan, Jimmy and Michael for allowing me to guest blog for them. I am thankful and grateful for the opportunity to connect with many bloggers outside of WordPress (whether through email, Skype, text, zoom). I love each one of you and I cannot thank you enough for your love, prayer and care toward me and my family!

After I wrote “Authority of Scripture” it seemed fitting that the Lord would lead me to write on Psalm 119. I am humbled and awed by the love and support y’all showed me through this endeavor. I am so thankful and grateful for all the love and responses y’all had to my variety of posts this year from Bible posts, prayer posts, life application fishing posts etc. Thank you so much for traveling with me!

2021 was the first time in five years where I was not in Seminary. After taking the last year off and really praying about where God wants me, in October 2021 I applied to Westminster Theological Seminary. Praise the Lord I was accepted! February 7, 2022 I will begin their Master of Arts in Religion degree. I am really excited about this. God has used 2021 to refresh and revive my love for Academic studies.

At the end of the day (or year), even with everything that is happening around us, I am thankful and I am grateful. I am thankful for all the people the Lord has placed in my life. I am so thankful and grateful for all the time I was able to spend with Nathan, my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew. I am thankful for the time I was able to spend with friends this year. I am thankful and grateful to all those who love, support, encourage and believe in me. I am thankful and grateful that I am a sinner saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am thankful and grateful for each person who reads this blog. I am thankful, humbled and grateful for each person who takes the time to comment. I am always thanking God for each person who reads this blog. I know first hand how much stuff is online and competing for our attention. Thank you for taking the time to do life with me in 2021 and I look forward to what God has for us in 2022! Lots of love and blessings!

Father God, thank You and praise You that You are Sovereign over each and every moment. Lord God, thank You for each reader and each unique experience You allowed them to have this year. Lord God, 2021 has been a year unlike any other. Prepare us Lord for 2022. Help us to take the time to reflect on 2021 and to learn from our mistakes. Help us to continue to grow in our love for You and Your Word. Lord God, thank You and praise You for this reader! Lord God, thank You for all that You are doing in the lives of Your people all over the world. Lord God, help us to endure and persevere. Help us to reflect on Your Goodness, Kindness, Grace, Forgiveness and Mercy to us over the past year. Thank You Lord for this reader and prepare all of us for what we will face in 2022. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.