The Top 10 of 2020 from April Yamasaki

Image by _Vane_ from Pixabay

This week I received a free calendar in the mail along with this note:

I’ve never once felt the need to urge you to throw away something I sent you. But this year, PLEASE, throw away your 2020 calendar. Let’s do our part to put this year behind us.

In many ways it’s been a hard year, but there have also been many blessings along the way. So before I turn the page on 2020, I would like to share my top ten blog posts for this year, then I’ll take a blogging break for the next few weeks and return in 2021. Thank you for reading and for your interest! And may you have a blessed Christmas, and a happy and healthy new year!!

#10 – Bible Gateway’s Free Bible Audio App

Although I’m a regular Bible-reader, I’ve never listened to an audio Bible for any length of time, so when BibleGateway invited me to review their new Bible audio app, I jumped at the chance. Here’s how it went for me, and how you can get your free app.

#9 – Come, Let Us Worship, Come What May

On the day that our province declared a state of emergency, I received an email asking for permission to include some of my writing on a new worship website. How strange, I thought. Here we are in the midst of pandemic with new cases of COVID-19 increasing daily, the death toll rising—and I’m being asked to think about a new website for Fall 2020? How could I even think about that?

In this post, I share what happened next plus a few resources for worship.

#8 – A Story of Faith, Family, and Forgiveness

For those of us plain or fancy, Mennonite or not, there’s lots to love in Marian Longenecker Beaman’s memoir, Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl (2019). I have great respect for the way she looks back on her life with compassion and forgiveness for those who have wronged her, how she grows to accept her past, and move into a new future. I was delighted to interview Marian and share her book with my readers.

#7 – We Wait for God

We had been expecting my husband’s release from the hospital for days, but something always seemed to come up: he needed just one more procedure, then xrays to confirm the procedure, one day his blood pressure was too low, some days one doctor would say he had “no problem” with my husband going home, but another doctor on the team would want to wait.

So we waited—and waited—and waited some more. This post shares more of our story, with encouragement for all of us in this season of waiting.

#6 – Sitting with God: Show Up, Let Go, Open Your Heart

As much as I love words, praying in silence has become one of my favourite ways of praying. Sometimes it’s a sacred pause to pray before a meal. Sometimes silently praying along in our corporate prayers as a church. Sometimes simply sitting quietly with God at the end of the day. Come along with me and learn more about centering prayer as a form of silent prayer in this interview with Rich Lewis, author of Sitting with God: A Journey to Your True Self Through Centering Prayer (Anamchara Books, 2020).

#5 – When You Love a Prodigal: Banishing Fear and Leaning into God’s Love

When Judy Douglass and her husband agonized over their son and his destructive choices, they turned to friends around the world for prayer support. Over time their call for prayer turned into an annual Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day with several thousand first-names-only on the prayer list. I was pleased to share this excerpt from Judy’s book, When You Love a Prodigal: 90 Days of Grace for the Wilderness (Bethany House Publishers, 2019).

#4 – You Are Here, Moving in Our Midst

Friends, I’m tired today. Are you? Tired of the novel coronavirus that’s still causing illness, suffering, and death. Tired of the racism and injustice that continue in spite of massive protests. Tired of those who say black lives matter while acting just the opposite. This is how I’m resting and re-charging. How about you?

#3 – Escaping the Self-Centeredness of Mental Illness

Whether the illness is physical or mental, no one who is ailing needs the added burden of being shamed for it. So I was initially surprised at the title of this guest post by Tony Roberts, author of When Despair Meets Delight: Stories to Cultivate Hope for Those Battling Mental Illness (Way with Words Publishing 2020). But I’ve hosted Tony before and appreciate the way he shares out of his own experience. Read his post and decide for yourself: Is it okay to call mental illness “self-centered,” or does that add an unfair burden to those who are already laboring?

#2 – Make Haste to Help Us, O God

When my husband had a medical emergency this fall, pandemic restrictions on hospital visits kept us from seeing one another until Day 8 of his hospital stay. In this post, I share what helped us make it through that time, and a prayer that I hope will help anyone with a loved one in the hospital.

#1 – We Need Your Positive Thoughts and Prayers

In the midst of great distress, some say they no longer want “thoughts and prayers,” since they often come across as an automatic reflex offering little comfort or real empathy. Yet when my husband was in the hospital, I knew that we needed the many positive thoughts and prayers extended on our behalf. If you’re going through a hard time, I pray the words in this post might strengthen and comfort you. If you care for someone going through difficulty, may they inspire your own expressions of genuine care.
 
Writing/Reflection Prompt: List ten blessings from 2020.
 

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