We are living through what feels like a never-ending thunderstorm. When we take note of silence and pop our head up in true groundhog fashion to see if normalcy has resumed, we discover that it’s only a temporary reprieve. Another threat has emerged or is peering at us from around the corner.

If you’re like me, that’s how you’ve felt about the year 2020 and its unrelenting downpour. It began in February for my family when my father was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit with a 103-degree temperature, sepsis, and a whole lot of other scary concerns. Blessedly, he recovered. Since then, my family has experienced ups and downs navigating through the unknown in a global pandemic much like many of you.

All of us have had to adjust to a new reality whether we’ve liked it or not. We’ve become students of infectious disease, innovators, caretakers, educators, and online purchasing experts. We’ve constructed plans for safety against a deadly virus for which there is no cure or vaccine in order to protect our families. Who knew that the start of a brand-new decade would challenge us in so many ways?

Even though we’re still in the midst of a health crisis in our country, it is our opportunity to reflect, reevaluate, and reimagine our lives. What have you done to grow during the COVID-19 upheaval? Did you try a new hobby, read self-help books, attend a virtual class, or volunteer? Have you strengthened your current relationships and reconnected with people whom you lost touch? Do you see the silver lining of forced change? When you look at yourself now, are you observing a resilient, motivated human being who’s way stronger and determined than she was just last year?

As for myself, I’ve learned to manage pandemic-imposed stress, fear of dying, and heartache for the 219,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 in the United States, knowing that the number of casualties sadly continues to rise. The pain of our American devastation weighs heavily on my soul.

Luckily, I’ve had an escape—writing. Though there have been days that it’s been very difficult to focus or write even one inspiring sentence, I’ve managed to pen words over the long haul, little by little.

I’m excited to see what’s in store for you and me in the year 2021. For me, it’s the year that my next memoir The Ride to Purpose: Finding Freedom on the Trail of Life is set to be released and a year which signifies an opportunity for widespread influence. I have a feeling that I’m gonna have to cinch up real tight for the whirlwind ride that God’s got planned.

The storms of life will pass; they will return and then evaporate once again. When the cloudbursts come, will you find happiness under a dark, gloomy sky? Will you find hope swirling in the wind? Will you be the encouraging light that strikes the heart of others? Will you forge onward despite thundering noise?

We’ve got to dance in the rain, dear friend. On the days that you don’t have the energy for the pace of a quickstep or samba, try waltzing with God. Keep moving and allow Him to lead you out of the storm. Use the storms of life to birth something new in you, so that when the rainbow arches in spectacular beauty high above the ground, you’ll be ready to ride on and impact lives all over the world.

Fellow Dancer,
Denise Lee Branco

John 1:5 (NLT)

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”