10 Things I Learned in 2019

I hope you are able to spend some time in reflection as this year comes to an end, and we look with anticipation and hope to a New Year. My word for 2019 was Serenity and God miraculously provided new adventures and challenges to build that character into my life. Yes, I learned far more than 10 things during 2019, but I share these few with you to hopefully spark your own review of surprising and substantial life lessons.

  1. If I must err, it is preferable to err on the side of loving too much, extending kindness even if rebuffed, and doing all I can to lift up those who are drowning. Being right is nice, but being there is much better. God will sort it all out…
  2. Pilgrimages where I re-visit and pray over God’s unfolding plan (often different from my envisioned life) can be satisfying and sacred. Returning to my roots in the Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains for two different speaking events (Feb and May) reminded me of vivid life-changing experiences and dreams of my younger self – some actualized, some re-directed.
  3. There’s always room in my heart to love another child. This year my heart burst with joy in the arrival of little Abram Justin and I was particularly grateful to be present with his family for this wondrous welcoming.
  4. If God has given me a message to share, He will give me every right word. But I will probably have to dig very deep… and it may hurt a bit.
  5. It is quite possible, and utterly delightful, to find friendship with someone thirty years younger. Especially when assigned as roommates at a significant event where prayer and strength are required.
  6. Yes, one can write a good book on deadline even whilst hosting a cottageful of kids and grands for the summer. Key words – grace, passion, screen porch, 5 am, coffee, prayer, work.
  7. People are the true gifts. Sitting next to my 92-year-old Mama celebrating the book I dedicated to her was a precious gift. Gathering yesterday (the only day all year long) with all 12 of our kids/grands was a huge gift. And sometimes random acquaintances offer the most amazing answer-to-prayer-gift; like totally upgrading my faltering website.
  8. If someone covenants to love me always, I cannot help but rejoice upon reaching 35 years of marriage, knowing he is a prize. Seasons change relationships, but as love deepens, I am so grateful for my faithful husband.
  9. It is truly humbling to hear from people who have gained life, deeper intimacy with God, and empowering encouragement from reading something I wrote. Such acknowledgements usually make me weep in gratitude and amazement that God could do such a thing through such a sinner.
  10. I am not alone, and neither are you. Each moment of each day, I can fully trust the presence and power of God beside me, in me, and through me.

Happy New Year, friend, and thanks for reading.

under the mercy, Lucinda

copyright 2019 Lucinda Secrest McDowell Check out my brand new bookLife-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell Order Today! More about “Life-Giving Choices” HERE!


  1. MaryLu on January 1, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    Happy New Year to you, my friend. I cherish the fact the you are intentional in keeping lifelong friends connected. Your writing inspires many. Hope we can reconnect with a visit soon.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on January 1, 2020 at 2:15 pm

      “MamaLu!” Great to hear from you and thank you for being a lifetime friend. Blessings to you and your tribe in 2020 and yes, hopefully we will see each other soon… “GrannyLu”

    • Patti on January 1, 2020 at 2:18 pm

      You are a gift to us all! Happy New Year!

      • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on January 1, 2020 at 5:59 pm

        Great to hear from you Patti – wish I could have seen you in Tville. Have a fabulous 2020!

  2. Dianne tischler on January 1, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Dear Cindy,
    Thank you so much for your ministry and sharing of yourself. I have enjoyed your web sight so much as well as the monthly writings.
    You may not remember me but years ago my family and I attended first church. Such a blessing! we now have lived in Minnesota for the past 11 years- close to my 92 and 94 year old parents.
    Thank you again for sharing your heart. God bless you, Cindy and your family.
    Dianne tischler

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on January 1, 2020 at 2:16 pm

      Dianne, Of course Mike and I remember you and Brian well -especially grateful for the help in Adult Ed at FCC. Thank you for your encouragement and we are praying blessings on your family in 2020.

  3. Elaine W. Miller on January 1, 2020 at 1:26 pm

    Powerful! Blessings to you dear friend.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on January 1, 2020 at 2:16 pm

      Hey Elaine – praying for a great year for you and Dan, and perhaps hope to see you next summer in the Adirondacks, Lord willing.

  4. Cathie Campbell on January 1, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    Dear Cindy,
    You write so beautifully from a full and faithful heart. Your hometown girls in Georgia love you.
    Cathie O.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on January 1, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Hello Dear Lifetime Friend Cathie! Thanks for reading and I loved being with you and others a few weeks ago – may 2020 be a highlight of your life. Love always, Cindy

  5. Nancy Smith on January 1, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you Cindy! I have enjoyed your encouraging words throughout the year. I also appreciate your honesty and vulnerability, It reinforces that nobody has it perfect and we are all in a growing process. Blessings to you and Mike for 2020! Nancy

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on January 1, 2020 at 5:58 pm

      Yes Nancy, we are all definitely in process, but God is so patient with us. Happy New Year!

  6. Ellie Gustafson on January 1, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Number 3 caught my eye, Cindy. Were you actually present for the birth? We watched 2 of our grands being born–an unforgettable experience! : )

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on January 1, 2020 at 6:00 pm

      Ellie, Thank you for your recent blog which came at a time I couldn’t respond, but I am praying for you, friend. And no, I wasn’t at the birth, but was able to be with the siblings and then take them over to meet their brother at the hospital that same day which was huge (the first two were born whilst living in England so I missed those… ) Blessings each day of 2020…

  7. Barbara on January 1, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks Cindy. Your ten things learned in 2019 has challenged me in many ways. Thanks for spurring me on to live for Jesus in this New Year.

    lots of love to you and Mike,


    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on January 1, 2020 at 9:40 pm

      Oh Barbara, you are the one who inspires me! Happy New Year to you, Newt and everyone. Hope to see you sooner than later…

  8. Lori Hatcher on January 1, 2020 at 8:34 pm

    I LOVE this list, Cindy, especially after being in one of your BRMCWC workshops in May when you asked us to pray for you to be able to meet your book deadline. What a joy to hear that you not only made it, but still enjoyed the precious gift of your newest grandson. If I was to write my list, I’d steal #3, “There’s always room in my heart to love another child.” I had a tidy little family of two girls, and somehow expected that I’d have a tidy little grandfamily of one, or two, or maybe three, spread between the two of them. As we talked about this summer, we welcomed our FOURTH grandchild (all from the same family and living with us for 30 days) on Sept. 10. Not only was Collin Gabriel the fourth, he was a BOY. ANOTHER boy. Yet God has filled my heart with love for him, his brother, and his two sisters. I’m not sure how much more my heart or my home can stretch, Lord, but bring it on!

    Happiest of new years to you, friend.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on January 1, 2020 at 9:42 pm

      Lori, please forgive me for not having answered your long email yet – been swamped! But I loved out connection at BRMCWC and your upcoming book and yes, our homes and hearts do manage to EXPAND to everyone who comes our way… Happy New Year!

  9. Karen Kelley on January 2, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    I lost my Mom two years ago and my heart is broken. My Mom loved the Lord and she ALWAYS leaned on the Lord and trusted Him , even through all her suffering. I never realized just how much I NEED to lean on Him until she was gone. He doesn’t take away the pain but he sustains me through it and I pray He will show me His will for my life now. It’s very scary but I’m learning to trust.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on January 2, 2020 at 6:35 pm

      Oh Karen, my heart breaks for you in the pain and loss of your Mama. But how amazing that she left you with a legacy of trusting God for all and that you are intentionally walking that journey of faith – one step at a time. Of course it’s scary, but always remember He is by your side. As you lean on Him, He will reveal His will and His way. Praying for you as the new year unfolds and especially that God’s Word will reveal and comfort you – begin with a daily devotional, but I also hope you are in a Bible Study or prayer group. Blessings.

  10. Beth on January 6, 2020 at 4:57 pm

    Cindy, thank you for your insights, humility, and perseverance. Loved seeing your family all together this year. Thank you for a copy of your new book. You are an amazingly productive person, at every level. So glad your sweet mama is still with us–and you can cherish her life in words. You have been a faithful friend, in spite of my very inconsistent correspondence. I do hope we will see each other in 2020—somewhere. Happiest of new years to you.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on January 6, 2020 at 5:25 pm

      Beth! Having you for a lifetime friend was one of the best life-giving choices I ever made! I do hope 2020 is a grand one for you and Rand and the kids. Wish I could hear one of those concerts… much love, Cindy

Leave a Comment