When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
- Johnson Oatman, Jr.
Greetings from the Watts family! I (Lydia) have been thinking about the hymn, “Count Your Blessings” recently and how it applies to 2020. This year has had more than its share of discouragement, and we have been trying to counter that with gratitude for our many blessings.
That same week, on March 13, LifeWay did an “experiment” with all employees working remotely for a day. They had had a flexible “Work from Anywhere” policy in the past, but this was the first time no employees reported to the building. The experiment was a success, and Patrick has been working from home ever since. Overall, it has worked out well. We’ve saved lots of money on gas, and Patrick has been available to help with school-related tech problems and fix lunch! We are thankful.
As churches cancelled services and activities, LifeWay made getting “distance-worshipping” resources to churches a top priority. Patrick was part of a team tasked with getting four curriculum lines completely online as quickly as possible. It's hard to explain what a monumental task this was, but they figured out how to make it happen. I even got to preview some of it and add my input! 2020 vastly accelerated bringing "salvation to the ends of the earth" via the internet. I believe that God has Patrick at LifeWay for such a time as this. We are thankful.
In August of this year, I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, an autoimmune disease that affects the spine. This came after a long journey to determine the cause of my back pain. Getting this type of diagnosis during a pandemic is not ideal, but we are in close proximity to excellent medical care and God continues to provide for our needs to manage the situation. We are thankful.
One of the greatest blessings of 2020 for our family was the safe arrival of our niece, Emma. Patrick’s sister Allison and her husband Dave welcomed her in April. Big sister Abby is almost five years old and loves spending time with baby Emma at home in Texas. Even when things are discouraging around us, seeing pictures of them always brings a smile. We are thankful.
We hope that you are in good health and staying safe this holiday season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. We are so grateful for our friends and family, and we hope that we will soon be able to see you in person again. We wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!
-Patrick, Lydia, and Adam Watts