The Alchemy of Focus

by Deborah McCormick Maxey

I was so excited in February 2020 when I retired and sold the building that had housed my counseling practice for thirty years. Hubby and I had big plans: time with our grandchildren, travel, cruising, camping, activities at church, and painting. And finally, I would have time to write Christian fiction.

But…it was February… 2020. Two weeks after I shut my office doors for the last time, COVID-19 was announced. Suddenly, because of our age and a several health conditions, hubby and I were quarantined and cancelling instead of making plans. Church, cruise lines, campgrounds and restaurants were shut tight. I couldn’t look forward to celebrating my retirement, birthdays or even the big one, our 50th wedding anniversary.

Much as the Israelite slaves in Egypt did to claim Passover, I immediately posted these verses on our front door, calming my anxiety when it reared its ugly head by quoting God’s promise:

No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. Psalm 91:10-11 NKJV

So, my days became Bible study, long talks and lots of laughter with hubby, walks with our dogs, naps, plunging through my “to be read pile,” and writing. Lots and lots of writing.

By April, the lake we live on was teaming with life. Selah, my little garden tucked in front of my art studio, became an incredible source where my efforts were rewarded daily. Everything flourished, my works in progress sharpened and took off. I entered and received notices of acceptance in anthologies and placement in an international contest. My studio was alive with new painting projects. The yard was alive with flowers, butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. We were living surrounded by beauty.

And my spiritual life…oh the joy. Finally, I had time to truly immerse myself in the Word, to commune constantly with the Lord, with so few distractions. Worship music filled our house and ran through my head even when I awakened at night.

By April I realized I was having a Jacob experience.

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it” (Genesis 28:16 NIV).

Quarantine held so many blessings! I was rested, relaxed, joyous, motivated, and thriving. When others would lament that 2020 was a horrible year, I could praise God that despite conditions beyond my control and events I would never wish for, He was constantly using it for my good.

We don’t know what 2021 will bring. But even if it is chaotic or confusing, we can focus on how He is loving us constantly. We are His beloved children. We can start our year with joyous expectation and praise.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 NIV.

About the author: A licensed therapist, Dr. Deborah McCormick Maxey retired from her counseling practice in 2020 to joyfully invest her energy in writing Christians fiction, devotions, and her website that focuses on miracles.

Dr. Deborah McCormick Maxey’s debut novel, The Endling, is available for preorder on Amazon, and will be released by Firefly Southern Fiction/Iron Stream Media, on May 11, 2021.

Join the conversation: How has the Lord used the events of 2020 to bless you?


3 thoughts on “The Alchemy of Focus

  1. Wonderful article, Deborah, and such a positive outlook on life. Thank you for sharing and reminding us that we can find God’s goodness in our lives regardless of our circumstances.


  2. My goodness, Dr. Deborah! 2020 was very good to you–could it have something to do with our Heavenly Father’s gift of time? I think, perhaps so. Thanks for motivating me past the lethargy and into exciting opportunities! Happier 2021.


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