In the Storm

Hello, Thursday Morning! I pray all my readers are doing well.  It is evident that we are in a time of crisis when storms abound.

This song came across my desktop this week, so I’d like to share it with my readers as well. Turn off the news for a bit. Be encouraged. Be at peace. Let the Holy Spirit do His best work in your spirit.

#encourage #courage

Life Interrupted Again

Just when things were looking up, life…

Hello, Thursday Morning readers!

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. — Thomas Paine, 1776

Changes happen, sometimes in the blink of an eye. This time, it’s not just me and my life. It’s all of us. It’s a war of a different sort and ordinary folks are being called upon to serve or to stay.

I was looking forward to a vacation in a couple of weeks, our first in three years. I thought I needed time off to chill and just be, without all the responsibilities that surround me right now. Time with my spouse, who is also busy, working hard.

Our plans were interrupted in an instant. Not just our plans or our lives, but everyone’s. That makes it a bit more bearable, knowing we are all in this together.

I never expected to see some of the things I’ve seen in the past week. Hoarding, empty shelves at the groceries and warehouses. Empty restaurants. Empty roads. Empty schools. Empty parking lots at some of our largest companies.

It’s haunting. My heart aches for those who are not working, who need those paychecks.

I hate that I can’t visit Mom. But at least she’s home now, safe in her own apartment. Little brother takes her meals every day. Nurses visit throughout the week. If she’d been in the rehab/nursing home a couple more weeks, she would’ve been under quarantine and no one could visit. I see God’s hand in that.

In the midst of all this, I’ve seen good things, too. Happy things, like children playing in their yards, their joyful voices blending with birdsong.

Churches finding ways to meet with and sustain their congregations—a huge challenge made somewhat easier by technology. History reveals that the church tends to grow stronger when tested.

Some changes seem negative on the surface but one thing is certain, our strength is revealed in the tough times.

I’ve seen neighbors spreading the news about local restaurants who are still cooking their delicious meals for carryout. Some of those neighbors are buying gift cards for other neighbors who are home without pay. On a local television station’s website, you can buy a $20 pizza gift card for only $10.

My friend, Rhonda Dragomir is sharing helpful hints and ideas, using the hashtag #covidea. Look her up on Facebook and Twitter (@RhondaDragomir).

Good things. Blessings. We can all do these kinds of things and more. I encourage you to find ways to be a blessing through the shutdowns and the quarantines. We are a resilient nation. I’m proud of us.

So, while some of the things I’ve yearned for and looked forward to have been postponed, I know God has a plan.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.- Jeremiah 29:11

What are some of the good things happening in your neck of the woods?

In the Trenches

I have never been a soldier or fought in a war. I cannot imagine the horrors suffered by those who have literally stood “in the trenches” at some point in life. I would never compare my small troubles to such an event. But sometimes, life’s challenges do send us into a panic and we are nearly overcome.

Hello, Thursday Morning readers. Thanks so much for stopping in for a visit. I have Sunergos Coffee in my cup this morning! I’m drinking their “Blend B” – think malt, citrus, & nutty. It smells as good as it tastes. 🙂

Aside from enjoying my yummy coffee, I’m meditating a devotional I read a few days ago. The subject was courage.

Synonyms of courage: bravery, mettle, pluck, spunk, valor, virtue, grit, backbone, fiber, fortitude.

We need a backbone, not a wishbone. — Joyce Meyer

I am too prone to wish, and not do. I must admit, fear is a heavy-hitter in my life. In addition, I battle unworthiness on a daily basis.

The author of the devotional suggested I write down my top five fears, so here they are:

  1. Being alone, which is odd, because I’m kind of an introvert. My go-to verse is Isaiah 41:10 – “…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed…” and John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
  2. Losing a loved one – there are no pat answers for this one. There are comforting verses of scripture (like John 14:27) and the knowledge that we will see our loved ones again. “The best way out is always through.” — Robert Frost
  3. Injustice (toward me and others) Zephaniah 3:13 says, “…those who are left in Israel; … shall do no injustice and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouth a deceitful tongue. For they shall graze and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.” Also, Psalm 56:11, Psalm 118:6, and Hebrews 13:6.
  4. Deep water – I think I wrote a blog post on this once or at least referred to it. I have nothing to say in my defense but I think it’s not just water. Sometimes, I’m afraid to move forward for fear of the unknown, which could also be called deep water. “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” — William Faulkner
  5. Failure – I seem to be repeating myself here. I have to refer back to Faulkner’s quote. You have to be courageous enough to step out when you can’t see the shore (what lies ahead). Go ahead, take a chance!

Truth is, I would rather be a big splash in a small pond, so I have trouble venturing out at times. Even so, I am always surprised by the number of times I get involved with a group, committee, etc., and then find myself in a leadership position, though I did not seek it. (Ack!)

Does this ever happen to you?

Through it all, I am learning to trust, not in myself, but the One who sent me. I’m grateful to God for His leadership. He has given me ample opportunities to choose faith over fear. If I focus on my fear, I’ll end up paralyzed by it. If I raise my eyes to the horizon—the big picture—I’ll be more likely to “…lose sight of the shore,” and find my way out.

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you. — Isaiah 43:1b-2