The Gift of Time

It’s a new day, a new week, and a new plan for us. We are getting closer to our new normal as our youngest two moved back to their apartment. All of the activities we carefully made for this year are in the circular file and we are back at the drawing table.

For those of you who, like me, are experiencing a schedule that looks something like the wide open west, this is a unique opportunity to look over your schedule. As you look to planning the next month or so, an important clue is to think about what you are longing for — what have you missed during this time of restriction? What are the things that are you are relieved are off the table?

So many of our days are outlined by things we have to do and that is definitely a part of living life here on Earth. But, we do have a lot of choices in our day and today is a great day to invest in a relationship that you value. Reach out! Make a connection. Send a card. Make a phone call.

For those of you who are juggling so much that you are exhausted and you collapse in bed every night, better days are on the way. Hang tight. Reach out for help. And, hopefully, you are experiencing some positive things along the way.

Resting in His Grace,
Liz

You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7

Is it Saturday?

In some ways, it feels like it has been a year of Saturdays. Our youngest two have been staying with us and we have not been traveling. Our schedule is not at all the same. And we continue to wait for what is next. New things have become regular and many “regular” things have disappeared from my day/week.

It is hard to predict what will be next. How differently will things look? How differently will my life look? And, in the midst of all of the changes and disruptions, can I still give praise and honor to my Creator?

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord. Psalm 150:6

Everyone has some changes to adapt to and that means everyone is expending energy getting used to them. We are all a bit depleted — and maybe not accomplishing as much as normal. We will all need some extra patience in the days to come.

But, as long as we are breathing, we can give praise. The circumstances of the day may change but Jesus does not:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Thank you, Lord, for being the constant in these crazy days! Praise you for all you are doing! Amen!

Disrupted

I had just discovered a daily routine that I could base off of when my travel schedule interrupted. And then, the coronavirus hit. And just like that, every routine I had was disrupted. There are a lot of unknowns. Things are not going as I had planned. And it seems we still have a long way to go. I think this is just the beginning.

We all go through times when our lives are disrupted:

  • a diagnosis
  • a pregnancy
  • a run-in with the law
  • moving
  • an accident
  • a new job

And we make adjustments. We grieve. We do what we need to do to move forward. It’s more on a personal level and our people circle around us and support us.

But, sometimes there are regional, collective disruptions – things that affect multiple people in your circle or location

  • a death or diagnosis in your family
  • tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, or flooding in your neighborhood
  • your workplace shuts down

More people experience the stress. Those who might have encouraged you in the midst of your personal struggle are caught up in this group catastrophe. You work together to figure it out but everyone is in various stages of grief. It’s a time to support one another and walk together.

And now, nearly everyone is impacted in such a variety of ways with the coronavirus pandemic — people all over the world. If they haven’t been exposed to the virus they are feeling the effects of it. Supply chains are impacted. This is huge. It’s like coming to the scene of a really bad accident and trying to make triage decisions but without the blood and twisted metal.

How do we start reconnecting and deciding what is a part of our new routine? How do we make sense of the disruption? How do we find peace in the midst of all of this? Will those times on our knees become a part of the new normal? Will the breath prayer “Lord, I have no idea what this day is going to look like but walk with me,” continue to be the start of our days?

For me, I can’t even say what the new normal will look like but I do have today. And that is a fine place to start. I may not know what tomorrow will look like so I will just be present today:

 I will sing of your strength,
    in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
    my refuge in times of trouble.

 You are my strength, I sing praise to you;
    you, God, are my fortress,
    my God on whom I can rely.
Psalm 59:16-17

Saturated

Sometimes too much is too much.

It is easy now, especially now, to be surrounded by opinions and conflict and impending doom. I have to be careful what I intake lest I am saturated with all the dread and stress of the world. Sometimes it is exhausting trying to discern what is accurate.

It feels like the unending spring rains of Evansville, Indiana. At least it feels like they can be unending. Our first year here I bought everyone a pair of rain boots because it seemed like it was always raining.

Always raining….

The ground was often squishy. There were always puddles to navigate on the sidewalks and in parking lots. There were often flooded streets because the rain came so hard and fast the sewer system could not keep up.

Saturated.

Today, I am thankful for the sunshine. I love the sunshine-y days; the ones when I need to pull out my sunglasses to navigate the bright world. I am thankful that God’s Word cuts through the darkness and gives me light. Meditating on a passage of God’s Word can be a great way to have an inflow of Truth and Light!

What is one of your favorite verses? I find new favorites all the time. I am thankful God sent His Word to me and it is always relevant and always just what I need!

Under Pressure

Pressure can create some beautiful things. And it can also cause quite a bit of stress.

Here we are, most of the world anyway, on a bit of a lockdown. We are banding together to protect the vulnerable and to provide some sort of pre-emptive relief on the medical facilities all around the world.

We have seen some beautiful moments and heard some heart wrenching accounts. And we have experienced them around our own tables as well: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We are all under pressure in one way or another. As we struggle with bills, meals, focus, patience, health concerns, and a little extra stress, I pray for God’s grace to carry us all through.

Have you found some new ways to cope with stress? It is always good to have a few “go to” stress relievers:

a brisk walk in the neighborhood
speaking a Psalm aloud
taking a nap
singing along with a favorite, uplifting song
chatting with a friend

What other suggestions do you have?

May God grant you His peace during this time of unknowns. He sees you and knows your needs. He loves you and will provide for you in ways you may not see yet. Ask Him to open your eyes to see His work and provision!

The Lord gives strength to his people;
    the Lord blesses his people with peace
. Psalm 29:11

Day by Day

I don’t love this coronavirus but I am learning to be thankful for some of the unexpected gifts that have come out of it. Have you found anything to be thankful for in it? Take a moment to brainstorm and write them down.

I have been trying to cultivate a thankful heart but it starts with the seeds of thankfulness. Those need to be watered. And, believe it or not, a little manure might help them out, too! God uses all things! What a relief!

We are taking it day-by-day here. Naturally, many of the things we used to do are set aside for now and we are doing other things that need our attention. One of the things I have enjoyed is taking just a little time each day to think over the soundtrack of my earlier years. It is so interesting how music can transport me to a different space and time!

I don’t know that I ever saw Godspell but I certainly know this song and it definitely contains some timeless truths. Godspell ~ Day by Day

You don’t have to be crazy productive during this unusual time. We are traveling in uncharted waters in a lot of respects. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with others. Dig deeper in your relationship with God. Even if you find yourself stuck, cry out to Him with your concerns.

Stay Safe!
Liz

The Birds

We have had such an interesting opportunity to observe nature over the last month or so. Have you?

I know not all of us are in this position, and this certainly isn’t a position I have picked, but I am trying to make the most of it.

Even though we have a small business and this pandemic is really impacting us…

Even though we live within 5 and 15 minutes of our grandchildren but cannot hang out with them…

Even though we have a lot of unknowns in our lives…

We have been entertained from our window and porch with the antics of the robins, building their nest in the red bud in the front yard. The beautiful red cardinal that likes to sit on the branches of that same red bud whose lovely pink buds are giving way to the fresh green leaves. We enjoy the antics of our resident woodchuck — we call him “Karcsi” which is a Hungarian nickname for Charles (Chuck —Charles, get it??) And, then we have Rocky, the racoon. He leaves his tree each night between 6 and 7pm to prowl around the neighbors. It’s fun to watch him negotiate the tree and waddle down to the fence and climb over in search of goodies.

In the midst of this all, the lives of our animal friends have not really changed.

Scripture Memory Songs ~ Philippians 4:6-7

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:25-34

Blessed Easter

Of course, Easter looks a little different this year with all that is going on in the world.

Everything looks different!

It is easy to get into habits. And, maybe those habits can become trappings. When Easter doesn’t feel like Easter, maybe we should be thinking about what Easter really is about?

It isn’t about fantastic organ preludes and altars adorned with aromatic lilies and crowded pews where you have to arrive thirty minutes early just to sit with your family. It isn’t about showing off Easter clothes and new shoes at church. It isn’t about baskets and chocolate and egg hunts. It isn’t about family gatherings and amazing food.

It’s about Jesus!

Those other things are wonderful and fun and can be enjoyed, of course. There is nothing wrong with any of them, but they seem to have budged their way up to the front of the line. Many of us are in a new position to reflect with this crisis occurring in the world. Maybe Easter looks different this year.

Maybe that is a good thing.

A friend sent me this Easter greeting today.

In a world of uncertainty, you can count on these things:

Jesus loves you!
He died for your sins!
He rose again!

Alleluia! Amen!

Overcome ~ Jeremy Camp

Holy Saturday

Imagine walking through Jesus’ time as one of His disciples.

It’s been quite a week with the triumphal entry of Jesus to Jerusalem to the celebration of the Lord’s Supper to the washing of the disciples’ feet to grappling with the betrayal of Judas to the murder of Jesus, and now, here we are — it’s Saturday. So much has happened. can we believe there will there be a resurrection?

We see things from a much different viewpoint. We have the blessing of God’s Word to tell us it happened…Jesus was raised from the dead!

But, there are times in my life when I in a place where I can Hosanna all day long. Or I am trapped in the of darkness and grief of Good Friday. And, other times when I am dwelling in the Resurrection Joy.

It has been an unusual week. Where have you found yourself on this continuum of emotions and experiences?

I know the Resurrection is real. And yet, if I am honest, I find myself getting stuck in places here and there along the week.

Sometimes I am…

Encouraged.

Heartened.

Devastated.

Guilty.

Lying.

Betraying.

Watching.

Waiting.

Sad.

Sleeping.

Disheartened.

Hopeful.

Lost.

Confident.

Surprised.

Joy-filled.

Where are you today? God loves you exactly where you are. I am so thankful that how I feel does not negate the Truth of what God has done and is doing!

Revelation Song ~ Phillips, Craig, and Dean

“Separated…

Until the veil was torn….”

“Light of the World by darkness slain.”

It’s a beautiful day here in southern Indiana. It is a good day.

It is Good Friday.

And we are headed into the Easter weekend on Day 20 or so of restricted activity. I actually stopped counting because keeping track is just a bit much for me.

And while I am separated from some of the ones I love, I am pretty thankful for the extra time I get with the others I don’t see on a regular basis. Our two youngest have been staying with us for the last three weeks and it has been a good thing for all of us!

So, while I am separated from some of those I love, I haven’t been separated from all of them.

And I wonder if that is a bit of how God feels….

The sadness of not being a part of the lives of some of His Creation…

The longing to have them recognize His great love for them…

The burden for them and the pains and losses they have endured…

The desire to help them…

The hope of the day that they will come to know Him…

The delight in the relationships He does have…

Each person is unique… each one important… each one loved… even if they don’t realize it!

Below are two songs. Enjoy them. Rest in His grace and hope. The world is changing and we are here to witness it. How we share God’s love and grace is important but how we understand it on a personal level is essential.

Go forth in God’s love and grace!

All of Creation ~ MercyMe

In Christ Alone