Christian Walk

Covid-19, Fear, & Thankfulness

Don’t you wish you could sit down and read something that did not mention COVID-19? I mean, the virus has already consumed almost three months (is that right?) of our year. It affects our daily decisions, it shifts our future goals, and it bends our dreams out of shape. I wish I could write something COVID-19 free, but often a blog post is used to tackle the issue at hand. Not for the reader’s sake necessarily, but for the author’s. By writing down my feelings and thoughts I can deal with them, hopefully.

I hope that good comes from this pandemic. I hope that it has allowed us to pause our busy lives and take a look at what really matters. I hope that things don’t go back to normal.

For the most part my world hasn’t changed during this chapter. I stay at home with my two year old daughter. We haven’t been able to run errands or go to my husband’s office for lunch. We haven’t been to any friends’ houses for play dates. Compared to how some individuals’ lives have changed my version of change seems small. I’m also an introvert. However, nothing like this quarantine has changed my view of staying home. I miss going places and seeing friends. I miss going out for date night. I even miss shopping at Walmart (my husband has been doing all the shopping–can I get a Whoop Whoop?!).

On the outside my world hasn’t changed much, but on the inside it has. I have dealt with a lot of fear and worse case scenarios playing in my head since everything started. (Any fellow Enneagram 6’s out there?) Fear for my sister’s safety (she is a nurse), fear that my husband or I would get sick, fear that my daughter would get sick, etc. This time my fear is not the result of me not trusting God (as sometimes it is). This time I have struggled with trusting other people. The results of this pandemic has largely been left up to the decisions of others. I don’t want to get into all of it, but how other’s have perceived this pandemic has stressed me out. When a friend or family member on social media writes that it’s all a conspiracy or rants about how they won’t wear a mask because it is uncomfortable and they have the right to choose not to….my distrust rises. It has been hard watching the world not use common sense….not care about others. I know there are many levels to it, but when you have a close family member in healthcare who is living it out and then contracts the virus (and recovers) you see things in a more serious light.

I am thankful…

I am thankful that numbers are decreasing.

I am thankful that the three of us are well.

I am thankful that this time of quarantine is teaching us a lot. My husband and I were talking the other day about how we are realizing the areas in our lives that we need to mature in and we are making goals to do just that. We have also taken the time to evaluate what are family goals are and we have started drafting a plan to make those goals happen.

I am thankful for my family, my husband and our daughter. I am thankful we enjoy each other’s company and we don’t find each other a nuisance.

I am thankful for our new Sabbath tradition (future blog post to come).

Most of all I am thankful that God cares to teach me at all. He doesn’t want to leave me where I am. He wants me to grow and mature and become more like Jesus.

Being thankful in the midst of fear & anxiety…maybe that is the key to finishing well?

Learning something and maturing in Christ no matter what circumstances I am walking through….maybe that is my calling?

Uncategorized

Change is Coming

Exhaling shakily, I placed my hands at my hips to help my lungs take a more controlled breath. I breathed through the burning sensation in my legs and continued to walk down the road slowly. My feet plodded along as I waited for my breath to come more naturally.

Thoughts of victory and defeat swirled in my mind simultaneously. I had accomplished more in my exercise routine today than I had in months, but the reality was I had only walked 1.5 miles with three or four minutes of jogging in between. Here I was with burning muscles and a pounding heart and I really hadn’t done much.

I swiped at the sweat on my brow and sighed. It was an accomplishment, but I wished it was grander.

I noticed the sun, which had previously been pounding on my neck, had gone behind the clouds. Clouds were beginning to grow darker, but not due to the time of day. The air seemed to have changed as well. It was muggy and heavy; more than just the humidity I had felt at the beginning of my walk.

I checked my phone and decided to head back towards home. There was change in the air and I didn’t want to get caught in the rain.

I liked rain storms. The gray-green of the sky, the water dripping from the branches and house, and the cooler temperatures that followed were enjoyable. However, this period before a storm could be ominous. It gave a taste of the change to follow as the sky turned gray. The heavy humidity in the air was not inviting like the coolness would be after the rain.

I paused to make sure the road was clear before crossing the street. I heard a rumble of thunder. Since my breathing had returned to normal I picked up my pace so I could get home before the rain came.

I wasn’t sure what this storm would entail. A couple of weeks ago we had been watching the weather app for signs of a tornado. Some friends had their power go out, others had waited in their bathroom for the storm to pass. Would this be a friendly rainstorm bringing a chill to the air and washing the pollen away or could it be a thunderstorm with wind that would knock down powerlines, litter our driveway, and send hail?

Whatever the weather was doing I could tell change was coming. As the sky grew darker and more thunder sounded, I was determined to get to my safe place before it began.

Christian Walk

Coping

This virus has taught me a lot about people. Especially how differently people cope with fear and a lack of control.

Some people are constantly researching and talking about it, some people are stocking their homes with supplies, some aren’t really phased about the situation, others don’t know much about what is going on and mock those who are worried (and buying up toilet paper)….

There is a lot of fear going on in the world today and I bet no matter what category you fall into you can feel it. This is a chance for us to show empathy and love to all people. We don’t have to understand or agree with how they are handling the situation. We know they are fearful and trying to find control where they can.

Let us respond out of love.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-8

What a unique time where the Church can truly show what God’s love looks like. As Christians we can show the world that we may experience some anxiety and fear, but we know we are HIS and we surrender that fear and anxiety to HIM daily. Christians are often described as judgmental because we call out sin, but this is actually a time we can leave judgement, of how other’s deal with fear, at the door by loving them and pointing them to JESUS.

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:11-12

Christian Walk

Life Long Lessons

Ironically, after I wrote my last blog post “Surrendering a Dream” I realized the fiction piece at the end sounded REALLY familiar. I took a moment to pull up my old blog and realized I had previously written something very similar. I will share it below. Obviously this image is one that still resonates with me even 7 years later.

A small preface: When I was 25 years old I was not where I expected to be. My dreams were to be married by that age, but I had never even dated anyone. At times I was worried that the desires I had for my life were not going to be fulfilled.

Taken from “The Musings of a girl on the eve of her 25th birthday…” November 2013

So once again, as I always do when I find myself low and dissatisfied, I look to the heavens and lift my life to the sky. It is heavy and I struggle under its weight. I hold my breath as He takes my offering and cradles it in the palm of His hand. I think I see Him smile or at least I hope I do.

Before He pulls His hand away I realize I am still holding my breath and everything in me screams “No, take it back! He might drop it!” But I stand still, mesmerized as He closes His fingers around this, my greatest gift.

Now I must wait. I let out a small sigh at the thought of that word. Wait. The word seems to float on the breeze. How many times must I hear it? Wait.

“But waiting is so hard,” I whisper, looking at the cold ground. I feel the rays of the sun warm my shoulders in what feels like an embrace. 

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done. Autumn leaves swirl around me, carried by the cool breeze. Be still and know that I am God. The wind picks up swirling around me, whispering in my ear.

“I wait for you, Father,” I say to the skies. “I know you will answer me.” The wind whips around my legs, my shirt, my hair. I lift my arms to let it surround me.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. These words seem to be spoken directly into my very soul.

I smile and let the sun’s rays warm my face. I breathe deeply of God’s presence and rest in the knowledge that what He has for me is good and greater than I could ever plan out myself.

“Thank you.” I whisper as I walk through the crackling leaves. In awe of God’s love and filled with hope for tomorrow.

Christian Walk

Surrendering A Dream

I told you that “surrender” is my word for the year, well I have a feeling you are going to see it frequently in my posts because God is definitely giving me opportunities to practice.

Recently, I talked about surrendering the things that weigh us down. In that context there was more of a negative connotation. Today I am reminded that we also have to surrender the good things.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4

In many seasons of my life I have clung to this verse. When I wanted to fall in love, but there was no young man in sight. When I wanted to have a baby, but it wasn’t happening in our time frame. Even when my sister was living far away for work and I just wanted her back home.

I can clearly remember the emotions that were tied to the waiting. I remember the countless prayers asking for those desires to be fulfilled. The waiting was hard. The days sometimes felt darker than usual. Sometimes I wondered if God was really going to give me those desires.

I also held on to the lyrics of “While I’m Waiting” by John Waller:

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I wasn’t always bold and confident. But I held on to the idea that I was supposed to continue to serve God while I was waiting on Him. I think that is what the Psalmist means when he says, “take delight in the Lord.” Even through the waiting pursue God, get closer to Him, follow where He leads. Keep serving, keeping worshiping, keep running the race. Being in a season of waiting doesn’t put your life on hold. If we did that we would never grow…we would have stagnant lives.

If I wouldn’t have allowed God to mold me and grow me while I was waiting then I wouldn’t have been ready for what He had in store.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20

God’s plan for us isn’t the same as our plan for ourselves.

As we delight in the Lord, our desires should begin to change into something that pleases Him. (At least that is what I have learned through my seasons of waiting.) Looking back on the dreams He has fulfilled I am blown away by the “immeasurably more” that He has allowed.

So here I am again with a new desire, one that was planted in my head last night. I hope and pray it is one that God will fulfill.

If a dream or desire was a tangible thing I can imagine myself holding this one out in front of me to show my Heavenly Father….

“Please, please, please?” I beg. “Can I have this one?” Looking up at him, I hold my breath in anticipation.

Smiling, he kneels in front of me to take a good look, “This is a beautiful dream. I can see why you like it.”

My heart begins to beat faster as I wait for him to say I can have it.

He cups my chin in his strong yet gentle hand, “Remember I have a wonderful plan for you, my daughter. Something far more than you can imagine. Even more than this,” He reassures me, pointing to my dream.

Blinking back tears, I try to hide my disappointment.

I look down and sigh. I stroke my dream and toy with the idea of holding on to it as tight as I can, but then I remember I have experienced this before. With some hesitation, I loosen my grip and hold out my dream palms up. “Take it,” I whisper. “I trust you.”

As he lifts my dream from my hands a great peace settles over me as though the softest blanket has been placed around my shoulders. “I trust you,” I say again. This time with more confidence.

Written February 17, 2020

Christian Walk · Recipes

An Opportunity to Serve

As a stay at home mom it can sometimes feel like all you do is cook and clean. When you’ve finally cleaned the kitchen it is suddenly dinner time and the sink is full again.

I know that keeping our house and taking care of my husband and daughter is my ministry. A way that I can serve God and them every day. I watch others go on mission trips, start small business, write books, etc, and I wonder if this is all I am called to do. If the ordinary, every day chores are enough. I then wonder if I am even capable to do more if given the chance…which I know is a lie!

Thankfully God has given me the opportunity lately to serve others in our church by doing something I do every day…cooking. It has made the week busy, but I’ve been able to cook for two families (a third family tomorrow) and serve my Sunday School friends in a Galentine’s party. There were some late nights and sore feet from all the standing and I think I washed a bazillion dishes (thank the Lord for a dishwasher!), but I really enjoyed cooking for others.

I wanted to share this because I know many of you feel like you are in a place where you can’t serve in a big way. It doesn’t matter how “big” the service is, or seems, what matters is that you are letting God lead you and that you are putting others first.

Below are some of the recipes that I used this week. Maybe you can use them to bless your family and friends…

Salisbury Meatballs: https://mayakitchenette.com/salisbury-meatballs-and-mashed-potatoes/ I used the sauce recipe from Maya Kitchenette and the meatball recipe from Rachael Ray https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/spaghetti-and-meatballs-recipe-1942620 These meatballs are amazing and so easy. I often make them ahead and freeze them.

Roasted Carrots: Peel and cut carrots evenly. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on a foiled pan and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally during roasting.

Amish Cinnamon Bread: This has been a favorite of the families I have sent it to. I have yet to try a taste! https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/bread/bread-sweet-bread/amish-cinnamon-bread.html?utm_source=pinterest&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=share

Chocolate Fondue: my mom gave me this recipe which she got off of Food Network years ago. I can’t find it online anymore. Here are the instructions-

1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 stick unsalted butter, 1 (12 oz) bag of semisweet chocolate chips, 1 (12 oz) bag of milk chocolate chips. I prefer heating all of this in a double boiler. If it seems like the chocolate is not coming together and all the ingredients have melted really stir the chocolate vigorously.

I served the fondue with bananas, strawberries, grapes, apple slices, pound cake, cookies, pretzels, and mini marshmallows.

Gluten Free Pound Cake https://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/classic-gluten-free-pound-cake/ I used this cake for dipping in chocolate fondue, but it would be delicious with fruit and whipped cream.