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What I’ve been learning lately

Woman lying on upper back and holding her lower back in balance. Image Source: Istock

Beautiful woman lying on upper back & holding her lower back in balance. Image Source: Istock

Summer is here and it’s a good time to reflect on and reevaluate how the year is going. You and I may have had bodacious plans for 2020, such as traveling to another country, getting fit and losing 20 pounds, or becoming debt-free. We certainly didn’t expect to be in the middle of a global pandemic and seeing riots, looting, and violence over George Floyd and racism. 

If you’re like me–while your heart is grieving over the events in our nation–you are so tired of the daily barrage of news that’s negative and which [intentionally by the media, in my opinion] induces fear, panic, and anger. You feel like you’ll scream if you hear the phrase “the new normal” one more time, and it’s annoying seeing the cat fights on Facebook, even between Christians, on whether to wear a face mask.

People wearing face masks. Source: Unsplash

People wearing face masks.
Source: Unsplash

I just want to be able to see my precious daughters and our grandkids, go out to eat good food at a restaurant, and travel again!

Our family

Our family – our daughter Heather, me, our daughter Leah, Ray, & our daughter Eden

There’s a few things that the Coronavirus and the racial protests and violence have taught me: (1) to pray daily even more, pleading the blood of Jesus over my family, me, and loved ones, (2) to save what money I can and to be prepared as possible for emergencies, and (3) to shine the light of Christ and God’s love brighter in an increasingly darker, crazier world. 

I’m also learning things like Let go and Let God, Trust, Surrender, Be Still, Pursue Peace, Chase Your Joy, Don’t Give Up Your Dreams, One Day At A Time, Do What Matters, Love God and Others.

hands in surrender. Image source: Unsplash

hands in surrender
Image source: Unsplash

On most days, I’m maintaining the habit of my Coffee With God devotional time, reading the Bible, praying over my family, myself, and others’ needs, and sometimes worshipping/praising God. I usually read a Psalm and a Proverbs, with the day of the month corresponding to the reading. For example, since today is June 27, I read Psalms 27 and Proverbs 27. I often also read a chapter of another book of the Bible, listening to God’s still, small voice as to which one. This year I added the YouVersion app to my iPhone that has a variety of great Bible reading plans. 

Recently, I joined my friend Kim’s Zoom meeting for a study on the book of James, which was really good as Kim is an excellent teacher and dove in deeper, with commentaries. 

Woman counting dollars. Image source: Unsplash

Woman counting dollars. Image source: Unsplash

The second thing I’ve been learning is a lot harder–to save money and to be prepared as possible for emergencies! When the Coronavirus first hit the U.S. and the Missouri governor put our state under a Shelter In Place order, I discovered that not eating out at restaurants as often, or not buying gifts for our kids and others I love so much as I usually do, does save money!

It’s hard because I hate cooking and love eating out–especially with my kids and especially Mexican! (I’m addicted to chips and salsa!) This week I met our beautiful daughter Leah for lunch at Applebee’s. She looked so pretty in her grey dress and necklaces. She recently dyed her hair red, which makes her blue eyes pop. She showed me her new violin that she just bought–nice! I hope to see my precious daughter Heather and her girls Annabelle and Violet this coming week. 

Our beautiful daughter Leah

Our beautiful daughter Leah

I met Leah this week for lunch at Applebee's

I met Leah this week for lunch at Applebee’s

Leah's new, pretty violin

Leah’s new, pretty violin

Since the state of Missouri has businesses slowly re-opening (in phases), many restaurants still offer just drive-through service or curbside pick-up. I’m trying to cut down on eating out to continue saving (while not being “deprived”!), but I’m meeting our daughters when I can for lunch, to stay connected with them. One of the hardest parts of the virus and the Shelter In Place order was that I couldn’t see my kids and my grandkids for over a month! Ray and I also occasionally go out to eat as a “date.”

Our beautiful daughter Heather

Our beautiful daughter Heather, her boyfriend Andy, and his son Eian

Our beautiful daughter Eden and our precious granddaughter Piper

Our beautiful daughter Eden and our precious granddaughter Piper

Perhaps Coronavirus has taught us how truly valuable  our relationships are!

As if Coronavirus, Shelter In Place orders, and violent protests have not been enough stress, it is now “tornado” season in Missouri, where I live. If you live in the mid-west, you’re familiar with the loud, practice tornado sirens (and sirens for the real tornado watches and warnings!) and how you need to scramble to your basement for protection, sometimes even in the middle of the night. There are an average of 45 tornadoes that strike Missouri each year, with the peak being in May. I decided this year I was going to get an emergency tornado/earthquake kit and be more prepared. I bought this one on Amazon.

Emergency bag. Image source: Amazon

Emergency bag.
Image source: Amazon

The bag has enough food and water for three days for two people. Amazon also has an emergency bag for your dog or cat. While I am praying that NONE of our family is EVER in a tornado, earthquake, or other natural disaster, this bag helps to give me more peace of mind. Obviously you’d need more than 3 days’ supplies of rations, but this will get you started. I’ve encouraged our daughters to get prepared for emergencies, too.

The best preparation in any given situation, though, is obedience to God, prayer, and trusting in Him!

sun on the beach

Sun on the beach Image source: Unsplash

The 3rd thing that Coronavirus, the Shelter In Place orders, and the violence have taught me is to shine the light of Jesus and God’s love even brighter in this increasingly darker, crazier place called Earth!

People feel afraid, anxious, angry, hurt, stressed out, depressed, and discouraged about the virus; being confined in their homes for a long period of time unless they have a job considered “essential business”; so many losing their jobs, due to businesses shutting down during the pandemic; police brutality; the ensuing protests, riots and violence; hatred between people, and more.

Everyone needs to know that they were created in the image of God, that they matter, and that they are accepted and loved. 

Love one another. Image source: Unsplash

Love one another.
Image source: Unsplash

As believers, we have an amazing opportunity right now to share the good news of Jesus Christ with those who feel hopeless, angry, stressed out, and afraid.

John 13:34-35, NKJV, says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

My prayer is that I am walking each day in that love. How about you?

*******

Signs Of God's Love

Signs Of God’s Love
Available at Amazon

Do you need “evidence” of God’s love for you? Signs that He’s really there, that He cares about you and loves you? Check out my most recent book, Signs of God’s Love: Finding Hope in the Midst of Crisis. Available for sale for just $2.99, as an eBook for your Kindle here at Amazon.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Susan Evans June 28, 2020 at 12:58 am

    One of the things I’ve noticed during the whole pandemic is that people are realizing how superficial their relationships are, and they are yearning for something real. I’m praying that more and more people will cry out to God and seek Him and find Him. I’ve also noticed that church has become a mere show, and God has emphasized this by having people watch it on their TV’s now. Watching the show is what they were doing all along; it’s just that now it’s stark. Unless believers interconnect with each other in deep and lasting and accepting and loving relationships, we can’t be the body of Christ the way that God has called us to. I’m crying out for revival.

    • Reply Beth Jones June 29, 2020 at 10:29 am

      Susan, I agree with you. I think one thing that Coronavirus has taught us is the value of our relationships. And we do need to cultivate deeper, more intimate relationships with God and others. I am praying also that people cry out to God and repent. Watching church online can be helpful, especially with churches having to close during Shelter In Place, and God can use online church for His glory. But it’s not the same as face to face, close fellowship with believers. Thank you for commenting!

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