When our daughter Heather was in high school, she joined the track team. I remember one specific meet where she was competing and on the last stretch. As I stood in the stands watching her run as hard as she could, her face contorted with the intense effort, I screamed as loud as I could, “RUN, Heather!” as she passed me by. The memory brings tears to my eyes as I recall cheering my daughter onto the finish line. Years later, she participated in her first 5K run, and I was there, too, so excited and happy for her as I watched her finish.
To this day, I’m still in the stands, cheering her on in this exciting, and sometimes difficult race called life. And all of our children, our grandchildren, and those I love.
It is now July. We are halfway through the year. Who knew as we entered 2020, that we’d be in the middle of the global pandemic Coronavirus, and George Floyd’s tragic death from police brutality taking the world by storm, protests, looting, riots, violence and murder against police officers and our military?
What a crazy world we live in now. Not one I ever wanted my children and my grandchildren to live in!
So far, this has not been what seems like a great year. I feel like Coronavirus, the Shelter In Place orders, and the violence have taken all the FUN out of life. I know that sounds petty, compared to people getting sick and dying from the virus and murder. Just being real.
I do believe satan is behind all these things and he is intentionally trying to steal believers’ peace and joy. Why? Because Jesus came to give us His peace which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and the joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10).
We as believers need to keep our focus on Jesus, no matter what is going on around us. One thing we can do to maintain our joy is to keep in mind a vision for 2020 and the years ahead—God’s vision for our lives. Continuing to dream bigger with Him, make plans and goals, and then do them!
Perhaps like me, you feel like the virus, Shelter In Place orders, and violence have destroyed those plans forever. Let’s say you want to travel like I do–either to a different city, state, or internationally.
Since last year, God has been putting it into my heart to visit Guatemala. I’d never before wanted to go to Guatemala. But last year, I made a new friend on Facebook, Kim Rogers, who was in Diane Cunningham’s Be Brave group with me. She is a speaker, missionary, and writer, and founded the non-profit organization, Heart for Guatemala.
Heart for Guatemala assists, supports, and loves the people of Guatemala by raising financial support through donations, eCommerce, service & leisure travel that help foster a variety of educational, economic and social projects.
Kim is beautiful inside and out, and is so inspiring with her Facebook posts and beautiful pics of Antigua, Guatemala, that it compelled me to want to go there when she invited me last year. Her powerful story about moving to Antigua and buying a condo home, after going on several trips there, is included in the Epilogue of my most recent book, Signs of God’s Love, available for sale at Amazon here.
I started praying about going, too, and believe God told me to go. Then a number of things happened to stop this from happening!
Our youngest daughter Leah fell on the ice and snow in her driveway on December 20, 2019, and it broke the fibula in her ankle, requiring surgery. I knew immediately that I needed to help her as much as possible and that she was my priority.
There was NO way that I was traipsing off to a foreign country, leaving my precious, beautiful daughter behind to fend for herself with a broken ankle! She stayed at our house after her surgery for three weeks while Ray and I watched over her, and I cooked meals and drove Leah to her doctor and physical therapy appointments. I still took her to these appointments even after she went back to her home. I could always go to Guatemala later! I was happy to do this, and it taught me much about having a servant heart like Jesus.
God healed Leah’s fibula and she is now at 100% weight bearing, driving, working, and doing her college classes in graphic art online. Praise Jesus. God is Jehovah Rophe, the Healer!
Then Coronavirus hit the United States, and governors all over America gave Shelter In Place orders and closed the border.
After that, the virus hit Guatemala and it still hasn’t peaked. Guatemala’s President ordered strict lock down measures, including curfews, and the border is still closed as of today. It is unknown when the country’s border will open again, so I am waiting.
On a Zoom webinar recently, I shared that Coronavirus and Shelter In Place orders can’t stop God’s purpose for your life. This is simply a pause.
I still don’t know what my mission in Guatemala would be, but God has been stirring my heart to go and meanwhile, to pray for the people of Guatemala. When the border finally opens, God provides financially for me, and it’s His perfect timing, I will go, in obedience to Him. (Yes, I know it’s dangerous there, with kidnappings, human trafficking, drug lords, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc. But the safest place to be is in the perfect will of God.)
If there is some place you desire to travel, and the border is closed or places are closed where you want to visit due to the virus, I encourage you to wait and trust God. Remember: this is just a pause! Satan and no one and nothing else can stop God’s calling on your life!
Keep dreaming big and making those plans. In June, my office desk calendar ran out (of planning pages and the calendar). I bought a new one at Walmart, called The Happy Planner. It is for 18 months long.
I love the bright, cheery yellow cover which is inscribed with “Hello today.” I believe we should start each new day with quiet time with God, thankfulness that we have a fresh new start for the day, and goals for ourselves, our family, our life, and our business.
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:23, NKJV)
In The Happy Planner, there is a general calendar for each month, as well as pages for each day of the month to write out your goals, appointments, etc. It includes spaces for notes, events (such as when I speak), birthdays, and the back of the book has a longer note section. It is also spiral bound, which I love, making it easier to turn the pages.
I also bought cute stickers to go with it. FUN!
Since we are halfway through the year, you and I can review the vision that we originally for 2020 (or your “one word” –mine is HOPE and now I see why!), as well as your yearly, monthly, and weekly goals. God is not panicking over and wringing His hands what is happening right now. He already saw it ahead of time. He hasn’t changed His mind for HIS dreams and goals for your life!
If you are a speaker and aren’t able to travel places right now, because venues are now closed due to Coronavirus, adapt! You can still speak online through live streaming (Facebook Live, YouTube Live which I’ve been dabbling with), Zoom, recording videos for YouTube or Vimeo, and other ways. In fact, this is a great opportunity to give you a global audience!
If you’re a writer, this is a perfect time to start or finish that book! If you don’t know how, I give you motivation, encouragement, and my personal resources (such as graphic designers and formatters) in my book, How To Write Your Book Fast: Making Your Writing Dreams Come True, available for sale at Amazon here.
A global pandemic crisis is also a great time to revisit your health and fitness goals for the year. Start with one new healthy habit, not 10. Keep at it for a couple of months. If you mess up, give yourself grace and begin again! For example, I am drinking more water and once again, I’ve set a goal to kick the soda habit. (Dr. Pepper, this time!)
Last time I did this, I lost 20 pounds simply by not drinking Cokes, eating healthier (such as salads), and walking 3-5 times a week. If I did it before with God’s help, I can do it again. What is one thing you can begin to do today to start becoming healthier?
Many people are wearing masks (and gloves), but are they paying attention to what goes inside their bodies? Strive for eating more salads, fresh fruit and veggies, drinking more water, taking quality supplements, getting sufficient sleep and relaxation to de-stress, and practicing good hygiene like washing your hands in hot water and soap.
If you want to start exercising, take that first step…literally. Begin walking around the block or at the track in town. You can get a phone app to help you with fitness, have a walking and/or accountability partner, or buy cute, comfortable clothes and join a gym to keep you motivated and looking forward to your workouts. If you don’t want to exercise publicly yet, you can do exercise and/or beginner workout videos at home–Zumba, dancing, Pilates, and more.
Maybe your vision and goals for 2020 included improving your finances–saving more more money, getting out of debt, improving your credit score. You can still do this. During the Shelter In Place order, I learned that not eating out as much or buying as many gifts for my family and friends really did save money! (Shocking, right?) I’m doing my best to eat more at home, without feeling deprived. (I still want my chips and salsa sometimes! You gotta’ live!)
For some people who lost their jobs during this crisis, finances might be even harder to handle right now. Pray, trust God, and seek His wisdom on exactly what to do.
It may be that God is repositioning you or wants you to finally start that online business to become a successful entrepreneur! I’ve recently joined Pastor/Entrepreneur Amos Johnson’s Church for Entrepreneurs community. He preaches the truth and is so encouraging and motivating!
Perhaps you want to work on refining your musical or artistic gift. Our daughter Leah recently bought a new violin. You can hire an instructor, take college or Skillshare classes, or simply practice and posting about your hobby/passion on Instagram.
I just want to encourage you that the enemy satan may be very busy right now, stealing, killing, and destroying, but you and your purpose from God are unstoppable. Keep your vision and your big dreams and goals still in mind. Remember: this is just a pause.
We’re halfway through the year right now. Keep going through faith in Christ! Just like with my precious daughter Heather running, I am cheering you all the way to the finish line!
The first half of the year has definitely been unexpected and unprecedented. May God help us to accomplish all that He has for us during the remainder of this year!
Amen, Susan. I have seen that word “unprecedented” describing this year numerous times. The good news is that God was not taken by surprise regarding everything that has happened and He is still on the throne, in control–and He is still good. I do pray you, I and other believers would accomplish what God has for us to do. May we hear His still, small voice clearly for direction and guidance.