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Coronavirus: If you feel alone

While the curve is flattening across the United States and the world (praise God!) and some U.S. states now are allowing more businesses to re-open, the Coronavirus crisis isn’t over yet.

Barber shop re-open for business
Barber shop re-open for business
Source: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/states-stay-at-home-orders-ending.html

It’s been so hard to deal with for everyone. I haven’t seen my 3 daughters or our grandkids for over a month now. I love and miss them so much, and just want to hug them!

Our family, Ray's 50th bday Left to right: Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me
Our family
Left to right:
Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

This week a woman on my website subscriber list emailed and asked me to pray for her, when I had my Virtual Coffee & Prayer Zoom meeting yesterday morning. She was alone, with it being 3 weeks until the first anniversary of her husband’s death, with no one around her to support her during this Coronavirus pandemic. She said she’d been crying for weeks.

Older woman alone
Older woman alone

I told her that I am praying for her. So many people, especially the elderly, are in her shoes right now. Others have lost their jobs, with 16.8 million filing unemployment claims in the U.S. in the last three weeks, and don’t have any income coming in right now.

What can you do to help them? Encourage them with these tips:

  • Pray to God first. Just as the children’s song says, “Jesus loves you, this I know.” God loves you so much and He cares about everything on your mind. Pour out your heart to Him, and tell Him what you’re worried about, discouraged over, your fears, stress, depression, and even anger. As my sister Maria (a therapist) says, anger is one of the five stages of grief. We are angry because we are experiencing many losses right now, such as those we love who died from the virus and loss of our freedom, with the Shelter In Place orders. This makes us angry. Spend time with God each day to pray, read the Bible, and worship/praise Him. You may not feel like doing this, but God is always here for you and wants to help you. He will never leave you alone. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV)

  • Get Christian counseling/therapy. To help prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC is recommending social distancing. To help prevent the risk of exposure to Coronavirus for either the therapist or the patient, some therapists are offering online counseling. One of my family members is doing this right now. If you already have a therapist, you might want to ask him or her if they can offer virtual therapy. If you’re looking for a counselor, check first with your family and trusted friends. You can call your local mental health center and/or search online for a therapist who is the right fit for you. The National Alliance on Mental Illness says the pandemic is increasing feelings of anxiety and traumatic stress. I know it has increased my stress (worrying about my family or I or others I love getting the virus; feeling “trapped” in my house from the Shelter In Place; the uncertainty of the future). I’ve talked with many family and friends who are struggling with similar fears. It’s important to recognize and act on mental distress to lessen the impact and find the help you need. 

  • Stay in touch with your family and friends. Normal life has been suspended and it all feels eerily apocalyptic. Due to the virus and Shelter In Place orders, we can’t see and hug our loved ones. It’s painful. But thanks to technology, we can still stay in touch through calling and texting on our cell phones, Google Hangouts, Zoom meetings, Facebook, Twitter, and more. These virtual meetings don’t have to be long, but they can make such a difference so that people don’t feel as isolated and alone. Be sure to especially reach out to the elderly, children and teens, those who are physically sick, and the mentally ill. Check regularly on them. The multiple challenges from the Coronavirus has increased the risk of depression and PTSD. People don’t have other people to go to for their stress. The power of touch releases oxytocin, which is a natural “cuddle hormone.” People aren’t getting the same level of oxytocin release from human contact. I believe one thing the Coronavirus crisis is teaching us is the importance of our relationship with God and others–and how wonderful a hug is! 

family
family
  • You help others. When you are feeling stressed out, depressed, afraid, and anxious, it’s hard to reach out to others. But sometimes that is the very thing that will help us get out of our own funk. Although I personally believe the Coronavirus is from the devil, God is allowing the situation for His glorious purposes–through His people. Use this as an opportunity for good. Volunteer somewhere, either in person or online, such as at Meals on Wheels; donate blood at the Red Cross; give to charities; cook and deliver meals (our local Christian bookstore, The Carpenter’s Cup, is doing this for our community here in Butler, Missouri); sew masks for your community workers; or offer assistance such as creating a virtual storytime library for vulnerable children. One of the things I’m doing to volunteer my gifts and time is a Virtual Coffee & Prayer Zoom meeting on Saturday mornings, where Christian women pray about the Coronavirus and the Shelter In Place order. I’m asking God to eradicate this virus from the earth forever, protect me and my loved ones from getting it, to heal the sick, and for governors and mayors to lift the order(s) in their states and cities, when it is safe to do so.

This is a very difficult time for everyone. Just know that God loves you and is here for you, and this too shall pass. 

I’m praying for you. Please also keep my family and me in your prayers. 

*******

Need some encouragement to pray? Check out my ebook on prayer, Walking With God, available for just 99 cents on Amazon today. You can find out more here

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Blog, Faith, Family, Featured, Fitness, Parenting, prayer, Stress

The waiting room

Leah in waiting room at her physical therapist’s office

Have you ever been in a hospital or doctor waiting room or in a line for a long time? It’s hard. I am there now. So is our beautiful, precious daughter Leah.

As you may have read, near Christmas 2019, Leah fell on ice and snow in her driveway at her rental home and it broke the fibula in her right ankle, which required surgery. It is not an easy, quick fix for the fibula to heal, especially after surgery. The surgeon put a heavy, thick, black boot on her ankle during surgery and ordered her to elevate her ankle most of the time and rest as much as possible. He said that she could not work or drive for at least 6 to 8 weeks, maybe longer. 

Leah's heavy black ankle boot

Leah’s heavy black ankle boot

Initially Leah stayed three weeks with Ray and me after her surgery for us to watch over her (Ray has been a paramedic over 30 years) and to help her by cooking meals, washing her laundry, dispensing her pain medication as needed, taking her to her post-surgery appointments, etc.  She’s now back at her house, recovering.

Leah at our house with her ankle elevated, pre-surgery

Leah at our house with her ankle elevated, pre-surgery

I still help her as much as I can, taking her to doctor and physical therapy appointments, running errands, etc. She is still in her heavy, black ankle boot and she still can’t drive or work.

But yesterday she accomplished a major milestone: Leah is now at 50% weight-bearing on her ankle. She is on her way to walking again! Leah is doing amazing! Praise You, JESUS!

Leah at physical therapy, at 50% weight-bearing on her ankle

 

Leah at physical therapy with her therapist Sam, who rocks!

Leah’s physical therapist Sam rocks! When Leah’s surgeon Dr. Carroll ordered physical therapist as part of her post-surgery treatment, I began praying for God to hand-pick her physical therapist and I truly believe He did! Sam is so nice, very knowledgeable, and funny. He makes Leah and me laugh with his quick wit.

He is a very positive person who speaks LIFE over her, for which I’m extremely thankful. I always agree with him out loud, “Yes!”, when he encourages her that she’ll be walking in no time and just fine!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:21, ESV)

Leah on one crutch, using 50% weight-bearing on her ankle

 Yesterday Sam had Leah walk with both her crutches and then one crutch, using 50% weight-bearing on her right ankle, as she walked along the indoor sidewalk with parallel bars and around the inside of the clinic. This is not easy after you haven’t been walking for months.

Leah at physical therapy, 50% weight-bearing

One difficult thing is maintaining your balance. She didn’t want to fall over and then put all her weight on her broken ankle, as that could re-injure her. But she did great! She was so excited to reach this progress of 50% weight-bearing.

Two other exercises Sam taught her how to do to strengthen her ankle was squats, rising from a sitting position and putting 50% of the weight on her right ankle (about 15 repetitions at a time, to be done throughout the day). She also puts a blue, tied elastic band inside a door (closing it) and wraps the other end underneath her knee. Then she raises up her ankle/leg for 15 to 20 repetitions at a time, doing the exercises repeatedly during the day.

Sam showing Leah how to tie the elastic band to raise and lower her ankle

Leah doing “squats,” standing up from sitting position

Yesterday before her physical therapy appointment, Leah and I met my daughter Heather at Panera Bread for lunch. It was so good to see Heather, as she works full-time, takes care of her two daughters and her fiance Andy’s three kids, and is always busy. I was so happy to spend time with my beautiful, precious daughters!

My precious, beautiful daughters! Leah, Heather, and me at Panera Bread for lunch

The broccoli cheddar soup and 1/2 turkey-bacon-avocado sandwich I ordered was delicious! Leah and Heather also ordered the “Pick 2” option. Heather ordered the Turkey Bravo sandwich and potato soup, and Leah ordered the steak and cheddar sandwich with mac & cheese. 

Delicious Panera Bread lunch

This week at Heather’s workplace (a convenience store), an armed man barricaded himself in the bathroom. Thank God that Heather had already left work two hours earlier, and no one was hurt in the incident. The man had intended to hang himself in the bathroom, but I think he may have had plans to shoot people first. The police managed to get the assistant manager and all the employees safely out of the store, and took the man into police custody. This is WHY I pray the blood of Jesus over me and my family every day!

Pray the blood of Jesus over you & loved ones daily

As we chatted, Leah talked about the annoyance of her numerous attempts to get state or federal government assistance for her rent, utility bills, food, and medical bills. The government websites are difficult to navigate and confusing. When you call the phone number, you’re on hold for sometimes half an hour or longer. Leah has already received one denial for assistance, even though she’s physically unable to work (on her surgeon’s orders), and has run into obstacles trying to contact other agencies. I’m praying God intervenes in her situation. He will provide for her!

I told Heather that I feel Leah is trying to rush the process of healing her ankle and is being impatient. She really wants her boot off (she has to wear it 8 to 10 weeks post-surgery to protect it) and to drive and to work again. Heather laughed when I said that I understand Leah is tired of her mom “toting” her around, as she puts it.

The waiting room is a difficult place to be. Yet how often God has us in that place to grow our faith in the dark and to teach us to trust totally in Him. 

Leah and Heather.
Leah feels impatient.

I know Leah is tired of using her little green “knee walker” scooter (which I think is an incredible invention! It has helped her to get around so much easier than her crutches!), as well as the crutches. I know she wants to work and drive on her own, and to do the things she’s used to doing. I’ve encouraged her that this is just for a season, God is going to heal her, and she will soon be walking again. Please continue to pray for Leah’s complete, speedy healing. 

Leah at Hobby Lobby on her green scooter

I know it’s hard for Leah. There are things that I am waiting on in my own life. Things I’ve prayed for years and I’ve been waiting a long time. I have felt impatient, too, and at times I’ve been very discouraged that it seems to be taking so long. God’s timing is not like ours. You wonder if your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and if God even hears your prayers. He does. Don’t give up! Keep the faith in Him and continue praying to God. You will soon see victory through faith in Jesus!

me & our precious daughter Leah at Jose Pepper’s restaurant having lunch

*******

Are you in the waiting room? Don’t quit praying. God loves you and He hears your prayers, and will answer. Check out my book on prayer, Walking With God, available for sale at Amazon here.FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Bible Studies, Blog, Faith, Family, Homeschooling, Marriage, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Time Management, Travel, Writing

My one word for 2019

Several years ago I stopped making New Year resolutions, because, let’s face it, they were broken the first month (sometimes the first week!)–like walking again or eating healthier! I heard about instead, creating a #oneword and a Scripture verse(s) to go along with it.

One word

When I began to do this, I no longer felt condemnation that I was breaking my New Year resolutions so quickly. I also discovered that as I earnestly prayed to God about this matter, the #oneword always turned out to be a prophetic theme for the entire year.

joy

Red cardinals joy decoration

For example, my #oneword in 2018 was JOY. At times, last year was anything but joyful! There were many hard times. I have cried a lot the last several years, more than I ever have in my entire life.

pensive woman

pensive woman

We all have stress and battle worries–relationship problems. Business or ministry challenges. Health issues. Financial struggles. But joy is a choice. You can be joyful even in adversity or a major crisis! Joy is not the same as happiness.

Smiling child

God wants us happy, just as we do our own children. But joy, like faith, isn’t based on circumstances. The joy of the Lord is our strength. (Nehemiah 8:10) We must choose faith, and we must choose joy.

Compass pointing north

Compass pointing north
Image source: Google

Usually, the last week of December of each year, I pray about the coming new year, for God to protect and bless me and my family and friends, for His guidance and presence with us, and for a #oneword and Scripture(s) for the coming year.

I ask Him to be mine and my family’s compass, our “true north.” (This expression comes from the great chick flick movie, Message In A Bottle, with Kevin Costner!)

Message in a Bottle movie

Message in a Bottle movie

God speaks in a myriad of ways to His children:

  • primarily through His holy word, the Bible;
  • by His still, small voice to our hearts as we pray and listen to Him;
  • from other people, sharing His words of truth and encouragement;
  • in nature (“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”–Psalm 19:1, NIV);
  • through signs in the sky, such as the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. (Luke 21:25);
  • in other signs, such as red cardinal birds, mourning doves, eagles, the wind, a billboard, a car’s bumper sticker, something said on a podcast, radio or TV show, a voice in a crowd, etc. Obviously, we can’t base our lives on these “signs,” but God can speak to His children however He wants to get His message of truth across to us. Sometimes it’s like He needs a two by four to get the message through our thick heads and stubborn hearts!

Just prior to January 2019 beginning, I noticed the words “humble” and “humility” in a couple of different places. First, the words¬†Stay¬†HUMBLE were¬†inscribed on chapstick that I’d received in a gift box.

Stay humble chapstick

Stay humble chapstick gift

That’s interesting, I thought. The words “humble”¬†and “humility” started popping up like Orville Redenbacher’s Movie Theater Butter popcorn on Facebook posts.

popcorn popping

popcorn popping;
Image source: Google

Then I started seeing the words a LOT! A recurrent theme.

Oh no, I thought in dread. Uh oh—wait a minute!¬†That’s my one word for 2019, isn’t it, God?

I knew what that meant (God was going to smash my PRIDE), and heck no, I did NOT want that word! Which is probably exactly why He is giving it to me!

Why couldn’t I get a nicer, easier, funner word like adventures? Or dream bigger? Or overflow, especially in our bank account? Or laughter?

But no. My words are humble and humility! Yes, I know humility is a beautiful, Christ-like virtue and God is doing this for my own good.

You and I know there is just no use fighting God. In the end, He’s going to get His way. Because He’s God!

Jacob wrestling

Jacob wrestling with God
Image source: Google

We can wrestle with Him until daybreak like Jacob did (Genesis 32:22-32), but we’ll walk away with a painful limp. God is bigger and more powerful than you and me, so we might as well submit and obey!

So I started researching the definition of humility to begin preparing spiritually for 2019. (Here goes nothing!)

  • freedom from pride or arrogance;
  • a lack of ego;
  • lowness; an attitude of service;
  • the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance;
  • serving others for their good, as well as your own;
  • a realistic appreciation of your strengths, as well as your weaknesses.

Synonyms for humility include:

  • demureness;
  • down-to-earthness;
  • lowliness;
  • meekness;
  • modesty.

You know, traits that are so unlike me! People who know me well would NOT describe me as demure–reserved, bashful, shrinking. Instead, my sister Maria describes my approach in life more like “a bull in a china shop.”¬†

Antonyms (the opposite) of humility are even more revealing–and alarming!

  • arrogance;
  • assumption;
  • conceit;
  • haughtiness;
  • huffiness;
  • presumptuousness;
  • pretense;
  • pride;
  • imperiousness (domineering);
  • obtrusiveness;
  • superiority.

STOP! Is anyone else getting uncomfortable here?! Well, I sure am. But then it’s my #oneword, not yours–unless God says so!

Remember that pride, and then rebellion, was Satan’s sin. We don’t want to be like the devil, do we? I don’t!

Humility and gratitude

Humility and gratitude

Mother Teresa said, “If you are humble, then nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”

No doubt that I have some family members, or even friends, who will remind me throughout this year of my #oneword humility and how I am being so NOT humble!

Maybe humility isn’t your strong suit, either. I have good news, dear friend. When we stumble and fall, as we surely will, we can get back up.

That is why Jesus died for you and me; nobody is perfect but Him. He’s teaching us to be more like Him each moment.

You and I can breathe again, and be thankful that God’s mercies are new every beautiful morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

 

Humility book

Humility book

This week, I ordered a used copy of Andrew Murray’s book Humility from Amazon to start off the year right and plan to do other studies on this topic as well.

My Scripture verses for 2019, based on these words humble and humility are:

“The fear of the¬†Lord¬†is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33, ESV)

“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:¬†‚ÄúGod resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.‚ÄĚ (James 4:6, NKJV. The NLT translation says, “And He gives grace generously.”)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,¬†casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be¬†sober, be¬†vigilant;¬†because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NKJV)

This last Scripture shows me that I need to be alert in Spirit this year. Satan wants to cause destruction in mine and my family’s life, to devour and kill us. I thank God that Jesus Christ is more powerful and the battle belongs to the Lord, who has the victory already!

The great news in all this? If we humble ourselves before God and cultivate a lifestyle of humility, depending on and trusting solely in Him, the Bible says God will give us HONOR and EXALT us! (Good surprises for us, for HIS glory!) Isn’t that exciting?¬†

Do you have a #oneword, Scripture verse(s), and/or theme for the new year 2019? Please share it below with me! And let’s pray for each other this year to walk it out with God’s grace and help!FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail