I’m not going to lie…. This week of “sheltering in place” social distancing has felt much harder. Welcome to a peek into my real life!
I’m a “social introvert” who enjoys alone time (to a certain point) but also really enjoys people. I can’t be alone in feeling lonely this week. Have you felt more lonely this week?
This is the second weekly post series giving you a glimpse into my personal life and how I am feeding faith and starving fear.
Sunday I was in a funk. I had to be extremely intentional about not letting my thoughts and negative feelings be in charge. I was really missing “normal” life. Online church messages are great, but I miss BEING at church WITH the people! I miss our small group. I miss my friends.
So, what did I do on Sunday afternoon to intentionally feed my faith so that I didn’t fall into darkness? The first thing I did was go for a walk. Getting my body moving and out in nature helped me start the climb out of my funk. “Praise walks” have always been a solid go -to method for me. I can pop in my ear buds and turn on praise music and focus on the goodness and power of God. The combination of fresh air, moving my body ,and praising has always helped me. It didn’t fail Sunday, either!
After my walk I decided I just needed to keep feeding on the word of God. I listened to another online church service. In fact, it was so good I listened to it TWICE! I really enjoyed how Pastor Bein combined his message and worship. It was powerful. It helped me step completely out of my “funk” and get my heart securely back in the right place. (side note: Pastor Bein is blind. It amazes me how he plays the piano and gives his messages without the use of music sheets or message notes. What a memory! He sure uses his life for good!)
One positive about not being able to GO to church is that churches are posting their services online. I have been able to “visit” multiple churches as well as “attend” our own church.
So, this week how did I use the five ways to feed faith as outlined in the GOD is BIGGER Bible study? The week started off a little rough (Sunday) but got better as I was intentional about feeding my faith. The week ended on a good note Friday evening (more on that below).
This week I sent out an email to those that have requested the GOD is BIGGER Bible study a link to the new FREE Feed Faith & Starve Fear weekly journaling sheet I created. Journaling the ways I am intentionally feeding my faith is really helping me stay focused. Go get your own copy of the journaling sheet!
Here is a peek into my personal life: Covid-19 shelter in place style!
I have to be intentional about using each of the categories of feeding faith and starving fear as found in the GOD is BIGGER Bible study. (Have you gotten your FREE copy, yet?)
Praise helps us keep our focus on the power of God rather than the weakness of our selves or the hard of our circumstances.
I didn’t have the music on as much this week as I normally do. Maybe that is one of the reasons THIS week has felt harder. Note to self: keep the music going!! Be intentional!!
Friday evening was so wonderful!! As a family we “went out” on the town! We gathered (safely with
social distancing) in our cars at the local hospital to pray. The event was called “Park and Pray” and was hosted by a local church and broadcast on a local radio station. The turn out was INCREDIBLE at both of our city hospitals. My biggest prayer through this whole coronavirus has been that God uses it to draw people to HIM.
The event was such an encouragement to me both spiritually and emotionally. And… if felt good to get out of the house to “do” something. My sister and niece met us there and was able to park next to us. While we have to practice social distancing our hearts long for being with one another. This event gave use a sense of community. GOD is BIGGER than coronavirus!
If you look really close you can see the reflection of the hospital in my sunglasses.
Talking to God is as simple as carrying on a conversation with him in our heads. We think 24/7 so we can train ourselves to pray rather than let our thoughts go to deep dark places. When we catch our thoughts heading in the wrong direction we can put the brakes on by switching to prayer.
This week we had some really nice spring weather. I spent as much time as I could outside soaking it in. I hung almost all of our laundry outside. I washed extra stuff this week to take advantage of the clothesline. All the blankets and quilts got washed along with the normal laundry. While I was out hanging laundry I prayed and felt especially close to God.
It is so wonderful that something as simple as hanging clothes on the clothes line can be so lifegiving.
I have also continued to have my alarm set for “calls to prayer” at 7am, noon and 5pm. Our daughter is at Air Force BMT (Basic Training) and I told her that she could count on knowing she was being prayed for at those times. I also pray for our nation and for our president during those specific calls to prayer.
This week a friend of mine and I started a virtual Bible Study. Proverbs 31 ministry is hosting the study based on the book “Dangerous Prayers”** by Craig Groeschel. First week in and I think it is GREAT!! I’ll admit, praying dangerous prayers can feel intimidating! But, oh the growth we can experience when we get out of our comfort zones.
The Word of God
The Word God is our sword. It is the only weapon in the armor of God. When the devil was tempting Jesus in the desert Jesus always replied with “It is written”. I needed to do a lot of “It is written” this week. Zechariah 4:6 “’Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
We can’t face hard on our own strength. It is only by the power of the Lord in me that I can be victorious!
I have been writing to our daughter every day. We FINALLY got an address for her on Tuesday afternoon (she has been gone 3 weeks). I had been writing to her everyday (journal style)
just waiting to get her address. Now, starting Wednesday, I have mailed portions of the journal letter to her every day. Before she left for BMT I purchased a set of scripture cards** with the plan to send her a card with each letter. As I have pulled out one of these beautiful scripture cards** to send to her I have prayed the verses. Praying scripture is so powerful.
Praying and focusing on these verses has been very helpful. Her basic training has been far from “normal” as the Air Force makes changes due to Covid-19. I continually remind myself that God’s timing is always perfect. HE planned on her being there at this time and HE has her covered!
Since this is the Easter Holy Week I have been able to “attend” daily messages from a local church. I have enjoyed these messages very much and they have been so helpful in preparing my heart for celebrating Easter.
Renew my mind
Our thoughts and our feelings like to take us to all kinds of crazy places. Allowing my mind to wander will often lead my down dark paths.
This week it took being INTENTIONAL to keep my thoughts in control. I’m lonely, missing people, missing so much “normal”…. BUT… Big But…. There is still SO MUCH to be thankful for! SO much!!!
So, I keep reminding myself: “Heather, focus on the truth of the GOOD going on!” Yes, I do literally talk to myself. I tell myself what to do! Ha!
What GOOD things do I have to focus on? Here are just a few. I know that you have lots of GOOD you can choose to think about, too.
- HEALTH! We are healthy. Our son is cancer free! He is at HIGH risk during this covid-19 and he is not sick! The other high risk people in our life (age) are also healthy.
- Provision of needs. We have safe food and shelter. We have been able to get all of Wes’ medicines. He has ONE extremely crucial medicine and we have it!
- Spring weather! Flowers! Laundry out on the clothesline.
- Technology: ability to text and call friends and family. Zoom for school. Online church services.
- Freedom of religion. We can openly talk about Jesus, read our Bibles and gather on zoom.
- Post office is still providing services! We can now send letters to Robyn at Air Force BMT.
My words have the power to build up or tear down. This week my flesh wanted to complain and grumble. My tongue wanted to be sharp with my family. UGH. I had to fight this and CHOOSE to keep quiet and choose to speak kindly and encouraging words. My family is tired of this situation, too. Distance learning for school is not ideal…. Even though I think our teachers are doing a very good job! It is a hard situation for them and for students. My youngest son, Nate, also really misses his girlfriend.
So, we had to CHOOSE that we would not allow grumbling to be a part of our family and our words. We had to CHOOSE to be mindful of our words.
On Thursday evening, just before sunset, a big thunderstorm came though. It was WINDY and it rained
hard. After the storm passed there was a HUGE rainbow!!! It was gorgeous! God sent us another “love letter” to us proclaiming his promise of faithfulness. It was just what we needed.
I received a very sweet text from my friend, Susie. She spoke life to me! She let me know that she and two other ladies are doing the God is BIGGER Bible study and they are meeting each week via Zoom to discuss it. She reported that they are really enjoying it. Made my day. 🙂 I believe that God wrote this study last fall for such a time as THIS!
Now…. some other things in my life this week… a few ramblings:
I have continued feeding my sourdough starter. I really have no idea what I’m doing but am hoping to make my first sourdough product this weekend. I’m going to try pizza dough first before I tackle bread. Kate, at Venison For Dinner , has inspired me and she has a lot of great recipes and tutorials. I really enjoy following her on IG. She is the “dream version” of my “homesteady” self.
I keep enjoying the spring flowers. I have picked several bouquets. The tulips will be in bloom next followed by the lilacs.
I have kept myself occupied feeding teen boys. I have made two batches of Healthy Oatmeal Bars and a big batch of pumpkin granola. I also keep us stocked in homemade yogurt and cook dinner every night. Breakfast you are on your own and lunches are left overs (I intentionally make extra at supper) or salad.
The grass is SO green. My husband has mowed once and I’m sure he will be mowing again soon. Chris is still working. New construction is considered “Essential Infrastructure” in our state. I’m glad he is still able to work and by the time he is working on a house (he is a self employed ceramic tile/natural stone contractor) there are not many other people working in the house and definitely not working close to him.
I had company paperwork to do this week as well as the paperwork as we switch over to Medi-share for our medical coverage. Our oldest son is now 22 and is on disability Medicare (due to leukemia history and issues/complications caused from cancer treatment). As we are self employed our health insurance coverage is 100% self paid and it is SOOOO expensive. Now that our daughter is in the Military and Wesley has his own coverage we have the ability to explore other options. Looking forward to easing up our budget. About ⅓ of our annual income has gone to medical insurance premiums the past many years.
We have lived frugally our entire marriage. My husband is a successful contractor, but our life has had enough medical bumps to keep us “humble”. This week I have enjoyed the new series over at Frugalwoods. Hop over for some inspiration on money management during this coronavirus. I can always learn more and do more in the frugal living category.
Speaking of frugal living…. I really believe so much peace about finances is tied to contentment. I have to find joy in what we do have before I could ever be happy with more. Living a simple, content life is a major goal of mine. True joy is not found in possessions or experiences. True joy is peace in the middle of a storm, and joy in the simple things of life.
We caught 2 mice this week in the house. EEEEK. Mice is the part of country life in a 100 year old farm house that I don’t so much enjoy. We don’t get mice all the time, but keep a few traps set where we know we are likely to catch them if they get in the house. For some strange reason we caught 2 this week after catching none for weeks. Over the years of living here we have tried lots of different traps. I’m glad we have found traps that work well ** and that I have teenage sons that are in charge of setting and emptying the traps! Perks of being a boy mom.
Well…. This post is already really long, so I had better sign off.
Please know I am praying for you all!!
GOD is BIGGER than any hard we can face in this life!!! IF you haven’t downloaded your FREE copy of the GOD is BIGGER Bible study, do it today!
A picture I saw online (I do not know the source) that I am finding very comforting!
**These links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through this link it will not cost you any more but I will earn a small referral commission.
I so love your study and faith and blog. You are an encouragement to me. Thank you!
Hey I also started sourdough starter several weeks ago and have been baking bread every week. Just a hint for you ( if a teaspoon of the starter floats in a cup of cold water, it is ready to bake with). This has helped me since I had not started my own starter before either! Fun to do and delicious! Enjoy your bread! And thank you again for sharing your quarantined life with others.
Awe, THANK YOU!