Thursday, April 2, 2020

You're Not Alone if You're a Bit Fearful . . . or You're Freaking Out


If you're reading this, I'm guessing you've experienced some level of apprehension, worry, fear, or anxiety in the last few weeks.

If you haven't, please check your pulse.

These thoughts and emotions are perfectly normal, understandable, and completely valid given what we are journeying through.  It's important that we are free to name our emotions without shame or blame or guilt, to acknowledge they've come calling, and then make healthy choices with where we go from there.

We don't let emotions run the show or call the shots, but we do acknowledge their presence and their potential power to hold us hostage.  We are wise enough to listen to what they whisper and sometimes shout so that we can take pro-active action to channel them into becoming strengths.

Lest we think we're bad Christians or people of little faith because fear has crept in, let's dispel that lie once and for all.  God has shaped us, created us, and loves us deeply.  He fully knows our frailties and fragilities as well as the places where we are courageous and full of strength.

No, the spirit of fear isn't from Him.  We can make a series of continual proactive choices to give our fears in their various shapes and forms back to Him whenever they make their most unwelcome appearance.




HE EMPOWERS US
Right now we know that we have little control over much of what is happening to us and to our world.  It's not uncommon to feel powerless ... which can easy morph into hopelessness and believing we are victims.  God changes that for us.  He empowers us with wisdom, discernment, insight, solid decision making skills.  He allows us to set boundaries, to make a series of choices each day that have the potential to lead us into healthier places in body, mind, and soul.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. 
{2 Peter 1:3}


HE INFUSES US WITH LOVE
As we connect with God throughout the day, He infuses us with the necessary love {and patience and grace and sense of humor} to love each other well, especially when the four walls are closing in on us.  Shifting our focus upward and outward, we are less prone to be self-absorbed, defensive, petty, and small.  We are more eager to build each other up.  Encourage each other.  Reach out.  Go the second mile.
Perfect love casts out fear. 
{1 John 4:18}


HE GIVES US SANITY
There's no doubt that depression and anxiety will increase in our general population during this crisis with all its unnerving and traumatic pronouncements, life-shaking changes, decisions, and tragic losses ... most specifically for those of us on the exhausting front lines of battle or those with a genetic propensity or past experiences with these illnesses. 

Symptoms of depression

Symptoms of anxiety

Brain health issues are not a spiritual flaw, they are a physical disease that must be addressed by a doctor.  If you're experiencing depression or anxiety, pick up your phone and call your physician right now.  Or call 911 if you're in crisis.  There is no shame in reaching out for help, in fact it is vital.  The building of a sound mind allows us to live out our God-given empowerment and call to love with healthy bodies and eager hearts.
O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit.
{Psalm 30:3}



Let's talk ...
Linda

P.S. 
Please read   Because We've Gotta Kick Fear to the Curb

P.S.S.
We're walking through this unsettling season together.  Be sure to subscribe here so you don't miss a single online gathering.


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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Loose Ends * 4 Peace-Fueled Somethings


A warm hello and virtual hugs to all my nesting-in-place friends wherever you are.  Here we are at the end of the month of March, 2020.

Uh ... what else can I say that hasn't already been said?

Except I'm making a very conscious choice as I tap away on my keyboard to live out Philippians 4:8-9 here with you during this most unsettling, traumatic season:
Fix your thoughts on what is true, 
and honorable, 
and right, and pure, 
and lovely, and admirable. 
Think about things that are excellent 
and worthy of praise ... 
Then the God of peace will be with you.


Something Loved




We kicked off the month with 5 of us gathered together to celebrate Mom's 90th birthday.   My sister whipped up a scrumptious meal ... and I must say Marilyn's never looked better.  It was an afternoon of recollection, laughter, an occasional wiped away tear, and Mom's typical full, enthusiastic appreciation for every card opened, every video sent by grands and great-grands, every morsel of food offered, every bit of love shown.

Life is not at all easy for Mom in this season, but her faith is rock solid and God is giving her more opportunities to share her love for Him with the aides that come to care for her.  As our 10 year old granddaughter is fond of saying, 'God's not ready for Great-Ma yet - He still has work for her to do!'


Something Read


Gretchen Saffles

Chris Wheeler

Chris Bailey

Dr. Henry Cloud

Crocs donating its shoes
to healthcare workers
Chris Isidore


Something Treasured


In the midst of the disturbing uneasiness, I can't even begin to tell you how much I was craving last week's Sunday service.  A first for our church, it was the hugest blessing to be ministered to online.  I'd say it's true that we usually don't know what we've got 'til it's gone.

If you don't have an online church home right now, I invite you to join us right here on Sunday at 10:15 {eastern}.

Thank You, Jesus, for technology.  Indeed, for such a time as this.


Something Ahead




Blue, cloudless skies.  Warm, sunny breezes.  Opportunities to putter in the garden.  Walk the beach.  Re-connect with friends and loved ones in person.  Sit on the porch and watch the birds do their thing at the feeders.  Wide open doors for effective, creative ministry.

A keen sense of discernment for decisions that must be faced.  Enormous helpings of patience for those we live with.  Generous, joyful giving.  Protection for those most fragile in body and spirit.

Answered prayers, miraculous healings.  Surprises that bring big toothy smiles and not grief-fueled tears.  A lovely meal out.  Freedom from stress and anxiety.

Crafting huge s-mores around the fire pit.  Browsing a store just for fun.  Continued opportunities to reach out to our neighbors.  A well-cultivated sense of humor.

Toilet paper.  Disinfecting wipes.  Purell.

Worshiping with kindred spirits arm in arm.  A stop at the ice cream shop for a small dish of salted chocolate caramel.  Freedom to be out and about without wondering and worrying.  An unexpected financial gift.

Stronger, unwavering faith.  Hope and peace built upon God's promises and the remembrances of His grand faithfulness.  Great big celebrations of His lovingkindness.

And God's deepest grace upon grace for the sorrows we will bear.

Do share a few highlights of your month.  

How have people reached out to you?  How have you reached out to others?   

How can we pray for you and yours who are first responders, who are teaching our children, who are serving us in the supermarkets and drug stores?

And please do subscribe before you leave.  I'd love that ...
Linda


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I'll see you at 

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thanks to Heather Gerwing
for her 4 Somethings prompt

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Nesting-in-Place



With all the talk about sheltering-in-place, self-isolation, quarantine, and social distancing, I'd like to coin a new phrase.

One a bit more winsome, comforting, and calming.

Nesting-in-place.

With each passing day, more of us find ourselves, by law or mandate, having to stay in our homes except for a quick run to the supermarket, drug store, or taking care of a severe medical need.

And no, home is not necessarily a place of rest and repose these days, with the kiddos home from school, an unforeseen lack of routines, and all the crazy unknowns this new lifestyle entails.  And I'm hearing that with more of us working from home, already challenging jobs have quickly morphed into seemingly endless, stressful 24/7 workloads.




Actually, because of my health I've pretty much been nesting-in-place all year.  So this way of life is nothing new to me and I've come to embrace it because I've really had no other choice but to do so.

To accept what is.  To be grateful for every good thing.  To learn to still my spirit.  To accomplish what I can with whatever strength I've been given.  To know when to call it a day.  To fully lean on Jesus every step, every hour.

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I'm puttering around more.  Doing a bit of cooking here and there.  This sausage tortellini soup is absolutely delicious and gives you plenty to share which we've been happy to do.  And if you've been around here for any length of time, you already know how I feel about these decadent easy-to-make blueberry scones.

I'm finding satisfaction in the simplest of homekeeping tasks.  Cleaning up after a meal.  Doing laundry.  Flinging open the windows as I tidy up, make the bed, clean the bathroom ... or wield a dust cloth on a very rare occasion.

And in the caring for my home, this shelter in the time of storm, I find my spirit renewed ... and I feel His pleasure, glimpse His smile, hear His whispered, 'well done.'

For He is our ultimate shelter in the time of storm, isn't He.  I'm so forever grateful He's the same yesterday, today, forever.

What's nesting look like for you?  How are things on the homefront?  Do tell! 
Linda

Like this?  Here's more ...

On the Porch * Coronavirus Resources for Tender Souls

The Contentment of Mid-Winter Cocooning

The Therapeutic Delight of Dragging Furniture Around the House

When Life Hands You Lemons ...

The Sheer Joy of Puttering

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Let's walk through this crisis together.  
I invite you to subscribe here.

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Friday, March 20, 2020

On the Porch * Coronavirus Resources For Tender Souls


Welcome back, friends ...

As we gather together on the porch this weekend, many of us are a tad worried.  Maybe a bit anxious.  This has not been an easy week and truth be told, our nerves are getting more frayed than we'd like to admit.  We're not sure what's coming next.  If we spend too much time with the TV blaring in the background, our outlook begins to look ominous, uncertain, scary.

And yet God is still on the throne.  The Psalmist exclaims, 'But I trust in You, O Lord; I say, 'You are my God,' My times are in Your hands ...' {Psalm 31:14-15}.

I've gathered a few resources for you this weekend.  Helpful words, powerful music, essential prayers.  I'm trusting that something here will touch you where you are feeling particularly tender and fragile.  The videos just might hit home, I'm guessing.

Meanwhile, I'm sending my love to you and invite you to leave your prayer requests in the comments.
Linda

Jedd Medefind

Sarah Bessey

Debby Hudson






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sharing resources with