I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you. Genesis 12:2
God not only blesses us, but he blesses us for a purpose. He blesses us so we will be a blessing. The word bless means, “to benefit.” It implies abundantly or greatly. In the Bible we are reminded that God blessed Abraham abundantly by building a great nation through his seed. He made Abraham’s name great.
God’s blessings are different toward each one of us. Sometimes our blessings may come through the most difficult of trials. The purest gold comes through the most intense heat, and the most beautiful gems are formed through immense pressure. Other blessings may be in the rich joy of family members or friends in our lives.
Everyone can look at unique ways God has blessed their lives. The question is, “Are we focusing on the blessings God has given us or on the frustrations?” Let’s thank God each day for the wonderful ways He blesses us, and then let’s be diligent to use our blessings to bless the world around us.
How does God want to use your gifts and talents to benefit others today?
The corona virus wasn’t exactly on my game plan for November, but I’m now keenly aware that I am not in control of these things. When my husband tested positive for Covid, and I tested negative, I thought I was better and stronger than the Corona Virus. But then…three days later, my symptoms started showing up. Achy body, chills and a general feeling of yuckiness mixed with a slight cough and shortness of breath. It all seemed to overtake my body at once.
Still thinking I was slightly invincible, I said to myself, I’ll be over this in just a few days and back to normal. On Day 12 of general misery and malaise, I realized that although I wanted this to be a microwave type of sickness, for me it was more like a slow cooker. I know it hits everyone differently, some do have quick recoveries, but others have a longer and more bumpy road.
So how do you stay positive in the midst of the virus that you didn’t plan for yourself? Here are a few ways that I found to stay upbeat during this down time.
Develop a new daily routine. Pre-covid, I had a delightful daily routine that included a long walk, shower, quiet time and then jumping into work stuff. Well, the routine changed. Those wonderful long walks were out the window, and I wasn’t able to even think about work. So I adjusted and came up with a new daily routine. Routines give us a sense of peace and regularity in a highly irregular time. So my new routine included a cup of hot tea each morning, then sitting by the fire and reading and taking a long, hot shower in the afternoon. We can discover joy and peacefulness in the simplicity of a new and temporary schedule.
Find one thing you can do. I’ve always said I wanted more time to read – well, now I have it! For me, reading brings me great satisfaction and makes me smile. It’s the one thing I can do while resting and recuperating . What about you? Maybe you enjoy watching movies or funny videos on YouTube or drawing and sketching or doing Sudoku. It’s good and healing to engage in something that brings you a degree of happiness during this time.
Get some fresh air and sunshine each day. Part of my daily routine is to sit out in the sunshine on my back porch. Just 20 minutes of some hearty Vitamin D, not only lifts my spirits, but also gives a boost to my immune system. Wide open space and fresh air can do a world of good for our attitudes. In fact, studies show that nature has an uplifting effect on our sense of well-being. If you don’t have a place to go outside, try to sit by a window where the sunlight pours into the room. If it is not too cold outside, open a window and allow some fresh air to flow. Even if it is raining, you can open a window or sit on a covered porch while listening and observing God’s beautiful creation.
Stay connected with family and friends. We all need the love and support of those we hold dear. Take a moment each day to connect with someone who is genuinely encouraging to your heart. Whether through text or facetime and phone call, we need the joy of connectedness through loving relationships. And I’m not talking about social media connection, I’m talking about real bonds with family and friends. Now certainly be mindful of the rest you need and don’t wear yourself thin by talking to others, but on the other hand, don’t allow yourself to become isolated. Be vulnerable enough to invite several people into your life as cheerleaders and a form of emotional support.
Pray. Every affliction, every challenge, every obstacle in our lives is an opportunity to recognize our need for the Lord. The long recovery from Covid can be an important time to look upward and renew our devotion to the Lord. Pray for healing. Pray for God to begin to show you things that may need to change in your life after you recover. Pray for wisdom and a desire to live a life that honors Him. Remember, no matter how lonely this journey may seem, you are not alone. Seek Him. May this be a time for each of us to reflect on life and draw closer to Him.
Whether you are dealing with Covid or know someone who is, there are positive steps you can take. If you are a friend or family member of a homebound covid patient, reach out to them and reassure them that you are there for them. My daughters’ daily calls just to check in meant the world to me. My friends who reached out to bring a meal or drop off a smoothie, lifted my spirits. What a sweet time for all of us to care for one another. We will get through this as we love and serve together, and as we look to Jesus as our source of comfort and strength.
Will school start in person or online? Will you be homeschooling or going back to work or juggling the two? As a mom, you may feel at wit’s end right now with so many unanswered questions. Today’s blog offers you a few points of encouragement as you juggle your continually shifting responsibilities.
When you feel overwhelmed, remember the Stop Method
Step away from the source of frustration
Take several deep, relaxing breaths
Objectively think about how to wisely handle the situation (reengage your brain)
Pray for God’s help, strength & direction
Creating a Peace-filled Environment
Develop simple daily routines (Example: breakfast, reading time, play time, lunch, naptime, craft time, tv time, dinner, Bible stories, bath bed)
Start each day with Gratitude (thank the Lord for 3 things)
Play with your kids instead of working against them – laugh, enjoy, create, sing, color, build a fort, have fun!
Watch shows and movies together
Play peaceful music – having the tv on all the time creates stress
Limit screen time for you and your kids –studies show frustration/anger is elevated when parents are focused on their phone more than their kids.
Get outdoors into God’s wonderful creation, go for family walks
Have naptime every day for you and your kids – we all need a break
Read books, pray and sing silly songs together
Take care of yourself personally – Set aside a little time now and then to stay connected with positive friends through calls or texts. Again, guard against constantly being on your phones as it will only add more stress to your life. If you need a break, see if a family member can help watch the kids while you take a break.
It’s easy to talk about the problems in our society, but it’s not as easy to discover positive solutions. When I think about journeying down the road to recovery, here are a few things for which I pray:
Love, instead of hatred
Conversations, instead of angry discourse
Listening, instead of demanding
Prayer, instead of ignoring God
Humility, instead of pride
Hope, instead of fear
Nuclear families strengthened, instead of dismantled
Wisdom, instead of foolishness
Biblical values, instead of cultural ideologies
Loving God, instead loving the world
Compassion, instead of self-centeredness
What would you add to the list? It may seem like pie-in-the-sky thinking, but I believe we can each take steps toward healing and hope. Will you join with me in praying for our nation? And as we pray, let’s seek God’s heart on what we can do to make a positive difference in our own communities.
If you are looking for a way to be proactive, I invite you to join the volunteer team with Engage Positive Parenting Initiative. Our desire is to strengthen and restore families through parenting discussion groups. The Engage program not only encourages fruitful conversation and stimulating ideas, but it also builds relationships across the racial divide.
Currently we are holding classes online. Our next Volunteer Training will be Wednesday, August 12, 10:00 – 1:00 CT via zoom. You can find out more information about Engage and sign up for training at www.EngageParenting.com
My heart is grieving over the events of this past week. My desire is to be more aware of the deep pain so many people feel in this country. If you are like me, you want to be part of the solution toward racial reconciliation, but it is hard to know what to do. I believe big change begins with small steps. How do we begin to turn toward unity and away from misunderstanding?
Here are a few things we ought to humbly admit:
We don’t know it all. We tend to form our opinions based on our own experiences and perspective which limits our understanding of others. It is wise for each of us to humbly admit that we don’t know exactly what another person’s life is like. We don’t have a clue about the pain they have felt or the biases they have experienced over the years. Let’s simply realize we have much to learn about each other.
We all need fixing. Instead of pointing the finger at someone else’s issues, we need to consider that we all have issues. No one is without sin. We all need growth, improvement, wisdom and understanding. Instead of focusing on the faults of others, let’s ask God to shine the light on our own hearts and help us see where we need to grow in our love and understanding.
We must reach out and engage. Let’s consider how many people in our little circle of friends are of different races or nationalities. Let’s be deliberate about reaching across the racial divide by engaging in conversations and developing relationships with people who don’t look like we do. Let’s be intentional about building new friendships and getting to know what someone else’s life is like.
We should pray. Are we actively seeking God’s help in the racial reconciliation of our land? Are we praying daily for the needs of those who are different than ourselves? Are we praying for healing? Let’s start today! Let’s start now! As we pray, God begins to open our hearts and minds to the opportunities to love, serve and build bridges.* God can do a healing work beyond what we can ask or imagine.
These thoughts are just a start. One step at a time, one relationship at a time, we can build bridges and make a positive difference in this world. It begins by embracing those who do not look just like us, listening to their story and understanding their pain. May the anger subside, as love, growth and forgiveness take hold.
Positive Mom notes: Moms, I encourage you to have conversations with your kids about how important it is to love all people, no matter what their skin color. Allow your kids to join you as you volunteer and serve with people of different races and nationalities.