Reflect Love

Last night, I couldn’t sleep. No, I didn’t watch a scary movie. I wasn’t worried about my friends or family. I didn’t feel ill. I made a mistake. I let myself get led down a rabbit hole of hostility and I couldn’t let it go.

You see, yesterday I happened to watch our governor’s Covid talk. After he speaks, the Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health always gives an update. She’s a Dr. She’s a Harvard grad. A pediatrician. A chemist. She worked in the Juvenile Detention Center in Chicago. She’s a proponent of breastfeeding. She has 4 kids, just like me. I bet before all of this, and even now, she was a behind the scenes kind of person. She didn’t ask for any of this, yet here she is, giving press conferences. And yesterday, she broke. In front of everyone. It wasn’t staged, it wasn’t dramatic, it was real. And it was hard to watch.

I know people have protested in front of her home. Teen athletes who want their sports. And they have a right to do so. I know she has teenagers herself. I can only imagine how hard it is to be her right now. I trust that all she wants to do is the right thing. But, her world is crashing in. And she never asked for it.

We are all so tired. So very tired. As I write this, I am actually 8 days into a 14 day isolation period. (I was exposed.) I know tired. I know isolation. I haven’t been in a car for 8 days. I have a small business that has struggled immensely. I don’t enjoy masks. I am completely and totally “Zoomed Out.” I want to break the rules. I want to go to work, or shop. (Or have Dunkin) I want to hug my mom today. I didn’t ask for any of this.

Once, before Easter, the Dr was quoted saying this, “I’m a woman of faith. I miss being at church, Bible study, prayer groups, laying-on of hands. This is not the time. We don’t want to hurt the people we’re intending to commune with.” If she can do it, if she can lead by example, I thought, I will trust her words.

Which leads me to the rabbit hole. People were so cruel. So mean. Our local news channel posted a clip of the video on Facebook, and it seemed like the whole world went in for the attack. She’s not a politician, yet it became political. She was accused of fear mongering, of faking, of being dramatic. It was commented that her performance was worthy of an Oscar.

I just kept thinking, this is a person. A human being created in the image of God. A God that she outspokenly claims as her own. How cruel can you be to laugh in the face of someone who shows care and concern amidst a trying time? If you are a believer, does mocking someone openly communicate the love of Christ?

In this world of shut downs and sadness, of masks and depression and grieving what we’ve lost, I want to be the better person. In a world where dirty politics are rearing their ugly head, I want to take the high road. In a time in history where character matters, where shining the light of Christ is of the utmost importance, I want to be bright. I want what I say to reflect what’s in my heart. (Luke 6:45)

So you, wherever you are, I hope you can commit to the same. You might not live in my state, or even care who the Public Health Director is, that’s not important. What’s important is recognizing the value, the worth of every person created in the image of a loving God. If each life is important to Him, make it important to you. Be a reflection of His love. Mirror His goodness. Don’t tear others down, especially when they’re at their worst. But instead, help them back up. Help them dust off. And, remind them of their worth.

The Practice of Joy

“Joy is the serious business of heaven.”

-CS Lewis

I’m just going to say it. You may agree or disagree, but Joy should be a spiritual practice. It may not come naturally, but if you seek it you will find it. If you choose it, you can walk in it. If you practice it, it will change your life.

This year, we’ve seen a lot of memes. We’ve heard all the jokes. We’ve talked about surviving, giving ourselves grace, and the importance of kindness. It’s been a rough one, 2020. But, one thing I’m realizing is that I am not a victim. My actions do not hinge on my outward circumstances. My behavior isn’t good or bad depending on the news, or how someone treats me, or the latest blow up on social media. In this polarizing political climate, in the age of social media knock down drag outs, in a time when our collective stress and anxiety is through the roof, we are not to fall victim. I cannot and will not change who I am because of stress or anxiety or bullies or conspiracy theories or political ideology.

Who am I? I am a believer who follows the way of Jesus. I am someone who wants the very best for my friends and neighbors. I don’t want to just like my neighbor, I want to “love my neighbor as myself.” It’s my job, my calling, if you will. And I can’t do those things without joy. And, honestly, neither can you. Joy gives us peace and brings us hope. It calms us in moments of doubt and despair, and it gives us a reason to be the good.

We’ve probably all heard the saying, “Satan can’t steal my joy,” but when I look around at my fellow believers, sometimes I wonder if we even have any joy to steal! We fall prey to the machine of social media and distrust. We act out in stress and blame the other guy. We say things we don’t mean and do things we shouldn’t and then blame 2020, or our politicians. We blame the system, the schools, the governor, the rules, but we often forget to look in the mirror. Only I am in charge of my behavior. Only I can choose to do good.

So what in the world are we to do? When we find ourselves really, truly losing it, where do we go? We go back to joy.

How in the world do we “practice” joy, you might ask? Where do I look? What do I do? How can I work toward this?

I would say that one of the most important parts of being joyful is being grateful. You may think that joy makes us grateful, but studies have shown that being grateful brings us joy. That’s right. The more we show gratitude, the more that joy enters our lives. David Steindl-Rast said, “The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” This, to me, means that to practice joy I must practice gratitude. So how? What are some every day ways that we can show our gratitude? The following are places to start:

1. Keep a gratitude journal. Each day write down a couple of things that you are thankful for. Some days it’s truly the little things like no traffic on the way to work, and some days it’s the heavier things like our sick friend has made it through one more day. But every day it should be something.

2. Talk about it. Whether over dinner with your family, or over coffee with a good friend, tell something that you are grateful for. Some families start their meals by going around the table and having each person say what they are thankful for. When we voice our gratitude it becomes real.

3. If it’s a person that you are grateful for, make sure that they know it. This full circle type of compliment makes everyone joyful. The recipient is delighted to know how you feel, and in turn you are happy because you truly made someone’s day. When I remember to thank the important people in my life, joy comes much easier.

4. Remember that the world is good. Listen, if you were to turn off the news or stop mindlessly scrolling Facebook you would be better attuned to the good in the world. You would see people smiling at each other, holding doors, saying kind things. You would know that there are people out every day feeding the homeless and dropping off supplies for the needy. You would see people taking care of their elderly neighbors and watching out for the kids that live on their block. Instead of the negative, focus on the positive. Notice the good all around you and don’t let yourself be constantly bombarded by the crazy negative things streaming through the internet.

There are many more gratitude practices that we can talk about but for now let’s head back to joy. Remember, joy doesn’t come easy. It’s much easier to grumble and complain that to be joyful. But each day I’m going to choose joy. I choose to be joyful when circumstances are tough. I choose joy when people are mean. I choose joy when my heart is breaking. I choose joy.

Like I said earlier, I am not going to be a victim of 2020 or the economy or political debates or anything else. I am the only one that can control my responses. I am the only one that can choose to post inciting comments on my social media accounts. I am the only one responsible for using my tongue and my sharp words to hurt others.

So as we continue in 2020 don’t forget to bring the joy. Don’t forget the confetti poppers and disco balls and smiles. Don’t forget that feeling that comes when you know you just did the right thing. Bring it, because you can’t steal my joy.

A Liturgy for When my World is Out of Control

Lord,

How? How did we get here, Father? What happened? Where are we? What have we done?

Father, I feel so lost. So isolated. So utterly and completely out of control. Yet, I don’t understand why. Or how. Or what brought me to this place.

My world is spinning, and yet I’m not sure what my next step is. So, help me. Help me, Father. Help me to dig myself out of the despair. The anxiety. The fear.

Let me realize, once again, that you are in charge. Let me turn to you, lean on you, trust in you.

I do trust in you, Lord. You are my shelter. You always have been. Yet sometimes, in the darkness of these days, I don’t see it. We’ve become a people living in darkness. We’ve become a people accustomed to anger and bitterness and pride. There is us and them. There is no longer nuance.

Help me to love others, to listen, to have empathy for those I know not. Open my world wide and allow me to let others in. To hear. To listen. To respond justly and with kindness.

Lead us to a better place, a better time. Encourage your people to do right, to love, to shine your light brightly in this dark and shattered world.

Let me not feel out of control, but bring everything back to the One who is in control. Let me not concentrate on my weakness, but on Your strength. Let me not work within my will today, but Yours.

Be a Light

I’ve been quiet. It’s been a little while, but I just haven’t written. As I’ve been challenged about this, it’s led me to think a bit. When I’m asked why I’ve been silent, I’ve replied that there are just too many voices. This world is rough right now. It seems as if life has turned upside down. Some days it seems like there’s no end in sight. We are living through a global pandemic, the earth is amiss with floods, storms, tornadoes, fires, and even hurricanes, (Plural!) people are struggling in this difficult economy, unemployment is at a record breaking high (at least where I live), AND it’s an election year.

So, there are a lot of voices. Some are very loud. Some voices express concern. Some condemn. Some create panic or stir up controversy. Some people just pass on the information of others, whether it happens to be true or not. So much noise. Funny, it’s easier for me to notice the noise right now. Collectively, we had a little time to slow down. In March, when we began to see stay at home orders, people stayed in, listened, looked out for one another. We spent more time with our families. We weren’t rushing from place to place because there was no where to go. We baked bread. We shared with those in need. We looked after our neighbors who were out of work or furloughed. We put hearts in our windows and did TikTok dances with our kids. We zoomed with our parents. We started gardens. Not all of this slowed down life has been a bad thing.

But now? Now some of us have had enough. We’re tired. No, we’re weary. That deep down tired that makes you think that you just can’t face another day. We’re tired of wearing masks, and we’re tired of people who don’t wear masks. We’re tired of zoom and e-everything and no sports and closed restaurants. We’re tired of people and at the same time can’t get enough of them. We missed out on graduations and celebrations and fireworks. For the love, we just want one good, fun backyard BBQ. One birthday party where everyone is yelling and you can’t wait for them to leave but you hold them close for a big hug before they do. One dinner with friends where you eat off a charcuterie board and heaven forbid people touch things with their bare, unsanitized hands.

We’re grieving, too. And anxiety abounds. All these things make us cranky. Like children who haven’t napped well, we get a little irritable. We lash out or say things we don’t mean. We’re quick to judge. We just want things to be better, so we share our opinions with everyone, whether they want to hear it or not.

But here’s where I’ve been challenged. In the midst of all the voices clamoring for our attention, we need to listen for that still, small voice. We need to care more about that voice than any other. The voice of discernment. The voice of unconditional love. The voice of wisdom. The voice of courage. The voice of the Lord that says, “You are worthy.”

When a friend told me that my voice points her to God’s voice I realized that I can no longer be quiet. I can no longer let my voice get swallowed up by the anger and mean spirited assaults on social media. I can’t give up and give in because people will listen to the squeakiest wheel. I may not be the squeakiest wheel, but I want to be one who, by God’s grace, brings you closer to the throne and not farther. A voice that leads you to peace. A voice that shares how we can practice loving our neighbor. A person that leads by example, shares the truth, and shows you what it means to love the least of these.

So, here I am. Ready to begin again. Ready to refresh and point the way to the One who makes all things new. The God who loves you unconditionally. I have no need or desire to tell you how I feel about racism or politics or elections or Covid. I just want to use my voice to point you toward the truth. Truth about who you are, truth about who God is. I want to spend time reflecting on how everyone is made in his image and therefore worthy of the same dignity, respect, and love. Let’s spend the next few days and weeks caring about others, loving our neighbor, and making the world a better place.

Let’s pledge to use our words wisely, to grow together, and to point others toward the truth. Will you join me?

A Liturgy of Remorse and Lament

Oh God,

God, we cry out.

We cry.

We cry to You because we can, because we need You, because You are Healer.

Teach us, oh Lord, to do more than cry out. Teach us to do more than talk, more than pray. Give us action.

Father, we repent. We repent, God, of the things we have said. Of the things we have done. Of the things we have not said, we repent also. God, for times we have not spoken up, for times we have not listened, we repent.

We come to you with broken and shame filled hearts. We come to you knowing that our silence, our fear, and our privilege has harmed others. We are one people, created in your image. We laugh, we cry, we love, we hug, we bond, we tell stories, we have souls. Every single one of us. And our souls, our very beings, who we are deep within, has hurt others. For this we are truly sorry.

May it not be trite, Father. We do not look for empty words. We do not pray to hear ourselves speak. Rather give our words meaning. Let them fill our hearts. Have us to act upon them. From this day forward, we choose to lament, to repent, and to turn the course of our actions in a new direction. We gladly choose to use our voice and our privilege to influence others, to help others, to speak for those who are not heard over the crippling noise of this world.

Forgive us. Use us. Teach us.

Flood our path with opportunity to do the right thing. Grant us new friendships, new hope, and a second chance to make things right among your children.

And may You, the God of Peace, fill us with the Spirit of Peace this very day.

Parents, You Can Do This!

When raising our kids overseas, we decided early on that they would go to the local schools just like every other kid. That meant that all of their learning was in a different language. Their English classes were probably much like your Spanish or French classes. They didn’t learn American History or read what we would consider “the Classics,” though they did master Latin. They didn’t understand American Government or memorize the State Capitols. And, in the first few years, I was worried.

I always wanted to supplement their education. I wanted to add in little snippets of history or literature or something. I was afraid that they weren’t learning what they needed to get into college or catch up if we ever moved back to the States. But my attempts always failed. They were already going to school. They were already learning and trying and working really hard. Their parent teacher conferences were great. (well, maybe we had one troublemaker out of four) They couldn’t handle more.

One summer, while back in the States, I had a couple of teachers tell me the same thing. They said that the experiences that my kids were having would far outweigh any book learning that they could have received. They were fine. Stop trying to compare them to others and let them flourish right where they were.

We did move back eventually. At the time of return, they had never gone to an American school and they were High School Juniors, an 8th grader, and a second grader. They were lacking some knowledge of the functions of our government and were lacking in some American History facts. They hadn’t read certain books. But, they kept up. They learned a lot. Two are now in college and absolutely flourishing. There was nothing to worry about, mom.

So, here we are. Caught up in a pandemic. Suddenly teaching our kids from home. Working from home ourselves. Doing things we’ve never done before. And worrying that we’re doing it right. I felt it fitting to share my experience. Because, frankly, I believe that you probably are doing it right. You don’t see it, but I see you. My kids are older, I’ve been around, and I can tell you that you’re doing a fine job.

Let me be honest, and I know I risk judgement for this, but I think my kids are crushing it in the education department. My 11 year old bought a cookbook with her own money, and is contributing daily to snacks and meals. I’m not even going to break down the skills this requires like reading, problem solving, math, and fractions. She writes letters and sends cards. She helped to make a list of elderly people in our church who need encouragement and helped deliver flowers. (There was zero contact, and she hasn’t been inside a store since March 14.) She’s helping us with gardening plans for the summer and working in the yard. She goes on 4 mile walks with her dad and has amazing conversations.

My senior is pretty crushed about his circumstances. He was looking forward to asking a girl to Prom. He, of course, was excited for graduation and senior pranks and all the dumb stuff that is also oh so important. He’s proud of where he is so far, and wanted to celebrate it. But, since he’s bored, he got a job. He works hard and is kind. He is generous with his money. He is doing his schoolwork, but more importantly, he is learning so much about taking care of others. He’s learning how the church really works and how to take care of people. He’s getting along with his siblings better than ever before. He has a heart for mission and justice and has been engaging in very important theological discussions. He’s learning that we can disagree with others and still love them deeply. That life has nuance.

So, yeah. They’re doing a great job. Do they stay up too late and watch to much tv and sleep in and have bad attitudes? Um, yes. Of course. Don’t you? (They also ask for ice cream about every day, and I bet you do that too!) Loosen your expectations. Laugh a little more. See joy in the little things.  Because, honestly, our time is what we make of it. Our hours lead to days that lead to months and pretty soon this whole thing will be over. Really, it will. (Trust me, I have a kid that’s 21 and I have no idea how I got here so fast.) I’m not saying put on your rose colored glasses and don’t be overwhelmed. I’m saying that you might need to take some pressure off of yourself because you’ve got this and just didn’t realize it yet. Believe me, you can do it. You are enough. You are capable. You can do hard things. I believe in you.

 

Grieving our Losses. . .Together

It was the summer of 2007. We were in the crowded hallway of the ICU. My husband, his stepmom, siblings, and even aunts, uncles, and cousins were waiting to hear the news. News that we knew we didn’t want to hear. News that would change us forever.  The Dr. came out and informed us that my father in law’s earthly life had come to an end. I remember that the Today Show was playing in the background. I remember another family that received good news about their loved one. And I remember looking into the eyes of my cousin and saying that the world is still moving forward, yet we are at a standstill experiencing something that will mark us forever.

That’s the first time we experienced real, raw grief as a family. Dad, mom, and three kids had to process such a difficult situation. Together. And separately. We learned that grief can be suffocating. That it comes in waves. We learned many things, including that everyone grieves differently.

Our world is suffering. We are living through something that we never even imagined possible. I have heard many say that it almost feels like we are living in a movie. We are all grieving. And, we are all coping.

One thing that my husband learned through experience, and that I have heard him use to counsel countless others throughout the years is that it is definitely ok to feel __________, but you cannot stay there. It is ok to be angry, but you can’t stay there. It’s ok to feel sad, but you can’t stay there. Feelings, emotions, they are real. And you can have them. It’s ok. You just can’t live the rest of your life in that place.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. As a mom, an entrepreneur, a pastor’s wife, and resident “concealer of all emotions,”  I really really want to look like I have my stuff together. I’d like people to think that I do not get angry, (false) I don’t lose my patience, (again, false) and that I’m generally easy to get along with. (ask my kids)

Here’s the thing. Life right now is hard. It’s upside down. It’s scary. Many of us have small businesses that aren’t moving forward, leaving us with a lack of income and worry for the future. Some of us haven’t lost our jobs. . .yet. And even though we know that we do a good job and that our boss is happy, we are also waiting for that phone call where they tell us that maybe we’re just not needed. If we have our jobs, many of us are working from home. Oh, and working in the same space that our spouse is working in. And, if we have school aged kids, they’re there, too. And, we have to teach them stuff. And, if we don’t have a spouse, then we’re alone. Alone in our houses. With our thoughts. And the internet. Don’t get me started on social media because that’s pretty much a total disaster. Much of the time it’s not really helpful for anything but the comparison game. . .or arguing. . .or getting into ridiculous political conversations.

So, if someone asks you how you’re doing and you break down, that’s ok. Really. If someone asks you how you’re feeling and you say sad, that’s fine. Rather normal, actually. If you say stressed out, you have every right to be. It’s ok. Be stressed. Be sad. Get angry. Honestly, if you aren’t a little stressed, I might worry about you. But, don’t stay there. Don’t live in the despair. Sit in it a while. Grieve. And then go about your day.

Like grief, it might come in waves. You might get angry in the morning, but then be ok. You might lose your cool with the kiddos, and then pray that they forget later because you’re ok now. You might be single and alone in your house and have a real good cry at 6PM, eat some dinner, watch Netflix and start tomorrow fresh. Above all, be gracious with yourself.

What we need to hear from others right now isn’t necessarily how awesome it is to homeschool our kids or how clean our closets are or how we are getting so much work done with giant smiles. We don’t need to hear how perfect it is for everyone working from home. We need reassurance that you also ate too many snacks or fell into the Tiger King trap or were wearing sweatpants in your Zoom call with your boss.  We need to hear someone say me, too! Since the me, too movement has already taken off, I propose a new hashtag for our lives right now. #same So, when you see that someone else wants to run screaming from the house because seventh grade math is too hard, you just say #same. When you can’t take it anymore because your kid is practicing his sweet recorder skillz, #same. When you are working MORE now from home than before and you are completely stressed, I pray that someone else says to you #same. When your toddlers are literally punching each other in the face and desperately want to see grandma. . . there’s gotta be someone else that says #same.

Today I did some things right. I walked outside for nearly an hour. I got a little bit tidied around the house. I read. But my kids ate leftover pizza for lunch, I made my daughter find her own dang craft supplies, and I’m pretty sure my high schooler did zero percent of his schoolwork. And, I’m very ok with that. Can I get a #same?

 

What Can You Give?

Have you ever heard the story of when a woman broke open a bottle of perfume and poured it over Jesus’ head? I’m guessing that even if you’re not a person of faith, you’ve heard that story. And, interestingly, Jesus himself said that people would be telling her story for generations to come.

This is Holy Week. The week that Christians celebrate the last week of Jesus’ life. From Palm Sunday (when he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey) to Easter Sunday (when he rose from the grave) and everything in between.

About this time in the week, just days before he was crucified, he was hanging out at a man named Simon’s house. Simon was a Pharisee. A leader in the Jewish faith. There was no room, really, for a sinful woman such as she to enter his house, but there she was. She came in, wept at Jesus’ feet, dried her tears with her hair, and broke a jar of perfume, pouring it on his head.

This was a major act of repentance and, on Jesus’ behalf, an act of forgiveness. We know it is about repentance and forgiveness because Jesus went on telling a parable about just that.

But, I see something else here, too. Sacrifice. A repentance so deep, a love so deep, that this woman was willing to give up probably the most valuable thing that she had. And, by their grumbling about giving to the poor, everyone else in the room knew of the perfume’s great value, too. She didn’t care. She was there for one thing only. To anoint Jesus for his burial.

It’s early in the morning, and this is the passage I’m reading for today as I too celebrate the life and death of Jesus this week. Only this week is truly unlike any Easter season I have ever experienced. Never have I ever been separated from my family and friends as I am now. Never have I felt the crushing blow of learning that so many of my fellow citizens, fellow humans, would potentially die of an illness that we know little about. Never have I felt the loom of a desperate economy struggling to catch up. I’m not sure I’ve ever before seen so many friends who have lost their jobs and truly do not know what the next step is. Yes, I’m old enough. Yes, I lived through other recessions. Yes, I lost much in 2008. But this seems. . .different.

I think of this unnamed woman in the Bible. Her story can become our story, can’t it? See, in these times, we can be so incredibly close fisted. We can be frightened for the future and unwilling to give. We can feel the need to stockpile for the future. We hoard our money, our resources, our things, our time, our safety, all of it, because the future is so incredibly uncertain. We can’t possibly give, or give more, because one day it all might be taken from us.

Did this woman care about that? No. She went right into a place where she was not welcome and did something so big, so extravagant, that Jesus himself said her story would be told for generations to come. And look at us proving him right.

As you look at Easter, how can you come to Jesus open handed? What can you give? How can you sacrifice? Are there needs around you waiting to be met? Is there something that you can sacrifice for Him?

This week, and any week really, we can come to Him desperate yet willing to give it all. We can come to him open handed rather than close fisted. We can come ready to give, ready to serve, ready to love. Our needs are still there, and our fear may be great, but He is worthy of everything we have. He is worthy of our greatest gifts. Anoint Him today, and the rewards will be worth it.

A Choice

 


For several days now, my home state has had in effect a Shelter in Place order. Not since the cold war’s “Duck and Cover” have we even heard such words. Nor have we had to think about such tragic circumstances invading our communities.
But it’s here. Now.
Many of us have had our lives completely turned upside down. We can’t go to work, and we have to work from home. Our work has changed somehow, evolved. There’s no specific place, no office with a door, so it seems like we’re always working or we’re never working. Some of us don’t have jobs. Or we have a suspicion that our job won’t last forever. And, the kids. Schools are out, kids are home. Even the big ones. Colleges are shut down, dorms closed, and grown children are once again sharing space with their parents. Speaking of parents, we’re all worried about ours. Will they get sick? Will they make it through this? What are they thinking right now?
What are any of us thinking?
The world is a crazy place to be right now. Never would I ever have thought we’d have to argue about our older children wanting to hang out and go for a drive. Just go. Wait. No. You can’t. Sorry. I know it’s lame, but people are counting on you to do this.
My world is at a standstill and spinning at the same time. How does that even happen?
When my world is so out of my control, I feel like giving up. I feel like shouting to the whole world that I don’t really have a choice. I don’t.
But that’s not true, is it? I always have a choice. Always.
I’ve noticed that I’ve been saying things like, “did you watch the governor’s report today” (ours addresses the state every afternoon) or “have you heard from your friends in Italy?”
I’ve noticed that I don’t mind turning on the news again, even though I gave up that habit nearly two years ago. I keep watching and waiting and watching. Even if it makes me anxious.
What I know is that I have a choice. I can have fear or faith. I can choose to be anxious about everything or delighted in the little things. I can follow the rules, fight the fight, keep the faith.
You have a choice, too. You can let your family get on your nerves, or you can relish this unique time to spend together. You can snip at your co-workers, or take a deep breath and remember that we are all struggling.

When we are faced with hard choices, we rarely walk away proud that we did the easy thing. Usually, when we do the hard thing, in the end we are grateful for the outcome. Thankful for the lessons learned. Blessed by the opportunities.
Today, I pray that you look fear in the eye and don’t let it consume you. Don’t give it a chance to take you down or discourage you. Instead, make a choice. Do good. Be kind. Bless others. Love well. Have hope.

 

A Liturgy for When I Feel Alone

Father, I feel alone.
Grant me peace in this trying time. Grant me courage to face my doubts. Show me in love how to face my fears.
I know, Lord, that I am never alone. Not truly. Not really. I know that you are with me. I know that you have gone before me. You know the future, and what it holds.
Oh, how I long to see that future. If I know the end, how it unfolds, what is about to happen, then I can get through. Right? I just need you to tell me what’s next.
But somehow Father, I know that you hold that Truth. That reality. That future. And, I realize that it’s not for me to know. Not yet. So, let me cling to you. In my fear, in my loneliness, in the waiting, let me cling to you.
Hold me tightly, Lord.
Don’t let go.
Help me feel safe.
Grant me peace.
Give me courage.
Make me strong, even strong enough for others.
Let me go about this day, and future days, with a peace that assures me that you are with me every moment of every day.
Guide my darkened path with your everlasting light.
Amen

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