by Debbie Edge
As I write this we are in the middle of the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic in April 2020. It’s an “unprecedented time” where it is a necessity to distance ourselves from others, called “social distancing” or “physical distancing”. Who would have imagined at Christmas time, when we were celebrating and spending money, that we would be faced with a crisis that has affected everyone in the whole world.
Most importantly, I want to THANK the thousands of individuals who have sacrificed hours and hours and even their own health, for us. Father, we thank you and ask special blessings and favor to the following groups of people, whom we love and appreciate more than we can express: The President, Vice President, and all the medical advisors and administrative staff; FEMA, CDC, FDA, HHS, Army Corp of Engineers, Dept of Defense; each governor and their congress and advisors; Congress, for studying individual and business needs in order to pass a stimulus plan; Doctors, scientists, pharmacist, pharmaceutical companies who are working tirelessly for tests, treatments and vaccines; companies who have donated or totally changed production in order to provide for medical needs; medical professionals, doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse assistants, technicians, OTs, PTs, Speech Pathologists, Respiratory Therapists, food service, custodians, volunteers, EMTs; law enforcement, fire departments, first responders, and military; restaurant and grocery owners and employees, gas stations, bankers, truckers, railroad employees, airline employees, USPS, UPS, Fed Ex, lawn care providers; administrators, teachers, aides, bus drivers; farmers; the churches who have stepped up to the plate to do on-line services; city utilities personnel; equipment/supply companies for construction, law enforcement, medical supplies; and all other necessary providers. I have left out many, so please e-mail me if I need to add others.
We will never be able to THANK YOU enough for your hours of sacrifice!
"Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you
wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9, NIV)
"Do Not Fear"
by Debbie Edge
According to Rick Warren, that phrase is used 365 times in the Bible. I’m sure God knew difficulties in life would cause anxiety and fear throughout our lives. So, when life gets a strangle hold on us, like it is now with COVID-19, we need to hold on to God’s promises and trust His word. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go!” (Joshua 1:9, NIV).
I am not an expert on this virus, just an average person whose life has been forever changed. I do not make light of the tragedies and desperation that people are feeling now. My goal is to share ideas, from myself and others, as we walk through this extremely hard time together, and hopefully something will be helpful to you. There are many books and resources in this website, but I have included several at the end of these articles that apply to our circumstances right now.
1. Number one is get connected to a church. Do on-line services, Wednesday services, whatever meets your schedule and you are encouraged by. Pastors are carrying a heavy load now, but they are passionately working to provide hope through ministry, scripture, and services.
2. Get connected to a small group, Life group, or Bible study through on-line options like Zoom and Skype. I cannot express the amount of encouragement you will receive from face-to-face interactions, with study and sharing praises and prayer needs. Especially now, we need a prayer team!
If a group is not your thing, then find a person you can share your needs with. One who will pray and encourage you and keep your information confidential.
3. Find a time to talk to the Lord and listen. We can talk to the Him anytime and anywhere. It’s a conversation, a relationship. I love Jeremiah 29: 11-13 that says, “For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (NLT)
4. Read scripture, particularly Psalms 91, every day. Write down those verses most meaningful to you. Post them in your home, your car, or carry in your pocket, and then memorize the ones most comforting to you. One I have used a lot is, “God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV). I love the You Version Bible app that can be put on your phone. It gives many versions of the verses so you can compare and read/write, the ones that mean the most to you. Also, under “more” there are great videos, and there is one for Easter!
5. Listen to contemporary Christian music or gospel music, as much as possible. Use your Christian radio station or Sirius or u tube to find the style and words that are meaningful to you. I have several at the end of this article and there are more under the resources of this website.
6. Write your thoughts and needs through journaling or keeping notes of the day’s activities/accomplishments. No matter how small, it is helpful to see that you did accomplish something that day. For those of you who do not have the time or energy because you are at the front-lines of this epidemic, record your thoughts on your phone and find someone who can pray with you.
7. Serve others: send cards, texts, emails; set up Zoom meetings; anything to encourage others. When someone comes to mind, it’s usually God that put them on your heart. Don’t’ ignore it. They are needing someone to reach out and say, “You are important.”
8. Set up Zoom/Skype meetings with grandkids, family from far away, life groups from church, Bible study groups, grief share groups. Those supports from face-to-face connections are extremely important right now. Build connections with those that you never get to see!
9. Check with other people to see what their needs are: groceries, mail, lawn, bills, medicines; celebrate special occasions, like anniversaries and birthday. We have to re-think how to do celebrations. A friend of mine celebrated her son-in-law’s birthday with all his baseball team driving by to wave, throw candy, drop off a present.
10. Use apps like ABIDE, Bible App for daily devotionals or to listen to at the end of the day. Psalm 91 is a great chapter to hear when you go to bed!
11. Volunteer or donate to charities that are on the front lines, like Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, Samaritan’s Purse. Make face masks, shop for elderly, give kids and friends a break by babysitting on Zoom with games and books!
12. Share verses that are particularly encouraging and easy to understand. NLT, ERV, and The Message are good translations. You can download the Bible app on your phone. If you think of a verse that’s comforting but can’t remember the words or where it’s located in the Bible, then google it!
13. Share funny cartoons because we all need laughter every day.
14. Use your talents: make a u-tube video of you singing and/or playing an instrument, learn to play a new instrument, do a live zoom performance, make a scrapbook, paint, create wood projects, remodel a room, try a new craft, make jewelry, write children’s stories, write articles of encouragement, share your photography projects, try some recipes with that new instant pot, play some games with your kids or grandkids!
Thank you to all the performers who have shared their music on-line, for choirs who perform by zoom, for those raising money through on-line concerts.
15. Text or call those who have loved ones in the hospital/nursing home and are unable to visit them and for those who have lost loved ones during this pandemic. They need tremendous support right now.
16. If you were to get sick for any reason, would your family be able to take care of bills, etc? Make a current list of bills, bank accounts, will, trust, DNRs, insurance, long term care insurance, life insurance, investment accounts, etc. If those can be accessed on-line, make a list of them with log-in information. Please discuss with family, where your important papers are and what your desires would be in an emergency.
17. We are learning to use on-line services for everything, including weddings, funerals, school/college classes. Brainstorm ways to make all activities work and continuing “social distancing.”
18. Take an on-line trip. I have listed several activities you can do on your own or with your kids, like tours through national parks, etc. Please email me as you find other websites people would enjoy.
19. As we all know it is important to eat right, get some exercise, get some sunshine, do meditation, or mindfulness activities. We know all of those, but do we do them? Maybe it’s time to make a schedule!
20. Set aside some time for prayer and devotionals. It can be a few minutes or an hour, but you will have more peace if you start the day with that.
21. The prayer needs are vast and critical. We have started a prayer list, mainly for those we know who are working in essential businesses, those with health concerns, and those who are suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19. Many people are doing a morning prayer call or zoom meeting.
Even though there is uncertainty, financial concerns and health concerns, there have been so many things that are very positive. People are making connections with family and friends; they are showing kindness and compassion more than ever before; there is no discrimination toward nationalities, color, beliefs; there is more dedication to working together rather than political biases; we are using new ways of communicating where you actually see each other’s face; there is home schooling (Bet the parents appreciate teachers more!); look up free on-line activities and learning tools for kids; teachers/administrators are learning to educate in an on-line environment; prayers and scripture are on the news; our neighbors are helping each other; food is being distributed through food banks but also being delivered by churches and schools. My prayer is that we will come out of this soon, much better individuals, a more united country, and many more will know God and understand what the “Footprints” poem on the main page of this website means. As Louie Giglio says, “God is working."
There are many resources on this website. I have included some specific ones that might be helpful at this particular time but also please check out your local church on-line services.
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles.”
(Psalm 34:17, NLT)
“The Lord says, I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.”
(Psalm 91:14, NLT)
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”
(Psalm 46:1, NLT)
“The Lord’s angel builds a camp around His followers and He protects them.”
(Psalm 34:7, ERV)
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be
with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NLT)
"I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in him. Then
you will have more and more hope, and it will flow out of you by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13, ERV)
“May the Lord bless you and protect you, may the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the
Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.”
(Numbers 6:24-26, NLT)
Activities for children:
https://www.abcmouse.com/ Free for 30 days
https://www.crazygames.com/ free Disney games
https://kids.poki.com/en/disney free Disney games
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_6terwDDWU Kennedy Space Center
https://www.whatdowedoallday.com/ kids activities
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jty9wwL7um8 Manatee Home Safari
Activities for adults:
https://www.classcentral.com/ Free online courses