Did 2020 make you stronger…or leave you flat on your back?

2020 was a weird year for everyone and 2021 is not showing any signs of normalcy just yet. IS this the new normal? Is it temporary? The uncertainty of it all is the most unsettling part.

But, as Christians, we should always look upon the things of this earth as temporary.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

It’s not always easy and I was certainly not exempt from the roller coaster ride we called 2020. I had some highs (the news of a new grandbaby on the way, publishing three books), some lows (the loss of two sisters-in-law, massive dental work, a benign but still undefined mass) and a whole lot of in-between. There were times that I drew closer to the Lord, building up my faith in these uncertain times. And then there were times that I buried myself in a book or binge-watched old sitcom series in an attempt to escape from the current reality.

The key word was to give myself grace.

There is a big difference between grace and justification, however. If I picked up a book to read one afternoon for a little escapism, that was fine. If I put the Lord on a shelf and busied my hands and mind with other things to cope 24/7, I was wrong. I had to carefully watch that line, especially given my ostrich-burying-head-in-the-sand coping tendencies.

My writing has suffered these last two months, an effect more of a physical nature than a spiritual one, though I’m very aware that my physical, mental, and spiritual nature are closely tied together. I had blog posts in my head but just didn’t have the energy to sit down and write them.

And that brings me to point number two. Along with grace vs. justification, I had to find the line between rest and discipline. Sometimes I needed to rest. But there are times when I need to make myself do things I don’t feel like doing because they are necessary. Whether it’s writing or washing dishes or making the bed. (And let me tell you, 2020 has left more unmade beds in my room than the last 20 years combined!) Sometimes we do things out of obedience and not because we feel like it.

So where are you as 2020 comes to a close? Are you on a mountaintop, having spent the year drawing closer to God? Are you in the wilderness, having spent the year hiding from Him and going in circles? Or are you like me, somewhere in between but knowing the mountaintop beats the wilderness any day?

Give yourself grace. Give your body rest. But make sure Jesus is still a part of every waking moment!

Have a great New Year!

Rest the Body; Rejuvenate the Soul

I’m not a real big fan of these 4 AM mornings.

I definitely like it when I’ve worked, exercised, cleaned my house, and caught up on emails by 9 AM though. So there’s a definite trade-off.

BUT, after I’ve been awake for 12 hours, I get pretty tired. Especially if I only got 4-5 hours sleep the night before.

Such was the case last week.

To top it off, we’ve recently started a mid-week service on Tuesday nights at 6 PM so I knew I wouldn’t get to bed early nor was I allowed to let sleepy Gigi out. (Note: She makes a hangry Betty White look like an angel. If you don’t have a tv, eat Snickers, or know how to tie your shoes yet, you can just skip over that one.)

Anyway, I was needing a nap.

I was much like a cranky toddler, to be honest, nearing tantrum levels and very much about to cry. There was no way I was going to make it through a church service, with a gift of hospitality on full display, without one.

But I had two loads of laundry on my bed that I hadn’t gotten to, not to mention that, because of my “I’m not sick” husband who’s been running a fever of 102, I’d stripped the sheets and Lysol-ed the bed. (Can I verbalize Lysol? Can I verbalize verb, for that matter?)

I looked longingly at my bed. Who needs sheets, right? And it’s a king-size bed, so the unfolded socks and shirts can have half and I’ll take the other half. Right?

No way. My parents won’t believe this as my bedroom resembled a war zone growing up but I could never sleep knowing the bed was like this. No matter how tired I was. So I folded the clothes and remade the bed.

I had just thrown the fabric softener sheets in the kitchen trash can and was headed to my long-awaited bed when one of our pastors needed my help with something on his laptop. No problem. Of course, I live in the country and wi-fi is as slow as molasses, but after about an hour, I finally got the program loaded. In fact, it had made its way to 93% and my whole body was relaxing in anticipation of crawling into a bed with freshly laundered sheets when…

The doorbell rang.

One of our church members, one who is far better at gospel outreach than anyone in our church, myself included, wanted to order some more outreach booklets. He can throw the Word out there but he doesn’t do computers so I helped him order everything he needed.

While doing that, the UPS deliveryman brought a box filled with the new promotional materials for the church that I’d ordered last week. I was excited to go through the box as I know that there are so many unchurched, unconnected people in our community.

By the time everyone left, it had been two hours since I was initially headed to take my nap and yet, I felt strangely good. To be honest, I couldn’t understand it. I should’ve been cranky or aggravated. At the very least, I should’ve been really, really tired. But I was none of those things.

“I feel good,” I told the Lord. “Like, I know that helping them was more important than me getting a nap, but what is this I’m feeling inside?”

His answer?

As clear as a cloudless day, I heard Him: Rest is good to restore your body but ministry rejuvenates your soul.

Indeed!

(And I still got a 20-minute power nap before church!)