WHAT WILL BE YOUR NEW NORMAL?
2 minute read
Maple~the kitten~escaped last Saturday. She often sits at the door whining and crying. The minute she saw that door open, she ran for her freedom. She belongs to my daughter Andrea. It might seem trivial in light of everything going on, but it was heavy on her family’s heart. Her husband and boys searched all day for that kitten, with no luck. Little Maple’s sister was crying too. Everyone was sad.
That evening as the boys were saying their prayers, Andrea’s oldest said something that surprised her. When she told me, it brought tears to my eyes.
“Mom, this is bad.”
Thinking he was upset about Maple running away, she asked...
“I got used to not going to church.”
His little 6 year old heart recognized that something was wrong. He didn’t want to get used to that. He wasn’t thinking about what tomorrow would be like without Maple, he was thinking about what tomorrow would be like without church.
His heart wasn’t stuck on his circumstances, his heart was focused on God.
~~I couldn’t help thinking about our tomorrow’s and what they will look like. What will life look like for us when the “stay at home” ban is lifted? When we can open our doors and leave our homes?
Some have been just like Maple~whining and crying the entire time, just waiting to escape.
Others have leaned in to embrace the time, to trust in God, to get deeper into His word, to pray more and praise more. To find joy despite what their tomorrows might look like.
Perhaps you never went to church before, but for the first time you have discovered the power and comfort found in the word of God, and this will be your new normal.
And still others may have gotten used to not going to church. Will that become your new normal? Will your life return to what it used to be? Will you forget the closeness you may have experienced with God because of this virus~how much you learned to trust Him, how often you talked to Him? Will you even remember to thank Him?
Will your heart be stuck on your circumstances, good or bad, or will it be focused on God?
Funny how our hearts turn to God when our circumstances are bad but when our circumstances are good, when life is good, we tend to slip away from God and we get used to our lives without Him. Sadly, we don’t even recognize when it happens.
~~Darkness was just starting to fill the evening sky when we got the message that Maple had returned home.
The boys were already asleep but we knew their tomorrow would be a celebration of joy.
~~Purpose in your heart today, and every day, that this~
this special time God has allowed you,
this time to draw closer to Him~
This will be your new normal.
When the ban is lifted, when the doors are open, yes~ enjoy that freedom but don’t wait until darkness comes into your life again to return to God. Purpose in your heart that you will stay close to Him and never forget all that He has taught you and blessed you with these last few weeks.
When things are bad, and more importantly when things are good~don’t ever let your heart get used to a life without Him again.
When that is your new normal, every one of your tomorrows will be a celebration of joy.
STOP FREAKING OUT
2 minute read
I was having a particularly stressful week. I got bombarded daily with unexpected inconveniences that continually messed up my plans.
I tried to remain calm.
One more week and we would be on vacation. I would be laying in the sand, soaking up the sun and listening to the ocean waves. I was pretty sure I had the following week free to get my “to do” list accomplished before we left. I looked at the calendar and, I kid you not~
I almost had a panic attack.
Every single day before vacation was booked with activities and appointments.
And I had a freak out moment.
I am a big planner. I’m one of those people who has a daily “to do” list written out for the next month. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with planning but~
There is something wrong when those “plans” cause you to freak out because they aren’t going “as planned”.
And that happens to me more than I care to admit. God is constantly having to remind me to~
“Be where your feet are Charisse. Today is all you need think about. What do I have for you today? Right now? Right this very minute?” “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself...” Matthew 6:34
So what happened? A virus hit so hard that everything shut down.
All those activities and appointments, all the worry I had about finishing everything before vacation~ it all came to naught.
Vacation didn’t happen.
The sun, sand and ocean waves didn’t happen.
The only thing that did happen was me freaking out about something that God already knew wouldn’t matter.
I wasn’t trusting God.
As I look at social media, it is very evident to me that our entire country is freaking out. We’re complaining about our plans getting canceled. We’re either complaining that the government isn’t doing enough to protect us and heal this virus, or we’re complaining that the government is doing too much by not allowing us to work.
Instead of God’s plans, instead of God’s purposes, instead of God’s peace~ it has become either personal pouting or political. We are constantly fighting or griping instead of just being where our feet are. Right now. Today. “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15
Perhaps Gods plan all along has been this day, this moment. Maybe His plan all along was just to stop. To enjoy today. The extra time He has allowed us to spend with Him and our families.
But we aren’t doing that.
We are wasting our today’s by fighting over our tomorrows.
Every single time I have freaked out about my plans and my future, every time I have cried and complained and worried over how I would do it all~
God always, without fail pulled me through and showed me that His plans were not mine. That I couldn’t do it all, but He could and would.
His plans were always SO MUCH better.
And yet, for some reason~I continue to place my trust in myself instead of remembering the thousands of times He has shown Himself faithful.
He knew all along I had no reason to freak out about my week ahead.
Today, stop and look at where your feet are. Look at today. Look at your parents or your husband, look at your children, look at Gods word. Look at everything God has blessed you with. Enjoy this day God has given you and trust Him with your future. Ask Him to show you what His plans are for you TODAY~ what He wants to teach you TODAY. How you can choose joy TODAY.
How you can be like Jesus TODAY.
Our country has a 3 phase plan in place, but can I encourage you~Gods plans for your tomorrows are so much better. God’s got this. He’s going to take care of this virus. He’s going to take care of our finances. He’s going to take care of our families.
He’s going to take care of you.
Not the government.
Not the doctors.
So let’s all leave it with Him~
And stop freaking out.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
I’ll never forget the Easter my cousin Erick decided to dress up as the Easter bunny.
We were in middle school, and both our brothers were much younger. He thought it would be fun to surprise them.
It had the opposite effect.
When his younger brother Peter saw him, he was petrified. He started crying and wouldn’t stop. We tried to comfort him but nothing helped. My cousin repeatedly told him- “It’s me, your brother. You don’t have to be afraid. I’m right here.” But the crying persisted.
My poor little cousin was looking into the face of fear, despite the words of comfort he was hearing. It wasn’t until Erick took off that bunny mask that Peter finally calmed down and realized,
it was his brother all along.
This Easter many of us are looking at all the quarantine masks and our hearts are petrified. We are looking into the face of fear, instead of the face of our Savior. His words of comfort are constantly reminding us that He is with us always, but fear has such a grip on our hearts that we cannot be comforted by His very words... “fear not”, “be not afraid”,
“I am with you always”.
Can I encourage you today to trust the One Who loves us so much that He sent His very Son to die for us? To trust the One Who promises us a home in heaven if we accept the beautiful gift of His Son. To trust the One Who tells us He will be with us always.
Why is it that we can have the faith to trust that God will take us to heaven when we die, but our faith falls short when we have to trust Him to take care of us physically or monetarily? I think it’s because we know that what Jesus did on the cross for us is what assures us a home in heaven~not anything that we ourselves have done, or could ever do. Our sins are completely forgiven because of Jesus alone. The situation changes when it comes to our physical bodies, and the well being of those we love. Somehow we think we are the ones in control of things here on earth. Our health. Our finances. Our futures. When things become out of control, fear invades our hearts instead of faith. Romans 8:31,32.
Stop looking into the face of fear and dwelling there. Stop watching the news all day. Stop the googling and social media. Sit at your Savior’s feet and soak in His comfort and peace.
When you stop looking into the face of fear, you will realize your Heavenly Father has been with you all along. Romans 8:35,37-39. Fix your eyes on Jesus. He is in you. He gives you the power to overcome. The power that we could never achieve on our own. Power, even when things of this world are out of control. John 1:12. The Coronavirus is no surprise to Him. I John 3:20.
My cousin asked his brother if he wanted to hold the bunny mask. Reluctantly, Peter took it. He looked at it, and with tears still streaming down his little cheeks~he gave it right back. We all laughed and soon he was laughing too.
We don’t have to wait until we remove the quarantine masks for our fears to subside. We don’t have to wait until we remove the masks to realize God has been right here with us all along. Exodus 33:14. Give all that fear right back to your Heavenly Father. Find your laughter again. And hear him reassuring you over and over-
“It’s me. Your Father. You don’t have to be afraid. I am right here.”
EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE
2 minute read
When my husband’s sister passed away in 2003, all our lives were torn apart.
She left behind 6 children. Her youngest only 6 days old.
I saw how it affected my husband and my children. I saw how it affected her husband, her children, her parents and siblings, her church family.
I saw how it affected me.
I decided my life would be different. I would give of myself more. I would invest in other’s lives. I would spend more quality time with my children instead of stressing over a clean house, schedules and “to do’s”. I would love on my husband more fiercely, forgive more readily. I wouldn’t get irritated and argue with him over stupid things. I would be selfless and put his needs before my own.
Because I did not know how much time I had left with the ones I loved, and I wanted it to be precious.
Yes everything changed....
for a while.
Slowly, as the years went by and life became more normal again~
I forgot those decisions.
And every once in a while my heart would be pricked, because I wasn’t following through.
I always blew it off.
Surely God understood how busy I was~
I had schedules to keep.
I had a house to keep clean.
I had too much on my plate to help that person.
I had every right to get irritated with my husband.
But deep down, I knew that wasn’t true. We make the time for the ones we love. We forgive, we give of ourselves, we love selflessly. Deep down, I knew~
I just loved myself more.
As we sit in our houses and reflect on this time~As we think about our lives and what will change~As we pray desperately for the safety of our loved ones~As we give God our moments~As we search His promises for peace~As we watch the news and cry and pray~As we realize how very precious our families truly are~As our eyes are opened to what is most important in our lives.
Let’s not ever forget.
One year from now. Two years from now. If and when our lives become our normal again.
We cannot ever forget.
We will make new choices. We will determine to put God first. To spend time with Him. To make the time for our children despite our list of “to-do’s” and love on our spouses more fiercely. We will determine to forgive more readily. We will not allow busyness to take over our family time. We will give of ourselves to others.
Until we don’t.
Until the years go by and we slowly forget this horrible, terrible, life changing virus that has encapsulated our entire world.
Because our lives will be our normal again.
But for some, their lives will forever be changed because this virus took someone that was precious to them.
Mark this day and the next and the next. Write notes in your bible to remember. Take pictures. Cut out newspaper articles. Create memories.
And pray for the future God has for us. Pray that we don’t ever forget. And one day, let us look back on our memories and notes and pictures. Let us relive it and be reminded how good God is to us. How much He has blessed us with.
Then hug on your babies a little tighter. Kiss on your spouse a little longer. Give of yourself to your neighbors a little more and give God every part of every day.
Because we don’t know how much time we have left. Maybe this virus has made us all more aware and because of that,
we can be thankful, because of that~
Everything will change.