Dear Sisters of the church,
You are daily on my mind and heart. I love you and pray for you often, as I know you love and pray for the church as well. During this unique season, all of us have had spiritual patterns that we treasure disrupted in almost every way. So I wanted to share some ideas and exhortations today that can help us connect and worship well in the fall of 2020!
Is your heart heavy laden with personal problems that are weighing you down?
- Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” We need the body of Christ. When we believed in Christ, we were saved into a body, not an individual relationship. We need each other. We need to tell others when we’re having a hard day or low nights, and we need to pray for one another.
- “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 Jesus wants to bear your burdens. Go to Him with your heaviness. He loves you, He is with you always, and He wants to take the weight off of your shoulders. Go to Christ.
Are you in a spiritually dark place?
- “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” -James 5:16 Sometimes sin that has not been confessed weighs our hearts down. But 1 John 1:9 says that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all righteousness. God desires to not only forgive you, but to cleanse you. Confess your sins to Him, and also consider whether it may be good for you to confess it to another sister, so that she can remind you of the gospel and pray for you. This is powerful stuff, and will bring you much healing.
- Have you begun a sinful habit that you need accountability for? If you have begun sinning on a regular basis in a particular way, find a friend that you can trust and ask them to hold you accountable in that area. There is no shame in seeking help at fighting our flesh— only freedom awaits! Jesus broke the chains of sin that held us down (Gal. 1:4) and we want to help each other walk forward as free people.
Do you feel discouraged or isolated?
- This season has shown all of us how badly we (and our kids!) need relationships! That verse in Hebrews now takes on fresh meaning to me, where the apostle reminds believers to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” Heb. 10:24-25
- Do you have a community group or Bible study group that is holding you up in this season? If not, please consider joining the Thursday night women’s Bible study, or connecting to another community group (most are on Zoom right now, so it shouldn’t be hard to join in!). And remember, not only do you need sisters, but your sisters need you. Maybe you are God’s solution to the loneliness in someone else’s heart, too— remember 1 Cor. 12:12-26. Our deacon Vanessa Trapp is ready and willing to help you connect, email her today!
Do you feel heavy with the weight and problems of the world?
- Remember this truth: God cares, God sees, and God will act. “O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.” Psalms 10:17-18
- Remind yourself of God’s character: His omnipotence, omnipresence, omniscience. Isaiah 45:4-8, Deut 10:17-22
- Our souls were not made to hold all the problems of the world in our heads— this is one way that over-exposure to media can be harmful. When we see all the problems, but can do nothing about them, it can be overwhelming, and can lead to anxiety, depression, despair, or worse. Consider limiting your time on the media, decide to stop “clicking” on those trigger articles, and instead try this: For a few days, pray, and actively watch your immediate surroundings. Who in your neighborhood could you pray for today? Who in your household can you pray for? Who can you serve? God can care for the world, and we can care for our tiny piece of it, in His strength 🙂
- God has also called His people to act, and as you see opportunity, image God in this way. But sometimes, we can’t. Sometimes God has “graciously tied our hands” by giving us full time jobs, young children that need our care, classes that need to be taken, or immune compromised family members that need to be protected. In these times, I have taken comfort remembering that God can be everywhere that I cannot, and I use the power of prayer as my way of participating during these difficult times.
PRACTICAL IDEAS FOR CONNECTING AND THRIVING SPIRITUALLY:
I’ve joked with a few friends that quarantine has caused us to lose all of our social skills! I’d love to share a few ideas that may help you establish a “new-normal-for-now” pattern of healthy spiritual engagement.
- When it comes to connecting with other women, first consider what you need right now— do you need a friend to listen to you? Someone to confess to? Maybe you are feeling the need to get your eyes off of yourself and invest into/serve someone else. Once you’ve answered this question, pray and ask God which person He wants you to connect with— in my experience, He often answers and brings people to mind.
- Practical ideas for hanging out: ask someone to go for a walk with you. Invite someone over for a porch visit at a time that works you both. If you have kids, consider doing “bike ride” meetups at a big open space (church parking lots sometimes work, big basketball courts, we have an empty college campus nearby at the moment, etc…) Being in a big space will allow you to connect with the mom while enabling distanced fun for your kids! Go on a hike with someone or a family at a big open area like Vasona Park, Rancho San Antonio, Martial Cottle Park, etc…
- Try to make one-on-one requests to specific people. Doing this takes more courage. but it usually gets a much better response. Everyone likes to know they are thought of 🙂
- When you do schedule a time together with someone, you might ask ahead of time what their precaution preferences are with Covid-19, and be willing and ready to don that mask and keep that six foot space! Loving one another is way more important than our personal preferences (Phil. 2:1-10)
- Try very hard to come to Sunday evening services. Taking communion is a sacred sacrament and you will be astounded at the good it will do for your soul.
- Consider even coming to the evening service with all your kids! My husband and I usually have to trade off on “kid duty”, but we are always glad we went as a family, and it is so good for our kids’ hearts and minds to be there, as well— even if it’s just to see the people they love and who love them.
- Work hard to attend the women’s brunches, Bible studies, and any other connecting times that are available.
- Add yourself to the mailing list of ministries in our city which can use your prayer or financial support right now, like Healing Grove, Real Options, Joni and Friends, and more.
I am praying for you, sisters! May we keep our eyes on Christ, walk in the patterns of community He has given us, and prayerfully love the world around us during this opportune time! To God be the glory.