This Pandemic: A Call to Prayer

Anyone can read this post,

but specifically,

I am speaking to readers who consider themselves God’s people;

these words are specifically for you, and me.

Thursday, May 7th,

is the scheduled National Day of Prayer for 2020.

But I am writing today to say, forget it!

Globally, we are in a battle too big for us; this Pandemic, Covid19, is ravaging the human race in ways we have never seen before; it feels surreal – a nightmarish unfolding of horribleness.  Globally, is it possible that God is trying to get the attention of His people?  Could it be, for far too long, God’s people have been complacent? Too comfortable? Forgetting God along the way?

A typical passage clothing the National Day of Prayer is this:

“...If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

It is us; you and me, God’s people, He is speaking to. I wonder, have I humbled myself, do I live like I know who I am and who God is, really? I question, do I seek Him first everyday? Do I seek God earnestly, or just when I want something? Am I sensitive to the Holy Spirit to show me my wicked ways? Am I willing to turn from my wicked ways? I blush and am silenced, even as I think to answer those questions for myself.

Interesting, the verse that precedes this one:

This is God speaking to Solomon, the wisest man ever… “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,…” (2 Chronicles 7:13)

Whaaat? Did I just read that? “or send a plague among my people”… a pandemic perhaps? maybe? Again, as I said yesterday, this God I speak of is a sovereign God who does what He wants, when He wants, and allows what He allows. Why? Because He IS and has a plan. Somehow it all makes sense to Him. It is my experience, almost all the time, I am unable to understand, especially when it involves pain and suffering.

I write to urge and rebuke myself, first.

I am weeping for my Nation and I say:

forget waiting for the May 7th scheduled call to prayer. We need to have a National Day of prayer NOW; today, tomorrow, and for all the days we are alive. Could it be, this pandemic is our call to prayer, right this very day? Could it be, God is waiting to hear from His people, globally?

No stickers or banners or balloons or PA systems needed; just knees to the floor, heads down, wherever you are – on your bed, in you kitchen, in your car… and pray… how? As God Himself told Solomon: humbly, seeking Him and seeking insight to our own wicked ways, turning away from our wicked ways, and asking forgiveness,  THEN….

then, He will hear our prayers, forgive, and heal.

I believe it begins now, with us, who call ourselves God’s people. My pastor preached a sermon recently stating, “God’s people need God’s people.” We need each other to remind each other of the faithfulness and Truth of God & His Word, especially in these scary times. My Pastor also said, “… and the world needs God’s people.” The world needs God’s people to share the HOPE we are given in Jesus Christ.

And I will add today, that I believe, the world needs God’s people to pray in such a way that God hears, forgives, and heals.

To Him, be the glory, forever and ever.

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Covid19: A Real Danger for People in Recovery

Covid19 is a real danger to those in Recovery.

I believe this and I am concerned. It’s not exactly what you may think. It’s not that I think that this group of people are at any more risk than me for catching this virus and reaping its havoc to our health. We are all on equal par for that and I hope we are all doing what we can to stay healthy.

The danger I am concerned about is this:

the level of fear and anxiety this pandemic incites

can create an emotional side-kick that has no mercy and would revel to boot someone right off the wagon.

Though circumstances were different, the emotional overload was similar. My son, in early recovery, fell to relapse after the emotions of dealing with a friends overdose death; it overwhelmed him with hard feelings. Emotions are hard and many use substances to numb feelings; this is a known fact. And this is my concern for those of you who are in recovery. This is my check-in with you all.

Don’t know me, that’s okay… consider me an messenger, sent by the Highest Power who reigns above all others.

I am not a person in recovery, so I cannot speak into your life as another one in recovery can. But, I am a momma who lost her son to an overdose, after relapsing. From here, I want to speak into your life.

I beg you to do two things.

ONE: Stay in community and keep your focus despite your fears and feelings. Keep your eyes on the prize; the prize is your life. Fears and negative feelings lose their power if you talk them out. Don’t stuff them. Don’t ignore them. Don’t give them power over you, causing you to give-in to your drug of choice – remember ALL substances lie. Walk away. Call your mentor. Call you mom or dad or someone you know who loves you. You cannot do this alone – you need to stay in community any way you can.

TWO: Seek the Highest of Powers, truly and for real. It’s not a what…. It’s a who. This who, the Highest of Powers is the living God: the One who created you and me, the One who makes the sun rise and moon shine everyday, the One who loves you and sacrificed Himself for you – His life for yours; this was His choice and His gift to you – no lie here. So take the gift – its free!

I urge you to make this choice to seek Him out. He will give you all the comfort and assurance you need to stay on the path of recovery, especially during these uncertain, stressful times we live in.  Walk into a virtual church service (most are closed right now). Get a Bible and read it like you read the AA/NA manual. Call a Pastor – call my Pastor.  And Pray – it’s just talking to God Himself, and most of all, know that He loves you.

My heart speaks truth and hope for you… therefore, I speak to you boldly.

I have dear friends in recovery. I desire each of them to stay and seek. Will you do the same?

 

 

My Sons’ Death was a Springboard: Part Two

PART TWO:  As, I said…my sons’ death was a springboard into the deeper understanding of three important things:

  1. The human condition,
  2. The power of relationship,
  3. The gift of a day

Today I share with you #2… Open my eyes, to see people as you see them….

Because of my son, Caleb, I am privy to see a lot of people in the realm of recovery, people affected by the pain of a loved one struggling with addiction, and those who mourn the loss of loved ones to overdose, and the more people I listen to and talk with, the more backstories I hear. When it all boils down … when I look past the backstories full of weeping pain and wounds and hurts… I see vulnerable children of God, whom He created in His image. I see people who need love and care and who have need to be wanted and feel like they have a reason to keep going… just like me… just like all of us; these are basic human needs.

This involves commitment to relationship. Relationships take time and effort and sacrifice, but we all need them and even more so because of our human condition. Relationship can be as simple as a good word spoken to encourage another, or as generous as an invitation to supper, or as deep as being there for someone when you are needed no matter the time of day or night. Croix, Evan, Mike, and others are family to us because we see them and they see us; each of us has needs that we mutually fulfill. I see these friends in recovery doing this for other friends too. Because of my sons’ past involvement in the recovery community, I feel drawn to be in relationship whenever I can, with whoever is put in my path, because in this way, I am the hands and feet of God. The power of relationship begins to heal brokenness; seeing the human condition, it seems clear to me, that I need to do something about it.

I choose to deepen my relationship with Jesus, the One with the nail holes in his hands… and I do what I do because of Him.

What will you do?

 

 

 

 

Holidays: Not a Time of Cheer for Everyone

Expecting one, who has lost their legs in an accident, to get up and walk like they use to, is ridiculous. They cannot do it – even with all the best wishing in the world – because life for them has been altered forever.

The same is true for every.single.person. who has suffered a tragedy, no matter what it was, or when it was; time makes no difference. Loss from disease or accident, expected or sudden – it does not matter – it’s all the same terrible.

For me, my tragedy is the sudden, unexpected death of my son to an overdose, eighteen months ago. I am altered for life – not just for a time, or a season; Life for me will never be the same. I walk around with a weight that bears down and a hole that has blown through my heart.

The trouble with holidays is that the expectation for everyone to be of good cheer, be happy, and enjoy the season is rampant.

And for some, it is very hard to embrace the holidays where “family all together” carving turkey at the proverbial Norman Rockwell table is thrown in our faces by ads, movies, and the general chatter of the holiday season.

While I am blessed to have a large, living family still gathered around, my momma’s heart weighs heavy… there is still one empty chair, one forever missing in the “family” photo, and one less child eating the traditional Christmas cookies – specifically, the butterscotch ones.

WHAT. TO. DO……?

That’s a question with a two-fold answer.

What to do if you are the friend, or family member, of someone who is not full of cheer and suffers with a broken heart this holiday season: 

  1. Be patient and do not judge when they do not want to attend a christmas tea, or the cookie swap, or even put up a tree.
  2. Extend the offer of conversation, a listening ear, and willingness to just be there alongside; try to understand; allow their feelings to just be.
  3. Do a practical help if possible – doing life is hard under normal day-to-day circumstances when a heart is broken – even more difficult during the holiday season, getting out of bed, some days, might be the total accomplishment for the day.

What to do if you are the one suffering from a tragedy, the same or different, as me:

  1. Have faith, God knows your pain and heartbreak; Trust He will provide all you need.
  2. There’s no way around the holidays – we just have to go through them;  even if you have nothing but tears – let yourself feel what you feel – be true to yourself, but be kind to those around you – it’s no ones fault.
  3. Don’t turn away from well intentioned acts of love; allow God to work in you, as well as in the well intentioned.

 God has not forgotten me, nor has he forgotten you;

“God is close to the brokenhearted.” Psalm 34:18a

So yeh – Holidays: not a time of cheer for everyone – but I tell you the truth, there is something even better than good cheer, it is knowing that you are loved by God with an everlasting love, no matter what…and in that, there is  HOPE – there for the taking, for everyone.

Be authentic in this season of holidays, Jesus loves, you just as you are.

Are you suffering with grief of one sort or another?

Are you local to the Pioneer Valley?

If so, I invite you to “SONGS for the NIGHT”

(click above, on Songs for the Night, for details)

 

My calendar is marked, is yours?