How have you experienced the days of sheltering during the Covid19 pandemic? If you are like me, you had an initial but temporary “perplexing” on a daily basis while our “stay at home” orders took place across your locality and eventually, the entire country. March 13, 2020 was our first day to be “quarantined” although none of us were ill. Each day then each week brought various layers of both good and humbling times with your immediate household and this forced seclusion by governmental authorities but also highlighted the values we treasure, yet with an eternal perspective. Many Christian ethics of the home were restored to reemphasize the goodness of the family unit such as slowing down: this brought deliberate and extended meal preparation time and enjoyment, noticing the elongated and the lingering spring transitions in the forsythia bushes and more of creation blossoming, the bird migrations and the swirling wind’s whispering responses of Spring. All of creation appeared, clearly to me, to be waiting on their Creator, Jesus.
It was a few weeks before Easter. As time progressed and each week brought more cancellations like our planned trip to visit my daughter and husband in Colorado. That week, I noticed more of God in the full-moon of passover, creation being more brilliant than ever. The light spoke in a reflecting and golden tone of luminosity, foreboding me to prepare for the death & resurrection of my LORD. He was more apparent than the years before, or ever before. Would He soon return? God stayed with me, working on me as He wanted me to continue to grow in the close, deep relationship we have with Jesus, our LORD.
So I experienced further “idol shedding” in my own faith-walk, questioning my inner motivations, why I do so much for others, serving the poor, caring, counseling, mentoring, initiating and implementing in my biblical counseling ministry and church leadership roles like teaching, small group leadership and missions work. My desire has always been to follow God’s will while I please Him in my heart, being patient to wait for God’s sovereign care of all during the uncertainty of these “coviding” days. Yes, I invented a word “coviding” as I became more and more comfortable with the dictates of the changes. Notice my words that are in quotations, they are unique to these “healing” days.
I had been directed in November of 2019, to take six months off from my normal grind which has many spokes, and I was already in a hiatus from my one-on-one counseling work from January to June of 2020, trying to be motivated to write a counselor’s toolbox article on my #Ushapedgospel doctrinal method in counseling and other ways that I present the gospel in counseling by drawing pictures to show what Christ has done for us and how that relates to living well for Him. But, I’m not really a writer. I love theology, understanding church history and how that applies to my present life and the world around me, but I’m definitely not a proper theologian. Sure, I get it, but was never meant to push out a convincing book. It’s not a God-given calling or gift to do so. I only want to get to my article to help other counselors in training, show a method that makes sense and that states the gospel—-who we are in Christ because of what He has done for us—-his incarnate life, death and resurrection and ascension apply to us presently as He has given Himself for us and to us— we extend the healing power of the Word through His Holy Spirit now. #Ushapedgospel
God had been preparing me to enrich my relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit and even more trust in the person of Jesus Christ to continue to grow in faith—-progressive sanctification, the distinctive of my biblical counseling ministry and teaching. He moved me more and more away from reliance on the world and its self-wrought expectations more towards His fruitful ways—even before March, He was preparing me to be healed in heart, mind, body, spirit and soul. My recent learning on the Puritans seemed more relevant, my time with fellow Christians was more purposeful for care and quiet times of counsel, listening, hearing and relating. Old counselees started calling me in Mid-march, several having panic attacks, wanting a shoulder to lean on, and a prayer of comfort. Then, all of a sudden, I was in Zoom meetings in abundance. I was ready, willing and able to persevere.
I worked out some of my personal kinks as one of the first things I came to terms with during the “lockdown” was how God has prepared me for death already, so I have no fear in meeting Him when He calls me home. Of course, I wore a mask in stores, washed my hands, cleaned produce and more, but this “coviding” time gave me continued confidence in His plan for my life, unafraid of man’s dictates in this world. I then went through layers of personal growth with Jesus, including shedding idols I didn’t see, finding contentment more in basic needs being met, working on heart issues and reflective memories of failure and weakness. I was realigning myself through the Holy Spirit with God’s priorities in my life and enjoying more quiet days and eternal perspective-thinking and response. I was grateful for the six week study I had planned becoming a twelve week study in Romans 8, the perfect chapter of the bible to unite with other like-minded sisters in Christ, while mutually sharing and developing our faith with each other. Resources were readily provided to heal and be healing while sanctification continued in our group.
As I came to the end of my broken, pitiful self, and grew deeper in relationship with Jesus all the day long, He gladly reciprocated His love for me, reminding me of His unfailing love, a gift I received so sweetly. He showed me how He is already glorified. I’ve been journaling these eight weeks so I found myself all over the bible with imperatives for living, but especially in the book of Isaiah, listening to God’s voice of promises for His church, His people.
The promised gifts backed by scripture verses that God made more relevant during the “Healing Coviding Days” are:
God is Sovereign: Psalm 47:8-9 “God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth along to God; he is highly exalted!”
Peace and Quiet, Praying for Others and our Leaders – 1 Timothy 2:1-2 “First of all, then I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” Experience peacefulness, being still and knowing “God is God” (Psalm 46:10). Prayer creates a peaceful context for listening well and seeing God for others. Phil 4:17, Psalm 113:7 for the barren woman came to mind as I was, sometimes, simply given these verses through the Holy Spirit to intercede for others, I most likely will never meet, during these healing days.
PASSOVER MOON April 7, 2020, Sea Isle City NJ
Belonging to the LORD for His work – Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way but the LORD establishes his steps.” Isaiah 56:6-8 “..The LORD GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares, “I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.” John 6:29 – Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe inhume who he has sent.” This scripture focus was also significant to me during 9/11 in 2001 as the Holy Spirit pushed me to my knees to pray for our country. Psalm 68:5- God is a Father to the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation,” for work I did with a Deep Waters grant for Westminster Theological Seminary and Rishama International in March called Our Father to the fatherless.
Being Safe in Christ; the “Passover” experience – Psalm 34:7 “The angel of the LORD encamps around this who fear him, and delivers them.” Having a full experience of mind, spirit, body and soul. A discipleship of self-control, 2 Tim 1:7ff “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control…But I am not ashamed, for I now whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” Psalm 48:13-14 “..consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation that this is GOD, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.”
Shedding of heart-Idols and wrestling in faith for others- Isaiah 30:15-22 “…in returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength…the LORD waits to be gracious to you…And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,”…You will scatter your idols as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone”! “
Waiting on the LORD’s return – Isaiah 40:4-6 “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory fo the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth fo the LORD has spoken.”
God’s Promises are always Fulfilled: Genesis 9:12-13, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
DOUBLE RAINBOW appears, Sea Isle City, Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, 2020
It’s now time to continue on and wait patiently for the LORD’s return, one and each day at a time with joyful expectation! Amen
“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” Romans 8:19