Friday, March 27, 2020

VSIBC's response to COVID 19

 It was March 13th that things really started to change up here.  We had heard of one or two churches choosing to close, but really not many.  We were praying fervently to have wisdom in response to COVID 19.  A pandemic is new to us.  We wanted to have a balance of wisdom and faith. 

That Friday, March 13th we headed up to the church and disinfected EVERYTHING!  We wiped down hymnals and door handles and the water fountain.  It was spic and span clean!

On Sunday we had a great service!!  There were a couple of families that chose to stay home, and we completely understood.  But, we did have 4 visitors come and also a man joined the church! Hallelujah!  Sunday afternoon we went back and re disinfected everything for the evening service.  If you've ever been to our church you would know that our people are very friendly and loving.  Even though we encouraged no hand shaking, there were plenty of hugs instead. :o)

Monday things started to change. Cases were picking up in Florida of people infected with Corona Virus.  My husband seemed to be extra burdened.  He worked out in his garden, but I could tell his heart was heavy.  He needed space outside to think things through.  He was deep in thought and prayer through most of the day. Counties started putting out orders of no gatherings more than 50.  We average about 55 on Wednesday nights, and we figured we would be a little down so we decided to proceed for Wednesday night services.

  Until Tuesday evening.  Our county put out an order of no gatherings over 10 and were encouraging people to just stay home.  My husband begged God to show him what to do.  This has been a hard decision!  And I'm sure your Pastor had a difficult time too.  The thought about not meeting with your people for a long period of time comes with costs.  My husband thought of the newly saved in our church or those just coming back to God, they need to be spiritually fed!  He knows it would be so easy for them to get out of the new habit of being faithful to church.  He was also concerned about the fellowship that we all so desperately need.  He was just burdened in many ways.  After the new order came out, he felt like it was necessary for us to cancel our services for now.  There were tears.  Plenty of them.  But, when my husband made the decision, God gave him such peace.  He knew it was of the Lord.  So thankful for peace!

Since it was Wednesday, we needed to let everyone know the plan.  We emailed some of the farther away ones, and the rest we divided into 3 groups.  We had Joshua take a 1/3, the director for our OWLS ministry (seniors) take a 1/3 and Patrick and I took the rest.  We tried to discreetly drop off packets and keep contact to a minimum.  But as we visited, people's hearts were understanding, but broken.  Which is the best response.  We are going to miss church!!

Then, we put the sign on the door explaining everything.  Then, more tears.

We decided to put all our services online. We have no internet at the church.  So, we have been going up the day before to record services. I think it's the only time the preacher's kids are allowed to sit in the back!  The boys think they are security. ;o)  It's nice to get out the house since we are staying in our home (and yard) most of the time.  I'll tell you, it's a little awkward!  Joshua is working on a blooper's going to be quite long!  Singing to a laptop or a phone is WEIRD.  But, it's working.  My husband is doing a fabulous job of being adaptable!  You can find daily devotions and messages here on our website. 

So thankful for a family that is flexible and willing to make this work.  We're in this together!  But, we are definitely ready to get things back to normal!

Freedom Joy on the other hand is as content as could be. Children really are good examples to us, aren't they?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

He Cock-A-Doodle-Doo'ed!!

My Callie does so good with her chickens.  We have been patiently waiting for a very special sound.  It's one of the main reasons I wanted a rooster.  I LOVE to wake up to the sound of a rooster crowing.  Just love it!

Well, it finally happened with the rooster we bought Callie for Christmas.  About 5am one morning I heard a strange sound. Was it a child?  No.  A cat?  No, not that either.  One of my goats?  Could Trixie be in labor early?  Nope.  The rooster?? Yes oh yes!! 

 I was so excited!  It was 5 am, but I found my self actually giggling every time he tried.  So exciting living on this little farm of ours.  A dream come true for sure!!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

She's 22!

Last Saturday we celebrated my sweet Beth's 22nd birthday.  What a great day we had!!  Of course we started with lots of fun gifts.

One of the things she requested was to go to a Mediterranean steakhouse that she found in Lake City with just Patrick and I.  So thankful for a sweet daughter that loves be with us and us with her!  The food was yummy and we enjoyed it so much!

That night we enjoyed a donut cake.  It was her request. :o)  It was yummy!
So thankful for my sweet, diligent, meek Beth.  She is such a blessing to me and to each member of our family!  Happy Birthday Beth!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Let's Talk....

Have some time to chat?  Grab a nice iced tea (mine is fresh brewed Blood Orange loose leaf tea, so yum!) or a diet coke will always do. :o)  Find a peaceful spot.  For me it's on my front porch, in my rocking chair where I can see my azaleas blooming.

Let's talk...So, how are you doing?  As in today, amidst everything that is going on with the Corona virus, how are you doing? How are you handling it all?  How is your heart? 

 Everyone is talking about it.  Lots!  There's lots of info, statistics, feelings, thoughts, predictions and recommendations to read.  Many people are doing things very different from their normal.   It's a crazy time, that's for sure.  As a wife, Momma and Preacher's Wife, my mind is filled to the brim of trying to balance caring for my home, my man, my children, the people of our church, with a balance of not being afraid.  It can be a difficult balance at times, can't it?  But, in the middle of it all, God can give you a peace.  

The Lord has been teaching me a few things through this and a few things I want to make sure that I am doing that I thought I would share here. So, Let's Talk....

How we, as Christian Wives and Mommas, should handle the stress of a National Emergency:

Let's remember that our children are watching.  They often see how we handle difficulties to decide if they should be worried and frightened, or if they should trust that God is in control.  I want to be careful of my responses and the look on my face.  A smile goes a long way.

Let's be careful of how much "news" we fill our hearts with.  Yes, we should be updated and not have our heads buried in the sand.  But, constantly talking about what is happening in our world is giving our families a sense of worry and panic.  Have you prayed about it as much as you've worried about it?

Let's be careful to not believe everything we read.  Especially on Social Media.  Stories get told and passed along and get bigger and more "news worthy."  All of it isn't true.  And just because it has pretty graphics doesn't mean the statistics are all accurate.

Let's be patient with our Leaders, Elected Officials and Pastors.  They are human.  They do not have all the answers.  They are doing the best they can.  

Let's not compare ourselves with one another.  Everyone must make decisions that they feel are right for themselves, their families and their churches.   2 Corinthians 10:12b "But they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." 

Let's enjoy the little things.  This is a time where we may have more together time, which is something many dreamed about only weeks ago!  Enjoy the little things in life, like this pretty bouquet Callie picked.  Look at the springtime flowers blooming. Have something you've been wishing you could try or learn?  Now is the time! 

Let's choose to be thankful.  "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."  When we truly believe Romans 8:28 it prompts us to then be thankful.

Let's Create an atmosphere of peace.  Peace from the Lord is precious.  Find that peace each day by planning to spend extra time in His Word.   Do a word study on peace and put the verses in visible places.  When God gives you peace others will see it and it will pass to them.  It's contagious!  But, the good kind of contagious. :o)

Let's recognize that God is still in control. It's so comforting to know that none of this caught God by surprise.  He knew!  And He was already working for us!  Trust in Him and His sovereignty.

It's no surprise to me that my hymn for this month is "Leave It There."  God knew I needed it!  So thankful for a wonderful, sovereign, burden-bearing God!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

My boys

My last post was on my sweet girls.  This post is on my boys.  They are great.  But, I'll tell you, raising two boys close together in age has been fun.

 It's a busy, rough and tumble kind of fun. It sure is different than girls!

 Their humor is different.  They think "potty talk" is the funniest thing ever.  Us girls don't get it. And I'm glad for that!

These boys get dirty and think it's cool to have dirt under their fingernails.  They like to wrestle and play rough for fun.  They like to make noise and stomp through the house with sound effects of planes, lions, and anything that's loud.  Boys are different.  But, they sure are fun and I'm loving it!!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

My girls

I'm so thankful for the sweet relationship my girls have.  They are so precious. 

They are all three growing into beautiful, loving young ladies.   Beth is turning 22 this Saturday, Brenna is 20 and Callie is 9.  I'm so thankful for the wonderful relationship with one another they are cultivating.  They are creating memories that will last forever and a bond that's not easily broken.  I sure am a blessed Momma!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Truly giving them up

It was around 1915 when Pastor Charles Tindley had one of his church members come to him for counsel.  The man needed comfort and wisdom on how to deal with his troubles.  Pastor Tindley gave a wonderful response, "Put all your troubles in a sack, take 'em to the Lord, and leave 'em there."

It was those words that God gave him to counsel his church member that Charles Tindley later used to pen the words to the hymn, "Leave It There."  You see Charles was born into slavery in 1851.  At 5 years old he was left an orphan.  He had burdens. His life wasn't easy.  But the Lord helped him to press on as he taught himself to read and write and put himself through school. He soon became known as a very learned man and mastered both Hebrew and Greek.  He later pastored a church in Philadelphia where the hymn was written.

He, for sure, was a man that had burdens.  He learned to give them to the Lord.  God sure handles things so much better than we do! 

As we focus on the hymn, "Leave It There" I am reminded to not just sing the words, but to truly live by this principle.  We have a God that wants to help us through life struggles, whether big or small.  He wants to take our burdens, but the key is we have to give it to Him.  I think that's the hard part, truly giving them up.

As I listened to our hymn this morning, I reread the verse I'm memorizing, Psalm 55:22, "Cast thy burden up the LORD, and he shall sustain thee;  he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."   As I prayed, I gave up some of my burdens to God.  I told Him all about each one and how I have no power to change them.  They are just weighing me down.  I need Him to intervene, take over, and do His will.  It's amazing the peace God gives you.  It's not that the problems are gone, it's that God is  now in control.  I just get to sit back and watch Him work!  What a wonderful God we have!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Hymn for March ~ Leave It There

A new month is here.  Already.  Anyone  feel like they are in over their head with things to do and commitments made?  I'm there.  I've heard the quote play over and over in my mind, "If you go to bed at night wishing you had more hours in your day, then you've said yes to too much."  Ouch.  So true!  God knew what He was doing when He gave us 24 hours in our day.  He knows what we need and will only give us what we need to accomplish in our days.  We tend to fill it up too much and waste it too much.  Agree?

That's why when I looked at hymns for this month, "Leave it There"  just kept standing out to me.  I know that amidst this busy time of life I tend to carry burdens that I don't need to.  And when I do my steps are slower and I'm not as productive as I need to because, let's just face it, burdens are heavy!

  Carrying life's stresses and problems around causes us to worry, over commit, and not accomplish the things that really matter.  When we are burdened with cares of the world we tend to waste time in pursuits that cause us to not think.  Ever get in a rut of reading too much? Or scrolling through others lives too often while you neglect your own? Or hit the snooze over and over because you're just not mentally and emotionally ready to face the day?  Then, it's safe to say that you're carrying a burden that the Lord doesn't want you to carry and weigh you down.
Psalm 55:22 says, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved"

A burden-free life.  Sounds sort of dreamy doesn't it?  But we have a burden bearing God.  He wants to lighten our load as we go through life.  Just mentally picture taking those things that are weighing you down off of your shoulders and handing it over to Jesus.  It doesn't make sense, but He is right there, will take them from you, will lighten your load, and keep walking along with you.  We serve such an amazing God, don't we?

So for this month I would like to focus on the hymn, Leave It There.

1 If the world from you withhold of its silver and its gold,
And you have to get along with meager fare,
Just remember, in his Word, how he feeds the little bird -
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
Leave it there, leave it there,
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there;
If you trust and never doubt, he will surely bring you out.
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.
2 If your body suffers pain and your health you can’t regain,
And your soul is almost sinking in despair,
Jesus knows the pain you feel, he can save and he can heal --
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. [Refrain]
3 When your enemies assail and your heart begins to fail,
Don’t forget that God in heaven answers prayer;
He will make a way for you and will lead you safely through -
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. [Refrain]
4 When your youthful days are gone and old age is stealing on,
And your body bends beneath the weight of care,
He will never leave you then, he’ll go with you to the end -
Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. [Refrain]

The words are so powerful and convicting!  I created a playlist on youtube to be able to listen to it.  It's such a beautiful hymn!  I will also be memorizing Psalm 55:22.

It's going to be a great month!  I'm so thankful for a faithful, loving God that is our burden bearer!