Tangible Hope (some suggestions for this season)

Happy Friday, everyone. It feels weird to write about anything other than what is happening in our world right now, and also I am so conscious of the noise that we add to an already overloaded world. So I am going to simply share some hope and encouragement and some practical things for our next few weeks (or likely longer) of whatever this season looks like for each of you. 

First of all, I will be honest with you, this has been an anxious time of life, to put it lightly. I have deep sadness on a personal level, and great fear on a worldwide level. I am wrestling with big questions and begging God to intervene. I am choosing to trust Him, even when it feels so unsettled and so uncertain. I have cried a lot and prayed a lot and taken a lot of deep breaths. I am anxiously awaiting the newness that will come, when we get to see our families again and get to return to work and when parties and weddings and church services are permitted again. For right now though, here are my little tips, in the context of the five senses:

See: Look for beauty. Keep a gratitude list. Read a book, stay off of social media. I gave up social media for Lent and I had no idea the season I would be removed from it during. I feel somewhat out of the loop, but I think more so I am relieved to not be drowning in opinions and fears and too much information. I trust that if someone needs me they will find me in a more direct way.  

If you need book recommendations, here is an older list but still good: What You Should Be Reading

Hear: I have created a quarantine playlist; listen here. It is entirely made up of worship songs that help us choose praise over fear and to remember the promises of God. I’ll continue adding to it. Enjoy.

Touch: Do a puzzle. I have been working on a 2,000 piece puzzle for the last few weeks, and I suppose I will probably finish it during this weird season. Or maybe this is the time to pick up that instrument that you need to dust off or have always wanted to learn. Let your fingers hit those keys, let music fill the scary air and remind you of beauty. For me, I want to really get to know my sewing machine. Maybe this gives you the opportunity to craft, to create something physically with your hands in a way that you haven’t been able to recently. 

Smell: We had a beautiful 60 degree day earlier this week and I walked out onto my porch, took a deep breath, and almost started singing to the birds like a Disney princess. Fresh air is the greatest experience when our lives are literally limited to our homes or small spaces without people. Or maybe take a bubble bath to pamper yourself and give yourself a mental break. 

Taste: One of my favorite soul care activities is making bread. Here are the instructions for “Sullivan Street Bread” which I got from Shauna Niequist’s book, Bread and Wine. You might need yeast from the store if you don’t live with someone who makes bread, but otherwise it is incredibly easy and made with things you most likely already have. When I get to worst-case scenarios, I think, “At least we will always have bread” and I immediately feel better. This one really embodies a lot of the senses, so it is a winner. Sorry for my amateur photos:

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Here are some other things to focus on: Practice wonder. Donate money to people in need. Go on a walk and pray for your neighbors (one of my pals took her littles to do this and I loved it so much). Write letters. You can still tell people how much you love them ─ they probably need to know it now more than ever. Utilize technology to connect with people. Don’t hoard toilet paper; buy only what you need. Make future plans. Learn to hear God’s voice. Memorize Scripture. Clean your house.

Something I read recently that is GOOD:

“We pray the Lord’s prayer in faith, knowing that we are not helpless. Real and lasting change is possible by the Spirit’s power. We declare that the work that Jesus has begun in our lives and in the world will continue, even when things are gloomy and uncertain. May we find rest and renewal today as we draw closer to our Lord and his prayer.”
– N.T. Wright

I’m praying for you all, and covet your prayers in return. We will make it through this. As Victor Hugo brilliantly wrote, “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

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I write to process, and sometimes send those thoughts out into the void. Passionate about Jesus and people and bringing those two together. Living in and loving Denver. Working with college students, who are the coolest. Seeking Jesus and JOY in everything.

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