This past year has been more difficult than we could ever imagine. In this episode I share ways we have been affected in a time we have never experienced before. We have suffered and are grieving so many different kinds of losses and we wonder will it ever end, will life ever feel better again? I share with you things I feel you need someone say, one of that which is that none of this was your fault. There is nothing wrong with you. We haven't experienced anything like this before so it has been difficult to know what to feel and how to feel as we are challenged in steering our live in these unchartered waters.
Welcome back. I am so glad, that you, are here. Today we are going to talk about how we were impacted by this past year and some of the ways we can come out stronger. Regardless of your age we have all been affected. I am speaking to each one of you. I ask that you come on this little journey with me as we attempt to make sense of the many feelings we have been going through, and let’s talk about some ways we might work towards to get our strength back.
What in the pandemic? It has stolen so much more from us than most people probably realize. This isolation and the pressures on us to do things that are not normal, and the compromises we have had to make, along with the interruption of our routine of life. Routines are important. They are important to the habits we have worked towards creating in our lives as well. And then there are the various losses.
If you do not find yourself discouraged these days, in fact for the past year I would say that is highly unusual. From experience I know that somedays it is just tough to get through the days without tears or moments of sadness. I know from talking to people that most of them want the same things I want, to simply live my life and enjoy the simple pleasures it has to offer. Some of us have been more affected than others but we have all been affected by something in this time.
If you find yourself sad, afraid and even lonely, that should be expected after all that we have had to endure this past year. Probably like usual it seems not as many people are talking about these feelings and you are probably wondering if you are supposed to feel as you do, confused at times about it all as well. You may even be wondering because it may feel like that other people are not really talking about the things that you are questioning and it may make it harder for you to want to speak up and want to say anything. Then we have those that it may seem as if they just want to appear stronger than they probably are and they don't want anyone else to know their thoughts, feelings and even fears. And thats alright too, but some of us need to know that what we are feeling is ok and even normal considering what we have been through. In fact we have not experienced anything like this before so everything should come as an uncertainty to us. So, for those brave enough to admit it, let's talk. For others simply listen and see if any of this hits home for you as well.
We miss hugs and breathing fresh air. We often times have those moments that we feel somewhat hopeless and find it hard to pick up our dreams and envision them again. You may be like me and wonder how to continue my dreams now with this and that in the way. Somedays the tears simply can't stop welling up in my eyes and streaming down my face. Sadness fills my hearts and takes my breath. Loneliness sets in. Not seeing smiles and even seeing people speak. I miss being around people. I miss the routine I once had. We miss real conversations.
I heard a little 10 year old boy talk the other day about how he saw his teacher in the store, and she didn’t even recognize him because she had never seen his full face. He talked about how he felt such anxiety for various reasons. Another little girl was showing her frustration for how she has had to go through school this year and it truly was heard in her voice. Some of the country went back to school this year while others did not. Like for example, our boys went to school all year but they had to wear those masks. At first they missed being in school when our world came to a sudden standstill. By the time fall rolled around they were happy to go back to school. But wearing masks made the little bit of normal of going back to school feel awkward and uncomfortable and it all got tiring. They had to carry enough water with them because they were not allowed to use the water fountains. As I waited after school for our boys to get out I watched kids walked loaded down with back packs, lunch boxes, and huge water containers while having to wear masks and attempt to breath. Several of them appeared to be in full blown exhaustion mode. Emotionally they have struggled with it all and have been ready for some time to be done with going to school. There has also been so much controversy we had not really seen or experienced that it has also just made tensions rise for many and caused that unsettled feeling. Its been more difficult than people realize and since we do not have anything to gauge this year by we are still lost and confused about what all is going on inside us. Things are not as we know it. Some of our boys were in weekly counseling sessions. I am thankful for that, but not everyone can do this even as much as they may need it. But it is clear, its been hard on them.
I want to say it out loud for you, you of all ages, of all work places, or schools, homes, regardless of what you do in this world, but for you to hear: You have a right to all your feelings. It's ok to feel what you are feeling even if you don’t understand it. There is nothing wrong, with you. Sometimes those feelings do not even make sense, but thats ok too. You have a right to even be mad because for most of us, our lives have been turned upside down and we had absolutely nothing to do with that. Its not, your fault.
It has been a long season of grieving, of mourning our losses. We have been grieving, all, the many losses. There has been high levels of suicides being reported and then there are those, not reported. People are grieving the loss of their homes and their businesses, the things they have worked hard for. Some are grieving their dreams that have been shattered. Some have lost their life savings, their future, and wonder how do I pick up and go from here? It wasn't suppose to be like this. And you were not the one to destroy it. Its not your fault.
We have lost loved ones, jobs, lifestyles, many relationships and marriages and families have been damaged and others have been destroyed. Our health has been compromised in many ways and people have feared going to the hospital or the doctor so they don’t, and their issues become worse and some have even died because they didn’t get in. We’ve lost our insurance plans and without jobs we too don’t get seen. It has divided a world in beliefs. Some people have suffered great traumas. The waiting, waiting and hoping for things to get better. It has been very trying on patience. And we are tired in so many ways. No one has not in some way been affected.
Even if you have come out of this past year rather unscathed know that your fellowman and woman, your neighbor, your friend, your family member hasn't. And they need you. Someone always needs you and you need other good people as well in your lives. Know that the struggle is real people, and even if you are not really struggling there is always someone else who is and it isn't easy by no means. But we cannot sit idly by, we must act. We sow a seed to meet a need. One of the meanings of this saying is that when we help someone else in return it helps us. We feel better when we accomplish something even if it is for someone else. Its good medicine. This has definitely been a time of not knowing exactly how to steer the course of uncharted waters. So at times its difficult to know if you should jump in or not. But if it is from your heart I think you are headed in the right direction.
As I open up and share my heart with you about my story of this year, I am certain plenty of you can identify with me here in one way or another. I am certain even that many of you have had a lot more happen to your life and I am truly sorry for your losses. Even though I may not know your name I am praying for you each and every day. Some of you may even be saying to yourselves, “I am tired of the battle Lord. I am so tired of hearing the news.” I admit to you it has been the most difficult year of my life and while planning this particular podcast I found myself experiencing a lot of emotion. I didn't loose anyone to this virus, but in this time I have lost people I love, most especially my father who passed away just as this pandemic hit. Our family has lost people through this year that didn’t die and it doesn’t make sense and it isn’t right. So much happening in such a short time can wear on us emotionally and physically and even spiritually.
Because of the pandemic some of us lost a job or more in families. Some people had to learn to work from home and while that has it good points it also has it downsides too. Learning new ways to communicate and how to “go to work,” while being at home. And the loss of personal contact. I lost a job that I loved and and I was really good at it and I had invested myself in a long time. I have my Dad’s work ethics and I am always looking for ways to improve as I take ownership of what I do. So all of it gone, it broke my heart, for it wasn't just my job and all the work I put into it that was gone it was my benefits along with the lifestyle of waking up and sharing and working my entire day alongside my husband and all those people I shared my days with even if they didn't work at the same place I did, our days interacted with one another's. I called all of these people work family. I did feel lost because I had lost my daily place in this world that I felt I belonged and seeing my work family. Some of you totally understand this. So you see it was an entire life style change for me and it hit hard especially after loosing my Dad one of my greatest supporters in my lifetime. It added to my loss list of traumas impacting my life.
Some of you have lost a great deal of money and you understand how stressful that can be. And with my job loss and the pay cut my husband had to take we lost nearly half of our income. And while unemployment may work for some, it has its issues and doesn’t always come through for every person and so there can be absolutely no income coming in and stimulus checks well in comparison to a regular income, this is not enough and not as frequent as most people need to stay afloat. And those of you who have had to turn to unemployment you know just how long the wait can be. It was my first experience with such things. Initially it was quick and easy but suddenly it stopped and I have never been given an explanation as to why. I am still waiting, waiting on the phone, waiting for someone to answer, only hours later to be hung up on or have someone finally get on to say you need to be transferred and in the process, they hang up on you, only to start all over again. Of course in the beginning months they are having to answer calls at an all time high of a number of applicants but, I mail in, fax in, and email in and when I was told they will return my call and I answer every unknown call for weeks but its not them and they don’t respond and I begin to feel as if they really don’t intend on helping me or even taking the time to give me an explanation as to why not. I sit there at the end of yet another long day of waiting, and I cry, after all everything feels like it is against me. Can you relate?
Loosing a loved one this past year was very different wasn’t it? When hospice came in for my Dad and since traveling was in question we had to say our final goodbyes to him, on the phone. Of course he couldn’t speak, but my sister told me he had tears, he could hear us. How do you hang up the phone knowing it will be the last time? Its your moment to say all that you want to say. At what point do you hang up, knowing he is still here? But I am thankful I got that moment. I know that some of you didn’t and I am so sorry. We had a simple memorial for him months later in his home with just immediate family and even with that, not everyone came. It was definitely a different experience than what we have known it was to be. Only one person brought my family dinner. Only one person came to our house. One person sent me flowers. I don’t remember phone calls or cards. I just remember feeling how wrong it all seemed. Other than social media we didn’t have much interaction from other people after a major loss in our family. See what the pandemic did to us? It was totally a different experience than we ever would have imagined when loosing someone so very close to us.
Grief is different to different people. You cannot know what to expect. Not every loss feels the exact same. It is important to note that not only are we affected in our emotions but also our health is, how our bodies respond. I found myself very isolated, lonely and sad, grieving so much loss so much at once. So much that I think it has made the process linger with more intensity and more time than it should have for me. How about you? I consider myself a healthy person. I am intentional with my health but I suddenly became so ill. Being in full blown pandemic mode for our world is when I discovered how a person could easily die just waiting to have a virtual appoint with the doctor. The wait was horrible. I am not talking days I talking more like 6 to 8 weeks to see my doctor over the phone. I wasn’t sure I would make it. Doctors had a hard time trying to figure out what was wrong with me until they realized that these symptoms pointed towards those of PTSD which was wreaking havoc on my health. Its like recognizing the enemy that’s attacking me, in all things I now recognize the signs and know what to do to try to eliminate them to protect my health. But regardless when triggered it is still there.
A strong person I am, but this has been hard so much loss in a short time, a time that hasn’t seemed to want to end. Hard times have fell upon my family, each of us from one point or the other, for one reason or the other were beginning to feel broken and lost, but together we are surviving. My husband and I have went from the two of us to the seven of us in our household. So I cannot imagine not having a relationship with Jesus to get us through. I am blessed and I am thankful because despite it all God has His hand upon us. Realizing when I awake, the first thing I need to do each day, is roll out of bed and onto my knees acknowledging Him, thanking Him for loving me, being there for me and my family. Thank Him for all He has done for me, is doing for me and will do for me and my family. You know when someone is appreciative towards me it makes me want to do more for them. I think God feels the same way.
If you do not have a relationship with God you can begin talking to Him. He wants to hear from you. Others who do, don’t forget who God is and the power He has. Are you putting your trust more in other things and other people besides God? This year, this pandemic, it hasn’t been God’s will for us. And it is extremely important to note that it is God’s will for us to have long prosperous lives. Ask yourself do you push the power of believing in something else more than you do the power of Christ? The spirit of fear these days seems to be so strong. You must trust in the power of God. The Word tells us in Psalms 91:1 that He who dwells in the secret place shall abide under the shadow of the almighty. If He wasn't talking about what’s going on in our world today, this past year, then what was He talking about? We need to trust in the power of God, not trust in man. The agenda of this world, is to put your trust in man, and not in God. Think about it, which one is infallible? The more you know God, the more you invest in the time you decide to spend with Him, the more you need Him.
God needs to hear our prayers and not only that our prayers are powerful. Not only do we feel encouraged to hear the positive words of our decrees and declarations and God’s promising scriptures, this encourages the Lord. Its hard to hear God when you don’t invest the time, but it is also hard to hear with so much noise of others input around you. Spending time with the Lord is so much more beneficial and powerful than turning on the news. God’s in control and with your prayers He is the only one who can change anything anyhow. You feel so much better just welcoming Him there with you and being in the presence of God. I listen to music and I follow certain believers who make me smile, laugh and encourage me even a little bit each day, throughout the day. Aside from God it has been their motivation and daily impute that has been there for me.
Its been years since this came out but I could not wait until the movie "War Room” was on the big screen. It is one that I now own and I watch from time to time. I have had a deep desire for the kind of prayer life of one of the main characters Ms. Claire has. She has a prayer closet where she spends time with the Lord and this is her so called war room where she fights her battles from in prayer. The gentleman who was viewing her empty house that was for sale, he walked into her closet and felt the power there. He said it was as if her prayers were baked into the walls. That was the convincing factor that determined his decision to buy the house.
So this past Fall I worked on my own closet and created my own war room of prayer as well. I love this place and in the next episode I will share my prayer closet/war room where I will encourage you to do the same thing because God’s army is always recruiting and we need more prayer soldiers. Prayer is the most powerful weapon and so is, making time to use it. I created this space for myself to go and hide away and spend time with the Lord. It has truly helped me to come through this really tough long season. I feel the power and the strength of my prayers by utilizing my weapons of war fare.
For me my prayer closet is also a place to read, write and write in my prayer journal, pray over my prayers I have posted on one of the wall, a place to learn and to listen. Its my own personal space where when my family cannot find me they now know where to finally look. Kind of a funny thing is that they text me as not to interrupt me in person. It's my go to place to talk to God and talk to you all who read my blog and listen to me speak. I go there to cry, to plead, to thank God and talk to Him about everything good, bad and ugly. I talk to Him about everything I want back that the enemy has stolen from me. Time, time we will not get back but, as we move forward we must decide how to spend it and I sure do not want it to continue to be filled with all the feelings and emotions I have endured this past year. What about you? Where do you want to go from here?
We must act on those life giving thoughts we think and words we speak. You have heard that actions speak louder than words. God wants us to act on those words because those actions active the faith He wants to see in us so that mountains of trouble, will be moved. Agree with me for yourself as well when I say I am tired of mourning, I want to be stronger, braver and more than a conquerer. To rise up, be fearless, and not back down. Stand for what you know is right and good and honor your God. Make the changes happen through the use of your prayers.
I found my closet to be my healing place. Also my son encouraged me to begin a garden. I am using a lot of containers and not actually planting directly into the ground. So I encourage you that anyone can do this kind of thing regardless where you live or find other ways you may enjoy to invest yourself in. Gardening and being outdoors makes me feel so good, so calm and I am excited to come and see what I am tending to each day. Its also a good teaching tool for my boys. I am so much happier now that the summer is here. I love sunshine and color. I love having my pets surround me when I work outdoors too, we all love this time. My Daddy loved these things too and I know that it would make him smile seeing me happier and enjoying these things. Those we lost want us to be happy. He’s my Daddy and he wants this for me. Its life’s simple pleasures. I think my green thumb has become a little bit greener meaning I just may have a little more favor, a bit more luck in having a beautiful garden since my Daddy is now living in Heaven, the farmer may have passed on his talent to his children.
Do you realized is that your peace comes from your heart, not your head? You see my peace is relational, its my relationship with God, peace is not due to my circumstances, it is not circumstantial. No matter what, I should feel peace as If I invest myself, hide myself in God then all things are made new. I asked what is it that needs to change in me to look more like Heaven, to look more like Jesus? I asked God to help me to become more aware of His presence so that I may experience the glory of His goodness. I have learned about being a "Game Changer." Choosing Jesus is the game that changes everything because my mindset and my attitude changes with knowing Him and His ways.
God said that what had happened to me was not my breaking it was my making. Don’t let it be your breaking either. And when I say that I know that no matter what happens in my life God is Lord of my life, He is in charge, I know it because I learned that no one can take anything from me unless He says so and has a reason for doing so. God needed me to be where I am so I could be a prayer warrior and so I could be here for my family in their great time of need. God says I needed a break from the world for a while to heal and come up stronger. And only He knows He could have been saving me from something far worse. He could have been doing the same for you.
God tells us that there is a time, a season for all things. He knew the timing of my birth of your birth. And crazy and frustrating, scary and unknown as this time has been He says that we were created for a time such as this. My encouraging words to you today is that because he says that, He is saying that you do have what it takes to move forward with His help. Reach out to Him and talk to him about all of it, even a little at a time. He is saying that He meant YOU yes YOU and me to be here, here and now.
I'm calling upon all new, the brand spankin new, the not sure how, but want to be as well expert prayer warriors to be in prayer. We need more and more people to be praying and to be praying for one another too. We have to lift up prayers for the seen and the unseen, the known and the unknown things going on in our lives, our communities, our nation and our world.
We need more people to be sharing with one another. I do want you to share with me your stories about how you are getting through this time. You matter to me. You can email me at [email protected] I am hoping this time has helped encourage you and I want to thank you for coming and spending some of your time listening to me. Until next time……