Last night at the Leadership Community Zoom meeting, Pastor Conrad asked us all what God has been doing in us during this season of isolation. I’d like to take a moment to talk about something that God has been doing in me (and many other church leaders). This period has been difficult for me in many ways. I’ve learned that I am a much more social person than I thought I was and find myself longing for connection: I miss Jim Rufener visiting me in the church office, the hugs that I get every Sunday from Lisa Highberger, and the joy that I get watching the kids run around after service, to name just a few. Some days I wake up feeling very dejected; comparing this period to the movie Groundhog’s Day isn’t too far off.
God has a way of breaking through our dark periods, though, and He’s been doing that for me. Because even in those days when I’m feeling depressed, God finds ways of giving me moments of profound, soul-quenching peace. I am a person that thrives in peace and quiet. Before coronavirus, when we were caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it seemed to me that peace was getting more and more difficult to find. Caught in the list of things that needed to be done there wasn’t much time to sit and be still. Now, however, we’ve got all the time in the world, and God is making Himself known.
In the morning the first thing that I do is take our dog Jojo out into the yard. While she runs around doing her doggy things, I sit and take in the morning. There is a woodpecker in our tree who loves to make a racket. He’s a tiny little thing, but you can hear him from blocks away. There are usually one or two robins hopping around, their tummies fat and orange, looking for more insects to eat. There’s a hawk that’s moved into the neighborhood, and occasionally you’ll hear his call mixed in with the songs of cardinals, sparrows, and grackles. All the while, the wind blows and the leaves quake and the world wakes up. Despite the symphony of birdsong, the world is at peace.
These little moments happen throughout the day. My cat Jack decides that he needs some love, settles in my lap, and starts to purr, silky soft and fluffy. A neighbor walks by and waves; they’ve never waved before. I hear William giggle at something that he is watching or doing (he’s into Animal Crossing these days) and the peace of God settles, still and whole and warm. I’m learning to see God’s peace in the tiny moments that I didn’t have time to appreciate before, and taking the time to abide in it, to breathe it in, to let it surround and fill me. What I’ve learned is that God can share His peace in ways that I had never considered – my little woodpecker friend lets me know that God’s creation is varied and magnificent, and that God provides abundantly for all his creatures, even in times of uncertainty. Through his call I remember the verse, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26). God provides, God restores, and through his creation, God blesses us with peace.
What has God been doing in you during this time of isolation? I’d love to hear from you; let’s grow in faith together! You can share how God is moving in your life by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to share your replies in this space; they could serve as encouragement for those who are struggling or as calls to action for those who are feeling frozen. I love you all and miss you, and, as always, look forward to the day that we can meet as one body, raising praises to the God who sustains, carries, gets us through, and above all, loves us with a love that surpasses all understanding (Eph 3:19).
Until I see you again,
Lori Welsh reached out to me to share the music video “Joy” from VaShawn Mitchell with the congregation. She said, “It’s a very uplifting worship song and I thought maybe the believers would be blessed and encouraged as I am by it. It catches me up above this old world.” I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.
Email Pastor Conrad:
If you haven’t already, could you give me all the names of Vineyard people whom you’ve been contacting (i.e. touching base at least 2 times since our church has gone online)? I want to make sure our people are being cared for. Also, let us know if you need one of our pastors or leaders to contact you during this season. Email Conrad at email@example.com.
Join Deral & Leslee Carson tonight for Vertical Marriage:
It’s not too late to join Deral and Leslee for the rest of the 5-week series called Vertical Marriage. Vertical Marriage began Friday, April 17th; everyone married or getting married is invited. The event is FREE and we highly recommend it to you. You may purchase workbooks through FamilyLife for $14.99, but they are not required.
Here’s what to do:
1. Go to: www.familylife.com/register and sign up for the course. Once registration is complete, you can select Vertical Marriage.
2. You will see a link in the text on the page to order the workbooks if you desire.
3. Watch Session 3 NOW.
4. Let Leslee know you are in by texting 614-562-0852 or email her firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Tune in on Friday with Deral and Leslee at the GoToMeeting location below:
How to participate tonight (Vertical Marriage, Session 3):
Join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (872) 240-3212
Access Code: 886-191-517
New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts:
Tentative Upcoming Events:
Men’s & Women’s Retreats – POSTPONED: As you probably have guessed, both the women’s one day retreat and the men’s weekend retreat at Kirkmont Center have been postponed. Let’s keep praying for each other during this time and reaching out to each other as God leads!
Beauty & the Beast Dinner – POSTPONED: The Beauty and the Beast Dinner has also been postponed. These things will happen in the future, rest assured! Can’t wait!