What I Learned in April … and March

Gratitude Day 448

Thurs., Apr. 30, 2020

Ephesians 1:18: My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God’s people.

When 2020 began, I challenged myself to pause at the end of each month and reflect upon little things that I discovered or rediscovered or relearned in the previous month.

I was doing so good. And then, COVID-19 happened. Somehow, this little exercise got lost the end of March. So today, I offer up a plate of little ideas that have been muddling through my brain this past period of time. As you read through the things that I have discovered/rediscovered/relearned, think about what your growing edges have been these past few weeks.

The most Captain Obvious statement I could make: the entire world has shifted in the last 60 days because of something we call COVID-19. We can talk about 100-year floods and 9.11 and tsunami’s and the Great Recession as life-changing events. And they were. Yet, it’s a pesky, lethal, infectious virus that will be the defining life event for many of us.

What’s different about COVID-19? It doesn’t discriminate based on geography, age, socio-economic and a whole host of other reasons. Yes, certain people groups are more susceptible. Yet, it has caused disruption into EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. WE. KNOW. Our friends who live outside the United States. Those who are discovering how to help home school their children. Our high-risk neighbors who must be oh, so careful about who they expose themselves to. Our front-line workers whose essential occupations should never be taken for granted again.

The impact is life-changing and never ending. We’re watching our food chains become terribly displaced and challenged beyond belief. Our country which is often touted as having the best healthcare in the world as experienced more positive cases and deaths than anywhere else in the world. More Americans have died from COVID-19 than during the Vietnam war.

Shortly after this crisis was declared a pandemic, Hubby Rick shared with our grandkids that they would be living through an event that will forever change their lives. I do not believe his statement was overstated and probably understated. This is the event by which all other crisis will be defined.

My Aunt Beverly lives in Denver, CO. She will be 90 in July. Aunt Bev lives in a care facility. Since March 8, she has been able to leave her room only once a day, for the sole purpose of walking down to get her mail. Otherwise, she eats every meal in her room. Her only “visitors” are the facility’s staff. Recently, she wrote me this:

“It is so difficult being in our rooms all the time. They even bring own meals to us ‘at home.’ I’m so weary of being cooped up. I’ve lived through world wars and lots of other events, but this pandemic is the worst.”

We have our own stories and interpretations of how this pandemic has affected us. The lens through which we process this virus is most often based upon where we are affected the most. These stories are oh, so different. The story of an exhausted nurse treating COVID-19 patients is not the same as a dairy farmer who is dumping milk because processing chains couldn’t shift fast enough. Small business owners hoping to reopen their life’s passions are as important as the creative means by which teachers are educating from afar. And the list goes on and on and on …

Crisis have the opportunity to pull out the best within ourselves … if we make this choice. I pray that we all choose to do all the good we can today and tomorrow and the next day as we journey through this time together.

All those things we “thought” were so important? Well, they’ve been put on “hold.” For some, these things are huge disappointments. No graduation ceremony. Missing your high school prom. Sporting events and birthday parties and confirmation celebrations and delayed weddings. The list is long, deep and difficult.

Some people feel terribly “robbed” of these benchmark times in their lives, as they should. The grief and disappointment are real. It is not to be minimized.

Yet, somehow, we’ve reclaimed some things that were too often lost in the shuffle. Eating meals together. Cooking at home. Time to play games and have real conversations. There has been more dog walking and people walking outside than in years. Our neighbors and Hubby Rick have been working on our lawns for weeks. Some of us have rediscovered the art of real phone calls and sending cards and letters. These are all good things. I pray we remember these are special opportunities and times which should continue beyond stay-in-place orders.

Most of us truly are all old dogs learning some new tricks these days, including myself. Online meeting platforms are getting heavy workouts these days. Artists desperate to uplift and encourage folks are collaborating and creating content in new and different ways. We’re worshiping in new ways, visiting the doctor virtually and depending upon curbside pick-up like never before. The latest fashion statement is a mask, often styled to express our passions and interests.

How will all of this translate tomorrow and next week and next month as we eventually begin moving towards our previous lives? I’m confident there will become new definitions and expressions of “normal” in our lives. We have unique opportunities to embrace ideas and concepts that previously were considered too sacred to change. This will be scary for many people and warmly embraced by others. I pray we embrace grace and compassion as we navigate new “norms” in our lives.

What lessons have you discovered about yourself in these last weeks? Where do you find yourself cautious about timid versus anxious and stressed? I pray that we see this time as important. Necessary. Potentially life changing. A time to lean into our faith and be guided by the One who loves us, cares for us and journeys with us. Amen.

For life lessons that keep challenging us, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – Some of us embrace new and different things openly. Others, only kick and scream. May we have open hearts to hear the lessons and stories that you long for us to observe and hear. May we embrace grace and compassion as we journey through this time together. Amen.

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Calvin’s Answered Prayer

Gratitude Day 447

Wed., Apr. 29, 2020

Psalm 18:6: I was in terrible trouble when I called out to you, but from your temple you heard me and answered my prayer.

While we can have a variety of tools in our spiritual toolboxes, one tool that for me is non-negotiable is prayer.

While we often think of prayer as a formal pouring out of our desires and needs to God, I think it is much, much more than this.

First, prayer is not so God can hear our requests. God already knows them before we utter them. No, prayer is more for us than for God. Prayer is our way to recognizing that there are just some things of this world that are way bigger than us and our ability to create effective change. Prayer provides a means for us to pour out our guts to God … and enlist God’s help.

Yes, prayer should be more than this. It should be praising God as well as recognizing where we fail to shine for God’s kingdom. Too often, prayer becomes a laundry list of what WE want God to do … and enlisting God to do it NOW!

And when this happens, it truly IS a beautiful thing.

Monday was one of those times when prayer was answered, and a little boy named Calvin received a new liver.

The story begins a few weeks ago when Calvin’s mother, Sarah, saw signs that something wasn’t quite right with her newborn son. Sarah called Calvin’s doctor but because of COVID-19, there was hesitation about bringing Calvin in right away. A couple weeks later, Calvin had his two-month check-up in person with his doctor where his unusual symptoms were explored. Calvin was immediately sent to the Children’s Hospital for more testing where it was determined that his liver was not working properly. On April 21, Calvin went on a transplant list.

While the transplant doctors preferred a pediatric liver, they were also aware that this might not be possible. After a couple days of a private search, Calvin’s parents were encouraged to begin a widespread public search for a living donor. In just a couple of days, the request was shared thousands of times and 200 people began the application process. This was incredible because of the extremely specific requirements for a donor.

On Mon., Apr. 27, Calvin received a liver transplant. The liver became available because another family said good-bye to their child and made a liver from their child available for donation. Yesterday, Tues., Apr. 28, became the two weeks mark that Calvin had been in the hospital. It truly is amazing that his condition was diagnosed, he was put on the transplant list AND he received a transplant all within two-weeks. Maybe even more significant is that the transplanted liver is already working in little Calvin’s body.

Talk about answered prayer. I’m confident little Calvin was on hundreds of prayer chains and thousands of individual prayer lists. Not only Calvin, but also his parents, the doctors and healthcare providers.

Calvin’s situation could be labeled a variety of things: a miracle, an answered prayer. It is both of these things and more. Some might say he was “lucky.” Yet, it’s impossible to thank God for Calvin’s liver, knowing that another family is facing a completely different outcome for their child.

Why do some prayers seemingly “get” answered and others don’t? Is it because someone didn’t pray hard enough or long enough or wasn’t sincere in their prayer? Absolutely not! It is because someone made a deal with God and now, they have to uphold their end of the deal? I honestly don’t think this is how God works.

What I do believe is that there is great comfort for this family in knowing their little guy received a liver this week and his body seems to be accepting it. Would of this happened without the prayers of thousands and the sharing of his need for a heart on social media? It’s not my place to answer this.

It is my prayer that we see prayer as a necessary and vital tool in our spiritual toolboxes. Doing so will not guarantee that every prayer request we make will get answered. It just doesn’t work this way. Having prayer as a main tool in your tool chest is a reminder that no matter how smart, skilled, articulate, nice, or outspoken you are, prayer isn’t about what we ask of God. It’s how we allow ourselves to be changed and modified through the process of prayer.

Calvin has a long way to go. His parents are very much aware of this. But for today, he’s doing oh, so good. Did the prayers of many make a difference in Calvin getting a liver this week? It’s not my place to say. What I do believe is that WE can be changed through the ritual and commitment to prayer.

This, my friends, is what I pray has also happened to hundreds and thousands of us this week.

So often, I hear people say, “I’ll pray. It’s the least I can do.”

Honestly, I’m thinking prayer is THE MOST important thing we can do, not for God’s benefit but for our own. Amen.

For Calvin’s new liver, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

PLEASE JOIN IN … It’s Devos with Dianne at 8 PM tonight on Facebook Live!

Holy God – Thanks you for coming into Calvin’s little life. We pray for the family who lost a loved one and yet made the liver available to Calvin. We lift up their disappointment as well. May you provide Calvin’s health care providers the absolute best knowledge and information to help Calvin make it through these next days. We lift up Calvin’s parents and family as well. May you provide all with comfort. Amen.

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Time to Count Blessings

Gratitude Day 446

Tues., Apr. 28, 2020

Ephesians 3:8: I am the least important of all God’s people. But God was kind and chose me to tell the Gentiles that because of Christ there are blessings that cannot be measured.

So. Much. Truth. In. This. Saying.

As a person who too often struggles with my body image, this saying resonates with me. Too often, I count the wrong things. Too often, I put energy into what I should be changing about myself rather than appreciating all that I have. Too often, I speak poorly to myself because of how I have disappointed myself.

Today, let’s be more kind to ourselves. Each other. The world around us. Rather than focusing on what we wish was different about ourselves and our lives, can we just take a hot minute and count what we love. Appreciate. Are fortunate about.

Let’s spend the day counting blessings. Seriously. Let’s do it.

For so many blessings in my life, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Almighty God – Forgive me for when I count all the wrong things and forget to count the most important things. Place it upon my heart to consider every terribly small but important blessing in my life today.

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Stay In Saturday

Gratitude Day 445

Sat., Apr. 25, 2020

2 Corinthians 6:6: We have proved ourselves to be what we claim by our wholesome lives and by our understanding of the Gospel and by our patience. We have been kind and truly loving and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Before COVID-19, this would be a normal conversation between Hubby Rick and I on Thursday afternoon. (FYI – Rick’s workweek starts on Sunday and he works nights. So, when it gets up on Thursday mid-day, it’s the beginning of his weekend.)

RICK:  What do we have going this weekend?

DIANNE: Tonight, I have _____. Tomorrow, I’m doing ____ during the day and in the evening, we are _____. Saturday looks like ____. And on Sunday, we will be worshiping ____.

Since mid-March, this is how this conversation now goes:

RICK:  What do we have going this weekend?

DIANNE: Same as last weekend. Whatever we want to do at home.

Anyone else feel like you’ve had a year of Saturday’s in which you’ve stayed home and done, well, almost nothing? Or hopefully something?

By now, I should have every closet cleaned out. Every picture put into a book. And a complete plan for how we’re going to remodel the last room in our house.

But I don’t.

Please let me know that I’m not the only one who has failed miserably in getting those things done that never seem to quite get accomplished.

So, instead of accomplishing all those things, what have I been doing?

Finding remarkably interesting things online to distract me. Take up my time. Pivot me from what I should be doing. And I’m all ready to share those things with you as well!

Here we go.

Forgiveness 75 years later. 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the ending of World War II and the liberation of concentration camps across Europe. Earlier this month, 60 Minutes aired a piece that shows how the history and experiences of various concentration camp survivors is being preserved. It is simply fascinating. What I found extremely interesting in this piece is the various survivors views on forgiveness. It’s a start reminder that we do not have to have similar views on faith, God, and forgiveness. I encourage you to be touched by this piece I found very meaningful. (Click on the underlined sentence and you will be taken to the story. )

I’ve been listening to this book on audio tape. Honestly, I’m spending A LOT less time in the car these days. And this is normally, where I listen to audio books. I’ve had this book on loan from the library for too long and decided that yes, I can listen to it while working in my office. A few months ago, I shared with you the book The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Cilka’s Journey is written by the same author, Heather Morris, and features a character from the first book. In Cilka’s Journey, World War II has ended. Cilka was a Jewish POW. Because she received special treatment from German officers, she is back in a camp. I have about 25% of this book left to listen to and am enjoying it. The story is heart-wrenching but the book is well-written.

Somehow, I never ran across the musical group Home Free until this week. They are a country-tinged a cappella vocal group from Mankato, Minnesota. Think Pentatonix with a twang. The group won The Sing-Off in 2013. (Clearly, I haven’t been much of a follower of these types of TV contests.)

They have a few traditional Christian songs. I think you will like their version of “How Great Thou Art.”

Now, if you like country music, this rendition of “Elvira” features the Oak Ridge Boys and has fantastic harmony and singing. If you like tight harmony, you will like this song:

The best lesson about stewardship I have heard in a long, long time. Actually, the lesson is about way more than stewardship. The storyteller is someone you will recognize. The star the story is a Kansas farmer. If you watch nothing else from this e-mail today, please, please, please take 5:30 minutes to watch this. And then, challenge yourself to think of how you might let the best of yourself shine in your neck of the woods today.

Another focus of mine right now? Finding an extra dose of patience today. And tomorrow. And the next day. It can become so easy to feel that what we personally want should be at the top of our list. But honestly, can we please just realize this is really not what is needed. Patience, my friends, really is where it’s at. Patience so we can keep the number of affected people down. Patience that we can let the best of ourselves come out and be what we others see within us. I pray we allow the Holy Spirit to grace us with this patience.

While it’s another Stay In Saturday at the Vielhuber’s, we will make the most of our day. I pray you will as well. Just in case you’re feeling a little disconnected, read this and pretend we’re having a cup of coffee together. Stay well and safe, my friends.

For ways we can make the most of our days at home, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – This is such a different time in our world right now. I pray that we see this time as one in which we slow down. Enjoy little things in life. Celebrate small wins rather than feeling the need to hit home runs every day. Thanks for  Amen.

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Staying In Place With the Same People/Person

Gratitude Day 444

Fri., Apr. 2, 2020

Ecclesiastes 9:9: Live happily with the woman you love through the fleeting days of life, for the wife God gives you is your best reward down here for all your earthly toil.

As we move into week five of stay in place, we’re all figuring how just how much we LOVE being with those people who reside in the same house as we do.

Yes, these are the people we are to love the most. Every. Single Day. The people who we’d go to the ends of the earth for. The people who we’d move heaven and earth for.

Well, most of the time.

Except when they leave their underwear on the bathroom floor. Every. Single. Day.

Or drive us nuts with their burping, and possibly, even, their breathing.

While we love them with all of our heart and soul, is all this “together time” testing some of your patience? Love? Choices?

As my late mother-in-law would sometimes say, “In my marriage, I never once considered divorce. Killing, yes, but never divorce.”

Yes, it was always said tongue-in-cheek.

And now, I’m wondering if her son ever has those same thoughts …

Honestly, I must say that the stay-in-place at our Vielhuber household has really been pretty good! We’re both still working, although I’m working from home. We eat lunch together nearly every day, sometimes go for a walk or bike ride. In the evenings when Hubby Rick is home, sometimes we play Scrabble or watch a movie. We’ve both found plenty of things to keep ourselves occupied and yet make time to chat, connect and do things together.

What more could we ask for?

 Now, if you’re feeling like the walls of your house are getting smaller weekly or daily, it’s OK. As much as you can love the people in your house, there will be times when they might drive you just a bit crazy. This is normal. OK. And expected.

So, give yourself permission to go outside and exercise … all by yourself.

Take a drive around the block, blast the radio and pretend that you are going on a road trip to your favorite destination. Come home and tell everyone what a great time you had.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, call or ZOOM your BFF and imagine that you are sitting at a café and chatting up a storm … without anyone from your house.

Sneak into the grocery store and buy a small container of your favorite ice cream. EAT. THE WHOLE. THING. BY YOURSELF. And please, don’t feel guilty about it.

Go into the bathroom. Close the door. Maybe, even lock the door. And sit. By yourself. Read a magazine. Or a book. Ignore when someone wants you to open the door until the fourth or fifth attempt.

Then, make your housemate’s favorite things for dinner. Spend hours eating together, playing a game and eating popcorn for dessert. Laugh and smile and remember these are the people that you choose to love the most. They are the loves of your life and they mean the world to you. You would kill for them.

For those of you who are staying at home by yourself, treat yourself to things as well. You just might have to get a little more creative when it comes to playing the game together. Facetime your loved ones. Move the pieces for them. And laugh until you cry.

Be safe. Treasure this time. Smile when you can. Laugh out loud. Cry when you must. And celebrate the best rewards of your life: your family.

For loved ones in my life, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – grant us patience to fully love those in our lives, even when they drive us a bit crazy. May we find ways to cope and not drive everyone around us crazy as well. Amen.

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Praying Through a Pandemic

Gratitude Day 443

Wed., Apr. 22, 2020

Colossians 4:2: Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

For those of us who aren’t doctors or nurses, first-responders or scientists, what are we to do in our current pandemic crisis? If we aren’t skilled at making PPE or a mortician or a caring for those shut-ins a nursing home, what devices to we bring to the crisis table?

Prayer.

It requires no special training or skills. No previous training or abilities are required. All that is needed is a heart who yearns to go to God and ask for help. Plead for intervention. Loudly … or quietly … makes your wishes known.

We say that we pray … but do we? Do we take more than 10 seconds in a day to quiet your hearts and minds and speak only and directly to God?

I pray that we do.

And now, I challenge you to extend that prayer time just a bit for the next 40 days and make praying for the current pandemic part of your daily prayer life.

It’s really quite simple. I’ve put together a 40 Days of Praying COVID-19 calendar. Every day, a specific item is listed for you to pray. There’s a second page where you can jot down a name or situation that you specifically prayed for that day. It’s just an easy way to keep you on track and mindful of what you are praying for. This allows you to go back through the list and pray for everything on your list anew each day.

How cool is that?

Please download this prayer guide. Print it off. Share with everyone you know, whether they are a prayer warrior or not. Let’s bath this pesky virus in prayer and see what happens. Let’s be watchful and thankful that we have the most important job of all during this pandemic: PRAYER.

For the ability to pray, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Almighty God – too often, we think of prayer as a last resort rather than a first resort. May this COVD-19 prayer calendar help keep us directed towards specific ways we can pray for the next 40 days. Thank you for this special way of communicating with You. Amen.

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Here is a PDF of the Prayer Guide:

Restless Troops

Gratitude Day 442

Mon., Apr. 20, 2020

Psalm 40:1: I put all my hope in the Lord. He leaned down to me; he listened to my cry for help.

As COVID-19 continues, I feel the troops getting restless.

We are a good month now into living with a pesky virus that has changed ALL of our lives. With each day and week that goes by, it seems people are wearing out. Those who work at a hospital, clinic or care facility, are overwhelmed with caring for people. Some are treating COVID-19 patients. Some are trying to keep other patients safe. Some work at an in-patient care facility where there may or may not be infected people.

These folks question how they can keep family members safe or not become infected themselves. They have become a single package of care giver and family, providing love and support as they are the only ones able to do so. The extra-ordinary measures hospitals and care facilities are extending are incredible. Yet, we are often critical with what we consider sub-par care in overwhelming situations. I stand in awe of these people and know that I probably would muck up things even more so if roles were reversed.

It is impossible to find someone who does not know someone who has been financially impacted by this pandemic. We hear the staggering unemployment numbers and realize how far reaching this is.

I live in a state that recently extended its state-in-place measures for another month. Another group of people are expressing their dislike for these continued orders and are drawing attention to this.

I recently saw this diagram and realized that it might articulate how group of people feel stuck in the middle. People who empathize with more than one voice and feel overwhelmed with all that is going on.

When a crisis like we are experiencing happens, human nature causes us to take a stand where we are affected the most. For those involved in caring for people, this becomes the lens through which they interpret events. A person who is unemployed, lost their job or had to close their small business, this becomes their window of observation. For those most concerned about their individual rights, well, this rises to the top.

I know people who have had COVID-19 and recovered. I also know people whose family members did not make it. If you still question whether COVID-19 is different from the flu, Google “New York City COVID-19 images.” Carefully look at the images. The photos of refrigerated trucks turned into morgues makes my heart break.

Refrigerated trailers are seen parked at the site of a makeshift morgue being built in New York, Wednesday, March 25, 2020. New York officials are keeping a close eye on already-stressed hospitals as the number of cases is projected to rise for perhaps three more weeks. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

This could happen in our state or community as well. I think of 90-something Dolly, who has asthma and must protect herself. One wrong person in her presence could be devastating. Just as heart breaking are the countless small business owners who question next steps and feel awful about laying people off.

In true disclosure, Hubby Rick and I know we fall into the group that could be labeled as “some of the least affected people.” While some things are different, the lasting impact for us at this time is much less significant than for millions of others. We are also very much aware that this could change in an instant.

Most often, we interpret this pandemic crisis through whatever situation has made it personal for us. Someone in your family becomes ill. Is a front-line worker. Had to close their business or apply for unemployment. Suddenly, we see the flaws in our current system and describe how the “system” is failing. I do this as well.

Here is the deal: no matter how prepared we could or should have been, knowing how to respond in a pandemic crisis is new for most of us. For nearly all Americans, this is the first situation of this magnitude that we have lived through. And we do not know how to do it. We’re learning as we go. Most people have been patient for weeks. But as time goes on, troops are getting restless. We begin exhibiting behavior that is less than flattering.

Over the weekend, folks gathered for a rally requesting that non-essential businesses be reopened. They fear an economy shuttered for several more weeks will be more devastating than the virus itself. Rick and I were horrified as we saw images with people standing very close to each other, hugging, and shaking hands. Hospital workers drove by the rally on their way to work just a few blocks away to care for COVID-19 patients. What happens if there is an influx of people needing in-hospital care and choices must be made about who can be intubated?

So, how ARE we to respond with restless troops? As a Christian, I go back to the core tenants of my faith. Christian community is one of those beliefs. Jesus made this clear when he said the second most important command is to love our neighbors just how we want to be loved. One way we do this is by setting aside our own priorities and views for the greater good of the larger community. If ever there was a time when this is necessary, it is during a pandemic crisis.

This is when our individual needs are not more important than extending compassion and empathy to the least among us. Jesus said it eloquently when he shared that when we do something for someone who has a need, it is as if we are doing this directly for God. Whether this person is hungry or sick or thirsty or needs a friend, when we stand in the gap and provide this need, we have offered this directly to God.

I wish that all of us restless troops would take a minute to see where we might build up God’s kingdom by quietly helping someone. Imagine the impact our combined efforts could make, versus putting this energy into actions that divide us and hurt our neighbor.

Carefully read these words. Can we do our best to implement them in our daily lives?

Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say.

– Ephesians 4:29

For restless troops, it is easy to become frustrated. We see simple and easy solutions that may or may not work. Truth is, I’m not sure any of us could really know what is best to do; except Jesus himself.

Can we unite and commit to stick together? NO. MATTER. WHAT. Loving our neighbor is absolutely more important than ever. Sometimes loving our neighbor means setting aside our own personal perspective and discovering someone else’s is just as vital.

This also means letting go of fear and instead, grasping onto hope. When fear becomes the lens through which we interpret life, the results are different from when we let the hope of God hear our cry for help.

It was June of 1940. World War II had broken out in Europe. Winston Churchill had been Prime Minister of Britain for about a month when he gave a significant speech to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom. He closed the famous speech with these words:

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”

Folks: we have an opportunity to make this our finest hour. For this to happen, restless troops must decide that loving their neighbor in the best way possible is our highest priority. Likewise, we intentionally choose God’s hope over fear. If we allow this to happen, we can move towards making this our finest hour.

For hope that comes from God, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – forgive us, the restless troops, and our decision to turn our eyes towards ourselves and what we think is best, rather than keeping our eyes glued on You. Please replace our fear with hope. Instill within us a deep desire to fully love our neighbor. Stretch us so this will be our finest hour.

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A Prayer for Today

Gratitude Day 441

Wed., Apr. 15, 2020

Romans 8:26: In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. And while they dance, people sing: “The source of my life comes from you.”

Hello God –

Just stopping by to say, “Good Day.” And share a few things I’ve been thinking about.

Sometimes, people wonder where You are right now. And here’s what I say:

You are present with the people I know who have COVID-19 right now, even as their health maybe declining.

You are with the folks who are slowly recovering from the virus, who are trying to get stronger.

You are with the people who have been laid-off and not sure what to do next about employment.

You are with all the small business owners who have shuttered their businesses and wondering if reopening makes sense.

You are with the business owners who are still operating, often with employee’s set-up at home, but aren’t sure how they are going to make their next payroll.

You are with the doctors who are stumped by a virus they know very little about.

You are with the nurses who are exhausted and sheltering from their families to keep them safe.

You are with every parent who is learning homeschooling on the fly … while also being the PE instructor, the lunchroom supervisor … and still trying to work from home.

You are with every single person who is staying in place by themselves and feeling a bit isolated.

You are with every dairy producer who has had to dump milk, knowing the local food pantry can’t keep up with demand.

You are with every graduate who feels cheated of a graduation ceremony right now.

You are with the girls who look at their Prom dresses and wonder if it will be worn.

You are with every child who just wants to have a birthday party … and can’t.

You are with every couple who has had to delay their wedding plans.

You are with every family who has lost a loved one and had to be creative in making funeral arrangements.

You are with family who can’t be with their loved one in the hospital and depend upon nurses and caregivers to hold their loved one’s hand.

You are with the folks in nursing home and care facilities who haven’t been able to have visitors for weeks, as well as with the family members who yearn to visit and can’t.

You are with the families trying to decide what they can pay for this week and what can wait.

You are with the person who is feeling depressed, isolated and very alone.

You are with the child who longs to be with their friends at school … and can’t.

You are with the teachers who want to connect with students but are finding it challenging.

You are with the police officers, fire fighters and EMT’s that are called to serve in new ways.

You are with the truckers who are trying to get product safety to right locations.

You are with those folks who make sure there is food to by at the local grocery store.

You are with the delivery people who drop off packages at people’s homes.

You are with the folks who volunteer at food pantries and provide weekend food bags to students to help ease the challenge of food insecurity.

Be with us when we get distracted and can’t focus on what’s important because we are feeling a bit out of sorts.

Be with those who are feeling dark and alone. Bring a ray of sunshine into their lives.

Be with those who question what their next step should be. Help them to be patient and turn to You.

And for those of us who feel that You have left the building and aren’t present in our lives, find some small way to help us know that You will never leave us.

Now, simply grant us patience when our prayers aren’t answered immediately as we would prefer. Drown us in patience and humility and compassion for those who may see things differently than we do.

And when we no longer have words to say, remind us that the Holy Spirit will step in and pray on our behalf. Thank you for this wonderful gift.

Amen and Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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