Holy Saturday

Gratitude Day 439

Sat., Apr. 11, 2020

Luke 23:34a: Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” They drew lots as a way of dividing up his clothing.

I’ve often wondered what the disciples did on that Saturday after Jesus’ death. The disciples celebrated the Passover meal with Jesus on the night before he died. A few of the disciples stood shocked at the foot of the cross and watched their fearless leader for the past three years die.

And then … what?

For most of the day, it was the Jewish day of Sabbath, which would have begun on Friday evening at sundown and continued until sundown on Saturday.

It appears that they hid. After Peter had been identified as one of his followers late on Thursday night, not once, but three times, none of them were crazy about being out in public. They chose to participate in a voluntary stay-in-place.

With no internet. No Netflix. No Facebook or Instagram. They didn’t get out the sidewalk chalk and create beautiful designs for others to see. They didn’t Facetime their family and let them know they were OK. Or have a family game night via ZOOM. They didn’t plan their Friday night fish curbside pick-up or sew masks for the neighborhood clinic or nursing home.

They did …

We’re not really sure. Maybe they replayed all the things that had happened with their teacher from the past three years; wondering how many times he dropped hints and they missed them. Or ignored them. Or didn’t take him seriously.

Possibly the examined every little detail from the Passover meal and wondered how they could have not understood what he was saying. His words still seemed very confusing.

More likely, they were so overcome with disbelieve and shock that the man who had hand-picked them to come into his inner circle was gone that they had no words to speak. And so, they hid. They sat. They cried. They wept.

A careful dissection of the four gospel accounts yields seven sayings that Jesus said from the cross in the last hours of his death. These sayings are often recalled and revisited during Lent and Holy Week because they share so much about who Jesus was, why he came to earth and what it means for us today. Here’s one of those sayings:

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Most often, we associate Jesus saying them to the Roman guards who stood at command around the cross, carrying out their required duty of executing him. Guys who didn’t really have a choice about their role, other than this crucifixion happened to fall on the day they were assigned to this particular duty.

Yet, there was something different about how this man handled the last hours of his life. He didn’t ridicule them. Chastise them. Belittle them.

Instead, he prayed for them. He forgave them.

Whether they thought they needed it or not.

I see Jesus’ ring of forgiveness going much farther and deeper than just the Roman soldiers. Was not he also praying for his inner circle, his disciples, whether they were at the scene or not? Was not he praying for the Sanhedrin and the Jewish religious leaders who were so determined to make sure he died? Was he not praying for the Roman Governor Pilate, who really wanted nothing to do with Jesus’ death, to the point that he symbolically washed his hands after condemning him to death?

And was Jesus not also praying for you. For me. For all of humanity, who too often do not know or understand how what we do affects others? Ourselves? And God?

On this Holy Saturday, do you feel a little stuck? Stuck in the middle of a world crisis that often feels confusing and leaves us in disbelief? Stuck between making sure this pesky virus is not spread yet wanting to have some sense of normalcy in our lives? Stuck between how to slowly reopen a shuttered country that will appropriately balance human toll with trying to jumpstart a confused economy?

Maybe, we don’t feel all that different from the disciples, who huddled in the upper room, scattered with remnants from the Passover meal still present. Confused. Unsure. Maybe even a bit scared?

So, what do WE do on this day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday? May I suggest that on this Holy Saturday, it’s best to just be. Be with our emotions. Be with our confusion. Be with our sadness. And hear Jesus’ words again:

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Whether we know if we’re doing the right things or not, it’s OK. God is with us. Jesus forgives us. Dawn will come tomorrow and with it, hope.

For eternal and everlasting forgiveness, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Almighty God – while we often applaud the changes that have happened in the last 2,000 years, there are some things that remain very much the same. Our need for forgiveness. Grace. Hope. May we allow ourselves to tumble through these feelings today. Amen.

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Remembering Good Friday

Gratitude Day 438

Fri., Apr. 10, 2020

Luke 23:46: Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I commit my spirit to you,” and with those words he died.

Just this. No other words. Please watch and share.

Happy Good Friday.

For God’s endless love for me, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – We call it “Good Friday.” Why? The events certainly didn’t feel good at the time. But because they happened, we can call it “good” Thank you, thank you, thank you. Amen.

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It Was Supposed to be Just a Simple Dinner Party

Gratitude Day 437

Thurs., Apr. 9, 2020

Luke 22:1: And now the Passover celebration was drawing near—the Jewish festival when only bread made without yeast was used. 

It’s the last night of Jesus’ life. He’s just had the Passover meal with his 12 closest buddies in an upper room. During the course of the meal, Jesus shares with his friends that soon, one of them, will turn against him. They are all shocked; maybe even the one, Judas, who will do the betraying.

I love a good dinner party. My heart is happy when I know people are coming to our house for a meal. Preparing the food, setting the table, putting out the finishing touches to make guests feel special: this is my wheelhouse.

Maybe this is why Maundy Thursday is one of my favorite days in the Christian calendar. Jesus and his buddies are celebrating one of the most important Jewish traditions: the Passover meal. A meal rich in history and tradition and storytelling. It begins with this traditional dinner … but my, oh my, does it turn into SO. MUCH. MORE.

First, it’s about finding the right location. Jesus and his friends are in Jerusalem. They will need to find a location, big enough for all of them. Done. Check.

Then, when the disciples arrive, it’s Jesus, the host, who washes their feet. What’s up with that? Why does a servant do this? But they have clean feet. Check.

The dinner is progressing nicely. They are remembering all the important parts of when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and the commotion that happened before Pharaoh FINALLY let them go. But there are some unexpected things that happen as well. Let’s listen in on what Jesus might have wanted to say that night.

“One of you will betray me,” Jesus says. Hmmm. They are all wondering if it is themselves, aren’t they?

“Even you, Peter, who has been so loyal to me. Before dawn, not once, but THREE TIMES you will deny knowing me.” Sucks to be you, Peter, doesn’t it?

“Pa-lease … can you stop arguing about who is the best amongst you? It’s so 50 B.C., not 30 A.D. Seriously.”

“See this bread made with out yeast? The bread God instructed the Israelites to make the night of the last plague in Egypt. Well, no need to think of it as bread anymore. Think of it now like my body.” OK, isn’t that a little weird?

“(Holding up a cup of wine), this wine? It now represents my blood. Just like the blood that the Israelites painted around their doorposts so the angel of death would sail right by.” OK, bread for your body. And now wine for my blood? You lost me there.

It’s turning out to be quite the dinner party, isn’t it?

Yet, it’s the dinner party in which Jesus gives us the gift of Holy Communion. At this party, we begin to see more clearly what Jesus anticipates will happen to him.

If you are feeling a little lost about what to do this Maundy Thursday, let me share a few ideas:

  • Read the story. It’s in all four gospels. I like Luke’s version of the story. It’s found in the 22nd chapter.
  • Take turns and wash each other’s feet in your household. It may sound a little strange. But the first time I was included in a foot washing, it made such an impression on me. I realized: yes, I am the one who is to become like a servant and stop thinking the world revolves around me. Maybe you will see Jesus’ gift to the disciples in a slightly different way.
  • Make some matzoh soup or something from a traditional Jewish Passover meal. Look up what a seder plate is on the internet and share pictures during dinner. Most importantly, have dinner together with your family. Read the story. Share your insights while breaking bread.
  • Sing a song together. The last thing Jesus and the disciples did before they go to the Garden of Gethsemane is, they sang a hymn together. Pick an easy one. Sing one verse. It doesn’t matter what it sounds like.
  • Towards evening, walk about a mile, which was about the distance Jesus and the disciples walked to the Garden. Notice how much different a path looks later in the day. Use a flashlight like a torch to guide your path.

By the end of the night, this little dinner party had a whole new meaning. Jesus had been arrested. The disciples are afraid for their lives. What will happen tomorrow?

Stop back tomorrow … and we’ll discover together.

For how well Jesus’ last dinner is captured and recorded in scripture, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – How quickly life changed for the disciples in literally a matter of hours. Their worlds were turned upside down. Maybe, just maybe, they understand how we feel right now. May we celebrate an evening meal tonight and remember. Amen.

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The Courageous Prayer

Gratitude Day 436

Wed., Apr. 8, 2020

Luke 22:42: He walked away, perhaps a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed this prayer: “Father, if you are willing, please take away this cup of horror from me. But I want your will, not mine.”

It’s the last night of Jesus’ life. He’s just had the Passover meal with his 12 closest buddies in an upper room. During the course of the meal, Jesus shares with his friends that soon, one of them, will turn against him. They are all shocked; maybe even the one, Judas, who will do the betraying.

Then, they walk over a mile through the dark of a Jerusalem night to the Garden of Gethsemane. The garden was an olive grove at the base of the Mount of Olives. Once in the garden, Jesus asks the disciples to wait for him while he goes and prays. He asks three of them to come closer to where he will be. “Will you stay awake and keep watch while I pray,” Jesus says.

Garden of Gethsemane. Famous historic place in Jerusalem, Israel. Selective focus great for text.

It’s late. Dark. Their tummies are full, from a richly deep and meaningful Passover meal. While Jesus has been strange or a lot off that night, the three disciples probably really tried to stay awake. But they can’t. Three times, Jesus, who historically has always ventured away and prayed by himself, asks his friends to “stay awake.” Three times, they let him down.

Read carefully the words Jesus prays while in this little garden. “Father, if you are willing, please take away this cup of horror from me. But I want your will, not mine.”

I want your will; not mine.

The courage to say these words? Unbelievable. Much deeper and more profound than any prayer that I have ever prayed. Or ever will pray.

How often we say, “There isn’t anything that I wouldn’t do.” To help an ailing parent. An addicted child. A nurse caring for a person with a patient. In these, and so many more situations, we declare that we would do “anything” for the person at hand.

Anything. It’s a big word. A huge word. A word that maybe difficult to totally wrap our heads around. We like to think we’d do anything … and that we’ve done everything. It brings us comfort when we are challenged. Our last-ditch efforts demonstrate how far we are willing to go, right?

But if we were and are willing to do ANYTHING, then, we’d pray Jesus’ words: “Father, if you are willing, please take away this cup of horror from me. But I want your will, not mine.”

As much as I would like to think I’m courageous, when it comes to praying these words, I often stutter. Fail. Try to put conditions onto God. “If you do this, then I’ll do this …”

Is this truly allowing for God’s will?

Fully allowing God’s will is slippery. Difficult. Impossible. Because somewhere along the line, a tiny bit of our will yearns to be heard. Burst out. Freed.

Even in our shallow intentions or failed promises, God doesn’t give up on us. If our prayers are not as courageous as Jesus’, God still loves us, begs for more prayers and listens intently.

Keep praying, even when the courageous prayer is hard to truly live. Jesus struggled with these words. Luke’s version of the story tells us that drops of blood fell from him while he prayed. What anguish. Struggle. Love. All for you. All for me.

All for God’s will to be done.

For Jesus’ model to pray courageously, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – the anguish, the struggle, the depth of feeling in Jesus’ prayer is so profound. As much as I want to pray, “Not my will, but Your will be done,” it’s SO DIFFICULT to fully embrace these words. Thank you for being with me in this struggle. Help me see Your grace. May I know the depth of Your deep love for me today. Amen.

Please join me for another “Devos with Dianne” tonight. 8 PM Central Time on Facebook Live. Have a piece of bread and some juice or wine with you tonight. See you then!

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A Time to Laugh

Gratitude Day 435

Tues., Apr. 7, 2020

Ecclesiastes 3:4: A time to cry; A time to laugh; A time to grieve; A time to dance

I tend to be way too serious. In fact, there is something that Hubby Rick would desire from his wife is that I was a bit more jovial. Light-hearted. Quicker to laugh.

So, today, I’m turning to my lighter side. After many days of too much heaviness and not sure when the curve is going to flatten in your area, don’t we all need just a bit of joy? Happiness? Fun in our lives?

Today is a time to laugh. Here’s just a few memes that brought a smile to my face.



And yes, one serious one.

And one for Holy Week …

For just a bit of laughter, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – Right now, it’s easy to focus on the tough. The difficult. The anxious. May I find a bit of laughter in my life today. A bit of light-heartedness. Help me jump for joy as I remember that today is a blessing. This is why we call it the “present.” Amen.

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Making Holy Week … Well, Holy Week

Gratitude Day 434

Sun., Apr. 5, 2020

Matthew 27:54: The soldiers at the crucifixion and their sergeant were terribly frightened by the earthquake and all that happened. They exclaimed, “Surely this was God’s Son.”

COVID-19 or not, it’s HOLY WEEK!

I’m not sure this pesky little virus checkout the calendar before it began its blanketing surge across the country and literally the world. But, COVID-19 is here. And so is Holy Week.

My deepest prayer this week is that my sisters and brothers in Christ WILL CELEBRATE HOLY WEEK. Honor the last events of Jesus’ life. Read and retell the stories. Find creative and simply ways to make this a special week, even if you never get the opportunity to step inside a church building.

You can take Holy Week worship services out of the buildings … but I want us to demonstrate that you can’t take Holy Week out of the hearts and souls of the people.

To assist us with this, here is a “Celebrate Holy Week 2020” guide. Each day, there is a rather simple way to honor Holy Week with an activity for your entire family. If you are staying in place by yourself, call up a friend or family member and do the activity together whether it be over the phone, via Facetime, Facebook Live or ZOOM. Be creative. Find a new way to do these things which I pray will keep Holy Week alive and well in your spirit.

I tried to utilize things that we would have at home for each day. If you don’t have something, please do not get frustrated. Find your own way to make a Holy Week tradition continue.

On Wednesday night, I’ll be hosting Devos with Dianne at 8 PM Central Time. Please join me and have a piece of bread or a cracker along with a glass of juice with you. I’m looking forward to celebrating one of my favorite Holy Week traditions with you during this time.

Yep, Holy Week WILL be different this year. BUT with a bit of out-of-the-box thinking, we CAN have the most meaningful Holy Week ever.

For the promise and hope of a great Holy Week, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – whether there is a worldwide pandemic right now or not, I pray we all find little but very meaningful ways to remember and celebrate Holy Week this week. Speak to me and so many others in a very powerful way this week. Amen.

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Here is Celebrating Holy Week 2020 in PDF form.

Celebrating Palm Sunday

Gratitude Day 433

Sat., Apr. 4, 2020

John 12:13: They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Tomorrow begins my favorite week of the year: Holy Week. It’s a week that allows us to remember, celebrate and rediscover just why Jesus came to this year, who he was and what this still means for us today.

The week begins remembering his triumphant entry into Jerusalem. As he rides on a donkey, people are so excited! They wave branches and lay their cloaks on the road in front of him. The irony is not lost that in quick order, nearly every friend becomes a foe and turns against Jesus.

So, how do Christians celebrate and honor Jesus in light of not being able to worship together on Palm Sunday? Here are a few suggestions:

Decorate with homemade Palm leaves. You can print them from here. Color them. Put them on windows, your table, etc.

Listen to your favorite Hosanna! songs. Here’s one of mine.

Decorate your home for Easter. Some of us may be wondering if getting out eggs and other Easter decorations are important when no one but us will see them. Let me tell you this: it IS important for us! Put out a few of your favorite Easter things; at minimum a bunch of eggs on your table or in a bowl. It will brighten up your attitude!

Participate in online worship. There are lots of options right now.

Choose a specific time tomorrow to celebrate Palm Sunday in your home. Read the story. Wave your homemade palm branches. Pray and be with God.

It maybe very easy to skip Holy Week this year. I think it’s more important than ever to be intentional about finding ways to have some “normal” activities in our lives right now. Please make Holy Week one of them.

For the opportunity to make Palm Sunday personal for me, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Lord God – it may feel like there is no “normal” right now. Yet, Easter IS coming. Holy Week is upon us. Place ways upon our hearts that we can honor, celebrate and remember these special events this next week. Amen.

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When God is Silent

Gratitude Day 432

Fri., Apr. 3, 2020

Job 30:20: (Job said), “I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me.”

In my heart of hearts, I am a farm gal. Raised on a small Wisconsin dairy farm, much of who I am was developed and determined because of my experiences of milking cows, baling hay and caring for sick animals. These memories include lots of fond ones that bring a smile to my face when recalled. Before becoming a pastor, I worked in the dairy industry for years and I continue to have a part-time agriculture job today. I often say that I am the only pastor who also has marketed bull semen.

While growing up on a farm filled my life with thousands of wonderful experiences, it also taught me the difficult and hard lessons of life. Loosing a favorite animal, the realities of one’s paycheck being determined by something completely outside of your control and the long and arduous hours have completely shaped me into person I am today.

I witnessed first-hand the struggles, stress and anxiety of trying to operate a profitable dairy farm. In the 1980’s, my parents determined the stress was too much. With contributing factors out of my parent’s control, they made the painful decision to liquidate their assets. I clearly remember the first two times I ever saw my Dad shed tears: the afternoon we decided to sell the cows and then on the actual day the cows were sold. The night before we sold the cows, I milked in our parlor for the last time. Dad stood by and shared with me the shame he felt for not being able to financially keep the farm going. It was a very humbling conversation.  

Fast forward about 30 years. For the last five or six years, the American dairy industry has limped along. Folks who simply love to milk cows and are deeply committed to providing a safe and healthy food supply have endured countless situations out of their control. Last fall, a sliver of glimmer appeared. For years, these salt-of-the-earth people stumbled along with painfully low commodity prices. Finally, prices were rebounding. Farmers were cautiously optimistic that the bend had been turned.

Until COVID-19 appeared. Out of the blue, this pesky virus has turned every American’s life upside down. As infectious experts guide the rest of us with ways to mitigate the virus’ spread and lower the number of infected people, society came to a screeching halt and we’ve bunkered down in our houses.

Things couldn’t get worse… could they?

Well, they did this week, for a group of Wisconsin dairy farmers. With the shuttering of schools, the #1 consumer of fluid milk in the U.S. came to an abrupt stop. Restaurant demand for dairy products has slashed. Wisconsin dairy processing plants are struggling to run at capacity with fewer folks able to work. This all translates for a greatly reduced need for milk from the farm gate.

It’s not easy to quickly change the amount of milk available for selling and processing. Suddenly, there is a huge over-abundance of raw milk and not enough places for it to be processed.

It is puzzling for dairy producers to walk into stores and see signs limiting the number of gallons of milk a person can buy when the night before, they received a phone call instructing them to dump the milk they will milk from their cows the very next day. That’s right. If you heard that some dairy producers have been asked to literally “dump” the product they have produced, it wasn’t an April Fool’s joke. It was for real.

Clearly, there is a disconnect between the milk being produced and it reaching store shelves. It’s a complicated and broken system that I won’t bore you with. What I do know is that folks I know who are proud to produce a very healthy and safe product, while carefully caring for their animals, have opened their milk tank and let the milk inside go to waste.

The irony is not lost on me that yesterday, a small group of volunteers and I packed 530 food bags for school students so they would have enough food to eat this weekend … while milk is literally going down the drain.

This is just one more example of how COVID-19 has dramatically changed our culture, society and world today. We have lost all of our ability to predict or anticipate or keep up with the daily changes imposed upon our lives.

My heart goes out to the highly skilled dairy producers who had to follow what their processor told them to do: to find a way to get rid of their product. I can only imagine the tears that followed; if not externally, then internally. How long will this continue is completely unknown. What I do know is that none of these folks anticipated something like this would have happened only a couple days ago.

Every American is being affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. Period. As we hear stories that almost seem impossible, let me assure you this one is real.

There are funds ear-marked for the dairy industry in the most recently passed CARES Act. How these funds will be utilized has not been determined. In the meantime, is there anything a milk or cheese lover can do to support those who provide the milk to make these products can do?

Certainly, you can continue to consume dairy products. When you are at a retail market that limits the amount of milk or dairy products being sold, speak with the manager and inquire why their store has not been able to receive more product.

Donating dairy products to your local food pantry sounds good. Before doing so, consult with the folks who run your local food bank. Distribution methods have changed dramatically. How your local pantry can handle dairy products may have also changed. Reach out to your elected officials and share with them your concern for dairy producers and the effect COVID-19 has affected them.

People continue to ask what they can do in light of COVID-19. Personally, I feel THE MOST important thing any of us can do is to pray. Pray for the folks who have the virus and their families. Pray for the first-line responders who are treating and managing the care of the infected. Pray for the folks making sure we have a safe and reliable food source. Pray that a safe vaccine will be available soon and treatment options expedited.

And yes, please pray for the dairy producers who had to dump their milk yesterday. And/or today. Or the next day. It’s very stressful and challenging time right now. They could sure use some additional words shared on their behalf to the One who is always with us; even when God feels terribly silent.

For God’s presence even when God is silent, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – we lift up these words that were inscribed by a Jew hiding from the Nazis into the wall of a cellar: I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. I believe in love, even when feeling it not. I believe in God, even when He is silent. Amen.

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Praying When No One is Present

Gratitude Day 431

Wed., Apr. 1, 2020

Matthew 6:6: But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.

Yes, pictures can speak a million words.

Just like this one.

On Fri., Mar., 27, Pope Francis prayed in a desolate St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Italy. A country that has been very hard-hit by COVID-19. People within the Vatican have been confirmed to have the virus.

So, the Pope employed the most impactful way he could respond: he held a prayer meeting to an empty church. An empty square. While it was televised, the Pope chose to appeal to everyone to approach our current world situation in prayer.

He closed with the Urbi et Orbi Blessing, which is normally only given by the Pope at Easter and Christmas. He decided to issue this Blessing early this year. Why? I’m not sure. But maybe he wanted those people who might not be here at Easter to hear it now.

No, the Pope didn’t pray in a closet. But he certainly understands that praying without others present is definitely still prayer.

The Pope has announced his decision to cancel all in-person Easter and Holy Week services because he feels this is the best way to love those who are most vulnerable.

What a powerful witness. It’s an extra-ordinary example of how we can best love our neighbor.

I read this line this week. I don’t remember where, but the words are spot on:

Love is the last thing we need to ration right now.

Love is the last thing we need to ration right now.

Amen and Amen and Amen.

Today is Wednesday, a day that I often write about prayer. I’m going to keep my words short. Look closely at the photos. They are doing all the talking for me today.

One last thing – please join me tonight at 8 PM Central Time on Facebook Live for Devos with Dianne. I am so looking forward to spending some time together tonight. And yes, we’ll pray together.

For the hope of prayer, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – sometimes, we wonder what we CAN do. Again and again, we are reminded the most important thing we can do is PRAY. Thank you for this wonderful witness from a man whose heart is so turned towards You. May we see that praying alone is extremely powerful and important. May we commit to praying all day, every day. Amen.

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Here I Am. Feeling Like I’m in the Wilderness.

Gratitude Day 430

Mon., Mar. 30, 2020

Exodus 16:10: So, Aaron called them together and suddenly, out toward the wilderness, from within the guiding cloud, there appeared the awesome glory of Jehovah.

Yesterday, it happened. I realized that I feel like I’m stuck in the wilderness.

For the last two weeks, I’ve felt scattered. Undirected. Spending too much time listening to news, scrolling on my phone and distracted by things WAY. OUT. OF. MY. CONTROL.

The hours melt away. The days disappear. A scene of priorities, a schedule and thinking beyond the next short period of time seems difficult.

Don’t get me wrong. There have been good things. More time with Hubby Rick. Grandsons at our house for a few days. More cooking, sending cards, checking in on neighbors. These are all good things.

Yet, it also is becoming clear this current situation isn’t going away. Any time soon. In fact, it seems like another month of staying home, keeping ourselves isolated and limiting physical contact are the best recommendations for all of us.

Like it or not.

It just feels a bit like the wilderness.

Interestingly, wilderness time is also an opportunity to expand what feels comfortable in our lives. Discovering what is possible when so much of our “regular” isn’t currently on reality’s radar screen. We can explore some new things kicking and screaming … or, we can say, “Let’s try them and see what happens.”

And this, my friends, is what is happening in my life. All while I feel like I’m in the wilderness.

Last week, I hosted a Facebook Life Video that I am now calling Devos with Dianne. I plan to host these on Wednesday nights at 8 PM. Each week, we’ll look at a topic that is relevant and meaningful for today. Let me know if you have a suggestion! Please join me again this Wednesday night for another Devo with Dianne.

Yesterday, I hosted a live worship service, also on Facebook Live. I filled in for a pastor who has been experiencing some non-COVID-19 health problems. There were a few glitches and yes, I have room to improve. But when we take our first tour through the dessert, there are going to be new things for us to learn. Discover. Explore. And this is OK.

Finally, there is one other new experience I’ve recently stumbled upon. A Wisconsin-based agricultural organization had contacted me awhile back. Would I be interested in potentially recording some podcasts for them? Why, of course! Well it’s happened! In this first podcast, I share some suggestions and ideas of how we can care for ourselves and each other during this COVID-19 pandemic. I invite you to click over to the hosting website and take a listen:

https://pdpw.org/podcast/Persevering-during-Covid-19/details

Once again, as I listen to this podcast, I hear opportunities to improve. I’m very thankful for a new opportunity to explore how to share information in a quickly changing time in society.

So, even when we feel like we’re stuck in the wilderness, there are still opportunities to learn more about ourselves, each other, how to connect with one another and new ways of doing things.

Most importantly as we explore how to do this? Follow the great Cloud – Our Almighty God – who yearns to guides us on our way. Sometimes, it feels challenging to know when it’s something of our own volition and when it’s something directed by God. Allow yourself to spend time these wilderness days to be directed by God. When you allow this to happen, God is pretty good about showing up and helping us see the direction.

When we are feeling like we’re in the middle of a wilderness time, keep focused. God CAN and WILL provide great opportunities to grow. Yes, these days may feel a bit too challenging. Yet, they provide great opportunities for us to redefine our relationship with God. There’s a cloud longing to guide you. Keep your eyes peeled on the cloud. See what amazing things can happen.

For God’s journey with me in these wilderness days, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – Few of us are willing to ready look at change. We just want things the way they always have been. This isn’t our reality right now. May we allow ourselves to become clay that is molded and shaped by you. Amen.

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