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End of Your Rope

I started writing and erasing this message so many times because I feel like it has all been said already, and you have heard it all before.

  •  "We are living through uncharted territory"
  • “This is an unprecedented time.”
  • “I never planned to homeschool my kids.”
  • “Where’s all the TP?” #coronacation

 End of Your Rope:

Personally I like to take things one day at a time because that’s how I function best and stay positive. But when your world, country, county, and town are making decisions that don’t allow you to do that it can be daunting.  It is wild that we are living through something that is so far-reaching.  I don’t have a huge social media reach but everyone I am connected to is affected by this pandemic. A lot of us are in the same boat with trying to get to work or working from home, kids learning from home, curfews, events canceled, social distancing, etc. but I can’t pretend to completely understand what you are personally struggling with today.  I can almost guarantee you are struggling.  Maybe you felt like you were already at the end of your rope and then BOOM this mysterious COVID-19 enters your world and you are left wondering, “How do I make more rope?”

 Hang On Tight:

I can’t imagine trying to get through this time without leaning into my Lord.  Trust me I have been trying.  Making new house rules, drawing chore charts, creating extra-curricular idea lists, and doling out punishments….AAAAHHHH…I just can’t.  And I finally said, “I can’t, I just can’t.” And that’s when the verse that has come to me many times before, came to me today. Be still and know…Psalm 46:10.  Be still and know…I can’t.  I can’t manage all this without losing my mind.  I have to hand it all over and trust God for these next days, weeks, and months.  Do not be anxious about anything but through prayer and petition present your requests to God and the peace that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t just read those verses, rest in them.  How are we not to be anxious?  By prayer and petition…go to God. We will receive peace and it will guard our hearts and our MINDS. When my mind wanders to fear, too anxious thoughts, to anger, to sadness…I am instructed to pray.

Tie the Ropes Together:

So in this, week 2, I have made some changes.  The novelty wore off…working at the same table my kids were doing school at…no longer cute.  We now have our own workspaces and we have a schedule.  We actually stop for lunch instead of working through it.  When the stress builds we take the dog for a walk, sometimes together, sometimes alone.  As tension builds in my neck while watching the news, I listen to my body, I turn off the TV and I turn on worship music.  I allow myself to be sad our family vacation got ruined and call a friend I know will not make me feel bad for feeling bad.  God has given you a lot of strength and ability but we were never expected to do life alone.

God gave us the Church (the people, the community) so we could live life together and learn together.  Now it can seem that has been taken away.  I am telling you it has not, it is different but it is not gone.  We are still here.  Reach out, ask for prayer, get online and be a part of the Chapel Family.  We need you and you need us. We will continue to provide resources for you and reach out as often as we can but we need you to respond and reach out to others as well.  Even in quarantine, we can be the hands and feet of God. 

We love you Chapel Family!

Posted by Heather Horn with

Uneasy feelings for uneasy times

I’ve got to admit it- this feels really strange. 

It’s almost as if I woke up in a movie. One of those futuristic movies where store shelves are barren, people are edgier than normal (now that’s saying something here in NJ), and, having lived through many hurricanes, it truly feels like the calm before the storm.

What is happening around me seems so surreal and yet the tension is palpable.  It's like the days we are living in today are ones that we will look back upon and tell our grandchildren about.  A few weeks ago we were concerned about the Yankees and summer vacations, now we're concerned with yanking toilet paper away from each other and vacating germs from our hands. 

Admittedly, I feel a bit uneasy.  Yes, I know we will get through this and yes I know God is in control, but its difficult to not feel like change is coming.  Like these very days will be looked back upon as pre-Coronavirus vs. post-Coronavirus times much like pre-9/11 vs. post-9/11 days on our timelines.

How are you feeling about all this? 

If we are honest, I think that this new, unprecedented ground that we are walking is, if nothing else, strange.

Finding Hope in the Uneasy

And with anything new, unfamiliar, or strange, it can make us feel uneasy.  Below are two steps I am taking during this unfamiliar time.  My hope is that they may resonate with you as well. 

Choosing the Voices

With so much information coming at me from all directions, I can get quickly overwhelmed.  Minute by minute updates from the CDC, Governor, news, friends, family, social media, even strangers in the store, you name it, everyone is talking about the Coronavirus.

Because of this, I try to choose the voices that I hear.  Now I am not ignoring the reality of what is happening around me, but I am keenly aware of my tendency to be swayed or influenced by others.  So, I choose other voices and tune in to the voices that matter most i.e., God and my family.

This may come as a shock to you, but even as a pastor, sometimes I find it difficult to get into God’s word.  For me, it is a discipline that I need to consistently work at, and when things are ‘normal’ in life, it gets especially hard to stay disciplined in this area.

Yet, when things are chaotic and I feel myself walking on uneasy ground, spending time in God’s word feels richer and becomes a shelter I can run into. 

Enjoying Slowing Down 

Our culture is fast-paced and it’s hard to slow down and enjoy what is right before us while everyone else is moving at lightning speed.  Have you ever tried to slow down and enjoy the view on the Garden State Parkway?  You’d be run off the road!

But in this case, with the curfews, working from home, and quarantines, etc., we have a forced time to slow down- and most likely, an opportunity to be with our family that, we will never have again. 

So as I navigate the chaos of the Coronavirus, I try to slow down.  I get on the floor with my kids and play with them.  I position myself physically to see the world from their perspective.  

We get outside and hike and are mindful of what is happening around us, what we see, what we smell, what we hear.  We read, we write, we draw, we cook….we do things that allow us to be fully present where we are and with each other.  And as my kids grow, I find that’s it is these slow and deliberate times that create lasting memories. 

What a gift this forced slow-down can be! 

So this week, this day, this hour, enjoy the present and don’t allow yourself to rush into the next task or event or be preoccupied with what might happen next. 

It’s amazing the peace and contentment that God can bring to us when we choose the voices that influence us and slow down!  

I’d love to hear what you all are doing as you and your families navigate the strange new ground on which we find ourselves.

Posted by Paul Klouse with