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Balancing the Past, Present and Future

Lately, whenever I walk into the kitchen, our dog runs into the basement. Not sure what that means, but my wife Barbie says the dog is picking up on my stress levels. That’s nice. Here I think I’m managing everything pretty well and I end up stressing the dog out…

Well, it turns out the dog is probably on to something. I tend to overthink things during the best of times, so being stuck at home during a pandemic just ratchets this up to new levels. I find myself in this cycle of thinking about things that I can’t go back and change: “Why didn’t I cash out my 401K in January?”, “Why didn’t I buy more toilet paper??” to thinking about things that haven’t happened yet: “What if the coronavirus spreads thru my family?”, “What if it spreads thru the church?”, “What will “church” even look like in the fall?”. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed thinking about things we can never control.

So how do we fight back against this? We know that we can’t change what’s happened already and we won’t be able to control what tomorrow brings, so what do we do? For me, it helps to grieve the past, embrace the present, and rely on God for the future.

A couple of weeks ago (it seems like last year!) I was talking to Heather Horn, our Director of Family Ministries, about the need to cancel some upcoming events at the church. Heather said she wasn’t ready to make those decisions yet, that she needed to grieve the loss first. That was really wise, and lately, I’ve been feeling a lot of that. It’s helped to remind myself of the stages of grief: Denial (I’m pretty healthy, I won’t get the virus…”), Anger (“I can’t believe they won’t let me go outside…”), Bargaining (“If I do everything they say, then we’ll be fine…”), Sadness (“This is never going to end…”) and finally Acceptance (“This is real, we have to make it work…”). Keep in mind we rarely go through these stages in order – I find myself bouncing back and forth between them.

It’s ok to grieve that things are not going the way we planned – that your senior year is not what you expected, that the vacation you planned isn’t happening – but keep pushing yourself toward Acceptance where you’re able to deal with this “new normal”.

Embracing the present can help with this. I need to embrace the good things that are happening now instead of focusing on the past or future. For example, in our house, we’ve actually been eating dinner together every night – and looking forward to it! For most of you, this is probably something you’ve done forever, but in our house, we usually end up eating in shifts because of work, school, piano lessons, etc. The other day I actually caught myself thinking that I’ll miss these dinner times once we’re “back to normal”…

Finally, rely on God for the future. It’s easy to say that God is in control, but He is. God is sovereign, and He has seen all this unfold in eternity past. None of this has caught Him off-guard. Keep going back to Psalm 46: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” Amen.

We are all in this together. Please know that the Chapel staff and leadership are praying for you all, and we are here to help in any way you need. Reach out to us anytime.

Posted by Ted Voltmer with

The Resurrection in Isolation

This is going to be a very strange Easter for all of us! Unlike the occasional snowstorm that disrupts our Easter plans, this Easter will be the first major holiday that we experience ‘alone-together’ during this Covid-19 pandemic.

For some of us, this will be an Easter spent alone and feelings of isolation may be intense this year do to all that is happening around us.

For others, this will be the first holiday that we won’t be able to spend with extended family or even closer family members due to travel restrictions, quarantines, and group gathering guidelines.

Alone or in a smaller than usual group, this will be hard as many years of traditions are ‘put on hold’ and we will be forced to celebrate in new and different ways. Even what you traditionally eat may be different this year!

Whether you celebrate in a small gathering, or alone, I believe that This Easter has the Potential to Connect us to Jesus’s Resurrection Like Never Before and here is why:

Jesus’ Followers Experienced Isolation and the Loss of Normalcy When He Died

Think about this, the disciples had left everything to follow Jesus. They were “all in” with Him and they trusted Him enough to radically alter their lives, occupations, and devotion. They had followed Jesus for years, and when Jesus died their leader was gone, the object of their affection was gone, and their sense of normalcy was gone.
They were scattered and isolated from each other and their Savior.

Can you relate to this? Do you feel isolated? Have you lost any sense of normalcy in your life? I know I sure feel like this!

But here is what we know…

Resurrection Power Works in Isolation.

Jesus died alone and isolated from God and from His followers. He spent 3 days in the tomb cut off from life and cut off from His Father.

However, we know He was not alone in that tomb. God was performing the most amazing, earth-shattering, death-defying, history-altering, and life-changing event in history, seemingly in the midst of isolation.

Through Jesus, death was defeated. Isolation was defeated. Never again do people have to die isolated from God and alone.

This Easter, never allow who is or isn’t with you to define isolation or to determine what God can or cannot do. You are not alone! God works powerfully in times of isolation!

And finally, this Easter, please know that…

Out of Death, Life Bursts Forth

No matter how dark and gloomy our lives may feel right now and however it seems like death and darkness have the upper hand, because of Jesus’ resurrection, life, goodness, and hope always rise from difficult times.

We feel alive when someone calls or emails simply to check in on us.

We see goodness in acts of kindness that people show to one another.

We hear hopefulness when we watch people applauding healthcare workers leaving their shift.

Can you see it?

Because Jesus conquered death, He brought us life, goodness, and hope in the middle of our darkest days.

So be hopeful- signs of Jesus’ resurrection are all around you!

As you experience a different kind of Easter this year, remember that Jesus’ earliest followers experienced isolation and the loss of normalcy, God’s resurrection power works in isolation, and out of death, life bursts forth!

This Sunday, I pray that you connect with Jesus’ resurrection like never before!

We love and are praying for you!

Happy Easter 2020!

Posted by Paul Klouse with

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