By Carol Kent, March 24, 2020
In the past couple of weeks our lives have been turned upside-down due to the unanticipated invasion of COVID-19. I’ve seen empty shelves, anxious parents, fear of the future, loss of retirement funds, “social distancing,” temporary job loss (especially for my speaker/musician friends who’ve had their next three months of engagements cancelled or postponed while their bills remain constant), stressed people dealing with at-risk family members, and so much more.
So how do we hold on to hope?
1. Fear not.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10). Most of us feel less financially secure and more anxious about the future—but be encouraged—God has promised to help us.
2. Maintain a sense of humor.
“A merry heart does good, like medicine…” (Prov. 17:22). Find the splashes of joy in each day. A friend wrote: “Our younger son works for Apple and yesterday they had a Zoom call with his entire team. One young woman who was not familiar with Zoom didn’t realize that since she had her front-facing camera on, they could see her just like she could see the leader. She actually carried the phone with her into the bathroom and used the commode before realizing to her horror that her actions were visible to her coworkers. Simultaneously several said, “I didn’t see that!” It was hysterical. That young woman probably hopes the quarantine will last a very long time.
3. Be kind and forgiving to each other.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). Gene and I co-wrote a book on marriage with Dave & Cindy Lambert called, “Staying Power: Building a Stronger Marriage When Life Sends Its Worst.” Today I found myself a little critical of my husband when he suggested that with all my extra time, I might want to clean out my closet. Before lashing out, I stopped, realizing we need to choose our words carefully. I said, “That’s a good idea!” We’re working hard at being “unoffendable” amid the tension of this unanticipated challenge.
4. Serve others.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10). Look for the “one thing” you can do for someone else who needs help worse than you do. For us, it’s caring for the needs of Gene’s 91-year-old mother and her 80-year-old companion. Buy a bag of groceries for someone in need or send a text message of encouragement to a single parent. Serving others reduces our pain and increases our joy.
What’s happening with us and with Speak Up Ministries?
~ In anticipation of the current crisis being over, we’re currently planning to go ahead with the Speak Up Conference on July 9-11 in Grand Rapids, MI. If you’ve always wanted to attend, you’ll find that airfares are lower than ever, and if there would be a need to postpone this equipping event due to directives from the CDC, airlines aren’t charging change fees and they’re allowing you to apply costs to a future flight. Register now, knowing that your fee is refundable or transferable to a future Speak Up Conference.
~ We’re currently booking speaking engagements for the fall of 2020 and into 2021. Contact me here. I’d love to speak at your event.
~ There is no visitation allowed for Florida inmates due to COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. That means our son, Jason, would be blessed to hear from you. If you can send a card, letter, or word of encouragement, remember you can only enclose up to 20 first-class stamps, up to ten pictures, or up to ten blank cards and envelopes that he can use to write to others or share with other inmates. If you send multiple cards, they can’t be in a padded envelope and metal clasps aren’t allowed. Dollar Store cards are the best because cards can’t have anything glued to them—funny cards are appreciated. Mail is a lifeline and Jason will share with others. Here’s the address:
Jason P. Kent X26713
Desoto Annex Correctional Institution
13617 S. E. Hwy 70
Arcadia FL 34266