This is Chapter 7 of Discovering Joy, my devotion-style diary during the coronavirus self-isolation, which I am posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. Enjoy!
"I am banning myself from Facebook for the rest of the day," I announced to my husband Paul. "I've just seen way too much negativity today."
Being pregnant has made my emotions so much more "extra," so things that normally I'd be able to shake my head at and then ignore, I now find infuriating or irrationally devastating. I've found myself typing out paragraphs of responses to various posts on Facebook, only to pause, re-read what I have written, and recognize that my brilliant riposte is not going to solve anything ultimately. Highlight. Delete. Of course, I think of myself as one of the few sane ones in a sea of irrational adults. But every other adult in this mess thinks the exact same thing, so who am I to claim that I'm different?
This is Chapter 6 in a devotion-style coronavirus isolation diary entitled Discovering Joy, which I am posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. Enjoy!
Today, I am thinking about the global church during the oppression of the virus, and how the intentionality we must put into fellowship now suddenly makes us so much more aware of who we choose to spend time with.
One of the most powerful things about the church is that it forces us to love people that we would never have chosen to love. We live in an age in which church shopping is normal. While I do believe there are legitimate reasons to choose to fellowship in one church over another, and that it's important to worship in an environment where you are truly being built up spiritually, I also suspect that we approach church with far too much self-focus.
This is Chapter 5 of a devotion-style coronavirus isolation diary entitled Discovering Joy, which I am posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. Enjoy!
It feels as though the Lord is revealing a reenactment of the Easter history in the world today.
As we shut ourselves into our homes to avoid the presence of viral death, it feels like the closing of a tomb.
As we wait in breathless, exhausting solitude for the danger to pass, it feels like the stillness of death.
When we finally step outside our doors into the light of restored fellowship, it will feel like a resurrection.
Without that third part--without the rising from the dead--the story's ending is not worth reading. We remain huddled in separation and social death and fear, with no hope of deliverance. We must have hope. We must know that renewed life is part of the story.
This is Chapter 4 of Discovering Joy, a devotion-style quarantine diary I'm posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad during the coronavirus self-isolation.
Holy Week feels strange this year. I'm used to the bustle of planned Easter egg hunts, baskets filled with goodies, and pastel everything. I'm used to the deprivation of Lent*, the solemn assemblies on Good Friday, the light-filled church service on Sunday, and the laughter of large family gatherings after church.
(*For the record, I'm Protestant, but my mother's side of the family is Catholic, so traditions like Lent are a part of our extended family's larger celebration.)
This is Chapter 3 of Discovering Joy, a devotional-style quarantine diary I'm posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad during the coronavirus self-isolation.
Last week, the fear hit me hard. Up until then, I had been doing a good job of ignoring it. I was just collecting data, keeping up with the news, practicing my proper social distancing, sheltering at home... It was a tidy response and I thought it was sufficient.
But the cracks have been showing for weeks.
Reading the news circulating on Facebook is panic-worthy. Stories of otherwise healthy people who first developed symptoms on Wednesday and were dead by the next Tuesday, stories from survivors who tell of gasping for air for weeks as they battled for their lives in home quarantine, stories of hospital staff making ethical decisions to aid one patient over another because there simply are not enough resources for everyone.
This is Chapter 2 of Discovering Joy, a devotional-style quarantine diary I'm posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad.
To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:2-3)
The coronavirus started as someone else's problem. It was tragic, certainly, but things that do not touch close to home do not bear the same emotional weight as those which interrupt our lives. As the murmurs from China grew into cries of deep distress, and as the virus raised voices all across Europe, I began to feel a little more the heaviness of the world's need. But still, an ocean separated me from the reality.
But the ocean was only a plane flight away. Cases began emerging in the states, and with them the firestorm of responses on social media.
This is Chapter 1 of Discovering Joy, a book that I'm writing and posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. Enjoy!
Two thousand years ago, a fiery man named Peter wrote a letter to a church grieving their losses and pains. I have to wonder whether God, looking down the corridor of time and seeing the losses and pains of His children in many places of the world, in many eras of human history, specifically ordained that my church in Virginia, would be studying 1 Peter when the coronavirus changed our lives. Unlike Nero and other tyrants who brought deliberate death and destruction to the people of God, our enemy is something we can't see, with invisible allies called Isolation, Depression, Economic Loss, and a host of others.
But the words that speak so poignantly to suffering and our faith in the midst of it burn into me every Sunday as we study through as a congregation, each of us in our own homes but united in purpose and in the Holy Spirit.
My notes on the sermon are a mingling of the pastor's main points, specific quotes he shares, and my own thoughts as I process through his words.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.