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Flourish in the Unexpected

In a few weeks’ time, our world has turned upside down. That’s the thing about crises — they come unannounced and settle right over the plans and dreams we’d scrawled into planners and calendars.  Stores have sold out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer and our best plans have cancelled like bad Christmas tree lights – conferences, speaking engagements, church services, ballet lessons, senior class trips, weddings, sporting events, and more. In the days since, we’ve seen this virus escalate globally, then nationally and then like a London fog seeping into our towns and cities.  We’ve isolated to protect the vulnerable and ourselves, working from home and schooling from home and we don’t know how long this will last. Both the world at large and our personal worlds have turned upsid...

April Scripture Writing Guide (2020)

Scripture writing plans are incredibly simple, yet incredibly effective for helping us read, interpret and absorb the Word of God. Rather than simply letting our eyes pass over a verse and perhaps miss its full meaning, writing Scripture down helps us absorb each word and really think through what the passage before us is saying. Each day in April you’ll have the opportunity to write down a verse. We suggest using a journal where you can add any additional mediations or prayers that the verse brings to mind. Click here to download the April Scripture Writing Guide!

Battling Insecurity

             In junior high, it seems nothing can be worse than a new school year and the dreaded lunch break. It is the time when your social future is seemingly decided.  You awkwardly stumble through the lunch line, heart pounding, as you receive the sloppy joe, boxed milk, and cold fries. You retrieve your plate and turn to find a seat. Inevitably, it happens. You quickly survey the room, scanning the crowd for even one familiar face, and everyone seems to have found their group of friends. Cliques form, and many teen girls are convinced they don’t belong anywhere.             I thought insecurity was marked for just the awkward pre-teen and teen years until I broached my ...

in these strange days: the importance of giving voice to your moments and emotions

Week two of shelter in place. A strange existence. All five of us in this bungalow every day except for walks with the dog. Things are both simpler and more complicated. A focusing inward while also looking outward. How are we doing? How are our hearts? How is the world hurting and how do we respond? What do we do? How do we pray? Hearts might crack open more easily here, in this space. Relationships that need tending to are more difficult to ignore. And this cracking open is good, I think. As the saying goes, “You have nowhere to go, nowhere to hide.” But with all this opportunity to slow down–have a different pace, from our being forced to stay home–the being home day after day brings with it different challenges. Don’t you agree? And hiding is still possible, isn’t it? Hiding from the p...

Quarantined – How Are You Doing in There?

www.courtnayerichard.com Hey Sister! At the time of this writing, majority of us are being quarantined in our homes during the Coronavirus. So my question this week is “How are doing in there?” Are you sick or are you well? If you’re sick, I’m praying for you, sister. And if you’re well, take advantage of this down time, because when we’re all back out into the world and into our normal routines, we’ll be praying for some much needed quiet time or extra time catching up on things.  With that being said whether you’re working outside of the home, because you’re wanted on the job or in the health field, or whether you’re quarantined at the moment, I want to suggest a few helpful tips during this time. Are you ready?  Here goes… Rest when you can Get up earlier to spend some time wi...

Against the Odds—A Reflection on Gideon and Covid-19

I was talking on the phone to our accountant just as things with COVID-19 were starting to get serious. We were both sharing some of our concerns about how school and business closures will affect families and businesses. I shared the comfort that has been on my mind lately—the story of Gideon defeating the Midianites.  If you’re not familiar with this Bible story, God makes a plan to use Gideon to lead the Israelites to defeat their enemy, the Midianites, who were oppressing them. Gideon gathers 32,000 men to fight the Midianites but the day of their attack, God stops Gideon saying, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.” Judges 7:2  God ...

what hope looks like: poetry in a pandemic

Light is shining. I can see it. Covering my skin, entering my heart. I breathe deep. Let air move these lungs. Day five of shelter in place and every one of these days I leave my house and walk. The dog needing to get out is my excuse–but really, I need the walk too. My heart needs solace. And I find it in the strolls around the neighborhood, meeting, at a distance, at least a dozen people each time–always on other sides of the street–out walking too. We smile. Say hello. And there is a knowing, a comfort, somehow, in the shared experience. The world, as a whole, feels closer, smaller now. And not because we literally can’t go far from our homes–but because our attention has turned.  God, You are good. You are doing something good. Even though it is difficult, now, to understand. I am...

On-Demand Interview with Sally Lloyd-Jones of the Jesus Storybook Bible

In honor of Easter, I recently had the privilege of sitting down with New York Times bestselling author Sally-Lloyd Jones! Sally has written the best children’s Bible on the market, the Jesus Storybook Bible, that’s sold over 3 million copies and been translated into 44 languages and counting.  Watch the interview here on demand. In this interview, you’ll hear her talk about: * Her personal story, which begins in Africa * The unexpected road to her success * How her life as a little girl informs what she does today (including touring with Amy Grant!) * Tips for connecting with children * How to dispel coronavirus fears Plus, this episode includes TWO special treats: * Sally reads an excerpt of her Jesus Storybook Bible (Gather your child...

there is good here, I can see it: how poetry invites truth

It is a hard time. Fear sweeping hold of hearts. Disease and disaster. Pain and loss. We suffer and we worry. We stumble and lift up our heads, our hands–our hearts weary and hungry for change. But I don’t need to tell you what you already know. You feel it. Deep within you. And I am not going to manipulate you here with putting words to describe the deep concern you surrender to God again and again. So many things. And He is good. He is good. In the midst of so much hurt. God does not change. God is love–His love more powerful than anything we can imagine. Nothing can stand against it. Not disease. Not exhaustion. Not overwhelm. Not stress. Not loss of hope. He is bigger than any of that. Anything this world can throw at us. Nothing is too big. Too scary. Too out of control. He is in...

Novel Coronavirus: My Thoughts as a Registered Nurse and a Jesus Follower

Novel Coronavirus, AKA COVID-19 is causing havoc around the world. If you have escaped the news, social media, or the old-fashioned method of communication also known as word-of-mouth, I am truly in awe. If, however, you are thinking, “Sarah, come on. I am so tired of hearing about this virus,” take just a couple of minutes and appease me as a blogger, friend, family member, AND health care provider. Let me lay out this blog post in two parts: Part 1: From the angle of a science-brained/registered nurse/community health care provider/voice of logic Part 2: From the angle of a follower of Jesus, who loves Him and His people dearly Ready? Here we go! Part 1: Science-brained/registered nurse/community health care provider/voice of logic A quick background for those who are newer to ...

Ways You Can Serve a Single Parent

How can we, as loving, compassionate, members of the global body of Christ, reach out and show love to single parents? Maybe the single parents in your life seem like they have it all together. There are some amazingly strong single parents today, and many are achieving success parentally and emotionally while finding great freedom in their walk with the Lord. But even those strong, amazing single parents could use an occasional helping hand. Here are a few practical ways to brighten a single parent’s day: – Babysit for free and do it often. Single mothers often work many hours per week and do not want to ask for help. They may even work a second or third job, or be attending a local college, too. Babysitting can be expensive. Encourage single mothers in your life to take the n...

Trusting God During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Last week my daughter reminded me we ran out of hand soap, so I took a quick trip to Target after getting her to school to replenish. To my surprise, there was only one family size of antibacterial soap left. I was aware of the growing concerns of the coronavirus, but I wasn’t quite sure of its effects on people’s buying decisions quite yet until I started looking for toilet paper. Each day after that, I watched the serious efforts governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals were taking to prevent the spread of this disease. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced the coronavirus (or Covid-19) a pandemic. A pandemic is an outbreak of a disease that spreads across a vast region such as continents or worldwide. On March 13, 2020, the United States President Don...