Hope@Home – April 16, 2020

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We’re excited for you to hear this devotional today from Jeremy Napier! Jeremy is the guy behind the scenes of much our weekend livestream and also one of our worship leaders- if you want to send him a note of encouragement you can reach him here.

UNITED PRAYER: Our missionaries around the world. 

Let’s pray today for our long-term missionaries at Hope Chapel! We support missionaries all over the world, and many have grown up at Hope or have been partners in ministry for many years. Pray that they would be filled with peace in this time, that they would have all of the resources that they need for their families, and that God would bless & multiply their missions work even as the whole world takes a pause.

FAMILY RESOURCES -Processing Grief and Loss

Contributed Article from guest writer Val McArthur
While our experiences through this time vary incredibly from one another- from first responders working 13 hour shifts to families with young kids stuck at home- we’re all experiencing some sort of loss or change. 

Events have been cancelled. School looks different. Grocery shopping might suddenly feel stressful or scary. Daily we’re being asked to do life differently. It can be easy to fall into the mindset that we have to be ok at all times. However, it’s ok to acknowledge the losses that we’ve had, big and small- this is the biblical process of grieving, or mourning. If you’re feeling sad, that’s ok. If you’ve been struggling with anxiety or depression, that’s ok. If you’re not being super productive while you’re stuck at home, that’s ok too. 

God doesn’t ask us not to mourn. In fact, He blesses and comforts those who mourn (Matthew 5:4).  

Start with this: we are called as believers to be transformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus. As co-heirs to the throne, He invites us to approach Him with confidence and fix our eyes on things above.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7

Now that your hearts and minds are guarded- remember who God is, and what He has done- and therefore what we should do:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Phil 4:8-9

So, whether you’re a single young adult on Maui, or a parent trying to lead your kids through this tough time, here are some things to help you process through your emotions and keep your eyes on Him who is in control.

1. Acknowledge The Losses

This past Easter weekend I found myself vacillating between feeling hopeful for the new opportunities and ways to experience and celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection, and feeling sad and down without understanding why. I ended up making a list of all the things I was going to miss about a normal Easter (Sunrise service, being able to make plans with friends, getting dressed up for church, getting a hug from my church Aunties, etc.). Only once I had done that was I able to look forward to the rest of the day and plan quarantine-appropriate ways to celebrate by myself. 

While I had the chance to speak my list verbally to a friend, feel free to journal, draw, or express what you’re feeling in creative ways. Have grace and compassion with yourself while you do this. There is nothing too silly or thing too small to write down or say.

2. Limit Time on Social Media and the News

I found myself almost obsessively checking the news, waiting for updates, anticipating worst case scenarios and wondering what the next big life-changing policy was going to be. Now, I try to stay in the habit of only checking the news once a day, it helps to ease fear and to truly focus on the peace of God!

I’ve also taken a break from social media entirely. Seeing other people’s situations can sometimes cause us to feel more fear and anxiety or highlight isolation and loneliness. If you find Instagram or Facebook is affecting you or your family, try to limit your usage to a certain amount of time each day, or allot a scheduled time for you to scroll.

3. Take Advantage of What We Are Allowed to Do

While it may be tempting to just stay inside and watch Netflix all day, sometimes it’s helpful to disconnect and be just be present. Start by writing out a list of things that give you life. For me, connecting with others, getting outside, having new experiences and learning something new all give me life. What are yours?

Since we’re still allowed to go out on walks, to swim and to surf, I’ve been trying to do something active every single day. Some days that’s just a ten minute bike ride around my neighborhood, others it’s long walks on South Kihei while I talk to a friend on the phone. 

If I’m feeling sluggish in the afternoon, pursuing artistic expression through writing, painting, macrame and cooking and writing letters to friends has given me great joy!

What do you enjoy doing that is quarantine-friendly? Write out a list, and choose just one to do today.  And remember to pray. Pray for others. Praise God for who He is. Focus on praiseworthy things. Practice these things, and God’s peace will come. God be with all of us during this time.

For those with children at home- here’s a way to engage with them and process grief and loss:

HOW-TO: Fasting and Praying

Church, as we continue to fast and pray on Fridays, here’s a great article on how to approach your time of fasting: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-secret-benefit-of-fasting

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