The Challenge

A young mother weeps as she cradles her infant son.  Her precious little bundle should be enjoying the loving embraces of family and friends but there is no one who can safely enter her home.  An active little boy longs for play dates with his friends, but video chats must suffice and he cries from the loneliness.  A grandmother sits alone in her room, missing the hugs of her loved ones.  A teacher struggles to work with her students from home as they deal with forced isolation.

These are just a few of the scenarios we face during this pandemic.  All of us know someone who struggles with the effects of personal distancing, travel restrictions, and quarantine requirements.  Perhaps it is even yourself who is knocked out, blown away, and laid low by the circumstances of this past year.  For many hope ebbs and flows and it is a challenge to find encouragement to move forward.

At first, we made more of an effort.  In the early days of the pandemic, we organized video chats and did drive by parties.  We shared encouraging messages and made videos to express our feelings.

Now, this whole pandemic restriction thing is getting old.  We tire easily from all the efforts it takes to stay safe. Or we throw caution to the wind and don’t care if we expose ourselves to infection.

Burnout is a very real element in today’s world.  People have had enough and badly want things to return to normal – but that is still a long time coming.

My heart hurts as well.  I miss hugging my children and grandchildren.  I face fatigue as I follow all the protocols every time I leave the house.  I cry out to God, asking, “How long Lord?  How do I continue to move forward when I feel so lonely and upside down with all that is going on?”

Thankfully He hears and He answers.  In recent weeks, God provided me with much needed encouragement.  It was very simply, really.  All it took was a few people contacting me.  What’s the big deal about that?  Each of these people are in my life in some fashion, but are not people with whom I have regular communication.  Out of the blue each of them either called or emailed, just to check how I am doing or to encourage me in some way.  It has happened multiple times, every few days or so.  It is too much of a coincidence to not be God initiated.

I cannot begin to tell you what these contacts have meant to me in this isolating time.  These unexpected moments of cheer lift my spirits and give me hope.  My smile returns and I approach my day in a more positive manner.  I know God is taking care of my well-being through these interactions.

All it takes is somebody making the time to see how I am doing.  It is responding to those God given nudges to reach out to someone.  

You can be the answer to someone’s hurt, loneliness, fatigue, or despair.  Many times, we don’t really know what is going on with people and the hidden troubles they face.  Open your heart and spirit to those around you.  Ask God to show you who needs care and a hopeful message right this moment.  Not only will you bring immense joy to others, but you will improve your own outlook as well.

Share the Hope Challenge:

I challenge you today – reach out in a special way to someone in your life.  Maybe it’s the cashier at the grocery store who keeps faithfully serving her community.  Maybe it’s the little girl playing by herself or your elderly neighbour down the street. Perhaps it is family members who need a dose of encouragement.

Make sure – TODAY – that thanks to your efforts, someone knows they are not alone and that there is hope for the future.  

And I challenge you further:  Don’t just reach out today.  Every day find some way, somebody, somehow, to show someone else that they matter to God and they matter to you.  Don’t stop!  We need to spread this hope and care around if we are going to get through this pandemic. 

Let’s start a revolution – a revolution of care and encouragement.  Please share this post and let’s make a difference!

Share the Hope Challenge

www.hopeandencouragement.ca

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