beloved

What I Have Learned

Do not fear, for I am with you copy

by Shawn Johnson

One thing I have learned during this pandemic is that we are made for community. 

God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)  

The first community was one man, one woman, and God.

Prior to March 11, 2020, when the CDC called Covid-19 a Pandemic, most of us were wishing for “some alone time”, even an extrovert like me. The rushing to and fro, the long to-do lists, the scrambling to get stuff together made our stress level high and time to figure out what to do about it scarce.

For those of us in Florida, our stay at home order was issued April 1st and like the rest of the world, schools closed, restaurants shut down and church gatherings moved online.

Now what? At first, some time at home is good, get things done around the house that has been on a honey-do list. But the reality of what was happening to our lives hit most of us pretty quickly: people were laid off from jobs; people worried about how they would pay bills and feed their families. And suddenly it felt like we were alone to figure it out.  We could not see our friends, our family, our church family, or the people that usually help us during tough times. 

Then I started to hear stories of people helping their neighbors by buying groceries, cleaning houses for those in need. Our church was flooded with calls from people offering to help others wherever they could and they did – our Care Team grew from 8 to 80 people in one week.  We started “Operation Krispy Kreme” by delivering 20-30 dozen donuts to first responders, Police, nurses, and doctors to honor their hard work.   Those that could sew made masks for anyone who needed them. Schools made a way for kids to still get meals, breakfast, and lunches every day and our volunteers helped. Schools even sent buses to neighborhoods for those that could not get to pick up spots.

Then Zoom became really important in our lives. We were not meant to be alone so God provided a way for us to stay in the community even though we couldn’t be ‘in’ community. We have zoom fatigue now but during the height of our stay at home order, Zoom became a lifeline to many people.  Zoom provided a way for kids to learn and stay in touch with their teachers. We saw an uptake in our small group community, people coming together in the word of God through a screen.  Many who were afraid to use technology learned so they could stay in the community.  Our Church Online presence increased and we were able to reach many who didn’t know Jesus.

Why did all of this happen? Because God told us He is with us.

God is with us, He told us, ‘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.’ Isaiah 41:10

I have learned during this pandemic when times are tough, people will come together.

They will care and love their neighbor as Jesus instructed us to, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:39

I have been uplifted during this difficult time seeing the love of people for each other come out. I am uplifted that we have found a way to stay in the community together and help one another.

My prayer for you my beloved sisters is that you know you are not alone and that you have been uplifted by the outpouring of support we have seen over the last few months.

Love God, Love People is not just something we say around here but something Jesus has put inside of us to live out every day, in every way we can during whatever season we are living through.

Shawn Johnson is a woman who lives her life with faith, energy and a “nothing is impossible” attitude. She is a wife, mother, business leader and I have the honor of her being my Assistant. One of my favorite things about Shawn is her smile because when she smiles, you believe that everything is possible too! I pray that your heart will be filled with encouragement by her words today.  – Cindy Grasso

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