The following is a letter that I, recently, sent to my e-mail friends. E-mail is my favorite place to write. It’s where I share what I don’t share on the internet. Readers, always, tell me how much they love, and are encouraged, by my e-mail letters.
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Now, here’s the letter:
I loved back to school shopping as a kid. Supplies were fun–especially the prospect of a new Trapper Keeper (if you don’t know what I’m talking about then you are young and you should revel in your youth), but the back-to-school shopping I really loved pertained to THE MALL (it was the late 80’s when “The MALL” was in its glory days). Every August, my mom would take me to Woodfield (the big mall, an hour away); the mall where they had a Gap Kids, Limited Too, and a really cool 50’s diner called Lucky’s. I’d score a new pair of jeans, shoes and a top or two. The clothes were fun, but, now that I’m older I recognize, it was all about the quality time. Not much has changed since 1988 because every year for my birthday (which happens to be pretty close to August) I choose to go to Woodfield with my mom (these days there is a Nordstrom there).
I wish the big decision, of this month, was finding a day to take my kids to Woodfield to pick out new school shoes. But here we are–here we ALL are–trying to decide what to even do about school (before it is, eventually (in my humble opinion) decided for us) and which mask to buy (oh, and now we might need goggles–no that wasn’t a typo while thinking of swimming–according to Dr. Fauci).
Are you feeling EVERYTHING about back-to-school, like me?
Hopeful. Nervous. Confused. Sad. Excited. Anxious. Unsure.
It all sounds pretty normal. Consider going to a new school. Consider seeing friends again. Consider class choices. Consider a mom with the prospect of some alone time. Consider summer coming to end.
But these emotions are, now, seen through the lens of a pandemic. It’s heavy (and I’m not just referring to the amount of correspondence to weed through–God bless educators)! The choices we must make are based upon fluid information that keeps changing and must be fastidiously fact-checked.
This week, I think we need to all hold space for each other (which is the new-ish way to say, “I’m putting my focus on you and what you are feeling. I see you.”). I imagine that what you are feeling is what we all are feeling.
Hopeful. Nervous. Confused. Sad. Excited. Anxious. Unsure. +TIRED.
Are you keenly aware, like me, that decision fatigue is extra fatigue-y with a side of mental exhaustion at the moment? It’s because each decision seems to carry the cost of danger. I don’t know about you, but I seem to turn into an interrogator upon hearing the words “Can I ________?” from one of my children. I don’t desire to be an interrogator (except for when I’m solving TV mysteries), but I find it necessary in order to be thorough.
So . . . how do we do this?
Live our lives (the full life Christ paid for). Make decisions. Move forward. Have community. Be present. Trust God. Take steps forward (without clear direction).
We do it . . . .
“Faith is our handle on what we can’t see.” (Hebrews 11:1 MSG).
What a clear and holy reminder that we don’t have to have a handle on what we can’t see, figure out, or don’t understand. We simply need to have faith.
We are called to live by faith.
Therefore, everything you do–do it “by faith.”
Make the best decision, you can, with the information you have–by faith.
Send your kids back to school–by faith.
Homeschool your kids, for the first time ever–by faith.
Continue working from home–by faith.
Take the new job–in uncertain times–by faith.
Get your groceries–by faith.
Start something new–in a time when everything is getting canceled–by faith.
Dream of better days–by faith.
Quit something–by faith.
I want to encourage you to read and meditate on Hebrews 11 (the faith chapter) this week. This is the very way we grow in faith (by hearing God’s Word). It was the tall glass of water my soul was thirsting for, this week. My favorite version is the Amplified, but I recommend you read it in The Passion Translation too. It reads as if faith does the work, faith does the heavy lifting: “faith translated Enoch, faith moved Noah’s heart to receive revelation, faith motivated Abraham to obey. Faith inspired. Faith prompted. Faith made it logical (I need to sit with that one for a while), and so on.
My prayer for you, for me, this week is that the lens we look through is not that of a pandemic, but a lens of faith.
And if it comes to goggles and shields (talk about looking through the lens of a pandemic! )–I’ll be the weirdo who inscribes mine with “BY FAITH.” Probably in pink.
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P.S. If you’ve come this far . . . I was browsing this 80s insta page (I love nostalgia) and literally stopped in my tracks when I saw this pic because I was like wait . . . “that’s my mall”. So here is to Woodfield Mall 1980 something. Note: this is not me and my mom. Clearly, it’s some girl and her grandma … But seeing Marshall Field’s in the background, and knowing Benetton was just off to the right, gives me all the feels.