Building Relationships in the Crazy COVID Crisis

by Susan G Mathis

Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship; it will affect every aspect of your relationships. Good personal communication is the act of revealing yourself—your past experiences, present feelings, and future dreams. It’s sharing your fears, needs, and desires carefully and honestly. Communicating well is also about setting boundaries, confronting problems, admitting when you’re wrong, rejecting fearmongering and negativity, and extending grace to each other.
But in this crazy COVID season, it feels so isolating, so anti-relationship, and so self-withdrawing. In short, it’s scary. It’s confusing. It’s lonely. It makes us want to hide from others.
And it’s unhealthy.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they broke the communication they had with their Creator and caused isolation from Him. They covered up and hid. They withdrew, isolated, and lost relationship.
God never intended that. He knew that a life of withdrawing and hiding would be painful and counterproductive. That’s why God delights in His people fighting back fears of connection, overcoming negative communication patterns, and learning to communicate in healthy and loving ways. And I dare say, He still wants that for us, even during this COVID season.
Connecting, communicating, and not isolating might look a little different during this time. You may have to be proactive in connecting with others through Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, social media, or the phone. You may have to fight the isolation and the fear that comes with this COVID season. And you may have to proactively reveal yourself by communicating your fears, frustrations, concerns—and your faith.
In my latest novella, Reagan’s Reward, Reagan struggled to build healthy relationships and communicate with those different from her. She tried to isolate and fear overtook her. And she plunged into a dark place.
God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. God wants us to encourage others. God wants us to be authentic and hopeful.
This will pass, and everything does. But God’s truths never change. Communicate that, and we’ll all be encouraged. And healthier for it.

Susan G. Mathis

Susan G. Mathis

Susan G Mathis is vice president of CAN and an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including the Illumination Book Award, the American Fiction Award and the Indie Excellence Book Award. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.

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Honoring the Fallen

This Memorial Day feels different than those in recent memory. I’m sure its sense of untimeliness is related to the COVID-19 issues swirling around us. We need community – as believers and as humans – and that sense of community has been threatened.

Today is a perfect day to remember those who have fallen while fighting for our communities.

Those warriors cannot hear our thanks, but their families and descendants can. May we acknowledge their sacrifices by remembering that nothing we possess or enjoy has been gained or achieved on our own.

Others have contributed.

The Psalmist wrote:

“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them” (Psalm 44:3).

Notice the progression in this verse – from God’s hand to His arm to His face. As though the reader is drawing closer and closer to Him, recognizing that our great and loving God is the one who gives us victory.

Let us remember the men and women who sacrificed their present and their futures so others yet to come could enjoy the very same in peaceful community.

An Impossible Price by Davalynn Spencer

An Impossible Price by Davalynn Spencer

Davalynn Spencer, Author

Davalynn Spencer

Davalynn Spencer, bestselling author and winner of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction, can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. When she’s not writing Western romance, she teaches writing workshops and wrangles Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley.

 

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“(Misfortune) can ruin your life only if it ruins your character. Otherwise, it cannot harm you—inside or out.” Aurelius

“The great objective of this life is character, for it is the only thing we can carry with us into eternity.” Austin Phelps

Doesn’t it help to keep in mind, when life feels particularly hard, that God has our character growth in mind? Right now with the COVID-19 epidemic keeping most of the world in lockdown, with economies declining, it is easy to see loss and limitations.

The usual props we rely on to keep us afloat seem suddenly tenuous, melting away with alarming speed.  Worse, we are reminded of our mortality and the fragile nature of life.

The invisible work of God in our lives and hearts—our character—is less easily discerned. But it’s right there, revealing the shaky foundations. And so we must choose: to mourn the loss of the safe-holds we have trusted in, or give them up in exchange for Him.

Is the lockdown exacerbating something in your character that needs improvement? Are secret fears and doubts growing in strength? The Lord brings us to the tip of the iceberg we’ve been floating on (we thought it was sturdy land) and now bids us gaze into the icy depths of our soul.

We must face our helplessness. Only then can we surrender the melting thing we trusted in and turn to the Rock.

Trust is not weakness of character. It is the very growth we need.  The growth that will take us through the lockdown and accompany us into eternity. Despite material losses, we gain. That’s Kingdom economy!

Forever, Lately

Linore Rose Burkard writes “Romance to Warm the Heart, Fiction to Stir the Soul.” Best known for Inspirational Regency Romance, she also writes  YA/Suspense and Contemporary Romance. Find her online at https://www.LRBurkard.com, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/LinoreBurkardReadersGroup/

 

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 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:1-5).

Who reading this today has been “justified through faith”? If so, the Bible says you should have peace with God through our Lord Jesus.

Who reading this today “boasts in the glory of our sufferings”? Today, we could say “boasts in the glory of losing our job,” or “boast in the glory of contracting COVID-19.”

Who reading this knows “suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character?” Yet, we pray often for our lives to be suffering-free and chaff at the thought of enduring suffering time after time.

Who reading this knows “character produces hope”? The kind of hope that defies human understanding…the kind that seems other-worldly because it is not of this world, but of the kingdom of heaven…

You see, to have hope in days like these, you must have already been through the fire. You must have suffered on more than one occasion.

To have hope in days like these, you must be able to outlast viruses and government shutdowns and rely on the living God with a “crazy” determination.

To have hope in days like these, your character should be forged of God’s heavenly dominion, not earthly whims, filled with fear and regret.

To have hope in days like these, your hope—built through the fires of suffering—will be the thing that shines brightest before men and women in your sphere of influence.

To have hope, Biblical hope, isn’t easy. But when attained and maintained, it is by far the most peaceful. For our God is bigger than any virus.

Kevin Thompson photo

Kevin Thompson, author

The Letters

Kevin Thompson is an ordained minister, and his published works include two award-winning novels, The Serpent’s Grasp (winner of the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award for First Fiction) and 30 Days Hath Revenge – A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, the first in a continuing series. His latest novel, The Letters, was released in Feb. 2020. For more, visit Kevin’s website www.ckevinthompson.com/ or his Writer’s Blog www.ckevinthompson.blogspot.com/. Facebook: C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page; Twitter: @CKevinThompson; Instagram: ckevinthompson; Pinterest: ckevinthompsonauthor; Goodreads: C. Kevin Thompson; BookBub: C. Kevin Thompson

 

 

 

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