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More From Shirla Andes

December 29, 2020 by Shirla Andes (Indiana, USA)

Like so many of you, the pandemic has greatly impacted my life.  It has been very difficult, and yet I seek to remain mindful that in all things God is working for the good of those who have been called according to God’s purpose.  As I shared in my meditation, being chosen last for teams in school was also difficult, but it did eventually produce fruit in my life.  It helped me to become more resilient and relate to God more intimately.  

I feel like God wants to grow me during these trying pandemic times as well.  My hope is that when the world gets back to normal, I will be changed for the better for having gone through this experience.  I am attempting not to focus solely on my frustration with the current circumstances, but to spend time praying about what I want to keep in my life when it is over.

The pace of my life is slower now, and I notice simple, daily gifts from God.  Gifts like the joy of watching neighborhood children build forts behind their house—something they were too busy to do before the pandemic.  They remind me of fun filled moments from my own childhood, making do with what we had and finding fun where we were.  When I run too much, I miss a lot.  I need to find more balance between rest and activity, so for the past several nights, I have taken time for what I call an adult recess.  I sit down for 10 minutes as the sun is setting to marvel at the beauty as God paints the sky, and I am refreshed.

While it is frustrating not to be able to connect with others in person, I have renewed some long-distance friendships I thought were lost.  My husband and I have a weekly prayer call with people from three different time zones and diverse church backgrounds.  Under normal circumstances, we probably would not connect, but it has been beautiful to learn to appreciate each other’s unique strengths as we feel the Lord’s presence even over Zoom.  I have also been able to use the phone to disciple women with busy daily schedules.  We remain flexible regarding when we talk, and we cover a lot in an hour.  When we are no longer under the restrictions of the pandemic, I want to stay open to how the Spirit wants to move and not hinder that movement with the constraints of how I have normally done things.

The current focus on death keeps me mindful that none of us knows the date or hour of our departure from this earth.  People die in accidents and unexpected medical situations even when we aren’t in a pandemic.  I want to say the important things to loved ones now instead of waiting for a future moment, which I may or may not be graced to receive. Why should I wait to tell them the impact they had on my life and what makes them special to me?  When I send cards this year, I intend to write things that I normally might hesitate to say.   

I hope Romans 8:28 encourages you, as it has me, to seek the silver linings during the pandemic: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (NIV).

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The Upper Room magazine's mission is to provide a practical way to listen to scripture, connect with believers around the world, and spend time with God each day.

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I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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