Community at Home

Social distancing means the community that was once outside the walls of our home, is now entirely within. This brings us closer as a family physically and relationally, but exposes weaknesses as well. What to do with them?

If there was ever a time to recognize the issues in a family, now is it. They tend to be glaringly obvious when you spend hours, days and weeks on end together. Much like Dr. Seuss’s There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, our issues tend to pop up around every corner of the home in all shapes and sizes.

How easy it is to brush aside our selfishness, our offenses, our laziness and our brokenness when life moves along at a nice little clip. When the only time we are faced with them is a few hours at night before we crash into our pillow vowing to deal with it all on the morrow. But, we are not Scarlett O’Hara and we cannot think about that tomorrow when yesterday, today and tomorrow are all endlessly blending together in a long drawn out display of: us.

Daunting? Actually, this is a good thing. Issues swept aside take root, bear fruit and spread their ruinous seed everywhere. However, this “stay at home” order is just the thing to shine a spotlight right on those hidden issues. It is a brilliant opportunity for God to do some pruning and cultivation. And His snippers are ready.

Below I will add a few of my favorite resources for family development and I would love it if you added your’s to the comments as well. Let’s give our home life our undivided attention. In the words of Wendy Speake,

“A double-minded man cannot wield a double-edged sword.”

If we long to see victory, lets not push the dirt aside any longer or look for an easy way out. Let’s allow God to use our weaknesses as a chance to display His miraculous power.

He is after all our: Defender, Restorer, Provider, Healer, Peace and Joy.

Read John 15:1-12, Romans 12:2 and pray Psalm 139:23-24.

Psalm 139:23-24

Father, I offer my heart to you for pruning. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Shine your light into our family, and remove any grievous ways in us.

Additional Resources:

  • Holy Bible – This isn’t lip service. It’s a living sword and God has placed His power in it to convict and reveal those hidden things. We aren’t going to make any real progress without it.
  • Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions with Gentle Biblical Responses by Wendy Speake and Amber Lia (So practical. I have read and reread this book.)
  • Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
  • The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman (This is classically for marriage. I find it is applicable to kids as well. They do have a child-focused version of this book but I have not read it.)
  • Contact a christian family counseling service if you need to. They are open, and they are there to help you find wholeness.

Quarantine…Gift or Torture?

At home with your family? Isolated from friends and community? Actually, God designed family to be the epitome of communal strength and enduring relationship. Family can do more than offset the isolation of social distancing; if you let it. You know, those people you live with that are driving you crazy? Those are your people.

These are the relationships that continue far beyond Covid-19 and they will be the ones you share all the memories with in thirty years about what happened when you ran out of toilet paper and how a state representative told people to use a blow dryer to heat up their nose to keep from getting sick. You’ll probably be telling the next generation too.

Here’s a raw truth: isolation is detrimental. Isolation leaves us at the mercy of our own dark and deceitful heart and – heaven forbid – the news channels. The enemy has free reign to twist and manipulate our thoughts and memories when no one is there to be a sounding board of truth; no one to keep us grounded. The downward spiral is swift.

According to Psychology Today, individuals placed in solitary confinement experience “perceptual disturbances, hallucinations, and derealisation experiences; affective disturbances, such as anxiety and panic attacks; difficulties with thinking, memory and concentration, the emergence of fantasies such as revenge… paranoia,” and so on.

But you aren’t in solitary confinement. You are quarantined at home with your family. While you would probably appreciate some personal space right about now, consider this a blessing and this moment a gift.

God places family and community at the forefront of our list of priorities. We are called to live in community with each other and not give up meeting together. The bond of meeting together, sharing struggles, meals, joys and sorrows is the essence of life and needs to be the center of every family.

We can become so busy pouring into the outer ring of community such as work, bible studies, church, and other various ministries and hobbies that we neglect to nurture the greatest (and most immediate) community God has given us: family. This is a special time in history when we can dive into that bond and nurture the parched branches of our marriages, children, brothers and sisters.

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, Matthew 18:21-22, 19:3-6, 1 Timothy 23:2-5 and pray Hebrews 10:24-25.

As we strive to do family God’s way, consider the verses above and compare how God instructs His family (the Church) to interact and the way your family interacts. What are some of the differences? Similarities? What can you do different? What do you do well?

What is something you can do right now to take advantage of this time and strengthen the bond of your family?

Hebrews 10:24-25

Lord, during this quarantine, help our family to become more like yours by considering, “how to stir up one another to love and good works.” And when it is over, “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but [to continue] encouraging one another.”

COVID-19 and Community

Birthday parties and play dates are canceled.  Church services, bible studies, small groups and ministry meetings are canceled. Cities have passed laws that forbid groups larger than 50 to meet with a penalty of $1,000 and six months in jail.

This is to say nothing of supplies. Fearing the unknown people have stripped the previously plentiful shelves. What is our response to be in a time of turmoil and fear? How do we continue to live in community when we are limited to no more than a few?

The same way we were always meant to live in community. We do family different. We do not back away from need and we do not live isolated lives of fear. We can be respectful to our local and national leaders, but we need not resort to fear based hoarding and animalistic behavior.

We do not abandon each other. We are called to fellowship and community. We stay connected and encourage each other. The first century church was more susceptible to sickness and disease than we are today and we now have the help of unprecedented technology.  

When our structure shifts, return to the basics. The first century church practices revolved around community. They were not all about self-preservation and self-promotion. In contrast, they trusted the Lord to provide all their needs and they rested in His peace. We have the perfect opportunity to teach these same community-centered values to our children. Children grow to mirror and repeat our own responses to times of stress and trial.  

As Christ followers, we are called to be fearless. We are the hands and feet of Jesus, God’s answer to a broken world. Acts 2:42-47 is a powerful call to action. They met in small groups then and we can meet in small home-based groups too. They ministered, shared, provided for needs, prayed for miracles and God was with them in a powerful way. We can too.

If we truly believe God has all authority over sickness and disease, if we really do believe our days are ordained and written in His heavenly books before we are born, if we believe he has the power to heal… our actions need to reflect it to our neighbors and our children. Let’s raise our children to be powerful witnesses in their community, beacons of hope in times of peace and trouble. Sharing resources, praying for the sick, believing God to be our shield and hiding place.

Read Matthew 6:25-34, Psalm 91 and Acts 2:42-27.

Be sure to join our KidsTalk Friday this Friday at 2:00pm on our Facebook page as we discover what to say to our kids about COVID-19 and some practical things we can do with our families.

Acts 2:42, 45

Father, show us how to be good neighbors in times of trouble. Help us devote ourselves to your “teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” Give us a spirit of generosity and sacrifice by giving us wisdom in, “selling [our] possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any [has] need.”