Self Care in a Pandemic (1). Hope…

We may all have had very different experiences of this year, but one thing we all share in common is that we’re all living through a pandemic. For most of us below a certain age, we’ve never experienced anything like this on a global scale before, and for those who have perhaps lived through wars, it may not be the first time you have experienced the world shaken on this kind of scale.

No matter who you are, or where you live, or what you’ve been going through this year, I somehow feel close enough to reach you through the internet, as we share the experience of living in a changed world.

I have been praying for ways to help other people, and I feel that using the gifts and skills I already have is a good place to start. That being said, while in previous autumn seasons I have written series’ of blog posts on surviving the winter, and there are many encouraging past posts that you can dig into in my archives, this year I want to write a series to help those of you who read my blog to continue positively through life in this pandemic. I feel a glow and a warmth in my heart as I write, as if I could just reach out with love and encouragement to touch your life in some way. Perhaps we could sit down together as I write and you read, over a cup of coffee or tea and share our thoughts and our hearts in our shared humanity.

Mental health is of such importance, and perhaps especially so when our worlds are turned upside down. We all need hope. In the United Kingdom, during the height of the pandemic in the first part of this year, children started drawing, colouring and displaying all sorts of creative expressions of rainbows as a symbol of hope, and also as a way of saying thanks to our dedicated National Health Service.

During a time of fear, uncertainty and change for the whole nation, when people were increasingly cut off and isolated from friends, family, neighbours, loved ones, and even strangers, these emblems became signs of hope across the country as they were displayed in windows and on banners.

We all need hope. Maybe you are reading this and things are going well. Even so, surely there have been times in your life in the past, and there may well be times in the future when you have needed or will need hope. Life is full of ups and downs, uncertainties, blue skies and grey clouds. And we all need hope.

Just now it is the autumn season, or ‘fall’ if you like. Even as things in the natural world around me begin to fall away, decay and die in order to give way to new life, there is something heart touching and encouraging about the vibrancy of red and orange leaves and the beauty of this changing season. There is something hopeful even in this fleeting season about the beauty that blossoms and even as it fades away, we have the hope of spring, of new days, new life.

If you are facing dark, depressing times of grief, instability, loneliness, loss or fear, what do you cling onto for hope? There are different types of hope, I think. There are the little things we look forward to in our daily lives, small, tangible things that we sometimes turn to to make us feel better, but we know that these are momentary and will not sustain us through life. Perhaps we look with hope to better times, or we plan good things into our calendars as restricted as they are for the moment.

For me, I need a hope that will help me to weather the storms of this life, no matter how tempestuous they have been. I need an anchor for my soul. I need a hope that is deeper and higher and stronger than everything in this world, in this life, and something that my very soul can lean into and never be let down by.

I have had years of searching for this hope. Glimmers and flickers of faith kept me going through dark times in my life as I was growing up, and felt that there was no hope because life felt so bad for me. Yet, having pressed on through those tests and trials I was left still with uncertainty, anxiety and fear. It wasn’t enough to have this nebulous, ethereal ‘hope’ of something I wasn’t quite sure of.

Now I have a hope that does not disappoint. My Hope will hold me through life, through the passage through death and into eternal life. My Hope is for the big things and little things I may face, for times of mental struggle, for uncertain world events, for changing relationships, for loneliness, for everything. My Hope Is sure and certain, faithful and unfailing, and holds me with the Strongest and most Gentle Love a human soul could ever need. My Hope Is a Person, The Living God, Jesus Christ, and no matter what I go through, He Is with me, He Is Faithful, and He will hold me through it all and let me know that I am Loved and that this world as uncertain as it may be will never quench His Unfathomable Love for me.

What are you looking to for Hope in these uncertain times? What helps you get through the day? Who can you turn to for support or encouragement? What keeps you taking the next step?

If you are in any doubt that you can make it through, if you feel hopeless, then know that it is no coincidence that you are reading these words right now. This Love Is for you. You are Loved, you just need to call out in hope, in faith and ask for help and hope, for forgiveness, for rescue in your time of need….in such a time as this, right now.

You are meant to be here. You are meant to keep going. You are meant to live. Never give up. While it may seem stormy today, remember the rainbows of hope, for the sun will shine again, and colours will fill the sky, and if you are willing to let True Love in, The Light of Jesus Christ will save you and fill your soul.

Take care, stay strong and never give up hope. xx

Photo by Matt Hardy on Pexels.com