Working Harder

Working Hard

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I am so saddened to hear about the tremendous increase in unemployment claims. However, there are also many, many people right now who are working harder than they ever have. I’d like to give a shout out to all the healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, first responders, custodians, truck drivers, food service and anyone else I’ve forgotten to mention that is working hard right now 8)

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When I was in second or third grade, (I can’t remember exactly which grade— it has been a minute!), I remember being in a reading group called GINN. This group was for the more advanced readers and writers in English. I didn’t really have to do much to be in the group, but teachers had noticed my comprehension was more than the “average.” One day after the GINN class, the teacher took me aside and told me she saw me struggling with the reading and thought I should think about stepping down from GINN and joining the regular class. 

She gave me some time to think about it. 

The other kids had already left for gym class. I tried to catch up to them. I remember putting on my yellow shirt and grey shorts (gym uniform) and lacing up my tennis shoes when the tears started. I tried fighting back the tears, knowing if they started, I couldn’t stop them.  I didn’t know how I was going to make it through the rest of the day. I had taken pride in being a member of GINN, but had really taken it for granted. I had quit working for it and it was showing.  Shame, pride and emotion were taking me over.

As I started to run to catch up to my classmates, (not wanting to be left behind and have any more rejection to face in this day!),  I realized I couldn’t do both- cry and run hard to catch up. So I ran harder. Believe it or not, running harder helped me get through those tears. By the end of the day I’d made it without crying in front of everybody. 

The next day I gave my teacher my answer: I was going to work even harder to stay in the group, if she could just give me another chance. (It worked!)

To this day, I use the same tactics. 

When I am struggling with some thing, I lace up my shoes and I run hard— after all these years of practice, I have learned how to cry and run at the same time; however, that quickly turns into praying and running. It’s been 99.9% effective for me for whatever it is I’m struggling with.

Like now.

The last two days at work in my “essential position,” I have been struggling.

I got home Wednesday after a 10 1/2 hour shift, and I could hardly breathe. The anxiety of trying to hold a sneeze or a cough, especially during allergy season, while you’re working in a room with coworkers is hard! By the time I got home, my heart was racing, my face was flush, and I was struggling to breathe. No, I don’t have COVID-19, but yes I have been extremely anxious through this time.

I bet many of you can relate.

So I laced up my shoes and took to running hard. What I realized is, in this time, I need to work harder with what I’m struggling with right now. And I know exactly how to do it – but it is so difficult...

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I need to work harder at being still and knowing that God is in control. 

(Psalm 46:10)

I need to work harder at laying all of my troubles and burdens at the feet of the Prince of Peace.

I need to work harder at finding compassion instead of anger when those around me aren’t washing their hands or staying 6 feet back.

I need to work harder at remembering how very, very, very scared the older lady is, who yelled at the fire fighter at Costco for going in before her (which Costco had offered as a service to first responders). And I need to work harder appreciating all the first responders putting their lives and the lives of their families at stake for choosing a job in public service.

I need to work harder at remembering all the things that Jesus has walked with me through before this. I need to remember the way He got me through was different/better and to trust in His ways.

(Isaiah 55:8)

I need to work harder at remembering this is all temporary.

(Hebrews 13:14)

I need to work harder at remembering there are so many people out there suffering not only with this pandemic; but they are moving, looking for a job, trying to make ends meet, arresting someone with Covid 19, battling cancer, filing for divorce, burying a loved one to an empty church… 8(

 

I need to work harder at keeping my eyes fixed on the One who holds me in His hands and remember I can find shelter beneath His wings. (Psalm 91)

And I need to work harder at remembering I have a Counselor, a Helper, a Healer and a Savior who is never gonna leave me during this time.

(Joshua 1:9)

I also want to work harder on asking how people are doing through this.

So, please tell me-

How are you working harder during this time?

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Let’s Talk Numbers

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My husband, who is a math teacher, understands the power of numbers. 

I’ve heard him say, “Two out of every one (2/1) students have issues with fractions.” 8)

What’s the common denominator?

One

When I went to Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant training, I learned about the passenger count. 

Before every take off, the Captain asks, “How many souls on board?” 

They request a full count to include each of the flight attendants, lap children, people with comfort animals, Federal Air Marshals, unaccompanied minors, etc., every single soul on board. Why?

Because the Captain, this one person, holds the ultimate responsibility for the safety of each and every one of those souls as they hurl through the air at 30,000 fat going 575 miles per hour. Should anything go wrong under those circumstances: a flock of geese, a medical emergency, deadly turbulence, engine failure, fuselage destruction, a terror attack, etc. ANYTHING, they accept responsibility for the safety of every person on board.

The largest airplane is an Airbus 380 which has a capacity of 853 seats.

That number (plus crew) is what weighs on the shoulders of one Captain.

silhouette of airplane during sunset

Every morning, I check the numbers regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

AZDHS.gov

Tells us Maricopa County has 251 confirmed cases.

401 in Arizona

6 of those souls have perished

A news cast this yesterday tells us the latest numbers may now place the U.S. at the epicenter of the pandemic with current counts of cases numbering 42,164.

(471 souls perished)

Worldwide the number has reached 372,757 confirmed cases with 16,231 souls perished.

(Who.int for all the latest numbers and all updates on the pandemic.)

Now let’s put these numbers in perspective.

In 2020, the US population estimates 331,002,651 souls-That is a lot.

In 2020, the worldwide population estimates 8 BILLION souls (8,000,000,000)-WOW.

And then-

108.2 Billion is the number of homo sapiens/souls since the beginning of time-Thats huge. Yup, I said it.

HUGE

Can you imagine if you were the Captain of THAT airplane? The souls weighing on those shoulders.

And yet, there is One who bears the weight of every soul on His shoulders.

As Jesus died on the cross and announced “It is finished,” He purchased the  redemption for every single one of the souls that ever lived and ever will live. 

And when He rose from the grave, He conquered death so that each soul believing in His name would need not fear death any longer.

“One is the loneliest number”- Three Dog Night

Matthew 18:12 contains the parable of the lost sheep:

Jesus speaking-

12What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? 13And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices more over that one sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray. 14In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.…

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This story always gets me. What Jesus accomplished on the cross— A gift of grace for more than 108.2 billion+  weighing on the shoulders of The One.

And then, His love, so beautifully demonstrated by telling us, telling me, how important it is for Him to recover those who are lost; those of us who tend to wander off.

He won’t leave any single one of His sheep behind.

It’s not just for me.

It’s for you. 

And for every single one the souls there ever was, or ever will be.

Hillsong United says it beautifully in the song “So will I (100 Billion)

“the One who never leaves the one behind”

Are you listening?