I read recently about the painted turtle who dives to the bottom of the pond burying herself in the muck and mud before winter arrives. She pulls into her shell and goes still, her heart rate slows, body temperature drops, she even stops breathing as she waits for the spring thaw. Then she floats up, starts breathing and feels the warmth of the sun on her shell. Sometimes lately I feel like the painted turtle, in my shell, isolated from friends, family, coworkers and waiting, how about you? 

The Psalmist in Psalm 40:1-3 says “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” 

The question is what do we do while waiting? We still have choices. What I’ve been observing is people going out of their way to be kind and helpful. In occasional dark moments, if I choose to say “thanks Lord” even for the clouds in the sky, or my little hummingbird visitor friend, those seeds of gratitude start growing, and dispel any gloom. Soon I’m thanking him for a multitude of things and joy is restored. 

The other day talking to a neighbor from a distance made my day. She is a widow, used to work at a church and has three sons — some things we have in common I didn’t know before. That short conversation really blessed my day and even made me want to do things differently in the future, like more intentionally taking time to reach out to neighbors. 

We can still communicate with each other. I received a sweet card in the mail from two ministry partners (mom & daughter) and friends who always give me a warm hug when they pass my desk at work. That card meant the world to me, and we talk regularly on the phone now.  

Maybe you have friends who have moved away, or family that live across the country. We can still connect with long distance friends and family thanks to technology. There are so many people creatively finding things to do — some are sewing face masks, some cooking for people, some doing drive-by birthday parties for friends, or leaving scripture chalk messages on their driveways for passersby. Most importantly we can pray, pray and worship together even from a distance. www.efcc.org  

I’m grateful for you, our Daily Fill readers — who are reaching out to EFCC staff with encouragement, praying, faithfully giving, doing Bible studies online, and being a light in your neighborhoods. I know that we all will be forever changed when this is over and have even more to be thankful for. 

It’s God’s will for us to give praise and thanksgiving for everything, (Ephesians 5:20) and in all circumstances(1 Thessalonians 5:18). How can I/we spread joy this week from our “cabins”? 

Deb Hill 
Executive Administrative Assistant to Pastor Ryan Paulson 

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