URGENT: Encouragement and Prayer in a Time of Pandemic...See All of Our Coronavirus Resources Here

Christina Patterson

Christina Patterson
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Christina Patterson is a Bible teacher, author, and speaker passionate about empowering women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. Christina holds a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a 501(c)3 non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She is also the author of several books, Bible Studies, and the creator of the LIFE Bible Journal that helps believers to intentionally study the Bible and apply God’s word to their everyday lives. Connect with Christina at www.belovedwomen.org

Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.

Trusting God During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Last week my daughter reminded me we ran out of hand soap, so I took a quick trip to Target after getting her to school to replenish. To my surprise, there was only one family size of antibacterial soap left. I was aware of the growing concerns of the coronavirus, but I wasn’t quite sure of its effects on people’s buying decisions quite yet until I started looking for toilet paper. Each day after that, I watched the serious efforts governments, organizations, businesses, and individuals were taking to prevent the spread of this disease.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization announced the coronavirus (or Covid-19) a pandemic. A pandemic is an outbreak of a disease that spreads across a vast region such as continents or worldwide. On March 13, 2020, the United States President Donald Trump announced the coronavirus pandemic to be a national emergency. Within hours entire state school systems closed, employees mandated to work from home, businesses closed, and grocery stores emptied. 

As plans increased to combat the spread of this disease, anxieties increased as well. I became laser-focused to pray against this disease and the many people it’s affecting all around the globe. 

Everyday challenges can be a test of our faith, no less a global pandemic. Not only are people worried about their health; as schools and jobs close, people are also concerned about childcare, elderly family in nursing homes, and bills. This pandemic is not only a threat to our health but our trust in God. 

To help strengthen your faith in such an uncertain time, I’m sharing some encouraging reminders on how to keep your trust in God during a global pandemic.

CHOOSE FAITH OVER FEAR

First, let’s remember to let faith rule our hearts and not fear. I absolutely believe we should take this pandemic seriously, use precaution and exercise wisdom. At the same time, we can do so while keeping our faith in God. 

If God took care of us before this pandemic, please know that He has not changed. Although everything is changing at rapid speed, God is not. He is the same faithful God before this outbreak that He will be once it passes. Our faith can be steady because our God is faithfully unchanging. This truth alone can strengthen us not to give in to fear. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 2:1-7 NKJV)

Fear can rob us of three essential gifts from God that we desperately need at this time. Power enables us to live a life of faith when it’s not easy. Love enables us to share and sacrifice when it’s not convenient. A sound mind allows us to experience peace, even when everything seems to be going wrong. 

There is too much at stake to give in to fear during this season. Now more than ever, we need power, love, and a sound mind. Fear is too costly. Choose faith. 

CHOOSE WISDOM OVER WORRY

While we can still maintain our faith because of our unchanging God, it is still important to exercise wisdom instead of becoming paralyzed by worry.

If there is an action you can do to protect yourself, do it. Use wisdom and listen to sound advice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has offered many ways people like you and I can do our part to slow the spread of this disease at www.cdc.gov.   

It is also wise to ensure the sources of the information we consume are credible. There is a lot of false information circulating about the coronavirus that can be harmful by leading people to make unwise decisions based on information that is simply untrue. Read credible news outlets and gain information from the CDCWorld Health Organization, and your state or local health department.

CHOOSE PRAYER OVER PANIC

While some may give in to cynicism and think there is nothing we can do, let’s not forget the power of prayer. 

Prayer is the exact prescription the Bible gives us to cure anxiety. It’s easy to want to look at all the news outlets and overthink all the possible negative outcomes that can take place. All that will do is rob us of the peace God promises us for today. Philippians 4:6 tells us:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 ESV)

We can panic, or we can pray, but we can’t do both. Jesus called His church a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13), and now is our time. It’s time to pray for God’s intervention to stop the spread of this disease. It’s time to ask for healing. It’s time to ask for peace and comfort for those who have lost loved ones. It’s time for us to ask for direction and discernment for our leaders and our homes. Prayer is powerful and effective, and if we are too busy panicking instead of praying, we forfeit our greatest strength. 

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, we have the power to choose our response. When we choose faith over fear, wisdom over worry, and prayer over panic, we can experience the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” that we read about in Philippians 4:7. In doing so, we become the light of Christ in a very dark situation.

Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.


Trusting God When You're Tired and Weary

When I was younger, I thought I knew what tired felt like when I got my first job. I then became a parent and experienced a new level of tired I hadn’t even dreamed of. Actually, I couldn’t dream of it because I wasn’t really sleeping. The fatigue I experienced then was more physical due to the lack of sleep, but sometimes we can experience a weariness of our souls. A heaviness that comes with praying the same prayer, keeping the faith, fighting the same temptation over and over again. If you’ve experienced this type of weariness, there is hope for you in today’s scripture.

Isaiah 40:30-31 says:

“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” - Isaiah‬ ‭40:30-31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There are two lessons I want you to take from this scripture. First, God expects us to get tired, and second, God gives us His strength.

First, the verse says, “even youths shall faint and be weary.” Who are we to think we’re not going to get tired. Yet when we do get weary, we get so frustrated because we feel limited by our fatigue, but God expects it.

My kids do not like taking naps. Even when I know they are tired they will insist they don't need to take a nap. I don’t fight them on this too hard because I know; eventually, it’s going to catch up to them. No matter how much energy they have, and they have much more than me, if they're really tired, they will fall asleep wherever they are. In the car, on the couch, on the floor, and both my children have even fallen asleep eating at the kitchen table.

Why? Because even youths, with all their energy and excitement, fall exhausted.

If you’re feeling tired today, I want you to know that is okay. You are not a failure. God did not make you to bulldoze your way through life nonstop.

God expects you to get tired. He’s planned for you to get weary because He knows you are human.

So what are we supposed to do when we get tired?

Well, next the scripture tells us to wait on God, and when we do, He will renew our strength. God knows we have our limits, but He doesn’t. God knows we can’t do it all, but He can. God knows we’ll get tired and weary and faint, but He won’t.

When we get tired, we don’t need to push through in the flesh; we need to lean on God for His endless and everlasting strength.

Everything that we are not God is, and in our fatigue, He invites us to come to Him and have all our need provided. Don’t do it alone, Beloved. Surely you will faint if you try. Do it with God, and lean on Him. Look to Him, and wait on Him so you can run and not be weary, walk, and not faint.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for covering my weakness. Please be my strength today as I look to You. In Jesus Christ Name, I pray. Amen.

I hope today’s devotional helps you to see your seasons of weariness in a new light and trust God with your fatigue. I’d love to hear from you, what promise of God helps you to keep going when you feel tired and weary? I’m looking forward to chatting in the comments.

Find more encouragement from Christina Patterson at www.belovedwomen.org. Also, 2020 Beloved Planners are available for pre-order for a limited time. Order yours now here

Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.


6 Signs God is Telling You to Rest

Have you ever been on your phone or computer and the notification popped up that your device was about to die or lose power if you didn’t plug it into a power source? You then ignore the notice because you think you’ll get to it in a few minutes but then you forget. And right in the middle of typing a sentence, or double-tapping a photo, or sending an email your screen goes black.

Now you’re all upset but mostly with yourself because the signs were there. You knew the energy was low, you just ignored the signs. I think we do this in our actual lives too. I know I do.

When we think of God telling us to do something we usually think of an activity; go here, do this, say that. In such a busy world we have a hard time wrapping our minds around the idea that sometimes God simply wants us to be still and rest. He knows we can’t function on empty so He sends signs and pop-up notifications to remind us when we need to recharge. To help us understand when God may call us to do such a thing here are 6 signs God’s telling you to rest.

1. Things aren’t going as planned.

You keep pushing yourself and trying with your own will power, and it just seems like every door is closing and opportunity lost. Sometimes this means it’s time to rest. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we should allow obstacles to cause us to quit. There is a time to push through with stubborn with faith until you get exactly what you want. I think a problem we have is that we believe resting is synonymous with quitting, and it’s not. God doesn’t want you to quit, but He may be closing doors and opportunities to give you space to rest. So don’t always see a closed-door or perceived lost opportunity as a reason to quit but a reason to rest. God’s not yet may be creating the margin in your life to rest, so you have the strength and energy you need to sustain that blessing when He does open that door.

2. You’re sick. A lot.

I don’t think God is in heaven cursing people with sickness. I think all sickness and evil comes from the fallen world we live in. However, God has given us all limits. Isaiah 40:30 tells us, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall” (NIV) We can only go so far and do so much. When we constantly try to ignore and surpass those limits, we’re more likely to get hurt or sick. Many times it’s our body’s way of forcing us to rest when we refuse to do so on our own. A car is only going to go so far before it’s time to put in ore gas. In the same way, your body will only go so far until it’s time to rest and replenish.

3. Sleep is not enough.

I know this one may seem a bit confusing because if you need rest, you would expect sleep to be the answer. What we need to understand is that rest is not limited to sleep. Rest may mean more time in prayer, a walk around the neighborhood, knitting, or taking with a friend. Dr. Saundra Dalton outlines seven different types of rest we need in her book “Sacred Rest” that include: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, sensory, social, and creative rest. Different types of tired require different types of rest. If you’re only trying to sleep and it’s not helping you to feel any more rested, it doesn’t mean you don’t need rest. It may mean you need to try a different form of rest. You may need to think beyond sleep. What excites you and gives you energy? Sitting in quiet, reading a good book, taking a long hot bath, working on a crossword puzzle, or talking to a friend?

4. Change in attitude or having a difficult time controlling your emotions.

Frequently finding yourself frustrated or discouraged may be a sign it’s time to take a break. Uncharacteristic emotions or even outbursts can result from lack of rest. When you’re energetic, you have the mental strength to keep negative emotions in check. However, when you’re tired or weary, not so much. We see this with Elijah in 1 Kings 19. He’s frustrated and fearful and tells God he wants to give up. He doesn’t just want to quit, he wants to die. How does God respond? He gives Elijah food to eat and sleep, deep sleep. When Elijah awakes and speaks to the Lord, he’s encouraged to carry on. He wasn’t irrational or ready to quit. That rest was just what he needed. I’ve experienced this myself too. So many times, I’ve had a bad attitude or was discouraged, took a nap, and woke up feeling like a whole new woman. As we learned in our Matters of the Heart Bible Study series, our emotions are indicators of what going on deeper within and many time negative emotions are a sign from your body that you need rest.

5. You’re bombarded with negative thoughts.

Just like with our emotions, our thoughts are harder to control when we’re tired or weary, making it more challenging to think on those good things listed in Philippians 4:8. Instead, we find ourselves arguing with someone in our head or predicting the next bad thing that will happen. When this happens, it may be time for a mental break. When this happens to me, I love to listen to Christian podcasts while taking a walk or run. The movement is a good distraction, and the podcast helps to focus my mind on Godly things.

6. You’re experiencing spiritual warfare.

I say this because the enemy knows when you’re tired. It’s then you’re more susceptible to his attacks, and please believe he will kick you while you’re down. And it’s quite the vicious cycle because the more you’re attacked, the more tired you become. But where our flesh is weak in this area, our spirit is willing. In times like this, it is essential to fill up on God by getting close to Him. You can do this through prayer, fasting, Bible study, listening to a sermon, fellowshipping with other believers, or any activity that will help you experience more of His presence.

It’s easy to lose a grip on life when we’re tired. Good thing for us, God is ready and willing to catch us when we stumble. 

Find more encouragement from Christina Patterson at www.belovedwomen.org

 

Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.

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About Christina Patterson

Christina Patterson is a Bible teacher, author, and speaker passionate about empowering women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. Christina holds a Master’s degree in Theological Studies from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a 501(c)3 non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She is also the author of several books, Bible Studies, and the creator of the LIFE Bible Journal that helps believers to intentionally study the Bible and apply God’s word to their everyday lives. Connect with Christina at www.belovedwomen.org

Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.