February 10, 2021

 

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

This past Sunday we had our Annual Meeting via Zoom. We ended the meeting with a discussion about ways to help each other and those in our church to feel connected.

 

"Disconnected", "Zoom-fatigue", and "over-Covid" are words and phrases we didn't know could possibly apply to our lives a year ago. And yet, fairly soon we will head into Lent and a full year of six-feet apart, limited worship in person, and a feeling we are missing each others' lives and milestones. There is a fatigue setting in that I can hear when I talk to many of you. We are tired of living like this and it feels like nothing will change. I want to validate those feelings, but also want to direct us always back to the goodness of God.

 

God can and will use all things for His glory.

 

Tuesday, I celebrated my 46th birthday. Birthdays are HUGE in our house. We decorate, you get a birthday video (Ranen cries every time one plays) and the world is all about you for a day. Last year, Mitch I celebrated my 45th in NYC visiting Marin, taking in Broadway shows and eating at my favorite steakhouse: Gallagers. Marin was with us and had what she said was the best Shirley Temple of her life.

 

Knowing my love of birthdays, my best friend warned me recently that a birthday during Covid wouldn't be the same. Mitch and I wouldn't be traveling or eating out at a restaurant. My best friend said, "it feels the same as any other day". She was trying to help me not feel disappointed because I couldn't do what I wanted to do. Kind, but one thing I have learned during this past year is that regardless of what we plan for our lives - God can show up in the details we thought couldn't be redeemed and remind us of His goodness. 

 

On my birthday, I woke up in a house that Mitch heats with wood he and Caden split all summer. I woke up to the sounds of Rowan cooing in his crib next to my room. He loves the fact that there is no heat in the house in the morning and he takes that time to "talk" and sing. I had the privilege of making breakfast for the children I prayed for and desperately wanted. I had time to listen to my devotional, drink coffee, and watch the snow fall outside. The house was decorated with balloons and pictures of my life over the years with my children and Mitch. We had dinner that Caden drove with Mitch to pick up, a beautiful video, and the things I love: my family, candles, twinkly lights and music.

 

And the best part is that I got one of the best birthday gifts I have ever received. Soren's genome test results came in and revealed his official diagnosis. A gene named EFTUD2, Madibulo Facial Dysostosis with Microcephaly. It explains the esophageal atresia he was born with, his ears and cranial facial issues. It also explains his small stature and difficulty putting weight on. After five and a half years, his life came into focus with a gene that was just recently discovered. We had a genome test done on Soren in 2016, but this gene (EFTUD2) had not been discovered at that time. The best, best part? Only 126 people in the world have it. As suspected, Soren is a rare bird that we have been blessed to have as our son. Research will begin on his gene to help others.

 

Nothing big changed with that news. It doesn't come with any kind of treatment plan, I still wore a mask to pick up kids that day, the world didn't stop spinning nor did Covid end. And yet, it was one of those beautiful reminders that things do change. A gene that wasn't known five years ago allows us to better care for Soren and meet his needs.

 

A birthday that wouldn't be what others thought as exciting was a reminder that every day has the normal and extraordinary wrapped in the tasks of life. Life will change. It always changes in ways we can see and in many ways we can't see with human eyes.

 

As a dear friend recently told me, "this time is an invitation by God". I agree. It is an invitation to meet Him in the daily, to see the goodness in all things and to know that things will change and maybe we will with them. We don't have to dismiss the hard parts to see the goodness of God.

 

I am praying that, especially in this time, we discover the invitation God has for each of us to grow closer to him.

 

If you are feeling disconnected or have Covid-fatigue why not try a Bible study, small group, worship-viewing POD or maybe a new devotional from one of the resources Melinda has been putting in the Chime? If you feel very connected, maybe make an intentional practice of calling someone in the church that you may have checked-in with at Coffee Hour in the past, but haven't seen in awhile. 

 

There will be a day when all of this past year seems like the distant past. No more masks, no more backing away from each other. A time when we can worship together, out loud and sing as if heaven itself is breaking through.

 

Until then, hold on to the goodness of a Father who loved us enough to die for us. 

 

 

 

Pastor Stephanie