Focal verse

“Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God” (Isaiah 41:10).

Reflection

It doesn’t take much for my children to melt down after school. A full day of stimulation, rules and learning makes the after-school-before-dinner time ripe for tears and foot stomping. I often tell my daughter to take deep breaths or find a quiet place in our house to sit. I offer a hug or rub her back, letting her feel my presence. When I see my children struggling, I can’t help but wonder if this is what many other parents are seeing too.

Weary. Uncertain. Tired. Confused. A variety of circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic have continually forced us to pivot and change plans. We’re holding much of the stress for our children. We’re being bombarded by messages from the media, schools, health officials and our own families about how to be in the world. What we know to be true changes from one day to the next. Whether making decisions regarding school, playgroups, worship or family, many parents feel exhausted.

The reminder that we are not alone can bring comfort to both our children and ourselves. Whenever I offer my love to my children, I’m reminded that God’s love is also with me.

With so much uncertainty I delight in small acts of faith to bring a moment of peace to our family: lighting a candle and holding friends in prayer, reading Scripture together over dinner, taking a walk to be in God’s creation, singing “Jesus Loves Me” together. Each prayer, song and point of light demonstrates God’s abiding presence in our tears and in our joy.

This month, remember that you are held by God. As you offer words of comfort to your children and wrap your arms around them, picture God holding you. Hear the words God offers: You are loved; I am with you.

Practices

Take deep breaths as a family. Practice breath prayers in which you breathe in God’s love and breathe out fear and worry.

Keep a running list of everything for which you are grateful. Add to the list daily and use it to pray to God in thanksgiving.

Prayers

We pray for parents and caregivers.
We pray for rest for the weary.
We pray for understanding and hearts open to listening.
We give thanks for laughter and moments of joy.
We give thanks for friends who offer support.
We give thanks for the prayers of others.

Service opportunity 

Reach out to families in your community who could use some extra love. Surprise them with a socially distanced delivery of groceries, hot coffee or a handwritten note. Remind them that they are loved and not alone.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is kimberlyknowlezeller.com.

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