When I made the decision to kickstart our blog this spring, I had no idea that the entire world would be engulfed in a new normal. There is a small part of me that feels a sense of guilt and hesitancy about what exactly to say at this moment. Hence the fact that I've rewritten these opening sentences several times now. In my many thwarted attempts to avoid sounding too trivial, I'm thinking about what I can offer you which triggers peace, comfort, and hope. It feels both uncomfortable and inappropriate to jump right into business as usual. We are all experiencing a new normal. I want to be honest, and transparent about recognizing what's affecting all of us in our world right now with the coronavirus yet at the same time perhaps offer a sweet distraction from the all-important yet perpetually developing updates that are affecting each and every one of us.
We all may respond differently in the midst of perceived or real threats. What's motivating this behavior? Rational thinking? Fear? Perhaps a little of both. My husband went grocery shopping, but he goes regularly for fresh fruits and veggies. Our pantry is well stocked with canned goods and non-perishables to which we are grateful. To exercise caution, I opted not to go grocery shopping having recently been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. Social distancing measures are in effect to the extent that we can navigate. We look around us in the midst of this pandemic and see, hear or feel people reacting. Loved ones and friends are separated by continents desperately needing to be reconnected. Our elderly and vulnerable are being asked to self-quarantine. Schools have closed, and parents working both inside and outside of the home, are now balancing deciphering lesson plans while working remotely and answering difficult questions from their kids. Still, others are caught in the all-consuming frenzy to buy all the toilet paper, pasta, and water to feed a small army. Out of an abundance of caution, churches and houses of worship, restaurants, arts, and entertainment venues, retailers, and sporting events are being asked to not assemble or to go dark.
Through all of this, I am asking God, how can I help offer a glimmer of hope? What can I do to bring peace, or extend grace?
This morning in the shower (where many of my revelations manifest) I couldn't help but ponder what we're all searching for: the feeling of certainty about our present and future circumstances in what is seemingly out of our control. Right at that moment, I felt an overwhelming sense of purposefulness about the intention behind Blessed Home & Body. Each tote bag, makeup pouch, trinket tray, hostess gift, pillow or wall art in our life + style, home + decor, and accessories + gifts collections (bath + body coming soon) is prayerfully curated to create and inspire you to live out your faith purposefully. Our Everyday Jute Hope Tote is what I've been carrying with me. With big bold letters H-O-P-E on one side and Jeremiah 29:11 on the other, it is not only my go-to bag for everything but a reminder to whoever needs it, that hope is a lifeline.
As an entrepreneur, I come across a lot of content. One phrase that I hear often is "hope is not a strategy". I appreciate those that use this phrase to point towards the necessity to execute. I'm a how-to systems kinda girl, so I get it. I've also spent considerable time this year breaking through limitations. A quick synonym search on the word hope yields: belief, confidence, expectation, promise, reliance. I don't know about you, but when I'm facing a challenge, my mind, thoughts and heart need to shift. I can't simply go through the motions. Ever see the pre-locker room hype during an NFL game? Exactly. They are in it to win it! In other words, hope is a significant part of their game plan.
Let's face it. The reality is that we have already begun or are in the process of being in this new normal. In times of uncertainty, we naturally seek security. For some, it's our job, education, social or economic status. If anything this pandemic is showing us the fragility of our world systems, and the need for our dependence on something greater than ourselves.
That is why creating a space for words of inspiration in our home, on a bag we carry, or something as simple as a tea towel reminds us that against all hope we can believe in the hope and the promise of God.Sweet friend, as we look into the eyes of uncertainty during these unsettled times, let's face this together. Hope as a belief, strategy, and intention has transformed my life. Today more than ever I am increasingly mindful and attentive in my conversations and interactions to lead with hope, to pray, and encourage. Never underestimate the power of words. Choose wisely. Speak life. Extend grace and mercy. Will you join me?