Finding Pandemic Gratitude and Service

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The little bird figurine in the photo above sits on my kitchen counter and reminds me, “Every day is a gift from God.” I gave the bird to my mom to encourage her when she struggled to maintain her usual optimism in the face of congestive heart failure and muscle weakness.

My mother longed for the former days of good health and the freedom of independence when she could meet friends for lunch and shop for groceries.

As the current pandemic continues to stretch across the months of 2020, we too long for the former times—for the good health and freedom of pre-COVID days. We pray for the restoration of health and for release from viral fear that plagues so many.

Like me, I’m sure you’re hoping life returns to normal soon.

I miss “normal” blessings like hugs, visits, and handshakes. Mask-free breathing and fellowship over coffee would bring relief. The thought of going to a movie or attending a local theater play delights me.

How do you manage the lack of the “normal” you prefer? Here’s how my mom responded to her lifestyle changes:  

During one of our daily calls, she admitted, “I felt a little down this morning and had a pity party. Then I told myself, ‘You have plenty to be thankful for. Look at the blessings God has given you. Stop fretting over what you can’t do and do something for someone else.’”

She followed her own advice. That afternoon she prepared a dish of chicken and dumplings for a friend who had weekly chemo treatments and then addressed cards to some church members who in her words, “have far worse problems than mine.”

My mom missed the good ole days—the days before the effects of illness and aging restricted her activities. However, despite hindrances, she thanked God for His blessings and looked for ways to serve others.

Despite our pandemic hindrances, we can express gratitude to our heavenly Father and then ask Him to reveal the ways we can bless others.

Instructions in the verses below can lift our eyes from circumstances we don’t like and focus our gaze on the One who designs the gift of daily life. Ask Him to show you creative ways to meet the needs of others.  

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.

Proverbs 3:27

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Philippians 2:4

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

Are you ready for gratitude and service? Does your heart feel lighter?

The sun’s up, my friend. Let’s tear the wrapping from this new day, thank our Lord for it, and use the time to bless others because after all, “Every day is a gift from God.”

In the comment section, please list an item from your gratitude list and share an idea for blessing someone else. Hearing from you encourages me and other readers.

Bible verses are from the ESV.

26 thoughts on “Finding Pandemic Gratitude and Service

  1. This is so encouraging, Jeannie. And what a cute little bird! It delivers an encouraging reminder. 🙂 Thank you!

  2. Evelyn Mason Wells

    Jeannie, whenever I think your posts could not be any better, there you are posting what I consider a new favorite! I absolutely love this one. Of course, it does my heart good to read about precious Sadie. When you use her in your posts, I feel like I’ve had a visit with her.

  3. I wonder if “normal” will ever return my friend. I’ll settle for God’s “New” every time though. I so enjoyed this post ma’am; thank you for being such an inspiration and encouragement.

  4. What a perfect perspective you shared, J. D. The One whose “mercies are new each morning” is the One who renews our hearts. Thank you, my friend.

  5. Thank you for sharing this Jeannie. It is uplifting and encouraging…because seriously, these days I know I need it! I am grateful for the beautiful views outside my windows because they always remind me of a magnificent Creator.

    • Sylvia, those “beautiful views outside my windows” are indeed blessings. Whether we observe His handiwork while outside or from the inside, they are glorious. Yesterday a little sparrow hopped onto the deck railing and cocked his head back and forth as he looked at me. He reminded me that God sees that little sparrow and He sees me. I was thankful for a visit from my feathered friend.

  6. Thank you, Jeannie, for sharing sweet memories of Mema. She continues to be a treasured example of God’s love and grace.

  7. Thank you, Jan. She was a wonderful role model who taught by example the importance of gratitude and service to others. The pandemic would not have thwarted her efforts.

  8. I love this: “The sun’s up, my friend. Let’s tear the wrapping from this new day, thank our Lord for it, and use the time to bless others because after all, ‘Every day is a gift from God.'”

    As always, you brighten my day and my heart with your great encouragement! I’m so ready to tear the wrapping from this new day and praise God!

  9. An encouraging and timely word. Yes, I can lament like your mama, but I also try to continue to give thanks for the small things. I also love writing notes and sending cards in the mail. What a pick-me-up they give to others.

    • Right you are, Jeanne, that notes and cards add joy. Some days it’s easy for me to complain and wish for changes. God always lifts me up when I turn to Him. Thank you so much for commenting.

  10. Jeannie, you obviously touched many hearts with this one, judging by the comments (which I enjoy reading)!

    As a church pianist, I felt like I was drying on the vine the first few weeks of the lockdown. Then I discovered that I could record a hymn-a-day on Facebook and bless others as God blesses me!

    This morning, before I finally took time to read your “spot-on” post, I recorded “Make Me a Blessing.” I love God’s timing! Thank you for this post. I love your mother, although I never met her.

    • Glenda, your comments made me smile. I enjoy your piano music on the FaceBook videos. What a wonderful way to minister to others during the pandemic. My mother would have loved you!

  11. Jeannie, thank you for reminding us that when we turn our focus outward, we are being the light of God and it brings us joy.

    I am grateful for the beautiful hues of the leaves and the smells of fall. One thing I learned from a dear friend to bless delivery drivers, is to put out a small basket of snacks and bottled water for them. It gives me joy to see them enjoying a snack or drink. Especially this time of year when they are so busy.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Doreen, your comments brightened my day. I love the idea of blessing delivery drivers with bottled water and drinks. You could include Scripture cards for them to pick up, too. You are right that we shared the light of God when we turn our focus outward. Thanks so much, Doreen.

  12. Love this Jeannie: “The sun’s up, my friend. Let’s tear the wrapping from this new day, thank our Lord for it, and use the time to bless others because after all, “Every day is a gift from God.”

    Grateful that even when life is upside down the SON is always up, and there’s the Good News to share with others. (Headed out to do that shortly:)

    Grateful for open skies, zoom meetings with family and friends, time with my kids. Grateful for your beautiful post, Jeannie!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Your gratitude list indicates you watch for blessings, Rachael. Thanks so much for sharing them with us. I love your statement, “Grateful that even when life is upside down the SON is always up, and there’s the Good News to share with others.” Amen!

  13. Your message brought back memories of my own mother’s goodness and kindness. Thank you! An item from my gratitude list is the kindness of a dear friend who continues to cook a weekly meal for me because she worries about me. For a blessing to share with others–recall someone who made a special difference in your life and send them a note thanking them for caring.

  14. Post Author Jeannie Waters

    Katherine, what a loving act for your friend to prepare a weekly meal. I’m sure your friendship is a blessing to her. When we take time to thank someone who contributed to our lives, it’s a tremendous blessing for that person. Another act of love. Thank you so much for sharing.

  15. Today we sold my car. I’m thankful that that is done and the extra finances are such a blessing right now. Focusing on blessing others when we’re experiencing hard times really does work! It helps to take our eyes off our own pain. I like to bless others by sending them a card or a small care package.

  16. “Cards and small care packages” are beautiful ways to show love and concern, Josie. What a blessing to the recipients. And yes, blessing others indeed sharpens our perspective. I’m grateful for your car sale, as well as your comments here.

  17. Calling and send FB messages (if I can’t get to them personally from distance), checking on people in my church and my family and friends. Gratitude is a gift and can lift our hearts when we take the focus off what may be wrong and find things to be thankful for. And I love the picture of the little bird!

  18. Post Author Jeannie Waters

    Barbara, you listed meaningful ways to encourage others. I love your sentence about gratitude and how it can lift our hearts. Thank you for the inspiration in your comments.

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