Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.Nehemiah 13:14
Changes to this space
We were in the midst of FBF’s Easter Basket Collection, and parallel assemblies, when Covid-19 came onto the scene. In fact, we started screening volunteers and making changes to our local monthly outreach in February as we could see the writing on the wall. Despite those changes, and the hope that we had more time to get through to Easter, FBF’s activities–and much of the rest of the world–came to a screeching halt by mid-March.
I’ll be honest. It was heart breaking. Though I was deeply grateful that we were able to reach some, my heart broke at the many we could not reach. The week before Easter, as we distributed the last of what we could locally, and carefully, the visions of thousands of baskets and broken hearts left me shedding quiet tears for the children and adults who would not receive the embrace of love that is transferred through those creations.
A pause for all.
I am a history major through my undergraduate degree. As my family and I took refuge in our home, along with the rest of Michigan and much of the world, I watched events unfold that I understood were history making. Never in recorded history had the majority of societies, countries, and economies shut down on such a grand level. The magnitude was not lost on me as I knew the history books of the future will record how unparalleled those moments were.
The shut down went on for longer than most expected. It had to. And in the breadth of that time and space, a pause developed. For many, there were transitions never experienced before: working at home, managing a child’s school day, unprecedented time together, and equally shocking was the time alone or unconnected from the things that give life meaning.
While we did what we could when called upon, things paused, in essence, for Families Building Faith too. First, by necessity. Then, by the scope of change occurring across many landscapes. A collective hesitation to re-engage ushered in by the uncertainty of how to proceed and towards what. In the midst of much prayer, quietness and contemplation was a God-inspired nudge to wait.
The scope of what FBF does, and what I do personally, is broader than most realize. It is not just outreach that we do. It is not just encouragement that we give. When you walk away and we shut the door to our gatherings or assemblies, that is not the end of what God has asked us to do.
Early on, I noticed a familiar pattern in many. The ability to endure quickly faded in patience and willingness. People began, and still are, engaging anger and rebellion (through risk taking) as a way to combat this virus. Anger at the need for change that it is requiring of society, and the proclamation of an absence of fear to “fight” accepting the impact the virus may have on the existence of life for some.
Long ago, in this journey of creating FBF running along the parallel of my own life experiences, I learned that anger and denial (couched usually in terms of refusal) are responses to fighting the need to mourn loss. Within weeks, I was hearing all sorts of souls turn to these emotions, or lack thereof, to try to retain some sense of normalcy and control. Mourning these sudden societal changes was not what many wanted to do or see. Yet, the process is fundamentally tied to our ability to correctly assess our circumstances, and accept and come to terms with our new reality. People fight the hard work of processing through grief of loss, not realizing that they are pushing off the peace that comes with acceptance.
For me, I spent the better part of the early months of summer wrestling with myself and God about loss, change and where things could head. It took me until May to allow my heart to share the pain of what we could not do. It took time and vulnerability to hand God my sense of failure and hurt. It took putting down my pride to ask what is next? What can we do now? And how? As things just cannot go forward in the same manner. It took multiple discussions and prayer to find the humility and willingness to say, “Okay, let’s put aside what we have always done and figure out what You need done in these times.”
Moving out of the pause.
God has long encouraged me to write. I have long been resistant. As it became clear that I needed to move past the pause, I struggled to know how or what to start with. I literally could not think of much to say for a newsletter, besides “hello”. As I persevered with pen and paper in hand, I reflected back on what past newsletters had been about. Again, those pages were often full of things that we would be doing together. Covid made that seem daunting to think about.
So I thought of what had always been essential to FBF. It was our study time together in God’s Word. Grasping to that, and the longing to return to some way to engage, inspiration flooded over me. All of a sudden, I could see–off in the distance–a way. Excitedly, I wrote notes, did some research and began to talk with others about what I could see.
I took a step forward, and began moving out in faith again.
In the distance, a new structure was coming into view. Not entirely unknown, as we are still FBF, but new in ways to bring us together again…
Welcome to FBF’s new gathering place.
Yep, you read that right.
In this space.
We hope to gather. We hope to inspire. We hope to connect. And we hope to serve.
Take some time to explore this new website. We’ll introduce each wing of this new shared space. Spaces will be noticeably familiar to how you engaged us before, but more accessible here while Covid remains out there.
We are excited to move into the autumn, holidays and new year with the potential this space holds. We pray it brings growth, strength, encouragement, and connection to help with that longing we all experienced this year.
Let us value the importance of connection, even as the world’s ability to safely interact changes right before our eyes…