About the Author

Author Jennifer Dukes Lee and her husband live on the family farm, raising crops, pigs, and two humans. She’s a fan of dark chocolate, emojis, eighties music, bright lipstick, and Netflix binges. She wants to live life in such a way that you can’t help but want more of Jesus.

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  1. Thanks Jennifer. A well written piece as always (I’m a big fan of ‘The Happiness Dare’). My unexpected gift is spending proper time with my husband and sons. We have a new daily ritual of watching Star Trek Voyager on real-time tv, so we actually sit through the adverts. There is now a competition between the four of us to be the first to shout out the product being advertised. It is such a simple bit of fun, but brings laughter and joy to us all (getting answers right and hilariously wrong). Thank you God for slowing me down to appreciate just what You have given me.

    • Watching TV and sitting through the adverts! I never thought we’d go back to THAT day. 🙂 I love how you’ve made a game out of a common, ordinary moment in the midst of a pandemic. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Jennifer,
    This surreal change of events has made me realize just what a planner I am. Right now I’m learning that the only plan is there is no plan…at least not much more than a day ahead. Blessings? I’m saving money on getting my hair done and am rocking the ponytail look…anyone else? My husband has been working from home most of the time and that gives us the blessing of having lunch dates every day. I see neighbors I haven’t seen in the longest time out for walks and kids riding bikes and it takes me back to simpler times.
    Most of all, it has really allowed me time to be still and be in His word. I realize just how much I need to dwell on whatever is true, right, noble, pure; whatever is lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. It’s His word that gives me peace in the midst of the news headlines. Wonderful post and hopefully some lessons I can take forward with me.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • As a planner myself (you know this about me), that’s been a gift for me as well. There are so many hard things right now — our parents, my daughter’s low immunity, concerns over finances, the list goes on. But if I don’t look for some good here and there, I think I’ll go mad.

  3. No gifts have come out of this for me. None. I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder and depression. All around me are broken dreams, happiness snatched away, jobs under threat and a marriage in tatters. I’m also having a breast lump checked on Monday. I have been pushed to suicide ideation, despite crying out to God everyday. Everyday I pray for courage, strength, acceptance and help. And it never comes.
    Nobody wants to live in a world like this. I long to see the good that God will bring from this, which Christian friends tell me will happen.
    My daughters are living with the uncertainty of their university careers starting or continuing or not. Each day brings another tragedy, another bleak fact, more fear.
    There is no joy to be found and I can’t live with it.

    • Gillian,
      God is still working! I know it can sound insensitive to say it, but believe me, I understand what you’re going through. Every day is a struggle to keep having faith and there are days when giving up sounds so much easier. Try to remember that you ARE stronger than you think you are and you will get through this!
      Praying for you,
      M @ In Beautiful Chaos

    • Oh Gillian, My heart breaks to read your comment today. You have so many struggles, compounded on one another. Any single one of those would feel impossible, but to have them all stacked up — all at once — well it’s just …. so …. much.

      I hear the desire of your heart. “I long to see the good that God will bring from this, which Christian friends tell me will happen.” I believe what your friends say. I am not sure you know me or about my struggles, but the one thing I always held onto through them, is that everything will be made right with Jesus. The hard truth, though, is it might be a long time before we see that truth come to pass. Even so…. I don’t know how else to live, other than to hold on to the truth that has sustained men and women for centuries.

      In the midst of my own trials, I cling to the things that can’t be taken away from me: God’s love, promise of salvation, his assurance of a plan to bring beauty from ashes. That’s the entire premise behind Easter, which we celebrate next weekend. On Good Friday, it must have looked completely hopeless to those disciples. But on Easter Sunday, absolutely everything changed.

      You are in a terrible, terrible Good Friday, dear Gillian. I am praying for resurrection hope to come for you. Much love to you. And thank you for sharing your beautiful heart.

      • Jennifer, I cannot thank you and also M @ In Beautiful Chaos, Lori A, Karen, Janice Cobb, Ned @ Walking Well With God, Katy, Karen, Serene, Manjula Simiyon ENOUGH! I hope everyone can see my response – I don’t want to jam up your page with individual responses.

        I have received an abundant blessing from you all. Thank you. I have truly felt loved, for the first time in a long time and also so upheld in prayer. I went to the breast clinic today and what I have is a benign condition, praise Jesus. I am so relieved. I know this doesn’t fix everything, but it relieves me of one burden.

        Your responses and encouragement pushed me on to reach out for help to a counsellor at a church I started attending over the last few months. Three years ago, a youth worker at our church where I live, committed the offence of grooming my daughters and other young girls in the youth group. The pastor handled it very badly. The “groomer” ended up attacking my husband and it all went to court. Apart from two dear friends, I lost my church family, my musical outlet (I was a worship leader) and a huge part of my life. My Anxiety Disorder became increasingly worse and depression set it. I am unfortunately medication resistant so it’s all about trying to control it. But I found the lump, then coronavirus happened and I lost it. I am able to see a therapist once a week via FaceTime, but I can’t talk to her about my faith. So today, I reached out and admitted I needed “faith help” and spoke to a wonderful lady over FaceTime. I was able to pour out how I get angry with God and feel lost and frightened. She explained to me that God is big enough to take our angry rants and helped me find another way to pray to express my fear and frustration. Then she prayed for me. I know I a still going to feel terrible when I wake in the mornings, and cry a lot. I know I’m not out of the woods. I know the uncertainty remains, But I don’t feel so alone anymore.

        I wouldn’t have done this, had it not been for your support. I thank Jesus for all of you and send you all my love. I pray for your safety and for us all to get through this. I hope everyone who replied to me gets to see this. Xx

    • Gillian, my son has generalized anxiety disorder and the simplest things in life have been a struggle for him. He started taking medication a few years ago and he says it didn’t make it go away but it does help him to get past it. I noticed that when it gets really bad his perception of things going on around him is not accurate. It’s like he is surrounded by a cloud and he can’t see any light through it. Sleep and a good meal seem to help. Going outside and getting some sunshine too. Please take care of yourself, don’t make any rash decisions while feeling this way. God does answer prayers but in my experience it sometimes takes longer than we expect. I am praying for God to meet you where you are. He has met me in some pretty low places. My problems didn’t go away but He gave me that little bit of encouragement to keep going. I hope you are encouraged by this and knowing you are being prayed for by many people who will see your post here.
      Lori

    • Hello Gillian, I have suffered from anxiety and depression as well and I think it’s important for you to reach out for help now from a suicide hotline or medical professional. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help or to take medication if needed. The stigma surrounding it is strong I know, but you will be stronger if you get help. Please take care of yourself.

    • I too am struggling with my hold on my faith Gillian. I am so sorry your anxiety disorder is affecting you so badly. Take courage, it will come to an end. We cannot understand the situation we find ourselves in right now, I just hope we will understand in time. I am 81, fit and well thank goodness but terribly lonely as I cannot see any of my children or grandchildren. The days are very long. I am trying hard to keep my spirits high, doing things I have never attempted before…a jigsaw puzzle, cooking (I loathe cooking!). Have a try at something new, get into a routine, it does help a little. Lastly, Count your blessings each and every day and keep praying. Be brave. So many people will now be praying for you.

    • Gillian,
      I have lived with anxiety and depression all my life. Not that medicine is a cure, but it sure has been a literal lifesaver for me. I KNOW the pain of just wanting to end it all to make the pain go away. It’s the worst pain one can bear!! Have you seen an MD for your symptoms? Are you taking medicine? There is no shame and it can truly help. I could not find any reassurance in God’s word until I got my brain chemistry more under control. The medicine helped to remove the dark grey glasses of depression and take the anxiety down a notch or two until it was livable. You are so loved by God and all of us here. Please do seek help…anxiety and depression are illnesses that need to be treated. You are worthy and you are dearly loved. The world needs you. I am lifting you in prayer right now that the light of Christ can break through the darkness.
      Gentle hugs,
      Bev xx

    • If you are breathing you have a gift. Look out not inward…You have more blessings than your counting. This may not be a preferred spot, but look at the good it can give, more time to enjoy life, family, reading God word, prayer, cooking, write a letter or card to someone. Spring clean, walk, ride A bike, help someone in need..and the list goes on.

    • Gillian, please consider reaching out to a suicide hotline or mental health professional. There is no shame in reaching out for help and taking medication if needed. Mental health is just as important as physical health. I have personally experienced this. May God bless you and your family.

    • Sometimes it is hard to continue to live in faith when you can’t see God working. Hebrews chapter 11 lists many hero’s of faith, but many of them never saw the happy ending they had hoped for until they reached heaven. Living in faith and hope gives peace and joy only as long as the faith services the circumstances. Please try and find small victories where God shows His love to you — even here where many try to give you encouragement.

      Hebrews 11:13-16 KJV
      [13] These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. [14] For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. [15] And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. [16] But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

    • It’s so painful to read this,dear friend. Myself being a psychiatrist I have seen people with similar struggle. As some one mentioned, the treatment may or may not completely cure, it will definitely give you more clarity in many aspects. Please reach out. Prayers and hugs

  4. I have been sick for the last year and at the start of all this was finally given a diagnosis and treatment plan. I truly believe that God has given me this time to heal so that I can be ready to fully serve His mission for my life when this all over. I had been planning far ahead and God has put a hold on all my plans, so I am trying to listen to His next steps for me.

    • Kerri listen to Don Moen song God will make a way where there seems to be no way. You get the song on youtube. Plus believe psalm 103 verse 3 over your life said a prayer for you. Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx

    • Kerri,
      Maybe God, in His ultimate goodness, wants to give you even more time to heal. Perhaps you would have rushed into serving too soon. Follow His gentle guiding…He knows what’s best for you and loves you beyond words.
      Blessings and healing,
      Bev xx

  5. Jennifer,

    I believe one unexpected gift for most families is time. Time to read the Bible, eat dinner at the table & yes talk face to face. No more rushing around to the next meeting or practice. Time to slow down & really get to know each other. For me not much has changed. Hubby & I still go to work at hospitals, grocery shop, etc. The few big differences is I can’t go see friends at church or visit my MIL-afraid of germs I may give her. Tough not being able to go help out or just sit & talk. I can’t really complain. My niece in China has been in quarantine for over 60 days now. She & hubby work from home teaching-special ed students. They also home school their two children, plus cook & clean. Can’t go out except for specific tasks. When at store must have temp taken & write down name & id number. The best thing to do is trust God to handle this & use this time to get closer to God. Work on Bible studies, read books, listen to Bible & of course pray hard.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Wow, Beth. Hearing about your niece in China is so eye-opening. I think we need to be mentally prepared for that here, but it’s hard to imagine getting that deep into this. Taking deep breaths … Knowing God has a plan for this! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I believe God has us all hear in this for a reason. In this Coronavaries to make us slow down stop spend more time with him God. Two get two things that really matter. That is Prayer reading his word the Bible standing on the Promises in it. As if you look at Exodus the Book in the Bible in Moses day. God spoke. God had to send pluges to get the people attention. Get the people to cry on to Moses why is God letting this happen. If you think of Coronavirus God could be speaking here also loud and clear to get his followers his people to listen to him God. That he God is not going to put with the things that the world is doing. That are not pleasing on to him. God sent pluges in Moses day. People in thoes day had to start and listen to God. We as people of God who are saved are to do the same. Get back into the Word of God the Bible and Prayer stand on the Promises of God. Especially in theses days we are in. We are to not be greedy when it comes to shopping for food. Only buy what we need. As if we do it will rot. Like it did in Exodus when God told the people then only during the day to gather enough for each day. Thoses who gathered more it was rotten the next day. It was on the day before Sabbath they were allowed to gather extra for the next day it didn’t rot. So that speaks to me that God will look after us during this Coronavaries. We should trust him. Cry on to God for everything at this time and keep trusting him no matter what. Not panic buy. Be the hands and feet of Jesus at this time also to thoes who need help. But keep ourselves safe as well. If also it means phoning someone up to see if they need anything in the shop. Or if need a meal cooked for them. Then leaving it at their front door for them if they need the meal or the things at the shop. Telling them also especially if not saved if you can. That they are in your prayers at this time. If they need you they can text you our ring you. Love today message Jennifer and you all incourage. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little

    • Thank you, Dawn, for taking the time to share your thoughts. I agree that we need to phone our friends and family, spend time with Jesus, help the most vulnerable in our populations, and love others through acts of service. xo

      • Jennifer thank you for your lovely comments. I love what you wrote in your message today. I live in Enniskillen Co. Fermanagh N. Ireland. I what you said spoke to me in lovely way to our Future in the Coronavirus and it so true. God hold tomorrow. As you say. So we trust God for everything. I will thank you for speaking into my heart all the way from my part of the world. I just love you all incourage. All in my prayers Love Dawn Ferguson- Little xxxx

  7. Tomorrow will be two weeks since I set foot into a store….and I have no desire to go even though I fall into the “seniors and health compromised” category. Not going out and running around doesn’t bother me at all. I babysit every day for my grand and that hasn’t changed although my son now works from home (no work gets done with a toddler!). My DiL is in healthcare and my husband in public service and I put my trust in my Heavenly Father for their protection. My husband has taken on any errands deemed absolutely necessary. We are trying to support our local restaurants but for the most part I cook our meals. By far the worst part of all this is not seeing my elderly mother….it’s been almost a month since I hugged her – and I’m not going to chance seeing her from 6 feet away. And the only part of all this “non-planning” that is a pain are our regular spring vision, dental and dr. appointments that have been cancelled…and how long it’s going to take to get scheduled (and our insurance starts over 7/1… wah waaaah… oh, and my haircut appointment in early May (fingers crossed)!!.

    I know many others are really struggling with isolation and I pray that God will ease their minds and calm their racing hearts. Blessings to you all – this is a great post!

  8. Kerri listen to Don Moen song God will make a way where there seems to be no way. You get the song on youtube. Plus believe psalm 103 verse 3 over your life said a prayer for you. Dawn Ferguson-Little xxx

  9. Thanks for your timely and prophetic post. Trying to be in the moment is not always easy, but so what we need to keep in mind now and, ironically, in our future. Thanks!

  10. The timing of your post is exactly what I needed. We have a lot of transitions at my school-potentially merging with the other large Christian school in town. There has been so much uncertainty about the future and this has compounded it.
    I have no idea what my future holds next year and if I will be classroom teaching the subjects I have previously taught and God has been prying gently every single bit of control from my chubby toddler hands. He is also asking me to empty my pockets.
    I have stuffed my pockets full of little things I delight in controlling.
    Thank you for reminding me that this is the time to look for Him NOW, not in the future. This is our time. Each day, we are sharing the good news. Especially as tomorrow is Palm Sunday. “Hosanna” means “Lord save us.”
    How fitting that we cry it out each Easter.

    Mostly, thank you for writing out the clouds in my head so I can see clearly.

    -Tammy Belau

  11. Jennifer, I always love your posts, and this one is no exception. My husband is a physician in a rural community, and thus on the frontline of this thing. My biggest concerns are for him. (Prayers appreciated!) What is helping me find peace when I feel anxious is to remember all that God has done for me in the past. And it’s been substantial. Dear Gillian, I know it’s hard to see God right now. Sometimes it’s hard to know He is at work. Often we don’t see it until we are on the other side. And then we look back and are amazed. I love how the song Waymaker puts it: “Even when we don’t see it you’re working. Even when we don’t feel it you’re working. You never stop. You never stop working. “ Praying for you, dear one.

  12. Jennifer, your words are always a gift. Today is no different. I’m honestly still wrestling through seeing the good in this time. I mean, I’m thankful for sharing three meals every day as a family of five. I’m thankful for walks together every morning and movies every night and not rushing from here to there. But despite all the slowing down, I’m slow to embrace this new season. My mind is still running at a hundred miles a minute and I feel the constant threat of crashing into the traffic of life that is going so much slower now. I’m thankful that God is here and He’s not done with me yet. Love you, friend.

    • I think all of us are at different stages, and in different modes of coping and dealing with this. It’s been hard for me as well, quite honestly, especially as time wears on. When we’ve faced a number of trials these last few years, we’ve found ourselves constantly asking each other as a family, Where can we find God in this? Where might there be a purpose that rises up from this pain?

      This quote from Ann Voskamp is always anchoring for me: “I know there is poor and hideous suffering, and I’ve seen the hungry and the guns that go to war. I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives.”

      • Yes, may we never neglect to give thanks! And I love that simple question, Where can we find God in this? Surely that’s one that always has a good answer. Thanks, friend. xx

  13. What a strange time we are living in. I felt great the first week. Since then it’s been more of a roller coaster of emotions. But along with loneliness, grief, and uncertainty I am feeling God’s presence more deeply. I always thank God for the gift of a new day. It feels more real and more special now.

    Thank you for putting into words what it feels like and the call to hold our future plans loosely. I can only imagine the work God is currently doing and the blessing of what it will look like on the other side.

    • There was a sort of novelty or adrenaline at first, but as that wore off, we were faced with some steep realities. Clinging to God in this. And I know you are, too, dearest Mary.

  14. Sometimes we must praise God in the little things like watching butterflies, birds, squirrels & enjoying them & the beautiful flowers; but today I am shouting loud & clear. Our grandson is in the US Army & has been serving in Afghanistan & finally got home two weeks ago. Yes, he is in quarantine; but he is in America so I praise God. May each of you feel God’s presence in a special way during this Holy Season that He did for us!

  15. So far there have been a lot of simple things that just make me smile, like i used ground chicken in my chili (instead of ground turkey) because it’s what was available and i was happy that any meat was available and now i know that it’s basically the same as ground turkey (I’m in my 40s and i had never purchased ground chicken but always wondered). A reminder that without knowing what sunrise service i would go to (I moved recently and I’m still trying out churches and looking for the right one) or what family or friends i’d see or what meal i’d make or go to; the best part. . .Easter comes anyway, without all the planning and fancy trimming, the most important part: Jesus! When it’s all stripped away and i don’t actually see any family or friends this weekend, the best part of Easter will still be there and I will happily proclaim He IS Risen! I divorced a few months ago and moved to a new place and started a new job so I am making it through this pandemic without a husband or our cat or our nice house or anything of the things and money that we had together. So what do i know beyond a shadow of a doubt? I can make it on my own, even in a time of crisis. I used to know that and then for a long time i didn’t and now i do again and of course i’m not really alone because Jesus has me as he always has 🙂

  16. I know this will sound strange but I am thankful for this time to reflect and think about what is important in my life. My mom just passed away this January and I am thankful she passed away in that time frame, giving all of the family time to create a wonderful celebration of life for her before this pandemic got worse. Grief is never ending and this unexpected virus gave me some down time to truly grieve without having to put on a mask to the office each day. This is the gift that this virus had given me. I am still grieving as the loss of mother is one that is so hard to bear but by working from home, this alleviate some stress and anxiety that overwhelms me at times. You are right, we are not guaranteed tomorrow and so we must live each day with all have and give love to those we so claim to love. Continued prayers of healing for all those who had lost a loved one during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing this message.