How to Survive April

When I first awaken it all seems like a bad dream — a nightmare full of fearful things I can’t control…

Then I realize it’s all real.

There is a worldwide pandemic and people are falling sick and dying at an increasing rate every day in my region of the country. I have been quarantined in my home the past 18 days and will be at least for 30 more days — only getting out for walks in my neighborhood. My husband is at high risk (and by age, I am as well) for getting ill from this very contagious virus. I do terribly miss seeing my whole family. And the financial situation is dire due to lost work and everything closing down.

But I refuse to live in fear.

This world health crisis is real – we can’t pretend it’s not happening. How do we acknowledge such truth and still live vibrantly in our new normal?  We go deeper than just surface responses – we garner strength of soul within to help us face the challenges without.

Here is how we can live Soul Strong for the month of April… and beyond:

S – Surrender Your Plans.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” 1 Peter 5.7

This is not the life you signed up for, but it’s the life you have right now. As many things get smaller (activities, finances) or non-existent, it won’t help to feed fears. Instead, try to hold all loosely – your plans, your loved ones, your need-to-control. Try this simple exercise: Open your hands to release all that to God by naming each one, “Lord, I release _______ to You.” Then, keep your hands open to receive what God will give in return, “Lord, I receive Your gift of   _________.”

T – Trust God’s Presence, Peace, and Power.

“For I hold you by the right hand – I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’” Isaiah 41.13

God is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe who loves you more than you can possibly imagine. He is not wringing his hands in despair. He is, in fact, present through His Spirit – and nothing is impossible for Him. Can you say with King David, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You?” (Psalm 56.3) In the Bible God promises each of us His presence, peace, and power. You are not alone!

R – Reach Out with Kindness.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another.” Ephesians 4.32

Tight spaces, deprivation, and anxiety can easily lead to bad tempers and self-centeredness. The perfect antidote is to make a deliberate choice to extend kindness to those in your household and community. Think outside the box of how to show compassion to the servers and the suffering. Your light in the darkness will encourage, provide practical help, and bring hope.

O – Observe a Daily Routine.

“Let me hear of Your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting You. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to You.” Psalm 143.8

Awaken each day, get dressed, and make your bed. This and other established routines will provide security and order to your household. Limit your intake of media and news. Plan exercise, meals, reading, rest, chores, schooling, daily check-in phone calls, and projects. Hugs and listening to your children will go a long way to help them know you are their ‘safe place.’ How you handle this crisis may well be your last and greatest legacy.

N – Nurture Your Inner Life.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4.23

Take care of yourself – body and soul. Yes, do all the health mandates for physical safety. But also focus on your inner life through silence, prayers, Bible study, worship, rest, journaling, and those creative activities that renew and refresh. In addition to my morning prayers, I also have a hot cup of fresh brewed tea every afternoon with a favorite devotional book. Fill up your soul with deposits of that which is “true, honorable, lovely, pure, right, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4) Your strength of soul will then overflow to others.

G – Give Thanks Daily.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. And be thankful.” Colossians 3.15

No matter how bad life gets, there are always blessings. Look for the gifts you have. Name them. Make a gratitude list each day and then offer up thanks to the God who provides. Be generous to others. Say “Thank You” to those who rarely hear it and pray for them. And then, embrace the peace that God promises to bring to your own heart and life.

  • Surrender
  • Trust God
  • Reach Out
  • Observe
  • Nurture
  • Give Thanks

I confess, I don’t feel very strong some days. But, by God’s grace, I am determined to live vibrantly through these unknown and unprecedented times as a soul strong woman. This is my prayer for you as well.

under the mercy, Lucinda

This article originally appeared in Debbie Macomber’s “Welcome Home” Magazine Spring 2020. CLICK HERE to Download your FREE ISSUE. 

©2020 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouragement at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com

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25 Comments

  1. Elaine Miller on April 1, 2020 at 11:27 am

    Excellent word dear Lucinda. Keeping our eyes on Jesus, always.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on April 1, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      Thank you for sharing and I’m praying for you and your ministry also.

    • Christine Trautman on April 1, 2020 at 4:35 pm

      Amen and Amen…most encouraging and anchoring words, Cindy…May the Father continue to use your gifts in creative ways that are fruitful and bless many in this time. Sending hugs and love to you and Mike. ❤️

  2. Tina Smith on April 1, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Thank you!!

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on April 1, 2020 at 2:53 pm

      You are so very welcome, Tina. Whatever you most need today, may God grant You His peace and provision.

  3. Betty on April 1, 2020 at 12:04 pm

    Thank you!

    • Colette on April 1, 2020 at 12:12 pm

      Thank You Cindy for your uplifted and encouraging words. Blessings of Peace , Love and health to all of your families and others. Colette

      • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on April 1, 2020 at 2:51 pm

        And we are most certainly praying for you and your whole family. See you online next week, dear friend.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on April 1, 2020 at 2:52 pm

      You are so very welcome, Betty. Please take care and know I’m praying for you all.

  4. tracy arnzen on April 1, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    thank you for this beautiful encouragement. How appropriate for the timing of your “Soul Strong” publication

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on April 1, 2020 at 2:52 pm

      It has always been my prayer that God would somehow use my words for His glory. And I’ve always said that His Timing is Perfect. You honor me, Tracy, take care.

  5. LORNA on April 1, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Lorna ON APRIL 1ST AT 8:23 AM

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR ENCOURAGING WORDS TODAY, I WORK IN THE MEDICAL FIELD AND IT IS GETTING MORE SCARY FOR ME TO BE THERE
    I HAVE A FAMILY AT HOME AND I DO NOT WANT TO BRING IT HOME TO THEM.
    LORNA

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on April 1, 2020 at 2:51 pm

      Lorna, I hear your heart and I have added you to my daily prayer list of medical workers and those fighting so valiantly on the front lines of this battle. May you know God’s peace and protection and may our Lord have mercy on us all. THANK YOU!!!!!

  6. Debby Pember on April 1, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Thank you for these encouraging words! Such a blessing!

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on April 1, 2020 at 2:50 pm

      Sending hugs your way, Debby, and blessings.

  7. Paula on April 1, 2020 at 1:30 pm

    Very encouraging. Thank you, Cindy. I want to share this with so many! Keep sending these encouraging and uplifting words.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on April 1, 2020 at 2:49 pm

      Thank you Paula, for sharing this with anyone who needs an encouraging word. And blessings to you just over the way. Take care and keep in touch.

  8. Maggie Rowe on April 1, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    Glad to hear you are doing so well under these very difficult circumstances that we’re experiencing across the world. Wonderful advice, thank you. Surrender is my keyword these days and has been since we lost my mom. Not giving in, but yielding that which was never ours in the first place.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on April 1, 2020 at 2:49 pm

      Well, I have my good days and my less-than-victory days, but God is amongst us here and with all those we love. Sending hugs to you at Peace Ridge, bff.

  9. Barbara on April 1, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Love you! Thank you. Wisdom evEr lasting, always, from that golden heart of yours….

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on April 1, 2020 at 2:48 pm

      Thank you Barbara, for reading my words. May you know God’s presence and peace today.

  10. Sheree Harrington on April 1, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you once again, Lucinda for shining some light in the darkness. May God keep you and your family healthy!

  11. Waneta Calley on April 1, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    I feel the same way you do. This Pandemic is so unreal. When I awake in the morning, I think it was a bad dream. Then I realize it is a living nightmare!
    But your perspective on how to deal with it gives my courage. My heart aches for all those on the front lines, those who are sick and do not survive and their familiars. I keep praying and asking God to take this awful virus away. We are all in this together and we must help each other and we will get through it with God’s help.

  12. Kathy Collard Miller on April 2, 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Amen on those very significant, practical, and spiritual steps, Lucinda. We can consider this time of uncertainty as God’s invitation to examine our hearts and release those plans, etc, that have seemed so important, even more important than trusting God. I always benefit from your newsletters. Thank you.

  13. Maureen Miller on April 3, 2020 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you for these comforting and wise words, dear friend. We are living in strange times, but we can live soul strong when we find our strength in the Lord! (Proverbs 31:25)
    Me? I choose to laugh at the days to come! ❤️

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