Responding to COVID-19

Responding to COVID-19

I've recorded a brief message of encouragement & information about how we can navigate these challenging days. I recommend listening to the message, but if you'd rather read the transcript, we will include that as well. Praying for you all! ❤️

listen here:

read the transcript:

Note: Please excuse any typos or other errors. We are working quickly to get this information out to you and it is probably not perfect. ❤️

Hi everyone. Welcome back to the Teach 4 the Heart Podcast. I can't even really bring myself to start with our normal introduction because nothing is normal about this past week that we've experienced and the days that we are experiencing right now. But I did want to hop on and just share with you a few words of encouragement and then also some practical notes about how we're going to try to best support you and support each other during this time. So I'm going to start out with just some housekeeping items, some kind of news related to some things that we're going to be doing.

And then I want to move into some scriptural and just personal sharing some of my thoughts and what I hope will be some words of encouragement and a few ideas of some things that I think will be helpful for you guys and for all of us as we navigate this challenging time. So first of all, a few housekeeping items here on the podcast. We actually had all of our content scheduled out for the next month and a half. I'd finally gotten a little bit ahead, but now we're rearranging things a bit. There are quite a few podcast episodes that we had planned that as I looked at the content, I'm thinking, man, this is strangely relevant for this season.

There had been some in particular, we were talking about experiencing God's rest in trials and just some other relevant topics. So you'll notice that some of the podcast episodes will not change at all. They won't have any mention of the coronavirus because I recorded them before all this, but I'm going to go ahead and release them because I think that they will be really helpful for you. There'll be other episodes that we'll be putting together kind of on the fly trying to tackle relevant topics to what is happening right now.

So you'll probably notice in the podcast over the next couple of weeks a variation of things that mention coronavirus and things that don't. And I hope that helps you. We want to be relevant, but also we want to also have a bit of that sense of normalcy and we want to use this time wisely. If we're out of school and some of you guys find yourself with extra time, then this is a good opportunity to continue to grow, to do PD, to continue to pick up new ideas so we don't want to completely abandon all of that during this time.

So we're going to kind of do a mix and I hope that's helpful. If you have any thoughts on that, feel free to email us We're also going to try to stay connected via email. You might find that you're getting a little bit more email from us during this time. That's just going to be our goal to connect with you guys and to hopefully better serve you. We are still trying to figure out what would be most helpful, what you guys need the most right now. I know my emotions are all over the place.

I'm having trouble wrapping my Ryan, my mind about around all of this. So watch for a survey coming out that we're going to ask you guys just like a quick one or two question survey to try to get a handle on how we can best serve and support you during this time. So keep an eye out for that. And then one final housekeeping note, we had planned during this week, and actually yes this week we are doing our classroom management webinars. They were on the calendar and we said, you know what, let's just move forward with them.

This is still an important topic and maybe we can use this free time to, to do some PD. And Monday night we had our first one and we had over 900 teachers there and everyone was so ... It was such an encouraging time for me and I think it was an encouraging time for those that were there. We can't meet up with big groups in person, but we were able to do it online and I think it was a really good time. So we have another one depending on when you're listening to it. It's tonight, Thursday. Depending on when you're listening to it, it might have already happened.

But we're moving forward with that. And we also had planned to offer our signature courses, Classroom Management 101 and Beyond Classroom Management, both at pay what you can afford pricing. So it's a special promotion we typically only do twice a year. And so that was on our schedule and I really been thinking, hey do we pull that? Do we not offer that promotion? And the more I thought about it, the more I said, well no, like that's not fair to anybody. This is maybe a time when you're looking for opportunity to do PD or you have time on your hands or maybe you were wanting this course.

Why would we not offer the pay what you can afford pricing that we were going to offer just because of all this? So we're going to go ahead and proceed with that promotion. So you will receive emails about it. But what we did is at the top we put a little spot where if you are not, if you're not in that head space, you are not interested in that right now, just click the little ... There'll be a little spot to click to say I'm not interested and then we won't email you anymore about it. But I just wanted to let you know our rationale behind that.

So just you're not just wondering, why are we talking about this during this time? It's because we had it planned and I didn't think it was fair to you to withdraw the offer in light of everything that's happening. So I hope that that makes sense and I hope that that will be helpful to many of you. Now I want to move into, those are some housekeeping items. If you guys have any thoughts or ideas or things that you need right now, feel free to reach out to us at As I said, we're trying to figure out what can we do that would be the most helpful.

And, I don't know, we are all just kind of taking this day by day, but any ideas, any thoughts that you have, definitely feel free to reach out and we'll definitely consider all of them. Okay. So those are the housekeeping items. Now I want to kind of give you guys a little bit of a few words of encouragement because I don't know about you, but this has been a tough week, a tough week emotionally. It's really amazing when I think about it and I think in particularly as Christians, we realize how important it is.

God hardwired us for connections with each other. And so the thought of, I don't know how things are in your state, but the thought here of canceling church services and not gathering with believers and not seeing our friends and our neighbors as much as we normally do, like that's really hard. And then we think of the effects on our students and our jobs and the economy and it can be really, really overwhelming. So I want to share just a few things that have been helpful for me and I pray maybe one of these will be helpful for you as well.

So number one, one thing that I am reminding myself and trying to practice is to elevate truths above my feelings. So in other words, I don't think that we should feel bad if we find herself in tears or struggling with this there. Those emotions are real. This is not, we actually just talked about this recently on the podcast of mourning the results of the fall. This is not the way God originally designed the universe to be. He designed us to be connected to each other. It's right for us to be sad when we're not connected to each other the way that we want to be.

It's right for us to be sad if people are dying, like this is right, but we have to elevate truth above our feelings. And there are so many truths to hold onto. God is in control. The day that is facing you today is the day that God ordained for you to have. None of this is out of his control. He turns the hearts of the King proverb said, so he is in control of the decisions governments make. He is in control of the virus spread. None of this is out of his control and we can rest in that sovereignty, rest in that.

We can also rest in the fact that we have the Holy Spirit in us, that we have God. That amongst all these things like that doesn't change. Of all the things that could change and are changing, Christ is constant. There are just so many truths of scripture. There's just a few that come to mind that are so true. And so we have to preach the gospel to ourselves. We have to remind ourselves of those truths and elevate the truth above our feelings. We're still going to have all the feelings. It's okay to have the feelings, but put your trust in the truth more than you put your trust in your feelings.

I hope that makes sense. So number one, elevate. I'm trying to elevate truth about my feelings.

Number two, I found music to be particularly helpful. And so I actually have, we actually have a playlist of music that goes along with our Teach Uplifted Program and I've been listening to that and I found it really helpful. There's just so many songs there about trusting God or about praising God through good times and bad. Oh man, there's so many spiritual lessons I'm learning. You see, that's one of the blessings of hardship. We learn so much more in challenges than we do often in calm seasons.

So we can just be thankful for all that God is teaching us and maybe hopefully I can come and share some of those lessons with you guys later. I don't want this to get too long. But anyhow, listening to encouraging songs and if you'd like to check out our playlist, we have it on Spotify. If you go to,, it'll redirect you to our Spotify playlist, if you're on Spotify, and you can save it to your profile and enjoy that list of music. It's so many really great songs in that list.

It was compiled by myself and some of our Teach Uplifted members over the years. So number one, elevate truth above your feelings. Number two, listen to encouraging music that elevates Christ and keeps our mind on those truths.

And then number three, find ways to connect. The longer this goes, the more we will feel the loss of connection. And so it's really important to find ways to connect with each other. Just this morning I had texted someone from our Sunday morning life group at church. And instead of texting me back, she picked up the phone and called me and I'm not a talk on the phone person. It's just not normally part of my day, but it was really great. We only talked for maybe seven, 10 minutes or so, but it was really great to talk to her on the phone.

And so I encourage you. If you're not a phone person, we might, we might need to be become a phone person. Hop on FaceTime, hop on the phone, you use Marco Polo, whatever it is. Find ways to connect with people, especially if you're starting to notice that you're really feeling that loss of connection to be intentional about seeking it out. It looks very different than normal. We all look forward to the day that it looks more normal than it does now, but go ahead and seek out that connection. Be careful of completely, we might be isolated physically, but be very careful about isolating yourself emotionally.

Reach out to people any way we can. Thank the Lord. We do have ... For all the challenges of social media and everything, what a blessing that we're experiencing this with technology that allows us to still connect. And then a final thought, a practical thought to think ahead a little but don't worry ahead. What I mean by that is this. We don't know what's going to happen in the coming weeks. Every state is different, different timelines. But a lot of us have been given, hey, you're off school for this many weeks.

We don't know if we'll be back in school after that or if it's going to continue on. We have no idea. And I found that it's not at all helpful to think much beyond the next couple of weeks. And when I say think ahead a little, it is probably wise to have a little bit in the back of your mind, what would I do if school is, if we're never back the rest of the year, how would I handle it? How would I support my students? It's good to start thinking about that, but we cannot worry ahead. I put that in quotes.

Think ahead, but don't worry ahead. In other words, we do not know what's going to happen. Things have changed so much in the past week. They're probably going to change a lot more in the next week and then the week after that. So it's not very helpful to try to extrapolate where we're going to be in say a month from now or two weeks from now even. So be careful about that. I was reading to my kids yesterday and we were reading Matthew six where it talks about consider the lilies of the field or to consider the valves of the air.

Your heavenly father feeds them and clothes them. Don't worry about food and [inaudible 00:12:10] food and clothes. And then it says seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. And then the last verse, verse 34 therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. And I thought, yes. We have to live that verse, you guys. We have to live that verse in this. Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself.

Each day has enough trouble of its own. So every morning as I wake up, I'm trying to just say, God, help me live today what you would have for me today and not worry about tomorrow. I pray these thoughts have been helpful for you guys. Let's pause a moment and pray before we finish up. Father, thank you that you are here. Thank you that you are constant. I cannot imagine trying to navigate this without you and I just praise you that we can trust in you no matter what is going on around us. I pray for each teacher listening to this, that you will encourage their hearts, help us each to rely on you and every time we forget.

Someone said once, life is a cycle of forgetting and remembering. Father, help every time we forget and start to spiral into stress or anxiety or worry. I pray that you will call us back to yourself, remind us of your truths and help us to grow. Help us emerge from this closer to you with a clear view of our priorities and just with our eyes fixed solely on you. Thank you for your great goodness. Please provide wisdom and all the practicalities. We didn't even talk today, Father, about all the practicalities of distance learning and how we can support our students, which we will try to talk about soon.

But Father, I pray you'll give each teacher wisdom and clarity to know what they should do in their unique situation. Father, thank you for your great goodness and love. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. Well, thank you guys. I do really look forward to hopping back and talking with you soon. Hopefully bringing you guys some ideas for this challenging season, but thank you for being here. And once again, any thoughts? Feel free to reach out and I look forward to talking with you again soon.

In the meantime, keep growing, keep trusting. Even in all this, you really are making a difference.

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