Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

August 18, 2021

August 18, 2021

Dear Friends,

Almost every day, as I check on this congregation, I find that we are all anxious, stressed, worried about the future, and tired of the political ping pong that seems to be our new normal.  I have talked to couples who are so tired and stressed that they know that they are taking it out on each other or on their children and who want to change that.  Others have realized that they have been “medicating” themselves with food, drink, sleep, or online sites/games to keep the anxiety at bay. 

If you feel that way, let me remind you that you are not alone.  The faith family at Forest Lake is available, and even better than that, you are known and loved by the very God who made and rules the Universe.  There is much that we do not know, but Christians are to be marked by our belief – even when the current situation is difficult – that in the end God’s purposes of love and reconciliation will win.  Love will win because God is Love (1 John 4:16).  And if you need help remembering that on a daily basis, then I have some suggestions.

1. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself and those you love.  Stress often translates into anger that we take out on others.  When you feel you are about to pop, breathe deeply and ask God to grant you peace and to take your anger and stress.  And if you want to talk more about how to do that, call me.

2. Make an intentional effort to seek God.  Focus more on the only thing that does not change, and less on the chaos.  You can do that by coming to worship (in person or virtually).  Also, we are now accepting registrations for our small groups – called H3 Groups (Head, Heart, and Hands) – that will begin meeting after Labor Day.  Groups will meet virtually, in person, and in hybrid formats, and every group is focused on seeking God and asking for God’s presence.

3. Remember that using temporary things – work, food, alcohol, video/online distractions – to make us feel better only delays and amplifies the stress.  Many people say that they are anxious, but they do not seek eternal truth.  Wasn’t it Einstein who said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?  Peace is not found at the bottom of a beer glass or a quart of ice cream.  Peace is found in God.

4. Remember that our congregation has trained, confidential Stephen Ministers available to talk for free and on your schedule if you are having a difficult time.  Please contact Ed Black, Margaret or Wayne Harris, or Bettianne Davenport if you’d like to know more about this resource.

This Sunday, in worship, we will hear from some folks who have participated in H3 Groups.  I invite you to listen and to consider joining an H3 group as an antidote to the crazy the world has to offer.  God says, “Be still, and know that I am God!” And God’s people reply, “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”  Psalm 46:10-11.

See you in worship!


Ellen Fowler Skidmore

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