By Deanna Kirk – Special to the Navarro County Gazette

And they are strange. Strange indeed.

Never in a million years did I think when we started a business in May 2019 that less than one year later we’d be navigating life during a global pandemic.

Nor did we ever dream some of the other things happening currently would be going on. I’ll just let that statement lay right there.

Times are tough all over. My friends in the oil and gas industry have lost jobs. Friends in graphic design and marketing have been laid off. Friends with small businesses have been forced to close their doors. Many, like some restaurants, are hanging on by a thread, just hoping and praying for a miracle.

It’s sad to me that after all the years of pleading for more restaurants we get a Chick-Fil-A and now they’re on Facebook pleading for our populace to support their business. Drive by restaurants in the evenings now, and it’s not unusual to see zero customer cars in the lot.

I understand people are scared and staying home to eat more these days. I even understand people ordering products from Amazon (I’m guilty of that myself) rather than stepping inside an actual store.

But as my friend Shelly from Twyst said, how about us small Mom-and-Pops get a fair shake? While the monsters like Amazon, Walmart and H-E-B are raking in the dollars, small businesses may not even be making their payroll.

I shared something on my Facebook wall today about buying Made in America products vs. China. I think that’s a great focus for each one of us to adopt.

But also, consider the fact that if you buy that item from Amazon instead of a small business, it’s not going to mean the difference in Jeff Bezos’ kid doing without piano lessons.

My husband shares daily devotions from Rick Warren on his FB page. For those losing sleep at night wondering how to keep your doors open when you don’t know what lies down the road, take heart. Rick laid it out step by step how to cope with trials and troubles you face.

One, cry out for God’s help. Admit that you can’t deal with it yourself, and ask Jesus to take the wheel.

Two, fill your mind with God’s word. Let His words soothe, comfort, strengthen and energize you to keep on keepin’ on. Rick said, “If you could find the solution within yourself, you’d already be changed. You need to look to God – He’s the only one with sustaining strength.”

Third, accept support from God’s people. God never meant for you to go through life on your own, and our weaknesses make us realize how much we need each other. Nothing helps get your mind off your own problems like helping someone else with theirs! And when we help one another, we are obeying God’s command that we “love our neighbor as ourselves.”

Last, but far from least, lean on God’s promises. The Bible holds around 5,500 of them just waiting for you to claim them! Here’s one, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak … those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40: 29-31.

These steps can apply to any problem, not just business/job related. Oh believe me, I’m a Christian who has to fight (and fail!) daily to try to follow God’s commands. I’m certainly no better than anyone else. But sometimes it helps to find a Godly person with a very strong faith and ask for prayer. Look for ones who can give support you need in your situation.

And by all means, look around and even if it looks as if someone or their business is doing fine, ask yourself what may lie beneath surface appearances and how you might help. Consider our local brick and mortar stores run by neighbors and friends who may just be trying to put food on the table for their kids or keep little Johnny in school.

We can get through this if we all work together.

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