Grief, evangelism and COVID-19: Four takeaways from Q 2020 Virtual Summit

Heather Avis
Heather Avis |

Heather Avis on re-thinking margin amid COVID-19 

At a moment when many have more margin in their lives due to COVID-19, Heather Avis, bestselling author and mother of three adopted children  — two with Down syndrome and one child of color — shared how Christians can use this margin well. 

“My children with Down syndrome continue to force me into a place with plenty of margin and show me that margin looks much, much different than I had thought, which is kind of exactly what the coronavirus has done for so many of us,” Avis said. “Many of us today are having margin forced upon us. We are a people who have habitually said things like, ‘I can't wait for things to slow down or when things slow down.’”

“And here we are being forced to slow down,” she continued. “And in doing so, we are finding that we have more time and space than we know what to do with, more margin in our day than ever before. Yet this margin that we thought we were craving, when forced upon us the way it has been with this virus, it feels less reflective and life-giving and more suffocating. We have this margin we've been desperate for, and yet we are discontent unmotivated and stressed out.”

As a mother of children who are marginalized, Avis said she has discovered that adding more margin to our lives as defined by extra time and space “will always leave us feeling some kind of void.”

“As I've raised kids and develop relationships with people who are marginalized. I've learned that our greatest and our deepest need is not extra time and space,” she explained. “Our greatest and deepest need is to be known, to be seen to be understood, and to be valued.”

“The truth is, it is only when we scoot over and we thoughtfully intentionally and we fiercely make room for the marginalized in our lives that we will begin to find the margin we need,” she contended. “It is my hope my prayer, and my church to every leader listening, that as together we experience the oppression and desperation placed on us by a virus, our hearts will be open to those who have always been oppressed and desperate for an equitable amount of space in this world.”

During the season of margin, Avis encouraged Christians to “seek after those who are marginalized.”

“May we invite them into our spaces as leaders as teachers, and as voices of authority," she concluded. “And by doing so, may we begin to find the margin you need to thrive as we see the kingdom of Heaven here on earth.”

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