It Started With a Sticky Note

If you could go back to 2020 to create a time capsule with objects that defined the year, what would you include? My contribution to the collection of hand sanitizer, face masks, and sourdough starters would be a banana-yellow sticky note.

In March 2020, as the world held its breath over news about COVID-19, I grabbed a stack of yellow sticky notes and walked onto my balcony. That week, my mom had been diagnosed with COVID-19, one of the first cases in the county—and we were scared. The more information we had, the more we feared.

I sat down on the balcony, hoping the fresh air would absorb some of my anxiety, and reached for a sticky note. I wrote down a short phrase I’d heard Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth say over and over again, snapped a picture, and posted it on Instagram:

For every fever-fueled, fear-driven, lonely thought that comes to mind, I’m asking the Lord to reorient my world with these two words: Heaven rules.

“The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.” —Psalm 103:19 ESV

The thousands of thoughts racing through my head went still with those two words. My mom still had COVID-19, the pandemic would continue—but God was in control. He could be trusted with her health.

Once the Lord calmed my heart about the circumstances my family was facing in Houston, He reminded me that we weren’t the only ones struggling. My thoughts shifted to Michigan, where Nancy and Robert were not only facing the pandemic but a cancer diagnosis. As I began to pray for them, I texted the picture of the sticky note to Nancy. She saved it as the lock screen wallpaper on her phone. I found a spot for it on my refrigerator door. 

A Constant Reminder: Heaven Rules

A few months later, Nancy mentioned the sticky note in one of the final radio programs of 2020. Recording from her makeshift studio—the guest bedroom in her basement, she shared a message which became one of Revive Our Hearts' most-listened-to programs of the year:

I have that reminder in front of me all the time. Robert and I say it to each other after we watch the evening news . . . After we watch it, we look at each other, and we say, “Honey, Heaven rules.”

As we got Robert’s cancer diagnosis, we looked at each other, and we said, “Heaven rules.” Now that’s not all we said. We talked about the realities, about the unknowns, about the what-ifs, about our natural human fears and what might happen . . . But at the end of the day, we keep coming back to “Heaven rules.” This is a biblical phrase. You find it in Daniel chapter four. You find the concept all the way through Scripture. Knowing and believing and reminding yourself of this reality, “Heaven rules,” I’m telling you, is what will keep you from going crazy in a broken, fallen, messed-up world—coronavirus, cancer, anything else—this constant reminder that Heaven rules.

A Message for this Moment

Over two years have passed since I wrote Nancy’s reminder on that sticky note. In the time since then, Nancy finished her book on the topic and is now finalizing conference messages focused on the truth that has anchored her heart to hope over many difficult seasons. It’s truth we need as much now as we did then.

When Nancy finished recording the radio program in May 2020, she said,

I’ll tell you what: we’re never going to move on from the reminder—the assurance—that Heaven rules . . . His presence with us has been so real and so encouraging and exactly what we’ve needed.

Nancy still has the picture of the sticky note as the screensaver on her phone. I still have the original paper version. As fitting as it would be to include in a time capsule for 2020, I’d add copies to 2021 and 2022 as well. “Heaven rules” is a message we need now and to prepare for the days to come.