We’re living in a strange time right now.
As of midnight, all non-essential businesses in Pennsylvania – including my husband’s place of employment – will be closed for two weeks (or more). There’s a feeling of panic and chaos in the air as most people seem to be panicking, hoarding supplies (which prevents others from getting what they need), and preparing to stay home.
It’s surreal and hard to grasp at this point. And yet, this didn’t surprise God. He knew this chapter in our story would come.
There is so much uncertainty and unrest. While my daily routine won’t change much by the closures because I was already a stay-at-home mom, I know that for many this is a drastic (and unwelcomed) change. For some this means cancelled events, postponed weddings, lost wages (us, too), and many other inconveniences. This means that our senate bill may go nowhere this year, which means starting over next year. None of this is ideal.
Crisis presents an opportunity to be selfless or to be selfish, to come together or be driven apart. It is in these times that the good – and God – truly shines. Do you see it?
Here’s where I’ve already seen God at work in our family:
- Brennan and I have had many opportunities lately to work extra shifts/hours and had already been doing so in hopes of paying off our remaining debt before September. We had become “gazelle intense” (Dave Ramsey) and were so focused on being debt-free that we were doing whatever we could do to make progress. We had also rearranged some things and lowered our overall monthly payment. Now we see that it wasn’t only good and creative financial moves, but it was God’s provision ahead of Brennan not working for weeks. We have more in savings than usual, and while it doesn’t mean we don’t need to be careful and concerned, it does mean that we can eat, make our house payment, etc., and for that we are grateful.
- Because Brennan isn’t working at his full-time job, we have an opportunity to help at Milton Hershey School during the weekdays to help relieve the very tired houseparents (school is cancelled but the student homes still have to run, and they still have to do school work). This will help bridge the gap between whatever he may be able to get through unemployment and our needs, but most importantly, we’re able to do something helpful in a time when we feel helpless.
- I am so thankful that Brennan will be with me for the next three weeks to help with this challenging season of toddlerhood. Maybe we can teach the twins to STOP throwing everything. Not likely, but I can hope.
- Brennan’s presence at home will also allow us to get many projects finished and I’m very excited about that prospect. We can clean up the play equipment that was handed-down to us and create a play area for the boys outside, which will help entertain the boys, give them some fresh air, and give us a break. We can sort through our remaining baby things (since we no longer need them) and get them ready to give away/consign. We can work together to accomplish a great deal of things that have been pushed aside for too long.
- And, as I already wrote about last week, I desperately needed this break from activities and outings. I needed an opportunity to rest, to develop better systems, etc. I have felt like so much has been out of my control and this break (with Brennan home) will help me figure some things out to make life a little easier.
I’ve seen God at work in our community, as well, mostly via social media at this point. I’ve seen moms working together to make sure that mamas have formula for their babies, offering to share toilet paper supplies, etc. I’ve seen neighbors checking in on each other. It’s been beautiful to see such selfless help being readily offered.
Where you see love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), you are seeing the Holy Spirit at work. Okay, maybe we aren’t seeing peace or self-control right now (toilet paper), but I’m seeing a lot of the rest.
Please consider the following passage as we face this pandemic:
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
– Philippians 4:4-9
If we truly believe the Bible, then this passage should be a roadmap during times like these. Find ways to rejoice and be grateful, be considerate in all you do, DON’T WORRY about ANYTHING, focus on what is good. THEN we will experience God’s peace.
God is ALWAYS at work, sometimes we just have to work to see it. And, even though things are crazy and uncertain, we can still be kind, helpful, calm, compassionate. We can practice social distancing and do our part to flatten the curve.
Sure, it’s requiring sacrifice (we’re likely missing a much-anticipated concert as well as other events), and I don’t think that we should pretend that it doesn’t hurt. However, if we take the focus off of what we’re losing/missing and focus on the greater good that is being accomplished, I think it makes the sacrifice a little easier.
Let’s focus on the good, on God, and on helping others.
Let me know in the comments: Where do you see God in your family, your community, the world?