Friends, we are living in crazy times. Schools are closing in an attempt to contain the coronavirus, fear and cynicism are rampant, and people are hoarding toilet paper… I don’t think any of us ever expected this!
I have read a lot of different perspectives and comments over the last couple weeks, and the words I’ve been noticing are frustrated, frightened, irritated, unnecessary, confused, and afraid, to name a few.
The one thing I haven’t heard anyone say is, “I am so thankful for the coronavirus and the quarantine. I wish time would slow down so we could really enjoy it!”
Nope, I think most people are just ready to get through this uncharted territory and get on with life…
I don’t usually choose a “word for the year.” I’m not sure why; it just hasn’t been something I felt compelled to do.
But this year, a word chose me.
As I prayed over all the changes and transitions this year would hold for our family, especially with Sarah graduating and going off to college, I found myself dreading the days to come. The years we spent homeschooling have created a strong bond within our family, and the thought of this stage of life (having all my baby birds in the nest) ending just makes me sad. I get teary-eyed even thinking about her last show and last prom and graduation. I never would have dreamed it would be so hard to launch a child into adulthood! How I wished I could rewind the clock or at least just slow down time!
So I poured all these things out to the Lord, all my grief and fears and dreading. And as I sat there lamenting the change of this season, the Lord whispered a word to my heart.
Embrace these moments, I heard Him say. Don’t dread them. Savor them, treasure them, immerse yourself in them. For you are right, they will be gone in the blink of an eye, and you don’t want to miss any of it because you are too wrapped up in your own pity party. Lift up your eyes, open your hands, and receive these little gifts of joy. You can’t make time slow down, but you can slow yourself down enough to embrace it.
That word has changed everything for me this year.
I find myself returning to it again and again. I’m not going to lie- there are still tears in this season of “lasts.” But they are joyful tears, the kind that overflow from a full heart, marking these moments as something to be treasured.
And that word- embrace– it shifts my perspective when I start holding on too tightly. It reminds me that all our days and years and moments are known and numbered by One much greater than me. It enables me to rest in His promises and seize the day, leaving the future in His hands.
This word, embrace, has been echoing in my mind these past few days as well.
Obviously, I don’t rejoice in people getting sick or being afraid or missing work. I realize it is a hardship for many, and it has altered everyday life for all of us. People need help with childcare and groceries. Events are being cancelled, and school and worship services are being held online. These are strange days we are living in… I mean, we just delivered a package of toilet paper to some friends, for goodness’ sake! Definitely strange.
Am I really suggesting we should embrace it?
That is exactly what I am suggesting.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to “Rejoice always, pray continuously; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Give thanks in all circumstances, not for them…
Sure, our lives are being disrupted. But in the midst of this strange circumstance, what can you be thankful for? Gratitude is the key to embracing.
For me, I am grateful that, just for a little while, time is slowing down. Our hybrid school has transitioned into a more academic, private school model over the past few years, and while there are advantages to that, I have really missed our homeschooling days. Between school, church, drama, small groups, college ministry, sports, Jeff travelling, and the girls working, it is not very often that all six of us are in the same place for very long. It has become difficult for us to even eat dinner together one day a week!
And I miss it.
So, the thought of having all of us under the same roof for a whole week, maybe two, with no outside activities and no place we have to be is like an unexpected gift! As I watch these not-so-little-anymore people growing up before my eyes, I have longed for time to slow down… and now, just for a little while, it has.
For just a few days, we will sit at the table and do school work together, just like we used to. We will look for opportunities to be generous to those in need and share with our neighbors. We will eat home-cooked meals and play board games and watch movies. There are books on my nightstand and cookies ready to go in the oven. And yes, like any good mom, I have several cleaning projects for us to tackle as well!
On a bigger scale, I am not really sure what the next week or two (or more) will look like, or how this epidemic will ultimately affect our country, our world, and perhaps even our family. The reality is, it is way out of our hands and far beyond our control. Dreading it or resenting it will not help anything; it will only rob us of peace.
Instead, I choose joy. I choose gratitude.
I choose to let time slow down, and embrace it.
(And I am happy to bring you some toilet paper if you need it. Just sayin’!)
I, too, am grateful for this surprise “gift of time”. The Lord is right, embrace every moment, for they are good and for our good.
Your relationship with Sarah will be different, but it won’t be deminished, in any way. In the places where you can no longer be her mom, a beautiful friendship will bloom. And once again, you will smile at the goodness of our God.
Love you, friend!
Thanks, friend. Those are encouraging words, since I know you have recently begun this path yourself! We serve a good, faithful Father! Love you!
Renee Bell says
Great post, Kelly, and exactly how I am thinking of it. I am ELATED to have all this time with the girls and no where we need to be!!!!!!!! WOOOOOHOOOOOOO!!!!!! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻
You and me both!! Our busiest week of the year just got a hall pass!! Haha! 🙂
It has surprised me that more people have not seen the positive side of all of this. Don’t get me wrong I am seriously concerned for my older family and friends but given the illness is generally mild if you are fairly healthy I have to confess I thought well that is not so bad, I wouldn’t mind two weeks in isolation, I could use the peace and quiet. The panic is starting to really disturb me, I wish we were more empathetic towards others not so self-obsessed in this crisis.
My daughter has been disappointed she had to cancel a trip but it all quickly turned around when we started planning our family time together through the crisis and for us that precious time has become something to celebrate.
I agree, Sharon! While I hate the reason for the “social distancing,” I have to admit I am enjoying this “time off” immensely! We are doing our best to embrace the little moments and make some good memories. Glad to hear you all are, too! Praying you all stay healthy. Thanks for commenting!