Thankfully we’re healthy as of this writing, but we are self-isolating. We had big plans with good friends this weekend but they were canceled. Our kids had some fun alternate plans scheduled but we (as a family, though not unanimously) decided to cancel. So technically Saturday, March 14th was Q1, our first real day of quarantine or self-isolation.
We all got out and enjoyed the gorgeous day. Stuttgart has had a very rainy start to 2020 so we relished some Vitamin-D. If you didn’t know that we had other plans it would have seemed like a regular Saturday.We’re supposed to be honoring social distancing, spacing from each other to limit exposure… Anna hasn’t mastered this.
(😂 – I realize those rules are for the public, but Parker would love some breathing space sometimes.)
Today, Sunday, March 15th, is Q2. THIS day really looks different from our normal Sunday. Church will be live-streamed and none of us are actually going. Matt felt a bit fatigued and achy yesterday, though no other symptoms, and they were gone by bedtime, but it is not worth risking him taking any illness he may have anywhere, so we’re all home today. CH Rice is handling ChapelNext Live and we’re going to watch as a family.
We normally eat lunch with our CN family at the food court but they’ve literally removed all the tables and chairs and the restaurants are only allowed to serve take-out.
No matter what we do as a family or a community:
Some will think we’re overreacting, some will ask what took so long.
Some will wonder why I bought a four extra boxes of cereal and an extra bag of frozen chicken, some will wonder why we don’t have 75 cases of TP in the basement.
If I let Facebook be my Judge, I will be wrong no matter what I do.
Anxiety has a way of creeping in. Parker came to me yesterday feeling the weight of all of this, and the other things we have going on, and I was able to pull from some reserve strength I had built up… from where, I’ll share in a moment.
His words to me were, “Mom, I just feel like everything is bad right now. With you know…” and he proceeded to list a pretty strong list of things that would make any mama sad to hear.
First, and this is critical. Please understand this before moving on. Parker’s feelings were perfectly acceptable. I didn’t minimize them or wipe them away. I didn’t sweep them under the rug or make him feel that he’s only able to come to me with happy thoughts. He was down because he has a lot on his 10-year-old shoulders. Most kids his age aren’t facing their 4th move, the THIRD time across an ocean. (I had to do the math on that. Wiesbaden to SC, SC to TX, TX to Stuttgart, Stuttgart to NY. Yep. Four moves, three of them over an ocean.) That’s enough, but he also faces the challenge of being a 10-year-old living with three teenage brothers, so he’s exposed to things at a much earlier age than others. Nothing bad, just ideas and concepts that HC&B were protected from when they were 10. He hears us talking and recognizes that the world isn’t a safe place. And add to this the literal pandemic that is going on… he’s a touch overwhelmed. (And I’d dare say even most adults are struggling with this!)
When he came to me so heavy-hearted I validated his sadness and let him know that I didn’t want to undermine or belittle his feelings, but I had just the thing that might help him see some positive things that are just as true and valid as the heavy things he is dealing with. Just an hour earlier I had found a little journal that I started a couple of months before Matt and I got married. I meant to keep up with it, but I lost track of it. I keep finding it every few years and jotting things down, updating not even once a year. It’s sort of a little game I have with myself.
While the kids were outside running getting some sun, I updated it. The entire first page I filled to the brim with the amazingness that is our life:
Parker turned 10 and got his Military ID! Matt’s upcoming fantastic job! Moving to NYC (dream come true!)! Hayden graduated and is doing college online (which means he has no interruption in his education with this COVID stuff). Anna’s first-mom is having a baby sister for Anna!
The page was filled up!
The next page was 3/4 full of the current challenges, but then I remembered another great thing in our life and jotted it down.
So… I said to Parker, “Bub, I was just feeling all of those same anxious feelings and then found this!” I showed him the journal and told him about it. “I’ve never read any of this to anyone. Ever. Not even dad. But I want to read to you what I just wrote…”
I proceeded to read to him, the first sentence being about him turning 10, and as I read his shoulders lifted, his face brightened, and by the end he was my happy-go-lucky Parker.
People… count your blessings.
WRITE. THEM. DOWN.
Doing so will not lift the quarantine but it will lift your spirits.
I’m reading the book of Deuteronomy in my Bible Reading Plan and it’s one of my favorite books of the Bible. Strange favorite, I know. But I love hearing the command: Do not forget what the Lord has done for you.
Because it’s easy to focus on:
- the stress of PCSing
- tossing/giving away things that are memorable or special to save on HHGs weight
- toilet paper shortage
- limits on many items
- canceled church services
- THREE trips canceled (including Matt’s Christmas present, a race that runs through three countries; Auschwitz, Anne Frank, and Corrie Ten Boom… these were at the top of my must-see-before-we-move list)
- stats showing that this is spreading faster than we can keep up
- the hurtful things shared online
I have to be intentional to focus on all the Lord has done for me.
And as I mentioned earlier, there is something that was pouring Life into me over the past three days that led me to be intentional in this area.
I was listening to Lysa Terkeurst’s book, “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way.”
I firmly believe the timing of my listening to that book was ordained by the Lord Himself.
I urge you to read it during your time in quarantine. If you’re reading this blog post years after this pandemic, then read Lysa’s book now. It’s full of encouragement and not from the perspective of a person who is a know-it-all or is judgmental. Her heart pours out in love for her fellow children of The King.
There were probably a hundred quotes I could have shared but I’ll leave you with this.
In the quiet, unexpressed, unwrestled-through disappointments, Satan is handcrafting his most damning weapons against us and those we love. It’s his subtle seduction to get us alone with our thoughts so he can slip in whispers that will develop our disappointments into destructive choices.
And what often happens in our social media world is that we find freedom to express our disappointments (with our situation/government/spouse/etc) on social media and we find someone who agrees with us and we are emboldened in our stance… AND we find someone who disagrees and we find ourselves determined to either prove them wrong or stupid. And the enemy wins.
Use your time wisely online: Speak carefully. Share with caution. Read with discernment. Set healthy boundaries. (You do not have to correct every incorrect statement! Believe me, I know it’s tempting!) When you type something out ask yourself if it’s helpful or hurtful.
Lisa quotes Corinthians 1:3–4 and I believe it would be good to filter everything we want say, share, or post through this scripture:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
God comforts us. We comfort others with the comfort we received from Him.
Even the midst of horrible situations discern the voices you’re hearing and listen only to the One who comforts. Share what He speaks to you as it will comfort others and please don’t share the enemy’s destructive lies.
We watched our Chapel service on FB live.
I kept punching Matt during the sermon because many of the things I wrote above were CH Rice’s points. I loved the scripture he preached from: Philippians 4:4-7.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The Lord is near. Be gentle in the commissary. Christians, stand out for your gentleness. Christ is the basis for our peace. ~CH Dan Rice.