If I’m really honest, my heart and soul have felt downcast lately.
I know I’m far from the only one. Life as we’ve known it, is changing rapidly.
In the UK and globally, the Covid-19 coronavirus has been dominating the news. Hand sanitiser and toilet paper have been virtually unavailable for weeks. And for a first in my lifetime, certain aisles at the grocery store are completely bare of pasta, rice, and basic medicines, just to name a few.
I was talking to a father at my daughter’s ballet class and we were both shocked that within two months, the illness he once feared for his relatives in China, has now made its way to our doorstep in London.
This week’s been a very significant one with the Prime Minister asking that all social gatherings be stopped for the time being, folks need to stay at home to prevent spreading of the virus and nationally, schools have closed today. These are all needed measures, but it’s difficult to swallow the reality of an indefinite duration.
I’ve been to the shops daily to just see what is still available. Forget shopping from a list! It’s just about quick planning and shopping based on whatever I can find.
And then to top it off, US President Trump has now banned travel from European countries including the UK. So at the moment the kids and I, being dual nationals, could travel to see my parents in California but my English husband wouldn’t be allowed. I know it’s temporary, but no one likes feeling like you can’t get back as a family to visit parents. Summer holidays will not be happening for us, nor for many others.
It’s turning into a very different sort of year.
If I’m not careful, it could be easy to get sucked into a downward spiral of a ‘doom and gloom’ pity party.
Everyone’s freaking out, illness spreading exponentially, and comfortable life has been disrupted with lots of unknowns.
I was spending some time reading my Bible this week and thankfully some precious verses helped encourage me:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:6-7
While walking to collect Anna at school recently, I looked up to the most beautiful sky of fluffy white clouds scattered amongst the vast blue. God whispered into my anxious heart, “Hope isn’t lost! I’m here! I love you, I’m with you, and I will show you that I can bring good from even the most unfortunate circumstances. Don’t lose heart! Keep looking up!”
So looking at all that is happening, I’m learning to adjust. This isn’t the 2020 that anyone wanted or planned for, but maybe as I open up my heart a bit more toward learning flexibility, perseverance, and resilience, I will come out the other side of this crazy season more grounded in who I am in Jesus.
Seeing empty shelves at the grocery store, humbles me to remember that my temporary annoyance and going without certain items is a daily reality for many people who struggle to put food on the table for their families.
Observing others truly fearful for their health and worried how they would pay their rent or mortgage if they needed time off, reminds me that God is our true Provider. He is the only one we can rely on for daily needs and to bring peace.
With school finishing, it provides a unique situation to spend more intentional time with my kids. From planting flowers in our garden to cooking a meal together, I want to make sure that I make the most of it with them. I want to teach life skills and not just curriculum.
Without meeting in person for church and our weekly groups, it is an opportunity to refocus on the most important relationship we could ever have, with God himself. Time reading our Bibles and having intentional prayer will allow us to be connected to all that God has for us.
This is also a time where we can remember that for those of us who believe in Jesus, our eternal hope is secured and despite lots of bad news lately, we don’t have to despair. We have the light of Christ in our hearts and it is our privilege and responsibility to stand by our communities in this season of unknowns. This is our time to share God’s love and kindness to a world which needs hope so desperately.
Let’s also be thankful and pray for the protection of our medical workers, grocery workers, delivery drivers, educators, first responders, and so many more who are bravely going to work each day and trying to keep society running as best it can. We can pray for those who have lost loved ones and sadly the ones who still will suffer loss with this illness, that God’s grace and comfort would be abundant in time of need.
So while we can’t see others in person: send a letter, write a message to check in with friends and neighbours, FaceTime with loved ones, make a short video, share a photo, or take a neighbourhood walk while keeping a distance and waving to friends.
As we enter into unchartered territory, may the prayer of our hearts be like the words of King David:
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.Psalm 40:1-3