In Mid-March, COVID-19 brought our lives as Americans to a screeching halt when it threatened our health and encroached upon our well-being. Staples in our normal routines—like school, church, organized sports, eating at restaurants, attending large family gatherings and more—became “non-essential.” We were mandated to stay home for our own safety and the safety of others.
It’s been over seven weeks since life as we knew it ended. State and federal leaders forge a new way forward while searching for the delicate balance between protecting public health and the long-term sociological and economic impact of those protective measures.
As government leaders fight to balance the scales, within our homes we are given a choice and an unprecedented opportunity. We can scratch and claw to maintain the sense of normalcy we’ve built our lives upon, or we can take a step back and embrace the gift wrapped within the uncertainty of these times. This gift we’re afforded is the chance to clear our schedules and cultivate the very thing we were created for: Connection.
How can we cultivate connection when we’re isolated within the walls of our home? The meaningful connection we were created for begins on the inside of us and ripples outward.
It starts with connecting to our hearts and to the God who fashioned them. Where busyness normally distracts us from an experiential encounter with the God of the universe, stillness invites it. God is always singing over us with His love songs. When daily life is rushing by, it’s hard to hear His melodies. As our churches close their doors to formal gatherings, God seeks to invade our hearts and our homes in a deeper, more tangible way. We often institutionalize the very faith that needs to be personalized in order to impact us. God isn’t stuck in the church, within the pages of our hymnals and the three points of a Sunday morning sermon. He’s with us where we are, reminding us of a Love that seeks to save what’s been lost to us. He’s ready and willing to heal and restore everything we surrender into His care. No matter where we are in our journey of faith, we can be certain that God is pursuing us. Where COVID-19 is sowing seeds of fear and terror, God is sowing love, peace and provision. Our hearts are the environment where those things take root and grow. We get to choose which of the lot we will cultivate.
Not only does slowing down mean hearing God and connecting to His heart of love for us, it also means connecting to our families in a way that changes things. About a decade ago, I heard the statistic that parents spend less than three minutes a day engaged in meaningful conversations with their kids. When I heard the statistic, I was pregnant with our firstborn and thought to myself “there is NO way I’ll spend such little time talking to my kids!” Here I am, ten years and four kids later, singing a different tune. It’s not that I don’t want to have meaningful conversations with my kids because I do. But with school, sports and other obligations filling our usual schedule, finding time to sit and talk is normally a rare occasion. Not now. In this moment, most of us have more time on our hands than we know what to do with. This is our chance to develop habits that outlast any negative impact of COVID-19. We aren’t just surviving another season of busyness—we’re given a chance to slow down, clear our plates and create a healthy culture within our families. We’re given a chance to reset and be intentional.
When we dropped our firstborn off at kindergarten four years ago, I ugly-cried so hard my abs hurt from heaving. It didn’t get better when we dropped off our middle two kids. In a couple years, when we drop off the baby of the family for his first day, I’ll probably need heavily medicated and physically removed from the school’s property.
Letting go isn’t easy for me and sharing my kids with their school system for a large portion of weekdays is something I do reluctantly. Since Ohio announced the closure of all schools for the remainder of the year, I feel like I’ve been given a glimpse back to simpler days when my babies were all under my roof all the time and rushing around was at a bare minimum.
Trying to homeschool three kids while the fourth kid colors on the walls and flushes random household items down the toilet is character-building to say the least, but that’s a different post altogether. If ever I wanted to have more meaningful conversations with my kids, this is the time.
Along with the parent-child relationship, marriage relationships are also being reset. More togetherness means rubbing shoulders more. Rubbing shoulders more creates friction and friction creates change. When we’re stuck in the ruts of our routine, we can float along doing “life as we know it” without really engaging with what’s happening. We don’t ask ourselves what we need from our spouse or ask our spouse what they need from us. We don’t investigate our relationships and find the places we have room to grow. More time and more friction can lead to better changes and more depth.
In conclusion, COVID-19 brought us isolation, the mandate to shelter-in-place and closed our doors. Redemption brings us the unprecedented opportunity to open our hearts wider to the connections that matter most. While COVID-19 spreads fear throughout the world, redemption stirs up love within our homes.
What are you doing to squeeze the most out of this unique moment in history? I would love to hear from you! Comment below.