How are you all doing, I wonder?
Well, here we are with a new normal that has been thrust upon us: That of being house-bound with all regular routines interrupted.
As far as I’m concerned everything has been interrupted, including my routine with God. And that last part is the hardest. Because right now I need my time with God.
Here’s the thing: Lately I'd developed a lovely routine of waving my family off to work and school, making myself an enormous pot of coffee and settling in for a couple of hours with God. I had time for prayer, reading scripture, and recording any things I seemed to hear from Him. It felt oh so healthy. I relished those times of stillness, it can get addictive being with God. In fact, I wanted more. What would happen, I thought, if I gave God my entire morning every day?
Well, some can now do that more than they could before, which is a beautiful treasure. But here in my home it's not quite so. The pandemic struck, and suddenly my family and I found ourselves together in our tiny little house, 24-7. When I say tiny house, we really do have a tiny little house. We’re talking one living area, and a small TV room off the living room.
For me, at points in this pandemic story the world's situation has felt intense. At times I've needed to do battle with fear and, to do that, I've been retreating into my precious prayer room (TV room). However, it quickly became clear this was not going to work. My family wants me around. And my husband wants me. He doesn’t want me sitting in that room being a hermit. He doesn't even want me 'mentally checking out' by spending too much headspace on spiritual matters. He's noticing my mind is elsewhere and he wants me to be present. This is a new challenge.
This is just one way that our faith difference is bubbling to the surface within this situation. We have different ideas about how useful my ‘quiet time with God’ is. And hey, we have completely different responses to the whole situation. This could lead to frustration, and I’m battling that too.
What's the solution? Stay … Happily married. Be kind. Work hard on my family life. But also somehow carve out some time for stillness. Through it all, be kind, be kind.
Love is patient; love is kind … (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Meanwhile, what is God saying to me during this time? He has been gently present, showing me that it’s all ok, it's all part of some grand renovation. This is a potentially strenuous time, but He knows it. If I can paraphrase what I’ve heard over the last few days, it’s something like this:
Ann, focus your eyes entirely on Me now, make that your strategy. It's ok to keep it simple.
Ann, yes it’s a dark period but My kindness is coming.
Why don’t you pause your usual scripture reading? How about instead you feed on parts I give you from the Gospels?
On that last point, over the last few days He has pointed me to little gems in the gospels here and there. He is speaking to me about the word ‘Abide’, calling me to consider what it means to 'Abide in Him' now. Perhaps in this current lockdown situation, where I am a busy Mum, 'abiding' doesn’t require me to fight my husband for quiet time but instead it means walking in a posture of trust, awareness, and waiting, through every hour of every day. While closed in my home, I can be closed in with Jesus.
This means I invite Him in while I’m washing up, I chat to Him under my breath while tucking my kids into bed; I acknowledge Him while I play with my kids, I wait on Him and stand still whenever I see a faith difference emerge, I acknowledge His presence while I’m watching the news, I stay believing, I remain hopeful and fearless, I last this thing out, and I dip into Gospel material – Because, after all, that is the good news. Who wants to watch the bad news when I’ve got the Good News -- Jesus -- in front of me?
So, friends, that’s me. How are you doing, and how is your faith routine changing during this period of staying at home?