I spend most of my life in a decade old minivan that has seen better days. The calendar is normally crammed-full of activities for my four children, ages 7-12, and we are constantly running from one thing to the next. At the end of the school day, I work to get everyone fed and off to baseball, soccer, dance, therapy, etc. (On the days I work as a substitute teacher at their school, the chaos only multiplies.) I often feel like one of those hamsters running around the wheel and getting nowhere.
This was our reality until we were told to stay home. I know that we are not alone in having our lives turned upside down due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our family is practicing social distancing, and almost overnight I have turned into a homeschool mom of four. Games and practices are cancelled. Our reality has rapidly changed. It’s like a record spinning around and around and someone takes the needle off, causing the music to come to a screeching halt.
It’s quiet. I don’t mean volume wise—there are four extroverted children living here—but activity-wise, it is quiet. We don’t have anywhere to be and nothing on the to-do list but thick packets full of school-work. It’s an alternate reality. My head is less full of schedules, and to be honest, it’s been nice.
My pastor-husband recorded a Facebook Live for our congregation asking us to consider a question that has resonated with my heart: How we can invest our time of social distancing instead of just biding our time? I have prayerfully considered how the Lord wants me to spend this time with Him. God has us in a season very different than our usual, so what can I learn from this time?
Rest in His Glory
The first thing that came to my mind was “be still.” Normally, I have little opportunity to be still, but times have changed. I went to the familiar verses in Psalm 46: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (v. 10). In my hectic day to day it is often difficult to consider the Lord, his attributes, and what He has done beyond a cursory time in His word each morning. Yet it takes intentional time to know someone, to know have an intimate knowledge of them—time that my normally busy schedule doesn’t allow. This God who tells us we can know Him also says that we can trust Him. “I will be exalted among the nations.” God seeks after His glory, even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. No matter the chaos going on right now, I know He has not been caught unaware by what is going on in the world; He is still ruling and reigning on the throne. God will be glorified.
Rest in His Care
As He glorifies Himself, he continues to care for His people. The beginning of chapter 46 says “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea.” My heart wants to fear when I hear the news about Covid-19 or consider what could happen if my medically fragile daughter is exposed to the virus. I don’t dismiss those fears by saying “nothing can happen to us” or that “God will keep us from illness if we trust in Him.” We know of many who have gone before us in the faith who suffered greatly in this life. But God’s promise to us is the same as it was to them: God will be our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. I take those fears to the Father who promises that regardless of what happens, even if the mountains are moved into the heart of the sea, He will be a help to me. I can trust Him when circumstances seem out of control. I can dive deep into His word when He providentially carves out more time for me to do so. I can spend extra time meditating on His promise to care for me.
Rest for the Future
Don’t get me started on the question of what happens after social distancing ends. Life cannot look the same after this experience, right? I don’t want to get back on the hamster wheel. I have more time with the Lord, and I am (prayerfully) a little more patient and kind to my kids because we are not rushing from place to place. They seem less anxious and we are more able to connect as a family. That’s a good thing that I don’t want to give up when the present danger of COVID-19 ends.
These thoughts lead to the bigger question of how I am to plan and spend my days in general. I love the promise contained in the middle of Psalm 46: “God is in the midst of her (his holy city); she will not be moved.” And in verse 7: “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” As I consider what our future holds, I must honestly say I have no idea. I have no clue what next week will look like. However, I do know that God is there. He goes before me and cares for the intimate details of my life. I can rest in who He is, His care for me and my family, and our certain hope of a future with Him.
For the time being, it looks like my minivan will remain parked in the garage. (She’s probably thankful for the break!) I, too, am thankful for this unplanned but much needed rest—rest that I hope will find me “being still” and trusting and hoping in Him more and more.
About the Author:
Shea Patrick is a former Alabama lawyer, now SAHM living in Orangeburg, South Carolina. She and her pastor-hubby have four children, including two adopted from foster care. She serves as the Regional Advisor for the Mid-Atlantic Region. Shea loves live music, reading, and watching reruns of the Golden Girls and Designing Women. She loves her church, Trinity Presbyterian, and serves with the kids, music, missions, and women’s ministry.