It has been five days sheltering-in-place, hiding from bad weather and the COVID-19 super virus with my three littlest angels, and I can feel the old demons rising.
I first noticed my old friend stress eating had returned in a merciful moment of clarity while double-fisting a pint of non-dairy Cherry Garcia and it’s pal Cookie Dough (purchased in a fit during the corona grocery disaster of 2020, of course).
Dinner had been had. The kids were just tucked away in bed. My husband was asleep in the armchair. Again. Poor guy. It was the daily mom-exhale – the time of day when Mom really lives, you know? (I know you know.)
I must have made my way downstairs, noticed my husband was passed out and gone straight to the freezer for some relief. But then suddenly, I found myself staring in wonderment at the bottom of one pint of ice cream. And holding another.
What am I doing?
It had been a good day. I had managed to get dressed and put on earrings. The three littles and I had played with babies and played in the rain observed slugs and made Playdoh snails and painted with watercolors on the porch. Everyone had a bath.
So this: I have had a good, hard ride on the raging wave of emotions that is high-jacking most of my fellow humans’ brains right now.
I’ve gone from entitled and resentful: Why can’t those over 50 or with underlying health conditions just self-quarantine? To disbelief and wonder: What is the big deal? What’s really happening? Is this real? To scarcity anxiety: OMgeepers, I need milk for all these kids. And salad. Mom needs a salad. To some version of acceptance as a member of the grin-and-bear-it and make-the-best-of-it camps.
Of course, I’ve canceled travel plans, grieved with my work family as one of the small businesses I support closed their doors, been concerned for my older loved ones and sucked in by the drama of news and social media.
And I’ve tried to surf all of these suckers, ride high above them, chin lifted, in my own might and power – the rot that is self-reliance creeping back in – and now I’m crashing hard.
The ice cream is proof.
There’s my old friend self-reliance. (Bummer. I was doing so well, wasn’t I?)
So I’m back. I’m back here, with you. Pounding it out on the keyboard, processing. Keeping it authentic. Shamelessly using you, whomever reads this, for accountability. (I’ve always wondered what the heck I’m doing here. Maybe this is it.)
But also God is speaking. Because he is faithful. And gentle. I’d love to share what he’s showing me, if you’ll hear it – I know there is so much to hear right now.
There are three things that come to one real point I feel like He wants me to share with you. I’m going to list them in the order they came to me – not the order in which they would be most sensitively delivered. I couldn’t figure out how to do that in my brain. So please, friend, receive them with so much love and compassion – that’s how they are intended.
First, He’s showing me how many prayers He’s answering. He’s answering prayer for the health of our planet and for the busyness of our lives. He’s telling me, that He’s protecting us.
He’s also telling me, that there is a natural consequence for how we have been living. That we can’t redeem the rape of our planet and dial back our unhealthy lifestyles without pain. And most of us are in pain – or at least really, really squirming in discomfort.
He sees you where you are. He knows you are anxious – not just about your loved ones and about your income – but even about milk. He knows many of us are suffering great loss. And He is with you in all of that. Shoulder-to-shoulder. Heart-to-heart. Because He loves you so much.
Finally, He wants me to share with you that NONE of what you are experiencing right now will be wasted. Nothing. Not your attempts at self-reliance and not your backsliding. Not your anxiety or grief. Nothing.
And your crushed travel plans, your lost job, your dying loved one? He will use all of it all for your good and His glory. Nothing will be wasted.
There is no waste.
My plea now – don’t do this alone. (Step away from the ice cream, Jen.) Ask Him to show you how He is using what feels like waste to love you.
I am sure He will come through.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Affirmation: Nothing is wasted.
Scripture: Romans 8:28, Isaiah 40:11, Psalm 23: 4 NIV
Music for Reflection: My World Needs You