Observations on SLOWING THE SPREAD

We have had an interesting couple days. On Sunday morning I had three children complain of sore throats. Since then I have rode the roller-coaster of wondering whether they could possibly have gotten THE VIRUS. Could we be CONTAGIOUS? My husband is still working and we wondered what we should do about him going to work if there was a possibility we were actually SICK. 

 

I spoke to the nurse for our insurance’s call line. She said there was no way of knowing whether we had strep, flu, covid-19 or some other virus. We waited 24hrs. My husband took a day off work. In that time one kid got completely better, another kid developed a cough to go with her sore throat and the other had a fever to go with her sore throat. I looked on our county’s Health Department Website and it said if you suspect you are sick, call your doctor.  I called our Pediatrician’s office and spoke to the nurse. Yes, she said, those could be possible early signs of the covid-19, but all they could do at their office was rule out flu and strep. If I wanted, I could go visit a walk-in clinic to rule out strep and flu instead of visiting my pediatrician who is located at UT hospital. I asked her what she thought about my husband going to work if we didn’t know what our kids had. She had no answer. I asked if there was any protocol we were supposed to follow. She said, if you are sick stay home. But as far as other family members who are working? Well, that’s your own call. 

 

I went back to the Health Department’s Website. They had a phone number you could call. I called and they said that they were looking specifically for fever and cough or fever and shortness of breath. Wheww. We didn’t have that specific combination. All was well. 

 

Then later that day I asked my daughter how she was doing and she said she was feeling achy all over and her chest was tight and she needed to use her inhaler. Great. Now we had more symptoms and they were the ones the Health Department had said they were looking for. (The other daughter’s symptoms had turned into something that was obviously allergies.)

 

Now it was Tuesday morning. My husband took another day off work. I had checked on my daughter several times during the night, taking her temperature, but I realized that the thermometer that I had bought at the store (the very last thermometer in the store) was not working. It consistently was saying that each person I checked had a temperature of 96 degrees. Good grief. 

 

I called the Health Department number and told them my daughter’s symptoms and her history with asthma. The lady on the phone said we should probably get tested. She asked what insurance we had (State Health Insurance) and she gave me the name of three walk-in clinics we could visit and their phone number. I called each walk-in clinic and all three said they did not accept our state insurance. One of them said that my pediatrician could probably give me a referral to a place that could test. So, I hung up and called my pediatrician again. I spoke to the receptionist who makes appointments and she said I had to talk to the nurse to schedule sick appointments and sent me to a voicemail where I had to listen to a 5 minute long message before I could leave my information. 

 

We finally got an appointment scheduled, drove to the hospital, went through a checkpoint where my daughter was handed a face mask and we were given name tags to show we had been screened. We walked through the nearly empty halls to our Pediatrician’s office and got checked in, being very careful to touch NOTHING. After the nurse had collected the samples she needed to test for flu and strep, I talked to the Nurse Practitioner. She explained that they could test for covid-19 but it would take 14 days to get the test results back and our entire family would need to self-isolate while we waited for those test results. It was up to me, did I want to get her tested? Yikes. We sat and stared at each other. What a crazy predicament. She knew it was crazy. I knew it was crazy.

 

My question is, how on earth are we supposed to be containing the spread of this virus when we apparently have so little tools to do so? When you read about the steps they took in Wuhan, China to stamp out the spread, and then compare it to what we are doing, we have no right to be amazed that our numbers have already exceeded those of China. Here in the US, the average citizen isn’t sure how to proceed if they get sick, and there doesn’t seem to be any organized system to get answers. If you are prepared to get on the phone and track down answers, you will eventually find out what you need. But there are a lot of people who would struggle to do that. People who don’t have internet access to look up the info they need, or don’t have phone service, or don’t have a personal doctor they can call. These aren’t made up people. I know them personally. 

 

And then, when you throw money into the equation: you can get tested and automatically miss two weeks of work, or you can just hope that you don’t actually have the virus and keep working…It is not an easy decision to make. And for some people, that decision will mean the difference between having food to eat, keeping phone service, starting the long downhill slide into eviction…There is very little motivation to get tested or self-isolate. 

 

The good news is that my daughter has Strep Throat. For which we are rejoicing. 🙂 I can treat that. My husband can go to work without worrying about spreading it around. I know how to deal with strep. (I do have to ask, how on earth did a kid, who has only seen four people besides her family in the past month, get strep?) 

 

I have to admit though, I’m not feeling a lot of confidence in our ability to slow the spread. 

Quarantine Update #9078

This morning three of my kids woke up with sore throats. 

 

Hmm. What does this mean? In our current safer-at-home way of life, where all we can think about is viruses and not spreading sickness, I must say that having three children present themselves with “SYMPTOMS” was a bit alarming. 

 

I called the nurse line for their insurance and we talked about it. Well, they could just have a sore throat, they could have allergies (all 3 at the same time, the same morning?), they could have a cold, or be starting to get a regular flu. Or they could be having the mild symptoms of covid-19 that seem to be typical for children. 

 

My husband is still working. His job was deemed “Essential” in our county, though I’m not quite sure why. So then we have the question…does he go to work or stay home? 

 

If he stays home then we don’t get paid. If he goes to work and it turns out the kids actually did have the virus, then he would be spreading it everywhere. Or at least to his job site. 

 

This is not fun. 

 

We have decided to give the kids another 24 hrs and see how they are doing tomorrow. Andy will take a day off while we wait and see how this progresses, and I will probably consult a doctor via telehealth (as instructed by our insurance’s nurse line) to see what they have to say about it. 

 

In the meantime, I am understanding more and more, the article I read on grief and stress which said that when we are under stress we tend to revert to a less mature version of ourselves. We go for simple and easy. 

 

Tonight I went out and bought Corn Pops (a sugary children’s cereal made by KELLOGS) and ate them for supper. Yep, this is reverting to childhood and college-level nutrition habits. 

 

That was today’s stress. Two days ago we weathered a rather large crisis with one of our children. Three days ago I brought my son home early from his Bible school (and then the day after he got home, the school announced they were closing). Each day has felt like a big blow. And I keep getting up and moving forward. But I’m eating Corn Pops while I go. 

 

But, in the middle of all the stress, I’ve noticed a couple things.

 

The sun came out. The temperature has been at that amazing, “Just Right” upper 70s. My husband cut the grass for the first time this year, and the yard looks vibrantly green. The trees are budding full force now.  I saw some blue skies with beautiful white clouds sailing past.

I cleaned my little fish tank and it now looks amazingly clear and beautiful, as my two little fish swim around. My husband finally installed the new ceiling fan in our bedroom, the one he bought over a year and half ago, and which has been sitting in its box in our room for that amount of time, just waiting for that magical moment when he felt like installing it.

I got to take my kids to my parent’s property and let them run around in the woods and play in the creek for several hours. My husband’s family has started doing Zoom calls where we can all see each other on the screen and catch up on each other’s news. Since we are all literally spread all over the globe, it was really fun to have a group conversation. I’ve had some good text and voice conversations with other friends. 

 

God’s grace has been sufficient. 

 

Life is hard, and life is good. 

 

And we’ll continue to take it one day at a time. 

 

I’ll keep you all posted on how the kids are doing. Praying we aren’t sick. 

 

Grace and Our Mental Health Crisis

This morning the sun is shining. It feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve seen sunshine, even though I know that’s not true. It was raining yesterday, and yesterday seemed to last about three months. It was a long hard day. Last night our schools announced that they would be staying closed at least through April 24th. Even though I knew that was going to happen, hearing the announcement on the phone felt like a door that I had held cracked open in hope, had been slammed shut in my face. Well shoot. I really AM stuck with figuring out how to school my kids for the next month. 

 

Right now, I am mostly worried about the mental health crisis that has hit our family. I have several children receiving mental health services. I have been receiving mental health services. As life has gotten more overwhelming, my personal doctor offered for me to see their in-house psychologist and we started meeting. It has been helpful to have someone I can talk to in confidence about the challenges I’m facing and who can ask pertinent questions to help me figure out how to proceed. 

 

This week she called me on the phone and said that we would need to do our sessions on the phone for a while. I agreed. Yes. That makes sense. But, it’s sad. I don’t do well talking on the phone. I’m not an auditory person and I find it a bit of a challenge to have phone conversations with anyone except the closest friends and family. I also know that having a private conversation in my home will be next to impossible. And, I know that being able to see someone face-to-face speaks to my soul in a way that phone conversations don’t. 

 

I’m not the only one in the family that is being moved to TeleHealth.  And I know that expecting a child to be able to get anything out of a video conference is ridiculous. It’s not going to be effective. And that is overwhelming to me.

 

At this time, when life has turned upside down, we need these services more, not less. 

 

It’s not anyone’s fault. I understand. Seeing patients face-to-face is putting both patient and provider at risk for exposure to the virus. I understand. 

 

I know that our family isn’t the only one in this boat. This pandemic we are in the middle of is stressful for all members of society. But I think the foster kids and foster parents are being especially hard hit. Strict routine is one of the most valuable tools in the toolbox for helping kids who are processing trauma and hard transitions. It’s also a giant tool for kids who have special needs. There are a lot of families out there whose kids simply can’t handle wearing PJs all day and just doing whatever seems like fun. It just doesn’t work. 

 

As a parent in this situation, I am feeling the urgency to establish a good routine for the house to help give ALL the kids a sense of security. But at the same time, I am so stressed out that I am having a hard time establishing that routine. Are these stay-at-home orders going to affect my husband’s job? (Not yet, thank you Lord.) Are my parents ok? What about my husband’s grandpa in the nursing home? Did my oldest daughter sort out her health insurance? What if she gets sick? Our court case involving our foster kids got delayed because the courts shut down. What is this going to mean for our situation? I heard that covid-19 has reached Haiti. What is this going to mean for our friends and family still there? What will it mean for that country? My friend who lives in Bush Alaska and works in the hospital there told me they only have 7 respirators. What is this going to mean for the town where I graduated high school? What if they get hard-hit? I’m in the process of bringing my son home early from his out-of-state school. How do we get our plane tickets refunded? 

 

All of this is going through my head, and then it’s raining outside, and the kids are fighting with each other, and I feel like I am the last person in the world to be able to handle this situation well. 

 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

 

I guess this is going to have to be my go-to verse. I’m not feeling it. I’m not feeling God’s power. I’m not feeling super-spiritual. All I can see is my weakness and my need right now. My family’s need. So, it becomes an act of faith. I will keep taking one step at a time, exert my tiny bit of strength, and trust that God is going to magnify that effort and turn it into Enough. 

 

My prayers for all of you today as we push through this crazy time, one day at a time. 

Are You Ready?

Last night I dreamed that the sun didn’t come up. The sky was dark, covered in clouds. I kept waiting for things to start lighting up. And they just didn’t. I finally realized that we were in the middle of the day and it was still dark. Wasn’t this one of the things they talked about in the Bible in the book of Revelation? Wasn’t this one of the signs that Jesus was going to be coming back soon? In my dream I felt this shock. It’s happening. Do people realize this? I need to tell my family! I was trying to rush off to tell everyone I knew when all of a sudden there was a small break in the clouds, a little hole, and I realized that on the other side of this extremely thick, unusual cloud bank, the sun was still there! Wheew. Thank goodness. 

 

I’ve had several of these dreams lately. 

 

Each time, I am convinced, This is it. Jesus is just about to appear. And then it turns out it was a false alarm. But, each time, there is a little space in between, where I am convinced. And in that little bit of time, I start looking around me. I’m ready. I can’t wait for Jesus to be here. But most of the people around me aren’t ready. And there is a sense of running out of time. There’s no more time to tell you about Jesus. No more time to get everyone else ready. This is it. Game Over. 

 

Every time something big happens on a global scale, we Christians tend to pull out the book of Revelation. Is this a sign? Does this line up with what we’ve been reading about all our lives? Are we in the End Times?  While I can read Revelation and say, hmm, it sure does seem like a lot of this stuff is happening…I do know that, historically, Christians have thought they were in the End Times for a really long time. I think back in the year 999, people were convinced that the year 1000 was it. The end. All done. So yeah, we have a long history of being wrong. But here’s the thing. Everyone is going to meet Jesus. Either he’s going to show up in bright living color here on earth, or we are going to die and stand before him in judgement. There is no escaping it. So, the urgency of wondering whether people are ready or not is very real. Very necessary. 

 

Even if I don’t know what day Jesus is coming, I do know that the Coronavirus is coming. On Friday, according to the news, as of Saturday morning, 627 people died in Italy from the Coronavirus. I was talking to my husband last night about whether we should put our two daughters, who have asthma, in a closer quarantine. He was puzzled. What is that going to do? Do you really think you can keep them from ever getting exposed to the virus? Social distancing is slowing down the exposure of everyone to the virus, but in the end, I don’t know how we can avoid all getting exposed to it. And a small percentage, right now they are saying 2%, are going to die from that exposure. This is real. Not made up. People that we know personally are going to die. And, let’s say you totally avoid the virus, you are not one of the 2%, all is well. Well, hey. Statistically, 100% of all people die. Eventually. 

 

As someone who holds the key to life in her hands, I am feeling the need to share what I know with you. 

 

First. We are all created by God. Human life is not a biological accident. It was planned. We are God’s creation and he created us in his image. 

 

Second. We all have sinned, done the wrong thing. In our humanist way, we say, Well, I’m not perfect. We can all acknowledge that we aren’t Perfect. Right? Here’s the thing. God IS perfect. And he is perfectly Holy. He can not have any sin in him. Our sin keeps us separated from God. 

 

Third. There’s going to be a punishment for sin. The Bible says that the Wages of Sin is Death. Our punishment for sinning is death. There isn’t anything we can do about that. And I’m not just talking about the death of our body. I’m talking about eternal separation from God. 

 

Fourth, God loves us. He loves us so much that he came to earth, fully human, fully God, to die for our sins on the Cross. Jesus lived the perfect life. He didn’t sin. He did not deserve death. As a perfect person, he was the only one who could voluntarily take our place. He willingly died and took the punishment for our sins. So that our sin no longer had to separate us. 

 

Fifth. If we believe that Jesus is God and he came to earth and died for our sins, and if we openly confess that He is now our Lord, and that we want to follow him and let him be the one who tells us what to do, then we can know that we are saved. When our earthly bodies die, we will go to heaven and live forever with Jesus. This is what we call Being Saved. 

 

When we are saved, Jesus not only becomes our Lord, the one we follow, he also becomes our friend. The one who listens to us and guides us and helps us in all things. 

 

If you would like a much more detailed version of what I just tried to explain, Click on this link The Roman Road .

 

Guys, I love all of you. I’m so glad that you have been willing to read my blogs. We are living in crazy times. I don’t want death to suddenly be looking you in the face, and you aren’t ready. I also don’t want you to have to live in fear. Death is scary. But if you know what is going to happen afterwards, it’s not nearly as scary. In fact, it can be something that you look forward to, in its proper time and place. 

 

I fully intend to live a long full life. But, I know that whenever my time to die comes, I will be excited. Finally. I get to see Jesus face to face. I want each of you to have that same confidence. 

 

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me. There’s a place to contact me on the blog. 

 

May the Lord bless you and keep you during these crazy times. 

 

Coronavirus, Kids, and Mental Health

Hey Everyone. I’m wondering how everyone is doing right now with the World Pandemic?  I’ve got friends who have been preparing for this kind of scenario their whole lives, and they are READY! And then I have friends who aren’t taking things too seriously, still doing life as-normal as much as they can. I think I’m probably in the place that most people are. I’m taking it seriously, but I’m really not set up to be SUPER PREPARED. I don’t have the storage space or the extra cash flow to have two months of groceries stored up in my house. I live in the city. I don’t have a wilderness hide-away to retreat to in full-blown quarantine. I’m taking it one day at a time. 

 

So…Kids. Let’s talk kids. 

 

My kids are excited about having a super-long vacation. And mad because we can’t go do all the fun things they normally expect to do on a vacation. Can we go to the Children’s Museum? No. The zoo? No. The library? Well, we can go get a book, but we can’t hang out there. Play at the playground? No, way too many families there. 

 

I’ve seen a lot of posts online about How To Homeschool Your Child During Coronavirus. Homeschooling moms are in their element right now, finally, people willing to listen to their experiences!! I’ve told the kids we are going to start homeschooling next week. I’m starting to feel depressed about this. Our school system has said we are shutting down through April 3rd. I have no hope that they are going to be opening school on April 7th. And that makes me depressed. I stopped homeschooling for a reason. It was One Thing Too Many for me to handle. Right now it still feels like One Thing Too Many for me to handle. But, on the other hand, having a household full of children with no schedule and no real structure is also Too Much To Handle. So, I plan to homeschool just so I can give these kids schedules and structure, so we all don’t go insane. 

 

Here’s the plan. I plan to read devotions and have the younger kids choose a sentence from our Bible story that they can copy neatly and maybe draw a picture. I’ve got a cool history book I like called “Story of the World”. I plan to read this out loud to all the kids and give them paper and pencils to draw a picture of something that stands out to them in what I’m reading.  The older kids can write me a paragraph summary of what we’ve read in history. For math, my 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are going to drill times tables, since none of them have their times tables memorized. I’ve got some cool science books that I’m also going to read out loud and let kids draw pictures and write descriptions of what we’ve read. And then, I’ve got a large selection of quality Children’s Literature. Everyone gets to pick a book and read some of it every day. My middle-schoolers and high-schoolers can get online and use resources that their schools are making available. My preschooler and kindergartner can do phonics workbooks that I already own, and I’ll continue to do reading lessons with them. The first grader can read books and all the little ones can do addition flashcards. Then we’ll run around outside and play a lot of games. And watch some of my favorite orchestra pieces on YouTube. And paint pictures. 

 

Or, I’ll lose all patience and tell the kids to turn on the tv and leave me alone. 

 

We’ll see. 

I guess, the point is, either scenario is fine. We all have structure and learn something. Great. We free roam, watch tv and eat snacks all day. Also ok. 

 

There isn’t a script that we are supposed to be following. This is new for all of us. Grace. We just need to practice grace for each other. Sometimes grace might look like stimulating our kid’s brains and giving them lots of interesting things to do. And sometimes grace might look like throwing the kids out in the yard and making them stay outside all day. Or binge watching Marvel Movies. Or getting Happy Meals. Or learning how to bake bread. 

 

Let’s just take it one moment at a time. 

 

Settling In and Reaching Out

Since December, my rallying cry has been, as soon as things calm down, we’ll settle into a good routine. That’s all we need.  A good routine. Since December we have also dealt with sickness that kept us out of school for a week, then school being closed for flu for a week, then missing who knows how many days for floods and crazy weather. And now the world has shut down, school is closed and we are all home. 

 

In a sense, I’ve got a better chance now of setting up a routine than I did before. Make a schedule for our house. I’ve got at least three weeks, minimum, to get us settled into a good routine. Most of our appointments have been cancelled. No pressure to get out and do things. Just home. 

 

Who knows, we might have such an awesome experience that we just decide to keep homeschooling, at least some of the kids. 

 

Or I might go insane. 

 

It’s a toss up. 

 

This week is our Spring Break and I told the kids I wouldn’t make them do any school work. Yesterday I took the kids to a playground. It had rained recently. When we got there, there was only one other family with two kids. Perfect. We are not interacting socially with anyone, just playing outside. Then a couple more families showed up, then more. And suddenly I felt like I was breaking a national covenant to not be near other people. We headed home. I told the kids we probably would have to skip playgrounds for a while. 

 

So, this morning I went to the Dollar Tree and picked up some puzzles and some school supplies. I sat down with the kids and we put puzzles together and then played Uno while some of the little kids played with building blocks and played Snakes and Ladders. Everyone co-operated. So nice. 

 

Of course, I’ve also dealt with some discipline issues that were so intense, one child is now spending the day with dad, sitting at a construction site. We’ve had some long time-out sessions. One child just put up a curtain around her bed to ensure privacy from pesky siblings. It’s a big mix of good and bad. Really, just life. 

 

Right now I am optimistic about how this will all play out for our family. 

 

I am also very aware that a large segment of society just lost their income as restaurants and bars were ordered closed. A bunch of small business owners are heading into a financial crisis. The entire economy of our country is just one big Question Mark right now. There are also a whole multitude of working parents who suddenly have to figure out childcare because their child’s school is closed. 

 

Last night I was dreaming about foster babies. In my dream I came home from being out and found three little babies just crying in my house. I was supposed to be taking care of them and feeding them, but no one had told me that they were dropping the babies off, and I had no idea how long they had just been sitting in my house crying. I was angry and devastated and frantically looking around for bottles and formula, trying to feed these hungry babies. 

 

I think the dream kind of mirrors how I’m feeling as I read about how many people have been put into a crisis with this pandemic. I feel the community-need to be stepping up and helping in whatever way I can. But, at the same time I feel like I’m completely maxed out. Could I babysit someone’s kids while they work? I’m not sure. I’m feeling the weight of eleven kids already. Could I donate money? Well, I give a tithe of our income every paycheck, but that little bit won’t go far. And I’m feeling the financial crunch as I’m suddenly not able to take advantage of the free breakfast and lunch at our schools. These kids eat a lot. 

 

I feel impotent. People need help. I should be helping. I’m already helping. I don’t think I can do more. Except maybe ask all of you to look around and see if you are doing all that you can. Maybe you could babysit for your friend. Maybe you can make a donation to a small business. Maybe you are in a position to offer help to someone in need. 

 

I know right now, this situation is so unexpected and different, that we are all scrambling to get our own families situated. But, if you can, I encourage you to look for some tangible way to reach out and help. It’s the only way we’re all going to make it. 

 

A Prayer

Today has been declared a day of prayer by our President.

Last night a friend of ours called to tell us that he had been laid off from his job at a Casino. This is a friend who has been trying his whole life to raise himself out of poverty.

“Lord Jesus, please provide for all those who’s jobs are being affected by this pandemic. Please help them Lord. Send provision. Send neighbors and friends to help. Let our government come up with ways to help this very vulnerable section of our society.”

I saw a Meme someone had posted asking people to remember the kids who don’t have a safe environment at home and now have no neutral place to retreat to at their schools.

“Lord, we ask for protection for these kids whose families struggle to function in a healthy way. We ask for mercy for these children, we ask for provision for them. We ask that neighbors and friends and community would step up and find creative ways to reach out and help them. We also ask for all the kids who will be missing school and getting behind in their school work. We ask for special grace for them to be able to learn quickly when they return to school.”

As so many of us are contemplating being stuck in our homes, all of the health professionals are looking at overtime work with little rest.

“Lord we ask for protection for those medical workers who are working with those infected by the virus. We ask for provision that they will have all the medical supplies they need to keep themselves safe and to be able to provide for their patients. We ask that they will not get infected themselves. We ask for special wisdom for the administrators of the hospitals and clinics. We ask for strength for the firefighters and ambulance workers and policemen who’s jobs will be getting harder, not easier with all these changes. We ask for special protection over them that they won’t catch the virus while they are trying to help those who are affected.”

“Lord we ask for special help for our elderly population. We ask for provision for them, that they would be able to access every thing that they need. We ask for protection over them. We ask that the friends and family and neighbors in their lives would step up and reach out to help.”

“Lord we also ask for help for the medically fragile population in our country. People who’s bodies can’t handle getting yet another sickness. Please Lord, protect them. Please help their medical care to not get interrupted by all that is happening. Please let the people in their lives be especially careful about exposing them to this virus.”

“Lord we ask that the people who are in charge of protecting our communities would have special wisdom as they make difficult decisions.”

“And Lord, I ask that in all of this people would turn to you, be drawn to you. I ask that our country would go through a time of repentance and turning to you. That you would take this time of turbulence and bring good out of it.”

We ask all of this in Jesus’ Name.

Amen

 

Just Remember

Well, the Coronavirus is all over the news. And it seems like I should say something about it. Seeing as I have a blog and all. 🙂  Whenever I try to think of “words of wisdom” for the masses, I come up blank. All I can do is share what’s been happening in my life. So here goes. 

 

I’ve been keeping an eye on the news the last couple weeks. I have been concerned. Not really scared. Just concerned. I decided it would be a good idea to follow the CDC’s advice to have extra supplies on hand. I’ve stocked up a bit. Not a ton. I’m feeding thirteen people every day and I simply don’t have the refrigerator space or the pantry space to stock for large periods of time. But, if we couldn’t go to the grocery store for a week or so, I’d be ok. Since I have a hard time imagining a Capitalist country like ours not finding a way to sell me groceries, I’m not over-concerned about that. I’ve stocked up on some vitamins and OTC medicines. Some medicinal teas. I’ve got a bit more cleaning supplies on hand. I’ve got toilet paper. 🙂 Not an insane amount. I just bought what I usually buy, then grabbed one more package. (I was smart though! I bought it before the mad rush started.) If the kids’ school gets canceled, well hey, I home-schooled for twelve years. I’ve still got all my old supplies on hand. Not a big problem. 

 

All of this “prepping” has kind of happened as a Side Issue. Life has been so incredibly busy that I really haven’t had time to just focus on Worrying about the Coronavirus. When my thoughts do turn that way, I’m finding that I’m having a lot of flashbacks from my childhood. I grew up in Haiti and we lived through a lot of political turmoil. There were many times when we couldn’t leave our house for a week at a time because people were rioting and we could hear gunshots and all the roads were barricaded by angry citizens. And we just stayed in our home and hoped that we would not become a target to anyone’s anger. Going to the store was not an option at all. We just had to make do with whatever we had. One time we were stuck in our house for days and all we had was a giant bag of pancake mix and a bunch of pasta. It took years for me to enjoy pancakes again. 

 

We also lived through an embargo that was put on the country where medicine and fuel and food were very difficult to find because the US wasn’t allowing it to be shipped in. Our family had to ration our driving. My brother and I biked and walked a lot. We carpooled. We just didn’t go anywhere. 

 

Sickness? In Haiti we had TB, HIV, Malaria, Typhoid, Anthrax, Diphtheria, Hepatitis, and a whole host of tropical diseases just floating around everywhere. My mother held medical clinics in our home. All those sick people would come and sit on benches in our yard while my mom would see them in a room in our house, one at a time. We washed our hands a lot. We used Clorox a lot. We got sick sometimes. We recovered. 

 

When I compare those childhood experiences to what’s happening right now, I just kind of shrug. Yeah. This is really nothing. 

 

Here’s the thing. I don’t want to downplay people’s worries. I’m not overly concerned because I have seen God’s faithfulness through much worse circumstances. If God could help my family when I was a child living through tumultuous times, then, I know that God can help me and my family now. 

 

Not everyone shares my history. Maybe this is the biggest thing you’ve lived through. Maybe this is really shaking up your world. I think the pattern holds true though. When we are faced with trials and worries, we look back. We remember other hard times that God helped us with. We remember how God has helped other family members. We think about the stories in the Bible, how God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness. We remember God’s faithfulness. And in remembering, we strengthen our faith. And as our faith is strengthened, we can let go of our fear. 

 

 

Fear not, for I am with you;

Be not dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you,

Yes, I will help you,

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

 

                     Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV) 

My Tank is on Low

Some days you are Spiritual and Aware, and marching along, knocking problems off your path right and left as you confidently push forward. And then other days, you are huddled in a corner in your room, yelling at kids to go away and just give you TEN MINUTES FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!!

 

In the past 60 seconds I have told the five year old to stop talking about “butt cheeks”, told the three year old to get his biscuit out of my bedroom and take it to the table, and told another child that it’s not appropriate to kick people. 

 

I’ve just told a little girl that No, she can’t store her artwork in my window sill. And if you leave it on the floor of my bedroom, I WILL throw it away. Please stop winding up my music box. Stop wrestling on my bed. Have you finished your chores?? Did you do your homework? Why are you eating a biscuit on my bed? Go finish your chores!!!

 

It’s that crazy time of day when I’m supposed to be making supper, the kids are supposed to be doing their chores and their homework while I cook, and my husband is supposed to arrive home sometime in the middle of all this. Hopefully after the house has been tidied up. And of course, this is the time of day when everyone needs my input on something. 

 

And I have been running full-steam since 6 am this morning and my nerves are feeling rattled. I have a pot of soup cooking and so I had hoped to sneak away for TEN MINUTES and maybe write a bit while everyone busily did their business. Right. 

 

Today I have dealt with sick kids staying home, a child at school getting hives, talked to therapists and social workers and doctors, chauffeured my daughter to work, cooked a lot of food from scratch because I need to go grocery shopping, and I’m out of all the quick easy stuff. I’ve arranged complicated plans for tomorrow, paid a giant pile of bills (Yay!), took care of banking business with a new teller at the bank who happens to take three times as long as normal, and looked up recipes for soup and how to treat hives. 

 

Right now I am feeling frazzled and tired and wondering how I can shed off some of my responsibilities to lighten the load, and at the same time, trying to not get discouraged. 

 

So, what’s the difference between today and say, two days ago? 

 

I think I need recharging. 

 

Time changes, major crisis, sickness, kids crawling in my bed at night cause they’re scared…it’s all been draining my resources. I need to refill the tank. 

Hmmm. I’m thinking I need a date night Thursday night. That sounds like a plan. A light shining at the end of the tunnel. Something fun and NON-kid to look forward to. So, my dear husband, who is reading this blog right now…I am going to set up the babysitting, you’re in charge of planning the evening. 🙂 

There. I’m feeling better. 

 

Oh wait..Thursday won’t work…Friday? Saturday?

 

The God Who Stays

I’ve had to do a lot of driving this past week. I’m not a big radio fan, but I needed something to keep me awake so I turned on the Christian Radio. This song came on and I started singing along since I was familiar with it. And as I was singing, God gave me a bit of a download. You see, before I got in my car I had been praying for wisdom for a situation with another person. In this situation I really had two choices. Keep pursuing the relationship, or pull back. I really needed wisdom. And God chose this song to speak to me. Here are the lyrics…

 

The God Who Stays

Matthew West

If I were You I would’ve given up on me by now

I would’ve labeled me a lost cause

Cause I feel just like a lost cause

If I were You I would’ve turned around and walked away

I would’ve labeled me beyond repair

Cause I feel like I’m beyond repair

But somehow You don’t see me like I do

Somehow You’re still here

Chorus:

You’re the God who stays

You’re the God who stays

You’re the one who runs in my direction

When the whole world walks away

You’re the God who stands

With wide open arms

And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart

From the God who stays

 

I used to hide

Every time I thought I let You down

I always thought I had to earn my way

But I’m learning You don’t work that way

Somehow You don’t see me like I do

Somehow You’re still here

chorus

My shame can’t separate

My guilt can’t separate

My past can’t separate

I’m Yours forever

My sin can’t separate

My scars can’t separate

My failures can’t separate

I’m Yours forever

No enemy can separate

No power of hell can take away

Your love for me will never change

I’m Yours forever

chorus

Songwriters: Matthew West

The God Who Stays lyrics © Highly Combustible Music, House Of Story Music Publishing, Two Story House Music, Be Essential Songs, One77 Songs

 

We sing these songs about God’s love and his character and we get teary eyed. Wow, isn’t it amazing how much God loves me? God is so amazing! I am so unworthy of this kind of love! Thank you God!  

 

But, I think we forget that we are called to imitate Christ. We are called to learn how to love like this. When we sing about how God never gives up on us, how nothing we can do will change his love for us, we need to be thinking how we can love like this too. Sometimes, or maybe even Often, we have people in our lives who are difficult to love. They cross boundaries. They are not faithful or loyal. They have some serious issues they need to get over. 

 

We are called to love THESE people. In the manner that this song describes.

 

I am not saying that we can’t have boundaries or that we have to put up with abuse. But, I can tell you from experience, that even with healthy boundaries in place, it is still possible to extend love and grace. We can still stand ready to forgive, ready to help. 

 

I heard somewhere, a long time ago, that as parents, we are the first people to teach our children about the character of God. And this is what I want to teach my children about God. He is a God of unfailing love. He is ready to forgive us. He is standing with wide open arms, ready to welcome us. Nothing we have done will change that. And I teach this to my children by loving in this way myself.