They are a funny lot, my people.
And apparently, we are not too succinct in our word usage.
The youngest daughter sent a text to our group, which included her five siblings and me: “I got out of my meeting to 50+ messages. I have no idea what is happening.”
Her older sister boxed all of our ramblings into one tiny paragraph to present to her:
“Cali has gone into shelter in place mode. Kyle made nachos. Michelle is working from home now, but josh and Matthew are not. Mom is hoping their asbestos removal is not forced to stop before it’s done. I apparently have a “voice” and eye roll. Mom and dad were blessed with amazing kids. And it has been decided you will be called Dove instead of —- by some…”
Some things haven’t changed in the decades since my six Littles became Really Bigs.
They still love verbal sparring and word wittiness bordering on snarky; they devour books and articles like nobody’s business.
In recent days, though, there’s been a catastrophic shift – we’ve learned some new words, been drowning in new articles and reports and studies and predictions.
Yes, we’ve had a massive change in vocabulary and reading materials.
We have discovered words that create worldwide panic, and fear; words that have pretty much wrapped themselves around all of humanity like a boa constrictor.
Words like Corona Virus, or COVID-19.
Phrases like Shelter-in-Place or Stay-at-Home orders.
Articles about quarantining, and self-isolating, global economic disaster, ventilator shortage, unemployment rates at never-seen-before levels.
And people are naturally freaking out, scared and alone, anxiety levels exploding like straw houses in a tornado.
I’m devastated for our world.
There is a calm within, a peace that passes all understanding.
Because my shelter has always been in place.
I have not always recognized this, particularly in my younger years when I fought to control everything. But in recent decades I’ve discovered a great joy and peace in living a life out-of-control.
Out of the quicksand of my control and onto the solid ground of peace, into a landscape of joy.
It is tattooed on my wrist, this letting go while still inhaling and exhaling joy:
Choose Joy. Habakkuk 3:17-19 the green ink reads.
Habakkuk says in these verses:
Though the fig tree does not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
and there be no herd in the stalls –
yet I will rejoice int he LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
When I worked with high school students that struggled with emotional and volatile disabilities, they asked me what the tattoo meant. I responded in their language: Even though it seems like everything in life sucks, when it feels like everything is falling apart and scary, I can still have joy in the Lord. Because no one can take my thoughts from me, my beliefs, and I choose joy. I choose faith in God.
Like everyone else, I’m unsure what the future holds, how long we here in Colorado will be in Stay-at-Home mode, how the economy will recover, when my grandchildren’s squeals will fill my home again.
But I can control where I shelter down.
And I choose joy.
I choose to shelter beneath His wings.
Psalm 61:3-4 NKJV
For You have been a shelter for me,
a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah.
Friends, I’m just a nobody. (Does that make you want to break out in this song?) But I’ve been through childhood trauma, addictions, addictions of loved ones, survived a mass shooting, experienced health issues, and so much more. Through it all, in letting go of control, I’ve discovered a tenacious joy. I pray you do too.
During this time of known uncertainty (cause really all of life is uncertain) there are some things you can do to help alleviate the stress, anxiety, and fear:
- Stay informed but don’t become obsessed with news reports, especially worse case scenarios. Find something positive to fill your mind with every day. There are a lot of people doing good things, selfless things right now. Read a good-for-you book.
- Start a gratitude journal if you haven’t already.
- Believers: Memorize and mediate on Scripture. We can ALL control what we think on.
- Reach out to others – we can still connect even if we can’t do it in person. Call, text, face time – we can even go old school and hand write letters. Encouraging others boomerangs right back on us.
- If you are one of the fortunate ones like me – you still have a paying job – look for ways to support and help others financially. Its an even greater blessing when we can do it anonymously. Again, blessing others has a way of blessing our own lives.
- Ask the Creator what YOU were created for and use your unique gifts to bless others.
- Find the humorous. Laughter is a good medicine.
Like you, I don’t know what the future holds.
But I’m resting in the One who does.
I’d love to hear how YOU are doing and how I can pray for you.
Love and blessings,
Marie with a 🙂