"Therefore we do not lose heart..." (2 Corinthians 4:16)
If you came here looking for an answer to what "thriving" looks like right now, you might be disappointed.
I don't have clear answers or easy tips-- I'm not sure those exist at the moment. What I do have are questions, and faith that God is at work no matter what is happening around us, so if you're in need of some extra encouragement in your faith today, or just want to know that you're not alone in your wonderings about what is "normal", then you've come to the right place.
I had another post started-- it was Part 2 to last week's post, "Moving From Surviving to Thriving With Your Kids At Home." After jotting down my ideas I went back and forth on whether or not to publish it...not because I don't believe in the power of a few suggestions to help-- similar suggestions have pulled me out of ruts time and time again. Ideas are good. Suggestions are helpful. Tips for thriving are a welcome friend on the days you feel like you're just surviving as a mom. I know from experience.
But, the truth is I'm not sure what the word "thriving" looks like right now.
I don't say that to sound pessimistic. We're doing pretty well, honestly.
In my heart of hearts I feel like this time is good for our family-- even needed on some level. We're getting to know one another better. We're learning how to live with each another on far deeper levels than any of us probably want to on some days, but because we're a family I happen to think that's a good thing.This bumping into each other and working through a real sense of living together. My guess is that this time is shaping and molding our family in ways that will impact us for the rest of our lives.
For the most part, I believe we are thriving...some days.
We're definitely doing better than surviving...most days.
Is there a word for that? A word for somewhere in-between the two? Somewhere in-between thriving and surviving?
I feel blessed and grateful, and don't take what we have lightly or for granted. We honestly have everything we need: printers, computers, enough tables and spaces and room for the girls to spread out while they're doing their schoolwork. We have food and shelter (even on the days when it feels like we've outgrown our house!), clothes and toys, craft supplies and lots and lots of games that were collecting dust and are now seeing the light of day.
I know we have much and I am grateful for it all, but lets be honest, we miss things too.
I miss hanging out in coffee shops when I need an hour long break-- just to read a book and write words in a journal without distraction.
I miss playgrounds when my kids are antsy and I need to take them somewhere to run off their energy.
I miss church and the fellowship that accompanies it--worshiping together, checking in with one another, getting my weekly fill of hugs and "how are you's?"
My girls actually MISS school...I think this time will help them appreciate their teachers and having a school to attend for the rest of their lives!
The reason I was struggling to write the post about "thriving" is that many of these things that we are missing were part what helped to pull me out of the bad days before--they were the things that filled me up, the things that helped me be able to get through the end of the day when I needed a change of scenery, or a word of encouragement, or simply a hug from a friend. They were the things that helped me to thrive.
We have good days and bad days at our house, just like many of you. It depends on the weather, and emotions, and hormones (I'm not joking about that in a house where 4/5 of us are female!). It depends on the school assignment and whether or not I remember where the password is for the 7th website for my 3rd child on this 5th week of homeschooling.
This isn't easy for anyone-- we're all ready to take our kids to playgrounds again, grab a coffee from a drive-thru, or buy our groceries without feeling fearful. We're ready to have our extended family over for dinner and celebrate birthdays in person. I miss my daughter's elementary school teacher and my aerobics instructors at the YMCA.
I'm not saying I want everything to go back to the way it used it be, but I'd love for some things to return to normal simply because they're the good and beautiful parts of humanity.
The one thing I can offer universally to anyone who is struggling right now is the truth of God's presence. No matter what any of us is going through, no matter how much things have changed, God remains just as steady, constant and sovereign as ever before.
So, while I don't have tips to offer today, I have this truth about God:
He loves you. I promise.
He is with you. I swear.
He is beside you, even when things are difficult. I have felt Him.
He whispers wisdom and grace into our hearts. I have heard Him.
His mercies are new every morning. I have received them.
If you're struggling this week I would encourage you to spend time in prayer. Whisper your prayers in quiet, write them in a journal, yell them in the car while you're driving circles around the neighborhood because there is no were else to go. Lock the door to the bathroom and pray for five minutes-- your kids will survive, I promise!
God hears you. He sees you. He loves you.
I came across this verse in my quiet time this week-- it's a verse I've read before, but that felt like it had new meaning in the midst of this season of viruses and quarantines:
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes on on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
I love that!
Friends, let's NOT lose heart! Even though sickness, and brokenness, and viruses seem to be affecting the entire world, if we have Christ at the center of our lives He will continue to renew us each and every day.
There is one catch- it's up to us to spend time with Him. To pray, to renew our minds with scripture, to make time for a Bible study or devotional that helps us fix your eyes on what is unseen. Lets face it, a lot of what is seen right now is a little crazy anyways!
If you have a specific prayer request please send me a message on Facebook or an email or text. I'd love to pray for you and your family in whatever specific ways you need prayer.
I will continue putting new posts up here at the beginning of each week...I try to shoot for Monday, but...well...the kids, the house, the homeschooling...some weeks it ends up beingTuesdays.
I do actually have a list started of ways to "thrive" during this time at home that I'll share with you next week-- it's the list I started for today, but wasn't ready to share. I hope you'll stop back if you're looking for some alternative suggestions to what you may already be doing, or are simply curious as to how other families are making the most of this time!
You can always check my Facebook page, which is where I'll post the links to make it easier. If you put your email into the little box on the side of this blog page you'll receive an update when new posts go up.