Love in the time of Corona

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone” Hebrews 12:14

We are starting our seventh week in quarantine. It’s very odd how quickly we adapt to a “new normal.” I was not one of the people racing out to get toilet paper, bread or milk. Even though I’m a dramatic person, I don’t like drama or sensationalism for the sake or riling people up. I do think we are in this together and #stayhome is #savinglives so I’m all for that. I know people who have had the virus and I know people that have died from it…it’s very sobering. When I start to get upset that yet another gray hair is showing or my piggies are begging to pampered in a pedicure chair, I’m reminded that there are far bigger problems facing us as a nation right now and I need to get over myself and dial it back down.

Maybe it’s not ok to admit this, but I’m enjoying our time in quarantine. We have NO schedule. I gave up wearing a watch weeks ago. We sleep when we want, get up when we want. Our family is enjoying the slow pace of life and I couldn’t be happier about these stolen weeks spent with my favorite people (even though most days I’m coaxing my three teenage sons from their rooms with home cooked meals, or cookies…they respond to cookies). The boys have been helpful, relatively clean and we have had a good time! Connor is headed off to college in the fall and I feel like this extra time with him has been the greatest blessing! There’s no fighting…it’s like we are the Musketeers! All for one and one for all! When I listen to my boys tell jokes, stories or laugh together-there is no sweeter sound on this planet.

Am I allowed to feel happy during this time? I’m going to say yes and take the win! My husband and I love being together…I mean….we LOVE it! If we are both home, we are together. We like the same shows, we each think the other is hilarious, and this time with him to slow down, walk the dog every day, talk about our hopes and dreams is such a gift! I treasure this time together that’s not dictated by schedules and the demands of a busy life.

I’m knitting a pandemic afghan, reading books and doing my part for the economy via online shopping. I cook five nights a week and support local restaurants the other two nights. I’ve learned a TON about digital content and how to reach my sweet children in my ministry via Facebook and remote ways to stay connected. I’ve watched tutorials on make-up tips for women over 40, started a lifestyle plan to shed some lbs and get better mental focus and energy, and I’ve written my next book. I feel creative in this time because I’ve had some space from “normal” and being “abnormal” with my routine has been creatively freeing.

There are things I miss but that’s not this post. That’s not what today is about. Today is about love in the time of Corona and saying it’s ok to find joy in this time. I don’t know how much longer life will look like this. I’m grateful for our health and safety and continue to pray for those around us and who are on the front lines. For now, I’m off to try a meatball sub recipe for dinner…and tomorrow is Taco Tuesday.

 

Faith over Fear

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phillipians 4:6-8)

I’ve been asked to speak to a MOPS group tomorrow and the topic is “Faith over Fear Parenting.” What I really want to do is tell these beautiful, sweet young moms who are nursing their little darlings that still smell good (ahhhhhh is there anything better than new baby smell????) that this is the easiest it will ever be…drop the mic…and move on with my day! They haven’t entered into school (bullies), sports (cuts), academics (what do you mean a “C” was your best work???), hygiene (deodorant does a body good), driving (I don’t even have the words), interest in the opposite sex (that was a fun talk…not) and preparing to send said darling baby to college because he’s now at 18 year old adult man because you once blinked and that’s how fast the time has gone.

I won’t do that because no matter what I say or what anyone would have said to me, it’s hard to imagine when you’re in the trenches of motherhood that it will truly go that fast. When carseats were tough and you had to go to the fire station because you didn’t trust your own instincts that baby Scooter was truly safe. I remember being convinced that Connor would be a bilingual baby so I started labeling everything in Spanish and English…nothing prepares you for the disappointment of your pediatrician  sending you to First Steps because forget Spanish…he’s not even speaking English…

The worry, the anxiety, the stress, that “Am I good enough” is enough to drive a woman over the edge. If it weren’t for one critically important thing. You are never alone. Not for a minute and it’s not the baby pulling at you or your toddler watching you go to the bathroom. It’s not your husband or your friends (although NEVER underestimate the power of your girlfriends). You’ve got a Heavenly Father that always on your side! In the worst of times…he is there. When you fall, he is there. Your biggest cheerleader? Again, it’s God. My advice to these wonderful moms is to be so reliant on God that he’s your first thought when you wake up and your last thought as your head hits the pillow. Yes, struggles, tragedy, exhaustion, depression, surprise, wonder, absolute delight, storms, pain, joy….they are all part of parenting. It’s the ultimate ride in your favorite amusement park. God is beside you, sometimes carrying you, every step of the way. Fear is a sense of danger. This is reality. Your children could be put in a fearful situation. Don’t do that!! When we get bogged down by anxiety that’s the “what if” game and homey don’t have time to play that game. It’s dangerous, worry has no place in your life and take it to God. He’s the creator of the world…he’s big enough to handle your problems and help Junior out too.

I would never diminish the relentless job of parenting and we are all in this together. I want to encourage you to be a light for those around you. Some of us are struggling and the struggle is REAL. Be a friend, get a tribe, don’t to this alone. And above all, do not judge other women or other parents. I saw something on Facebook recently that said “Motherhood is like eyeliner. We are all just winging it!” True that!

Loving Left

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

There are two absolutely polarizing topics that one is to NEVER mention in public without fear of permanent banishment from all things social. They are politics and religion. So, this makes life very dangerous? Exciting? When the very essence of the person you love most in the world is the polar opposite of you in not one but BOTH of these taboo topics.

I am a conservative Christian married to a liberal atheist. Has this made for some serious debates? You better believe it! Have I gone to bed hopping mad? Yep! Have we followed each other around the house arguing our point of view to exhaustion and in utter disbelief that we haven’t been able to change each other’s point of view on gun control, salvation or illegal immigration? 100%. Do we love each unconditionally? Yes to that one as well…he’s my person for better or worse. We have committed to love one another and fight with and for each other till death do us part. In full disclosure, we’ve come close to that a few times during some Presidential elections.  J

How has loving my husband changed me? I am gentler to those who don’t share my opinion. I am more open to hearing other points of view and why someone feels a particular way. I am less quick to judge. I am slower to anger. I am more accepting. I am a better listener.

I live with and share every detail of my life with someone who has fundamental differences from me. I would tell you that I think he’s the greatest man I’ve ever known. My ride or die. Do I want him to “see things my way” absolutely yes! I pray for him every day of his life. I have also stopped trying to change him. I love him where he is and for who he is. I’m grateful for the person I am because of him. He teaches me to love unconditionally and be kinder and more open to understanding. These are great things! I believe that he would say the same thing about me.

I am going to love my husband and appreciate that we are different people. We are always stronger together. Loving left…not for the faint of heart but totally worth it!