What is Normal Anymore?
All three of my kids had confirmed cases of Influenza A the week before the coronavirus (COVID-19) was diagnosed in our area. All three of them were running 103-104 fevers for nearly five days. I scrubbed my hands raw from the endless washing, and I wore my shirt over my face when I was near them (masks were already out of stock). I bought Lysol and Purell and gloves. I did everything I possibly could to not get sick. As someone with high-functioning anxiety and OCD, my mind, emotions, and body were all exhausted by the end of the week.
That’s when I got the call. The first case of this coronavirus was positive in our area and the district was closing the schools for “deep cleaning.” We’d be out for two days – a Friday and the following Monday. Monday afternoon, as we were preparing to go back to school the next day, they called again to tell us school would be out on Tuesday. Tuesday they called to let us know school would be out on Wednesday… I think you know where this is going.
I shake my head in disbelief now, but I vividly remember calling my mom three weeks ago and asking her if she’d heard how the CDC was recommending all schools prepare for remote/online educating. I said something along the lines of…
“Can you believe they are even recommending schools prepare? I don’t think it will ever come to that.”
In my mind, they were just being overly cautious. Yet here we are. This week has been the longest year of my life. You read that right. Everything about everything changed in the last seven days. At least, that’s how it feels at my house. I wonder if it feels that way in your home, too?
School has changed. Work has changed. Being near family and friends has changed. Entertainment has changed. Safety has changed. The future has changed. Simple trips to Target… the grocery store… the available goods… life as we know it… all changed.
And it seems like it changed… as it changed. Here’s what I mean.
We didn’t just wake up with strict new guidelines. The guidelines changed day by day… sometimes hour by hour… and I don’t know about you, but my feelings changed with each press conference from the White House.
I started out thinking:
“Well, this outbreak of the virus is bad over there. That area of far enough away. We are still okay.”
And then they said the virus was near us, and I thought, “Well, it’s okay because those people are quarantined and they quarantined all the people who were near that person and we are okay.”
And then they said the virus was probably more widespread than we realized because we couldn’t test for it and I thought, “Well, that’s not good, but we will wash our hands and we will be okay.”
And then Italy told us HOW BAD it was, and the same people who told us to prepare to online educate our kids told us it could easily be THAT BAD here… and suddenly there wasn’t any toilet paper and the President said we should meet in groups of no more than 250 people… and then churches cancelled and schools went on extended break, and movie theaters closed and stores closed and we all wondered, “Are any of us okay???”
Soon they said don’t gather in groups of more than 50, and then in groups of more than 10, and then they said… EVERYONE STAY HOME AND SELF QUARANTINE!
AND IT FELT LIKE NO ONE WAS GOING TO BE OKAY EVER AGAIN.
As moms, we often carry the mental load for our families, keeping track of everything for everyone. We mentally process all the possible outcomes in real-time… all the time… and this is true in our normal day to day life. But this week?
It’s just so much.
We are worried about our health and our kids and our immunocompromised children or friends or family members.
We are worried about basic needs running out in the store, or money running out so we can buy the basic needs, or being stuck in our houses and not being able to go get basic needs.
We are worried about keeping our children safe and happy and educated and trauma-free while isolated from friends and their normal activities.
We are worried about those we love who work in the health-care industry, or food management industry, or shipping, or public service, or my goodness every other industry.
We are worried about the future – one that we just cannot see into yet. One that changes by the hour. One full of so much uncertainty.
We are worried about collapse – collapse of our nation’s economy, and life as we know it, and our own mental and emotional health.
We are worried about our jobs, and our finances, and where the money is going to come from.
Momma, it’s bizarre, and it’s scary, and it’s heavy, and it feels close. But I need to tell you something I told some good friends of mine last night. God isn’t so busy taking care of all the big things in the world that He for even a moment will overlook you. He’s not the dad who is taking care of something “really important right now” so come back and ask Him when He’s done. He’s the opposite. There is no one He loves more than you. There is no one He is more concerned about than you. There is no one He is listening to, or helping, or paying attention to more than you.
So, tell Him. Tell Him all your big feelings. Tell Him what you’re carrying and ask Him to help. He already knows, but it feels good to say it. Tell Him how you need His help specifically. And then? Expect Him to be the same constant, never-changing, ever-present God in your life that He was two weeks ago.
He’s seen the other side of this. He knows each step you need to take. And He doesn’t just wait for you on the other side, hoping you make it safely. He walks with you, leading, loving, and comforting as you go together.
This has been a big week. I have a feeling there are going to be more changes and we are going to have to keep figuring it out as we go. But I take great comfort in this important truth.
The good God who loves us, leads us. And if that’s all that stays certain in these ever-changing days… we have a steady anchor for our soul.
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