What has five letters, has left its indelible mark on the whole world, is at the source of medical, political, and societal debates, and causes public anxiety at the sheer mention of its name? You guessed it. COVID.
And despite being fully vaccinated and receiving the booster, I contracted it. With my COVID diagnosis came shock, dismay, and unbelief. As the hours progressed after the initial test results, those emotional effects turned physical really quickly and included laryngitis, a sore throat, a cough, congestion, a headache, body aches, and fatigue.
Not too long ago, I was a busy mom of three teenagers doing the things that moms do.
My days were filled with mediating sibling disputes, fussing about rooms being dirty, demanding that dishes be washed, and receiving no less than 20,562 eye rolls each day. Oh my dear friends, let’s not forget the never-ending laundry reprimand because clothes weren’t moved from the washer to the dryer which resulted in an odor resembling rotten mustard.
By December 31, 2019, I was exhausted from parenting. I wasn’t even sure why God chose me for this job. My prayer for the New Year was twofold: 1. 2020 would redefine our relationship as a family and, 2. We would actually start to enjoy each other’s company.
The college kids came home, all schools were online, teen social lives became extinct, and all four of us were under one roof lamenting about slow wifi connections and fighting for access to television streaming channels.
If I wasn’t hopeless before the pandemic, I definitely was once it began. I imagine that I may have felt like the Israelites who were traveling to the Promised Land during the Exodus from Egypt. I’m pretty sure I complained just like the Israelites did too.
He reminded me there were other instances of despair in the Bible, with positive results. Surprisingly, my morning devotionals highlighted scriptures from the lives of Esther, David, Nehemiah, Ruth and Naomi. Then I found this verse from the New Testament:
“who rescued us from so great a danger of death, and will rescue us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,”
2 Corinthians 1:10
In other words, If He did it before, He can do it again.
With that verse hidden in my heart and highlighted in my Bible for review each day, I began to notice a few changes in our household:
My speech was seasoned with grace and my words were filled with encouragement. I often told the kids, “I know this year is hard, I will not let you fail.”
The three siblings tutored and helped each other with the school subjects they were struggling in.
The desire for cleanliness and organization became universal and on several occasions, they cooked, cleaned, and did the laundry without being asked.
I noticed that the constant television and video watching meant more laughter together.
Late-night talks about college, career, and life goals became the norm.
Their dependence on God was living and active as I witnessed them seek Him daily for direction and guidance.
I saw them as people, navigating the pandemic with ambition and determination. I learned that deep within the recesses of a global pandemic, I not only loved them, I actually liked them.
And this my friends, is my unexpected blessing of parenting during a pandemic. When you reflect on the past 18 months of your life, what are the hidden blessings you’ve experienced?
January has always been a difficult month. Post-holiday blues, wintry weather, financial recovery from the gift-giving season, and no planned time off for anyone in my family make it almost unbearable. Oftentimes, I just want to curl up under a blanket and hibernate until February arrives.
One particular year, there was something else –a diagnosis of thyroid cancer in the month of January – that also had me preoccupied. However, when January was over, my feelings of doom and gloom were not. In fact, they were just beginning. Continue reading →
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
I love the Christmas season. I love the songs, the sights, and the smells of that time of year.
Oh, yes I do realize it’s February.
I just have to pause though and mention that I love, love, love the Christmas season (even in a pandemic) and I’m always sad each January because it’s over.
I can attribute the season to one word: JOY. And while I may no longer be singing about joy, or bells for that matter, I did spend a good part of the holiday season cultivating a list I knew I would need later. This list, to be exact, gives me all the feels on how to cultivate Christmas-like joy for the rest of the year. Continue reading →