It is no surprise that this coronavirus outbreak has caused much devastation, stress and sadness for many. It has been very challenging for all of us.
So much time has passed already that it has become the new “norm”, the way of life. Who would have thought that after ringing in the New Year of 2020, this epidemic was to come? What a game changer indeed!
While none of us would have wished for the loss of life, loss of income, and loss of long-awaited plans that many are experiencing, some changes have taken place that I for one have learned to be very grateful for. Changes that I count as joy. Let me explain.
In my area the epidemic has caused state-mandated closings of all public meeting places. For example, malls, playgrounds, schools, libraries, restaurants, movie theaters, and churches have been shut down indefinitely. These are all places that play a vital part in our lives, and it is very sad that I can no longer meet a friend for a coffee or sit down with my family to enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet or go to church and have sweet fellowship and worship together. I miss those things.
Along with the closing of these places, there have been other changes like having to stay indoors and not go outside, wearing face masks when you leave your home, and practicing social distancing. This is a dramatic turn of events. But despite these changes, I have found ways to look on the brighter side of this coronavirus and count my blessings. Here are 4 that stand out.
I happen to have already been homeschooling for about 3 years now, so staying at home to teach my children is nothing new. What’s the difference then?
The difference now is that my children, for the time being, have gained a new teacher: their father. Now that my husband is working from home, he has had the privilege of seeing firsthand what homeschooling is all about. Not only does he get to witness it, but now he gets to play a more active role in our children’s education.
Since he has been working from home, my husband will take an hour break to take over for me, or I’ll plan a lesson or craft for him to take on whenever he’s ready. There has been no greater joy than seeing a father sit and teach his children and the children wanting more!
My children have been so blessed having their dad involved. And why not? Dad is silly, animated, and fun with his own teaching style different than mine. Different isn’t bad; it’s just different. And my kids seem to enjoy it very much, as do I. Although, this time is short (because the hope is my husband will return to work physically), and my children are sure to be sad when their father returns to his workplace, at least for now they’re not thinking about that and living each moment as it comes.
The time we have together as a whole family has also changed. Remember those days where your husband would wake up with only time enough to grab a cup of coffee and head out the door? And then to return home around 6 or 7 pm from a late night’s work only to get the kids ready for bedtime at 8? Or in my case, my husband comes home from work with just enough time to tag me out to head for my night shift, meaning we won’t see each other until our day off or the weekend. Well, I thank God for remote work!
Whether you are a 2-parent household or a single parent household, God desires families to be in close intimacy and love and communication with a firm foundation in Him. This season has given us ample opportunity for this kind of closeness. I now get to see my husband for more than 15 minutes in a day, and my children get more than a bedtime’s kiss from their dad. We get to come together as a unit, rather than at our own separate times. Now we get to sit down and eat meals together, we enjoy family movie nights, family game nights, family devotion and worship times, take walks together, etc. I’ve even heard other family members and friends who have expressed how wonderful this time together has been.
For my single parent friends, I’ve been encouraged to hear testimonies of a parent’s relationship having been restored with their teenage daughter or a mom finally having open communication with her son. I’ve also heard parents share that this time at home with their child/children has helped them grow in learning more about each other. Their testimonies bring joyful tears to my eyes and prove that it’s not too late to make a difference. It’s never to late to make time for one another. After all, you are kind of stuck with each other for now, so why not?
Family and Friends
I think by now I am an expert at ZOOM and Microsoft TEAMS because I use it literally every day. Maybe you can relate? Skype and WhatsApp could also be added to the list, but I’ve had those for years now. I don’t know why, but ever since this outbreak, I have seen and heard more from friends and family than I ever did before. Should I be upset because it took a virus to finally get in touch? No. It’s been a blessing. I have seen more of my family and friends virtually than physically.
Now that we have more time on our hands, I have about 2 – 3 meetings a week with the same people and about 4 – 5 different meetings a week with others. We have to plan and schedule our days and times to make room for all this connecting. This coronavirus has really brought us closer together regardless of where relationships were in the past. Families and friendships are being restored.
The coronavirus outbreak may have taken away our opportunity to get together physically, but it has strengthened and encouraged us all the more to stay in contact. This new way of interacting and communicating has resulted in deeper connection, love and support than I had previously experienced.
Greater time to invest in my relationship with God is the icing on the cake. Not just for me and my family personally, but for many that I know. We have much more time to spend in the presence of the Lord, alone and/or with others.
I’ve been able to extend my quiet time in the Word and prayer, in worship, in devotion writing and even in ministry. I love having the assurance that Christ is indeed the center of my home. As I mentioned before the quality time at home has made room for family devotion time and prayer with my husband. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to do those things. These are precious, worthy times, well-pleasing to the Lord.
There’s nothing God desires more than for us to draw nearer to Him. We are living in a trying time, and God wants our time undivided attention. Whether He wants you back in a relationship with Him as you once were or is welcoming you into a relationship with Him for the first time, God has left the ninety-nine to go after the one. He is making a way to meet with us time and time again. Set apart some time for Him, even if it’s 10 minutes just to start. Say a small prayer, listen to a worship song or simply just say thank you for the things you have, for life itself.
These are just 4 areas of my life where this coronavirus has changed my life and my perspective for the better. As major as these things are, though, I can’t forget the small things: sleeping in, taking more walks, working from the comfort of my own home, saving on gas money and commuting time, and cooking more than eating out, to name a few. There is just so much to be grateful and thankful for.
Life is short and our days are numbered. We must not take anything for granted. Live life in abundance as the Lord intended. Don’t live in bitterness, anger, isolation or fear. Don’t harbor thoughts of despair or defeat. We must take heart, and have faith, and believe that God’s will is a holy and perfect will.
I urge you to seize the day, and try to see the bright side of things. Look for the good in your current circumstances. In everything there is light if you allow yourself to see.
Go and call someone who needs your forgiveness, or ask for forgiveness from someone you might have offended. Call your mother or father or a sibling you haven’t talked to in years. Or simply call someone and pray for them. Make and spend time with those around you now.
We don’t know how long this coronavirus is going to last, but I can assure you it won’t last forever. There is hope. Let’s live the best lives we know how to live. We can’t do it in our own strength, but with the Lord’s strength, all things are possible. Let’s not let the coronavirus steal our joy, and blind us to the many blessings we have right in front of us. Let’s come out of this changed. God is bigger and greater and with Him all things are possible!
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” – Psalm 46:1
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be a good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33