Our “new” normal isn’t new anymore. It keeps changing and it’s getting very old.
Parents are exhausted. Especially if you are cooped up with toddlers. Teenagers are just mad and can make a parent feel like it’s “their fault.” Graduation ceremonies are canceled, wedding receptions postponed, camps halted. Some can’t see extended family, some are sick. Some have lost jobs. And some are trying to work from home with kids interrupting throughout the day. We are tired of each other. Cranky. And we don’t much like ourselves.
We don’t know what the fall will look like or even next week. We can’t plan. And this only adds to our frustration.
Will this ever end?
What can we do to make it through the New Normal today?
1. Remember God is still in charge.
Even though it feels like the world has gone crazy. He is still in control. (1 Chronicles 16:31) We can’t see what He’s up to, but He does have a plan. He is good. All the time. It’s easy to get discouraged by what is or isn’t happening. It’s easy to fall into a pity party. To dwell in misery and disappointment. When this happens to me, I know I need to shift my focus back to who He is instead of how I feel or what is going on around me. Sometimes I embellish my frustration a bit too long and I only sink deeper.
Instead, I need to run to His word. Matthew 6:33 reminds us to seek Him first and then all these “things” will be added in. Too often I try to sort life out first and then run to Him, but I fail.
One thing that helps me is to ask God each morning to reveal to me one of His character traits to focus on this day. This morning I read Psalm 139. I was drawn to verses 5&6: “You hem me in behind and before and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.”
How encouraging it has been to walk through this day thinking about the fact that He’s hemmed me in. He has me surrounded. I am His. He’s got me.
Often through the day I will recite out loud His character traits: He is faithful, generous, full of mercy, kind, etc. When I go for a run I go through the alphabet and recite as many traits under each letter of the alphabet that I can think of. A=He is awesome, aware, always with me, attentive, etc. This discipline shifts my mental focus from my disappointments to who HE is. And it helps to restore perspective.
2. Realize that God is working while we are waiting.
With new challenges and disappointments arriving daily, it’s easy to wonder if God is at work. Sometimes it feels like He’s asleep. He’s not.
In the winter months, nature looks bleak. Rainy days, fog, bitter cold. Gray for days on end. There is not a lot of beauty to be seen. However, it is during this season that God is preparing life underground. Much is happening to enable spring to come! Flowers to burst forth, beauty to explode.
In the winter we can’t see what is going underground. We have to remember that God is working while we are waiting.
This time is not wasted. Ask Him to speak to you in this hard season. To reveal to you something new. (Psalm 40:1-3) He is at work even if we can’t see it right now and He has something special to teach each one of us.
3. Recognize that God will use this season for good in the lives of our children.
Life is not easy. Yet most of our children and grandchildren have not had to suffer. They did not live through world wars, the Holocaust, Viet Nam, race riots of the ’60s. Some of us or our grandparents remember those days. However, our kids have had it pretty easy. Until now. Now many are having a hard time. That’s hard on a parent because we want our kids to be happy. However, keeping our kids happy is not our primary job as a parent. Our job is to raise mature adults who will learn to depend upon the Lord in all situations and to care for others. Suffering has a way of teaching endurance, of training our kids to look to Jesus in deeper ways, of helping them to consider how to reach out to others.
Ask God to show you how you can encourage your kids. Giving them perspective is one way. Look at history and talk about how others have gone through hard times. Google what is happening in other countries in terms of persecution. Decide this summer to study the life of Moses as a family. Read small portions of his story and ask questions like: What was his challenge? How did he feel? What did he do in response? What can we learn from him? Our children’s empathy can be developed in times like this and their perspective broadened.
FREE “Camp at Home” Resource
Take time to have fun and to laugh!!! Think about designing a “Camp at Home” for your family or with friends. I have developed an eBook to help you do this. It’s called “Camp at Home-100 Practical Ideas for Families.” It’s free and available here.
May our Father in heaven “hem you in” today!
Susan Alexander Yates is a mom to five children (including a set of twins) and grandmother to 21 (including a set of quadruplets!). Susan and her husband John have been married 51 years. Susan has written 16 books and speaks on the subjects of marriage, parenting, faith, and women’s issues. Susan’s favorite time of the year is June when all her kids and grandkids are together for a week of “cousins and family camp” in the foothills of the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia.