How are you holding up?
Most homeschoolers know how to be home a lot, but also have freedom to run errands, go to friends’ homes, participate in outside activities. From my perspective, the shelter-in and lock-downs affect all groups, incluing homeschoolers.
Being at home 24-7 may not look as good as all the Facebook & Instagram perfect posts of “playing games, being my kids’ best friends, love in your marriage, no stress here”.
If we’re honest, our lives may look more like . . .
- No job … no money … stressed out
- Your hubs is getting on your nerves … all those habits drive you crazy
- I can’t take the tension or any of this much longer
- I wish I was more patient
- Kids are getting under my skin. When we play games, I wish we could play hide and DON’T seek 🤣
How are you adjusting to your new normal?
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard is to “press in”. Press into your current situation, no matter how hard it is right now. But, how can you press in right now when it’s really hard … and find joy at the same time?
How can you press into your pain and see God’s purpose?
Press into God
It may seem obvious, but you first press into God. Spend time daily with Him to keep your focus on your firm foundation. Maybe you’ve lost your job or your health is declining or you’re dealing with depression and shame in ways you’ve never experienced before. It’s time to turn to God. Press in!
Four years ago, on my prayer walk, I talked to God about spending time with Him all day long, not just when I was praying in the morning. I wanted to be dependent on the Holy Spirit all day long, in all my decisions.
Boy, did He answer that prayer.
Unfortunately, that’s when my mini-hell erupted. The one I mentioned in my last blog post about my hope in Jesus. I’ve been walking in pain the past four years.
Trials, like the global one we are facing now or the personal one I continue to walk in, can grow our faith in ways good times don’t. My mini-hell pushed me TO God in ways I had never experienced. As I pressed inTO God, I pressed into prayer and Bible reading.
Press into God with Your Bible
That summer four years ago, I read all the Psalms at least three times. The Psalms were a balm to my soul. If you don’t know where to start reading your Bible, start with Psalms 1 and move forward. I bet you’ll discover God’s unfailing, enduring love in ways you haven’t experienced before. I sure did. It seemed like every Psalm spoke to me about His never-ending love.
Believe it or not, through my pain, I eventually found joy. I discovered it is NOT the absence of pain, but the presence of God that gives me joy.
In your presence there is fullness of joy. Psalm 16:11
When I quit trying to control my life, my situation, my family, my relationships … and let God take the driver’s wheel, I found joy. His joy, unlike any person could give me. Or anything money could buy.
Press into God with Prayer
Start talking to God. That’s all prayer is. There is no right or wrong way to talk to Him. During that summer, four years ago, I wanted desperately to pray God’s will in my pain.
But what was God’s will?
How could I pray God’s will in the midst of hard times?
That’s when I started praying Scripture. I simply declared God’s Word back to God. Many times, I read a Scripture and told God, “You said this truth Yourself, so I’m holding You to it.”
If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend praying the armor of God every day for your family. You get dressed in clothes every day (or at least you have on your pj’s).
Do you get dressed in God’s clothes, God’s armor each day?
Press into Family
Every night is free. No outside activities. Spend time with your family.
But they’re driving me crazy. My kids are always around. I can’t escape for a cup of coffee or even go to the store to get away. My husband has all these habits that get under my skin. The tension in your home is REAL.
What to do? Press in to the tension, to your kids, to your husband.
Life may not be perfect, but this may be the perfect time to shift perspective. Shift from your pain & tension to the future results of pressing in. Let’s think about it. How are you spending time with your kids?
Even if you homeschool in the morning, like our typical homeschool daily schedule, you can spend afternoons & evenings together, playing, working, creating together. Do something besides scrolling through Instagram. A few ideas off the top of my head:
- Eat dinner together – may sound obvious, but not for everyone
- Cook dinner together
- Family movie night
- Play board games
- Start a garden
- Play basketball on the driveway
- Toss a football or baseball to your kids
- Read a classic book together
- Pray together before bed
- Science Experiments – Bean Plant or Oreo Moon are fun
- Family Devotions after breakfast (or lunch or dinner)
Every family is different, so choose activities that you & your family will enjoy. Focus on the end result of growing strong ties with your kids & spouse.
Personally, I think the shelter-in will have a positive impact on our families. I know you might get tired of each other, especially if you’re working from home. But, being with each other 24-7 can grow lifelong bonds with your kids and spouse.
It’s all a matter of perspective. Quit focusing on the pain and focus on the purpose of your pain. Often, God’s preparation for the future comes packaged as pain. Through the pain, God will work all for His good and bring joy to you.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.Romans 8:28
Press into Your Marriage
If there’s been tension in your marriage (& my guess is there is), NOW is the time to deal with it. You can’t go off for coffee or a pedicure to escape. God may be using this crisis to work out marriage problems.
Again … shift your perspective from the problems in your marriage to the end result. Focus on the purpose of your pain & problems. God uses pain to prepare you for a better marriage. But, you’ll have to press into the problems and work through them.
It will be hard work. It will be painful. But the end result will be worth it. Will you trust God (stop controlling) that He is working even in the pain of a hurting marriage?
Press into Community
We had a Zoom call with our extended family last Friday. It was fun to see siblings, nieces, nephews, kids, grandkids. I wish my parents had been able to join us, but they have major problems with their phones & computers. Hopefully, we get them on the call next time.
Have you received any texts, out of the blue? How did you feel?
I’ve received several texts out of the blue. It was super-encouraging. To know someone was thinking about me, praying for me, or concerned about me. Each text put a smile on my face, giving me joy.
You can still press in to others, without being there physically … from a distance.
- Old-fashioned phone call
- Zoom call (or Google hangouts or WhatsApp)
- Surprise someone with an unexpected text
- Bake cookies for your neighbors & deliver (I’m delivering homemade bread to neighbors I don’t see often. I love to bake bread.)
- Buy a take-out meal and deliver it to a friend who needs it (possibly lost job or elderly who can’t leave home)
- Continue your small group or Bible study on Zoom, Hangouts, WhatsApp
- YouVersion Bible Reading Plan together – I’m doing one with friends. Each day we read the devotional & verses. Then, we leave a comment. It’s called Marked with JOY.
What are you doing to press in to your pain, your trials?
How are you shifting your perspective from pain to purpose (of pain)?
What are you doing to keep joy in your life?
On a personal note, the trials I am walking through right now have nothing to do with coronavirus. They are personal and difficult. But God has been gracious to me.
As I give them to God, He gives me joy. Even joy that gives me a light spirit, a smile on my face, a desire to reach out & help others.