While the world spins from the effects of this pandemic, and our lives have been forced to change, I have wondered at the resilience of my trauma kids. In the last 3 weeks we have been isolated, then made a whirlwind decision to move in with my parents, 2.5 hours away from the only town my children have ever lived, started down the curvy and untested road of homeschooling (or crisis schooling as I like to call it), transitioned my work to being a remote position but with half the hours, left all of our friends and church family, to draw near to our actual family during this uncertain time.
How many times have I questioned how this would effect my boys? Will my soon to be teenager turn into an angry teen being forced to leave his friends? Will my willful and emotional 9 year old clash too much with his grandparents because he doesn’t want to be told what to do? Will I fail at homeschooling? Will the money be enough from the cut hours to pay our bills? Will it be too difficult for me to live with my parents after having left home at 18? Will there be enough patience to go around as we adjust to a new lifestyle?
Then today, on Palm Sunday, I look around the room at all of the smiling faces and say thank you Jesus. You have done it again. My 12 year old is thriving. He keeps saying how he is just loving this new reality. Not having a tight schedule, but still having structure. He is maturing in front of my eyes, reveling in the extra attention from his grandparents, rising to the challenge of spending more time with his younger brother, drinking his tea and playing cards as a family makes him laugh and smile and makes my heart so happy. Maybe this quarantine will be a blessing in his life, a time when his age kids usually start pulling away from family, he is drawing closer. Today as we went for an exploration drive through the countryside, our conversation shifted easily between light banter and deeper spiritual truths. As we sat in our “church” this morning, watching the sermon online, he seemed to not be paying attention, but our conversation in the car proved otherwise. This son of mine, heart open to the Lord, recognizing this time as a chance to grow stronger and deepen your faith.
My 9 year old, while still adjusting to new rules and routines, is also thriving. It was so fun to watch him yesterday tackle the demo work Grandpa had organized, using tools and being told he was a valuable help was a healing balm for his heart. He was proud of himself. Out of the blue this week he has started a “homeless fund” jar, that he put ALL of his money into (even the $20 he got for working so hard on the barn demo), he wants to bless somebody who is hurting. Then today I overhear him talking to my parents tenant, a sweet woman who does not know Jesus but has taken a real liking to my boy’s chatter and enthusiasm . They have been hanging out a little every day, but today he spent the afternoon sharing the gospel with her. I teared up as I listened to his passionate voice tell her about creation, about king David, about Jesus. He ran and got his bible so he could show her the stories. She listened and asked him questions, at one point I heard her say that this is the best lesson she had ever had on the bible. Now I don’t know if she was just humoring him or if she was genuine, but it doesn’t even matter. My heart nearly burst with pride that this boy was not ashamed of the gospel, not shy, but bold and encouraging her to read it for herself, and telling her how amazing God is and isn’t is just so cool what he did for us? This would not have happened if we were not quarantined, if we had not decided to move in with my parents.
So yes, there are some hardships, we all miss our friends so much, and there is some worry about future finances, but when those creep up I remind myself of all the times God has been faithful and provided for us. I know He will continue to do so.
As for me, I am learning what works and doesn’t work so well with the schooling. I am learning that it’s ok to let some things slide while encouraging other things. I am doing my best at my job, making sure that my boss and my clients are taken care of. I am trying to spend time in the mornings by myself reading God’s word, doing some light yoga, meditating on the truths that will not be shaken. I enjoy long walks on these dirt roads praising Jesus that this quarantine is not happening in January when the weather discourages outdoor activity. I am learning to be flexible with expectations, to say yes more to my kids. We have discovered to joy of throwing a baseball around, going exploring, playing games. While I get frustrated with some of my current circumstances, like all the stress eating….., I am also thankful for the rest. For the first time in 18 months I am getting enough sleep. I am not having to be hyper vigilant, I am able to leave the house for walks of grocery shopping without having to stress over leaving the kids alone or finding a sitter. I know they are being loved, they are being guided by more than just me, I can relax a little.
It is not all rainbows here, there are sibling squabbles, lost tempers, frustrated schooling, tears, unrest and fears, but today, Palm Sunday, I say thank you Jesus. Thank you for your life, your sacrifice, your presence here with us. Your love and your unending grace. Thank you for my boys who are growing up not as traumatized individuals but as survivors who know that YOU are the answer and the source of life. For parents who have spent their lives loving and serving you. For a family that prays together, that worships together and who genuinely enjoys each others company. Thank you Jesus.