I remember vividly the first earthquake I ever experienced. I was sitting on a couch talking with the veterinarian I worked for, when I felt a rumbling, shaking sensation beneath my seat. I thought his dog had gotten caught under my couch somehow and so I jumped up to rescue him, when I saw the awed, smiling expression on the doctor’s face. “It’s an earthquake,” he said, and we both were still as we waited it out.
For the greater part of five years now, life has felt like a series of figurative earthquakes, ground unsettled and shaky under my feet, and I’ve tried to keep my heart still as I wait it out. This has come by various degrees, and the past few months has found our family the most settled since 2014, before we left our long-time home. We have moved our household five times in less than five years, with one of those moves being across the continent, and another across the country. A lot of life has happened during this time. We ran a successful business. An adoption failed. We had a baby. We lost our business overnight. It’s been an epic season for our family, with all sorts of valleys, and thank goodness, mountain tops as well. Through it all, we’ve been held firm and provided for by His steady presence…a firm and unshakable Rock foundation underneath the tremors called “life” we’ve experienced.
So many years of unknowns and unsettledness have found us with a new job and a home in a place we’d never heard of when we originally struck out. You see, we never intended to live here. You might say, life happened. Have you experienced that? Of course you have. If not before the events of the last two weeks, then now you have. When life happens, it can feel bewildering. We wonder, “How did we get here?”, “Why did this happen this way?”, or perhaps, “Where will we go from here?”
Maybe, like me, you’ve been walking around these last couple weeks and trying to go through the normal and not-so-normal motions while your head feels like it’s in a fog with all the thoughts and questions reeling through it. It’s surreal for me, because not a ton of details have changed in our household. And yet, all the details have changed. We home school. But now we home school and there are no co-ops or library visits or therapy or impromptu study days at the museum. Our older kids with jobs were still working until just a few days ago, but now they’re not and it’s frustrating for them to have work to do but not be able to do it. Tony was also working as usual until just a few days ago. He now works from home, and since we did that for three years recently, we know the routine. However, here’s the difference–he’s never worked from home before because he had to. So even though we’re doing well and going through our rhythms and days of familiar family life, in the most settled fashion since over 5 years ago, inside each of us is awareness that we are living in an unprecedented time. This is history-in-the-making, a pivotal time of great significance, and we all know it. And that changes everything.
I listened to a podcast this past week, something I never do, because there never seems to be the time. Emily P. Freeman encouraged us listeners to be kind to ourselves and instead of trying to figure it all out, or thinking of what may happen in the future, to take stock of what we know to be true right now. In other words, she encouraged us to take time to process. If you think about it, nothing is the same as it was two weeks ago. A perfect example, is how I’ve been a homeschooling mom for 15 years, but I have never been a homeschooling mom during a pandemic. By taking time to think through what is true, we acknowledge that we are going through an unsettled and unsure time. This grounding helps us to give ourselves and those around us a whole heap of grace. This is new to all of us and none of us knows what we’re doing.
Walking through this exercise has helped me to process in ways I didn’t realize I needed to process. It’s helped the fog in my mind to lift a little. With this new clarity, I’m free to concentrate more on the significance of this time and living what God has called me to live out during this back-to-basics, physically-distant life. You see, I don’t want to live going through motions. I want to live intentionally. None of this is a surprise to Him. He’s prepared me for this time, and He’s using it to prepare me for whatever comes next. He has set me right here, right now, in this pivotal time of history to walk out His plan for me. He has set you right where you are, right now, in this pivotal time of history to walk out His good plan for you.
“Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.”
So let’s be full of good courage, stand upon the “rock that is higher” than ourselves and our circumstances, and be kind to our fellow humans walking out this crazy time. Remember that none of us knows what we’re doing and we all react a little differently. Most of all, in the midst of everything changed and uncertain, let’s remember there’s a Steady Presence. One who will hold us secure and give us purpose in the moment. Be still. Let Him hold you firm. He’s prepared us for this, and He’s using it to prepare us for what’s next. I can think of no better way to prepare for an uncertain future than to seek Him with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength.