How can we get through this time calmly and happily?
I am a mother to three young children (7, 5 and 3 years old), so when I heard the news that schools were closing until further notice, I confess that I was the first to say to myself: “But how am I going to survive?”. How was I going to be able to manage entire days with my children without going crazy? My days were already quite busy, chaotic and, quite stressful.
But then, right while I was freaking out (because God meets where we are), I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart. Not with condemnation (He knows that this is the last thing we parents need) but with grace, love and compassion. He reminded me of the truth, “Your children are not a burden or a weight. Your children are a grace and a blessing, even if your emotions tell you otherwise.” Yes, fatigue is real and stress too, but when we start to have right thoughts, aligned with the word of God, and when we decide to change the words that come out of our mouths, it is incredible how our emotions follow and we can live more serene days, filled with peace and joy!
During this time of quarantine, we need a strategy. Here are some keys to living through this confinement differently.
1- Renew your thoughts through God’s word
It’s very simple. It’s basically about knowing or remembering the truth; we know that the word of God is the truth. Our emotions and circumstances can show us a wrong version of things, but let’s not accept all the thoughts that come into our head. The best thing to do is to go to the Bible and see what it says in relation to a specific thought, for example:
“I can’t cope with having the children around all the time, they’re too challenging.” We can replace this thought with Psalm 127: Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring are a reward from him (NIV). In another translation it says: Behold, children are a heritage and gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward (AMP). So yes, children are an inheritance, a gift and a reward! Not just another weight, burden, task or project.
“It is too much for me, I can’t do it.” But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you (John 14:26 ESV). Also, But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you… (Acts 1:8 NIV). We are not helpless, we have a precious helper, the Holy Spirit! And He is available to us all day and every day. He equips us and gives us the power we need in our daily lives.
“I can’t possibly give my children everything they ask of me, I don’t have the resources.” Yes, we have to admit that being a parent is difficult and you can feel overwhelmed; in the natural world you could even say it’s impossible. That’s why it’s wonderful because we need God and we have to be completely dependent on Him.
If we seek the Lord, this is what the Bible says: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25 NIV). We have an advantage – God’s spirit is in us! Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27 NIV).
2- Changing the language we use to talk about the situation
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit (Proverbs 18:21 NIV).
During this time of confinement, choose to declare words of life. Even if we feel like complaining.
When our thoughts are well aligned with God’s word, we can begin to declare it – saying it out loud. Instead of saying “it’s too hard”, say “it’s a great opportunity to grow and learn”, “I love this quality time with my family”, “I love being able to build or rebuild relationships with my children”. Be a light for those around you with words of life. Share positive words with other parents. Help them too to change their perspective. When they come to you to complain, respond with love and share a life-giving word that will maybe open their eyes. And who knows, it could be a door for them to meet Jesus Christ.
Yes, but how? Each person has different ways to recharge their batteries, so the important thing is to identify what makes us feel good and then put it into practice. It has to become part of our routine because without these moments to breathe, we are like a time bomb that is sure to explode in our spouse’s face (believe me, it happened to me recently!). For me, there are 3 things that work very well:
Waking up before the kids and taking a shower without interruptions (it’s a real luxury when you’re a parent, eh?). I take advantage of this moment to pray, renew my thoughts and even declare what I want to see during the day… Of course, it might not work very well for parents who have babies and who wake up several times during the night or whose children wake up really early. (You have to adapt according to the season and your children).
Go out of the house for 15 or 20 minutes to do some physical activity (without the children of course and with your signed individual certificate). You can even take turns with your spouse.
Have a quiet time after lunch, during the children’s nap or while they have their quiet time too. For me, it is vital, otherwise the end of the day becomes much more complicated and more likely to wake up the ogre in me.
4- Be grateful!
Psalm 136:1 says: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.
The Lord is good! He sits on His throne, we are alive and He loves us extravagantly. What grace! Remembering and deciding to be thankful for all the good things we have will definitely change the way we live our time of confinement. There are several studies that demonstrate this. Neuroscience reveals how gratitude literally rewires our brains to be happier. So, let’s get in the habit of writing down and verbalizing our gratitude. Our brains and our loved ones need it.
I sincerely believe that this lockdown can be a very positive thing for families. If we choose well, we will see that all things work for the good of those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose.
Have fun with your children and spend some quality time with your spouse in the evening!
Family Leader – Paris Campus