These past few months have revealed the brokenness of our world on many levels. Our nation is hurting, and many worry that we will never recover.

I can’t speak to the future of the pandemic, the economy, or race relations; so much is unknown, and opinions are numerous, largely ill-informed, and predominantly unhelpful. What I do know is that I serve an omnipotent God who is capable of redeeming the most dire of circumstances. I believe this is true on a global and national scale, and I have found it to be true on a personal level as well. 

As I’ve been reflecting lately on this theme of redemption, I have been pondering ways it could be applied to these past few months of quarantine and, more recently, this period of racial tension and disharmony. It goes without saying that none of us will be the same after the events of this year. And while I haven’t personally been a victim of 2020’s most dire devastation, my life has been altered.

My hope is that I can redeem (or, rather, allow the Lord to redeem) these circumstances for myself and my family as we move into this next season of our “new normal.” To that end, there are some new practices, resources, and attitudes (big and small) that have come as a result of this season that I will be carrying with me into the latter half of this year:

+ Appreciation for toilet paper and other modern conveniences.

+ Recognition of Luke’s wisdom in maintaining a small stockpile of canned goods and other necessities.

+ A habit of utilizing podcasts to follow the news more closely (but not obsessively). Listening to both Fox News and The Daily has become part of my morning routine.

+ A sleep schedule for the twins. I don’t know if we would have been as committed to this if we hadn’t been forced to stay home. Now that I’ve seen the benefits, I’m determined to preserve this schedule even once life begins to pick up.

+ YouTube drawing and exercise videos for Charleston. We love these and these.

+ Weekly Challenge Boards.

+ Homeschooling long-term. After watching the rest of the world homeschool this spring—and becoming aware of the amazing resources and benefits available to homeschoolers—we changed our minds about sending Charleston to a university model school and have decided to continue homeschooling Charleston when he begins Kindergarten in August.

+ Cooking from scratch more often. Doing more of this out of necessity has reminded me of how much I enjoy cooking.

+ Weekly phone conversations with my mom. Mom, I know you’re reading this. Hold me to this one!

+ Exercising at home. These videos are fantastic.

+ A knowledge of how to Zoom. Though hopefully not too much reliance on it.

+ Better family hygiene and awareness of germs.

+ A willingness to let my children get bored.

+ Empathy for others’ circumstances and an understanding that we all cope in different ways. 

+ An understanding that few things are as straightforward as they seem. There are silver linings and hidden downsides to almost every circumstance.

+ A commitment to assuming good intentions in others, even when we disagree.

+ A desire for my life to be defined by the lessons of James 1:19. Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.

Of course, the first half of this year has also revealed quite a few habits and attitudes that I need to leave behind and that I won’t be taking with me moving forward:

+ The (perceived) need to have a full schedule. I hadn’t realize how much our family needed to slow down.

+ A desire to get out of the house every day.

+ Willful ignorance of my own privilege and continued complicity in systemic racism. I’m listening, learning, and trying to do better.

+ A belief that I need to have all the answers. And a recognition that, even when I do have an opinion, it’s often best to keep it to myself.

+ A sense of certainty about the immediate future, and a desire to control my present circumstances. These months have been a masterclass in flexibility and have taught me that Christ alone is worthy of my full trust and dependence.

Now it’s your turn: in reflecting on the past few months and thinking ahead to the future, what will you be taking with you? What needs to stay behind?

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