The thought of my husband working from home every day was good! No long drives into the office. I was excited that two hours of the day wouldn’t be spent on the road but could be spent with us. We frantically thought we’d clean his basement office so he could function well there. But, we soon found he preferred to be at the kitchen table in the middle of the happenings each day. It seemed he liked being in the middle of the food spot too. “What are you making? I’ll take a little. That looks good, I’ll try some.” I started feeling a little cramped working without freedom in my kitchen
At the end of the day, I didn’t have lots to share with him, because he’d been there all day. The excitement to climb in bed and unload all the cares of the day and all the time I miss him when he’s at work is clouded by the fact that he’s experiencing my day with me everyday.
After the first couple weeks of working from home, he was laid off. He was no longer bound by endless online meetings, conference calls and webinars. We dove right in and started our projects together. We laid a floor in our bedroom and painted the walls. We started drywalling a bedroom for one of the kids in the basement and fixing areas of the kitchen to ready them for new countertops and tile backsplash. I worked at sorting paperwork and endless “under the bed storage kind of junk”. Our garbage man got out of his truck and threw his hands up in despair because each week our piles have been so big. I want to feel bad for him, but I enjoyed the progress we were making.
It seems though in the last week, something was changing. I was starting to spend more time washing dishes and making meals and resenting it. I wasn’t hungry. Meal after meal, and no one really helping, and I’m not even hungry. It feels like all we do is eat. It’s not. But it feels like it. The kids seem to have slipped quietly off to their rooms more and zooming with friends makes their day. They ask every two hours, “what’s for lunch? What are we having to eat?“. How can anyone be hungry again so soon?
They ask each night, as they used to, so what are we doing tomorrow? And every night I tell them, the same thing we did today. Homework, cleaning, going outside if it’s nice. And they look at me with the same disappointment of nothing on the horizon. My second youngest said “I hate corona!”
They miss real interaction with friends. They miss being on the run. So much of what we always do, we do for others. And our lack of purpose is so strangely redefining our motivation. Everyone says focus on ourselves during this time. Focus on our family. But we are still a little lost, because we’ve spent a lifetime saying focus on others and the adrenaline of rushing out to provide a meal for someone or to help them fix something or just plain being needed is gone.
As a mom, I struggle with all that we have done in the past and all we do now and all we aren’t doing now. Which was right? Which is good? And why does it all feel so weird. Shouldn’t I love us all being together? Shouldn’t I love the extra homeschool time with no pressure to go anywhere or do anything? Shouldn’t I love sharing my whole day with my husband? Shouldn’t I enjoy my teens being stuck here with me instead of always wanting to be somewhere else? Shouldn’t cooking and cleaning like a regular stay at home mom be rewarding? Why, when there is so little to do, am I so weary and tired?
Perhaps there’s only so much down time a person can handle. Perhaps we weren’t made for it. Maybe we were made to work! But then, He says “Be still!” Which is it? Why am I not comfortable with either? I prefer the work…but in the middle of it, why do I complain? Yet in the rest, I am bored and weary.
I am anxious for life to be normal again…but should I be? Am I just antsy because someone told me I’m forbidden from doing things? How much time now is spent thinking and is that what has me uncomfortable in my own skin for the moment? For pity sake, I binge watched an entire season of something. I don’t even usually watch TV! And then I hate myself for that lack of motivation to have spent eight hours watching TV. (I did that while the kids were asleep…lest anyone think they were neglected!
Where does it end? Where does the second guessing and self-questioning end? When I was just “doing” it was easier than self-examining all day long.
Life may never be “normal” again, and am I ok with that? How will I find peace in any normal presented to me? As I came to a wall this week, I had to pull back and be reminded…it’s not about me, or even my family. The aligning of myself or finding my place in all this will not bring me a peace or a normal that even matters. And while I still have to feed the crew all the time, I can stop asking myself silly little questions while I’m doing it. It’s a much bigger picture than my AB-normal would have me think.
The questions I need to ask at the end of the day should be different than the ones I’m asking myself now. Instead of saying was our life before right? Or is it right currently?…Maybe I should be finding peace no matter what way life is. Maybe the question should be “are you at peace?”
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: not as the world gives, give I to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)
Peace is hard for me, I’m such a thinker. And I’m not even sure I know the difference between His kind of peace and my kind of peace or how I meld mine into his. I’m truly not troubled or afraid, but my ever-analyzing heart and mind are not at peace. I’m always looking for the next way to make a difference. To matter. To make my life matter…that I forget about the peace part. “Not peace as the world gives me.” What on earth does that kind of peace look like?
Well, if I look to scripture, Jesus’ peace looks like sleeping in the middle of a storm. (Mark 4). Can I sleep in a storm? Probably not. In a storm I’m not fearful. I’m usually busy. I’m Martha in Luke 10. We live in an area of town with regularly intense storms. So when the weather shows one coming in, I’m battening down the hatches outdoors and filling water jugs indoors because we are so prone to power outages. I’m prepping. Not out of fear of the storm, in fact I enjoy watching storms. But out of preparedness for my family. I normally find peace in knowing I’m ready for it. That probably is the world’s kind of peace, thinking I’m prepared.
Jesus was ready for the storm right? He knew it was coming. But he didn’t prep anything. He was already sleeping when the storm came up. His peace was different than knowing everyone and thing was ready for a storm.
Well you say His peace was from knowing he would die later, not then. Uhmmm…what kind of peace would that be?
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
The kind of peace we need will guard our hearts. That’s not a peace that I can make happen. So what guards our hearts? I immediately think of the breastplate of righteous. The breastplate of righteous will protect our hearts from attack. And unlike many other areas of protection, when your heart or lungs are not protected in battle, it can cause instant death. Without protection in righteousness, we don’t die a long slow death, it kills a part of what is right and good immediately. How do we protect our hearts with righteousness?
“How blessed are those who keep justice, who practice righteousness at all times!” Psalm 106:3
We protect it by practicing righteousness. We must do what is right and good in the eyes of God to protect our heart. With a guarded heart, we can have the peace of God.
I don’t know about you but these days I need the peace of God. Because my kind of preparedness kind of peace is only good for bit. What I need is God’s kind of peace that is good for a lifetime. Quarantined, normal or new normal, peace and righteousness will truly carry me through these momma days that are unlike those I’ve had before. Peace will bring me hope and rest. Peace, only the kind God offers, is not limited. No one package per customer! It is abundant!
So take heart momma. Life is weird right now. But peace is available! Guard your heart with righteousness! And drink it in. God is good!