COVID has turned our world upside down, giving us new challenges and circumstances to face. I know for me, and for so many others, living during a pandemic has brought upheaval to day-to-day life and required shifts and changes.
How can we set ourselves up to genuinely thrive in this time, not just merely endure? How can we, as women and mothers, persevere through this pandemic, using this as an opportunity to draw closer to Christ, to seek His wisdom, and to serve our families and others well?
In my own family, the following five areas have been crucial to draw near to God and truly thrive in the midst of a pandemic:
Key One: Find and Establish New Rhythms
As normal life has been disrupted, our normal schedules might need to be reworked.
- Intentional time with your spouse or close friend
- Intentional time alone to recharge
- Intentional time with your children one-on-one
- Intentional day of rest/Sabbath day of rest
- Intentional time to exercise
- Intentional service to others
- Intentional adventures or times to explore outdoors or family fun indoors
I think looking into each part of our schedule and reworking it to fit this season is critical to having the abundant life God has for us! For instance, I used to regularly have alone time on Saturday mornings while my husband took our kids to enjoy our local Farmer’s Market. Due to COVID precautions, we reworked our routine.
Now, Tuesday nights are my “nights to recharge.” We eat dinner together as a family, and then the rest of the evening, I have time to myself to pursue that which is refreshing to me (reading, taking a hot bath, sewing, etc.).
So Tuesday evenings, my husband is the one who reads, plays with, and puts the kids to bed. Having this new rhythm of alone time has required adjustments, but has been so worth it! I encourage each of us to look at other areas of our lives and develop new and workable rhythms for this season.
Key Two: Rediscover what is Refreshing
This is a time to adjust and rediscover what is refreshing to us. Normally, I am an avid reader and find great refreshment from reading. However, at the beginning of the pandemic, I found that I could not focus on a book.
I found that I was carrying such a heavy load mentally as I processed through all the news and medical information, it was no longer relaxing to pursue mentally stretching activities like reading. However, I have found more relaxation and fulfillment in handwork, like sewing. Perhaps the pandemic requires similar adjustments for you.
I have heard the phrase “Work with your hands, rest with your head. Work with your mind, rest with your hands.” So, if the pandemic is giving you an increased mental toll like me, perhaps a hands-on activity like gardening, painting, or sewing would help you unwind. If the pandemic is increasing your physical workload, perhaps a mentally stretching activity like listening to podcasts/sermons, reading, or writing would be in order. It may take some trial and error, but take the time to rediscover what refreshes your heart.
Key Three: Increased Time Outside
This has been a lifeline for me and my family during this pandemic. Giving our family time in creation, observing God’s beauty, has been restorative and relaxing. Consider how you too can increase your time in nature.
For us, a nightly walk together (and sometimes a morning walk too!) has been our new norm. We have observed countless native birds, picked vases upon vases of wildflowers, and regarded the changing of the seasons with new attentiveness. We have discovered new-to-us parks and we have taken our first family camping trips. Time outside gives us a literal breath of fresh air, renewed perspective, and exercise.
Key Four: Battle Isolation
Even though we can’t convene with community in the usual ways, we can figure out feasible ways to stay connected to others. This will probably look different for every family, but it is necessary to find creative ways to prioritize relationships with those outside of our home. Perhaps being outdoors while socially distancing and walking is an option.
One of my sweet friends and I keep in touch via Marco Polo, sending video messages every couple of days. Our small group has met on Zoom during this season. And I regularly email and text photos to family members which live in distance places; we FaceTime with them whenever it is possible for us to connect in that way.
Dropping off a little surprise or treat on a friend’s porch or mailing a care package to a loved one might be just the lift to bolster someone else’s spirits. God created us to live in community, but this unique pandemic season requires extra creativity on our part to make the connection happen.
Key Five: Intentional Time in Prayer
This has been paramount for me! There are so many situations and decisions to be made, and so many differing views to consider. Spending time in prayer and connecting with God, asking Him for wisdom has helped me find solace and vision for this time.
God is our ultimate source of truth and direction, and as we abide in Him, He promises we will bear much fruit. Apart from Him we can do nothing!
For me, the decision of sending our kids back to school was a real struggle. Graciously, God led me to a passage in Numbers 9, about Him leading the Israelites in the wilderness with the cloud by day and the fire by night.
By staying connected to Him, and hearing His leading, I have been in a place of peace about God’s direction as the children once again began attending school in person. This clarity of direction and God-given peace has helped me adapt to the daily school decisions due to ever-changing situations. I’m so thankful He hears, knows, and loves to lead us.
May your heart be encouraged today that God will lead you as you care for yourself, as you care for your family, and as you reach out to others during this season. May these 5 keys to thriving during a pandemic help you find new ways of reconnecting with God, your family, friends, and neighbors.
May you experience His peace through every challenge and in every triumph. God will equip you for the days ahead! May you shift and adjust with His grace, finding new rhythms of refreshment in the process.