You know those icebreakers people like to do at the start of meetings? They seem even more prevalent now, with virtual meetings. I’ve been asked more than a few times to name my current theme song. Popular responses I’ve heard include R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” Some other examples include “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by The Police, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Fever,” and Britney Spears’ “Toxic.”
Slave to Fear
Almost a decade ago, I spent nearly six months starting every day with Bethel Music’s “No Longer Slaves.” It was a season in which I was wrecked with significant fear…. fear for my family, for my children, and for our future.
The nights were the worst. As the sun set, it seemed like the fears would rise. Sleep was often elusive.
And so it was that every morning I stood in the shower and begged these words to be true for my life.
And now, I’m there again… it’s a different season, with a different theme song. But no less of a battle.
For many, the current months-long shelter-in-place has been a time of sweet relief from the pressures of life. I’ve even heard of friends who say they could do this for years, because it’s been so refreshing for their family. I’m so glad for those families, but also so sad for the countless others who are struggling.
Our household currently includes two sweet girls who aren’t able to live with their biological family right now. They would like for nothing more than to be able to shelter-in-place… with their own family.
Imagine being told you had to stay in someone else’s home for months on end without your loved ones. Sure, the people you’re staying with are nice enough, but they look different, talk different, eat different food, have a different religion, and act different. You deal with it as best you can for awhile but then everyone just gets on each others’ nerves. And the weather gets really hot and people bicker and argue. And eventually you decide you need to do whatever it takes to make them send you back “home” even if that means acting “bad.” It doesn’t work, though, and you’re all still stuck in someone else’s house with someone else’s family…
This is what foster kids are facing right now. Under normal circumstances they get to go to school, see their friends, visit with their family, and receive support from social workers, doctors, and therapists. But amidst COVID-19, that’s almost completely gone. Help only comes through virtual telehealth sessions, which can easily be abandoned during moments of frustration by simply closing your computer.
Their world has been turned upside down, which means it’s equally topsy-turvy for the families caring for them. And so we are coming to the realization that this is our new (ab)normal, likely until August—at the earliest—if things fully reopen enough for real school to resume then.
Slave to the Impossible
I’ve been singing a new theme song every single morning for awhile. That’s because it’s my phone’s wake-up song. But now, instead of turning the alarm off, I let the words of CityAlight’s “Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me” play—over and over again—as I get ready for the day.
Just like the previous season, I need to remind myself of these truths on a regular (sometimes minute-by-minute) basis. As a verbal processor, I often say, “I can’t do this anymore,” and then immediately try to follow that with, “Yet not I, but through Christ in me.”
Because I can’t do this on my own. I can’t. You can’t. None of us can. It’s too hard.
Parenting kids with ACEs-too-high is always challenging. But when they don’t go to school, family visits, or therapy, and you don’t leave your home for anything non-emergent due to a pandemic… you’re left trying to help them be safe, nourished, and encouraged, plus work your other job(s), and still maintain your sanity—all at the exact same time, 24/7.
The only way we’ll get through this is by relying on the power of our Creator, whose strength is made perfect in weakness. I can be tempted to give up, but I’ve seen him do it before. In my season of anxiety, I was eventually able to live without the daily tears and fears. It was a hard-fought battle, but one that shaped me and my family for the better.
Are you facing a battle right now?
What is your theme song? If it doesn’t already, can you find one that provides a daily reminder of God’s truth?
- Of how he created you in his image, loves you unconditionally, and is always with you.
- That he is strengthening you to walk your path.
- That he hears your prayers and your tears.
- That he has redeemed you—paid the price for your freedom—and gives you a place of eternal rest and peace with him in heaven.
- And that there is always hope.
Need help coming up with something? Comment below and we’ll figure something out :).