A memory popped up on Facebook today, from eight years ago. And now in this season of Covid, I’m relating with how Mom was feeling back then in more and more ways…
That day, as I was helping my mom, she said, “I don’t even know where I am.”
“You’re in your home,” I assured her.
“I am?” she asked. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, you’ve lived here for many years. This is your home.”
And now I get the sense that we, as a people in this time in history, don’t even know where we are. We haven’t moved, but so much around us has changed.
My husband is a pastor, and he and so many others, are trying to figure out how to offer worship services and fellowship, and all the blessings that good churches try to provide, with all the rules and restrictions of social distancing and safety in place.
My oldest daughter is a teacher. And it’s a whole new world of bending and changing expectations as they struggle to give students the best possible education and experiences while teaching on-line, or in school with masks and rules and as much distance, barriers, and disinfecting as possible.
One of my sons and his wife are both trying to work full-time jobs, mostly from home these days, while they care for their three young children. I know many families are doing the same. I have no clue how they do it.
My best friend, who loves to shop, doesn’t even like it anymore. It’s not fun to wear masks and follow one-way arrows in the aisles and see worried faces all around.
There are riots in cities. Crime rates have risen. People are tense and angry. And life is so different. I don’t even know where I am.
I had a doctor’s appointment today. I didn’t wait for my regular doctor, because I wouldn’t be able to see her for two months! The scheduler explained that they only have two doctors in clinic at a time and try to do everything else with virtual visits. So I set up an online visit and had a video chat on the phone, and still the doctor was wearing a surgical mask. (Is that a rule, or something?)
I think of having people over, and then wonder if it’s safe. What if the weather isn’t nice and we can’t be outside? I’ve continued to see my immediate family, in smaller groupings, and mostly outside. I know some of them are social distancing more than others, out of concern for vulnerable family members, and so I wonder when we will ALL be together again. And I’m glad I took a family picture of all my kids and grands smiling and squished together in February, at our last big party. And I wonder what the holidays will be like this year…
I’ve lived in the same place for thirty years now. But it’s easy these days to say, “I don’t even know where I am.” I don’t recognize this world I’m in. And it’s too easy to get depressed about that.
But as I was reading my Bible the other day, a phrase stood out to me; “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God…” Psalm 50:14a (NLT)
It makes me wonder… Why is thankfulness considered a sacrifice? How is thankfulness a sacrifice? Why does God value it over other sacrifices?
I don’t know. But I do know that God loves us very much and He knows what is best for us.
And I know that when I’m sliding down into depressing thoughts, the thing that pulls me up most consistently is when I stop and focus on God and remember all that He’s done for me. It’s tempting to fall into a “pit of despair” and wallow there– but gratitude gives me a ladder to climb out of it.
Emotions come and go, or come and grab ahold. But God prompts us to pour our hearts out to Him. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace…” Philippians 4:6-7a (NLT)
Sometimes it’s hard to give thanks, because I’m overwhelmed with all that’s weighing on me. But as I just do it anyway, my heart is lifted.
I can remember how much God has helped me through already. I can thank Him for a roof and food and family. I can be grateful for fun memories, a Bible to read, and the saving grace of Jesus. I can thank Him for sunshine, cool breezes, flowers blooming, and phone calls. I can offer gratitude for the blessings of prayer, chocolate, coffee, and the tiny feet of seven grandchildren who call me Mimi.
There is something about giving thanks that changes my perspective. I don’t know where I am exactly in this challenging time of history. Everything is so different. But God is still with us. And He is always good.
And when I stop and worship Him with a grateful heart, I have peace knowing I am where I’m supposed to be. And I can rest in my Father’s goodness and love, and feel at home again.