Real talk, ladies. What you are experiencing is not normal, but maybe you wish it were.
Your husband is home like you've always wished he would be. How many times have you begged your husband to come home early for dinner, to attend your son’s baseball practice, or take turns reading to your little ones at bedtime? Well, guess what? You've got your wish! He's home. Are you enjoying this newfound togetherness, or have you found yourself desiring more space? Whatever your reaction, I challenge you.
- Pay attention to how he takes care of you and shows his love. Acknowledge his efforts, count your blessings, and dwell less on the negatives.
- Stay mindful of his stress level and health. He is on high alert most of the time with concerns about his congregation, finances, family, and personal health.
- Have fun together. Take advantage of him being home and in your space 24/7.
- Share responsibilities, thoughts, fun activities, and dreams. Your husband is a gift. Treasure this time.
Your children are at home. Probably the best (for most) part of quarantine is the fact that our family is under one roof with nowhere to go. For a change, they are not busy running from school, to practice, to homework on repeat. This is a gift, wrapped with peanut butter fingers, active imaginations, and curious minds. We have eaten dinners together, completed projects, and had long conversations that might have never happened otherwise. Instead of getting annoyed at the noise in a closed space, join them. Light a bonfire, grill out, play board games, and laugh. Don't walk away regretting anything.
Last night was a bad storm. Although my kids are older (high school and college-age), they still jumped in my bed. I moved over and made room secretly loving it. We have made so many memories during this time of quarantine. We have laughed, played, argued, and made up. I will tell you, though, what binds us together the most during this time is loss.
We have experienced loss. We grieve a close family member who passed. We grieve missing senior year activities. We grieve, moving our oldest out of her college dorm, prematurely. With this loss, though, comes the opportunity not to take anything or anyone for granted. How are we making this time count? Are we playing together? Are we praying together? It's important to process what's happening together because it will bring you closer. Cherish this time, make memories and forgive quickly.
You have time. I have lived in my house for ten years, but never have I spent this much time in it. It's led me to do several projects at once, but I am genuinely enjoying my house. Time is a gift; a chance to be around loved ones and complete projects. Alone time is a blessing; it’s an opportunity to spend with God one on one. Spend your time wisely.
Nurture the discipline of meeting with God daily. The church has become reliant on Sunday morning sermons and small groups to feed our souls. That is like expecting a tic-tac to fill you all day (thanks to my husband for this illustration). Sometimes the pastor’s family is no different. What if we consistently meet with God during our quarantine and build such a sweet relationship with Jesus that we walk away thankful no matter what happens? We have become very disciplined in wiping my groceries with Clorox, cleaning doorknobs, and washing hands a lot! So why can't we focus that same energy on meeting with God? The beauty of a relationship with God is that He never moves; we do. Move towards Him, not away. Be creative, mindful, and wise with your time.
You have a purpose. It's an excellent time to ask yourself, what is God’s purpose for me during this time? Your purpose is found in your identity in Christ and not anything else. Do not let your insecurities stifle your purpose. What do I mean by that? Insecurities are whispers from the devil to throw us off track from what God designed us to do and be. When you find yourself focusing on those insecurities, those whispers turn into shouts mandating your attention. When this happens, shift your focus to God’s mission. We know that God desires for us to love Him (Mark 12:30) and to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31).
How can you practically love others well?
I get distressed at funerals. Not just for the obvious reasons. I find it sad that most people wait until someone’s funeral to share how much they mean to them. It’s too late then; that person can’t hear or reciprocate the words of endearment. They will never know. It's not until someone is gone that we truly appreciate them. People are often quick to remember and share the negative but rarely do we share words of encouragement.
One practical way to love others well is by sharing how much they mean to you. Encourage and speak words of truth to those around you. Who needs to hear how much you appreciate them today? Your husband, your children, and who else? God has placed others within your sphere of influence to love them well. 1 John 4:7 says, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God."
Embrace this rare time in history when you get time to slow down and appreciate all that you have. You have received your wish, now what will you do with it?
This article was written by Melanie Ratcliffe. Melanie serves as an Evangelism Strategist for the South Carolina Baptist Convention, focusing on Ministry Evangelism and Women's Ministry. To contact Melanie, email firstname.lastname@example.org.