One year since lockdown. One year since our movements became limited. One year since our whole world changed. What have I learned?
A few things, actually.
We can endure. I saw pictures I posted on social media exactly a year ago, saying that I would miss our couples group for a month because (I don’t even remember) Quarantine was supposed to last for only 1 month. Imagine that. Well, no, you don’t have to imagine. You lived it, just like I did. Quarantine got extended and extended and extended until….here we are. Still in Quarantine.
But we are alive, healthy, and enduring. We may have lost loved ones, lost co-workers, lost jobs, experienced pay cuts, experienced unexpected changes, suffered much anxiety, but we are still here. Some surviving, to be honest, but many, thriving – new jobs, new businesses, new income, new skills, new experiences, engagements and weddings, babies, new ministry opportunities, new things to look forward to. All by the grace of our good God.
We lost, but we also gained. It may have taken a while to realize, but really, there was much we gained from all this. Quality AND quantity time with our loved ones. Conversations. Fun together, in the confines of our home, with minimal expense. Restored relationships. Growth of relationships. The urgency to find an outlet for stress, or find someone to talk to, or seek help and counsel. Empathy, and the need to check on one another. Perspective. Focus. What is essential and what is not. What holds value and what does not. The ability to shift and do what is needed. Skills we thought we could not learn. Old skills relearned and developed even more. Appreciation for people and services that we have taken for granted. A more fervent prayer life. A closer look at our own heart, our own character. The push to make lifestyle changes. Better health. Better hygiene and sanitizing habits. Awareness. Compassion for others. And much more that I probably can’t think of, but many have experienced.
Online Distance Learning is a gift. Our older girls transitioned fairly well from homeschooling to regular school last year. Our youngest started regular school and did amazingly well also last year. And school year 2020 was the year they were all going to be in the same regular school. But due to the pandemic, online distance learning happened. For an ex-homeschooling mom but still a believer in homeschooling, I realized that, for me, this is the best marriage of regular school and home school. My kids are home, while the school and the awesome teachers are in charge of teaching them! And to our surprise, the girls are doing quite well. They complain at times, but they attend their classes and do their work responsibly. More on this in another blog.
God is my Healer and Protector. Nothing new, but God just showed me again how He takes care of me and my family. I unknowingly had dengue fever, (which just reinforced my hatred for mosquitoes) and suffered extreme weakness, headache, bloatedness, nausea, body pains, and rashes for a week right through New Year. I did not get back to complete normalcy, in terms of my appetite and physical strength, until 3 weeks after the onset of my fever. But I did not need confinement as my blood test, taken on the tenth day of sickness, showed I had adequate platelets. I am alive and well today. And more importantly, no other person in our household got dengue!!! Thank you Lord!
God’s timing is perfect. Again, nothing new, but just like our trip to Baguio last year right before lockdown, our only trips with the kids during this pandemic were timed perfectly. We got to enjoy a private resort in Calamba early this year, to belatedly celebrate Noelle’s birthday, as I was still sick on her actual birthday. I just got well that week and once we decided to book, it was all grace from there. Our schedules, our budget…..All I can say is God’s favor was so evident. The same is oh so true for our recent trip to Batangas. It was our first visit to the beach after 1 year and 9 months! And the private place we stayed at was wonderful! Lo and behold, they announced again today that minors and seniors are to stay indoors. Such grace that our children were able to enjoy a much needed vacation, right before another lockdown!
Quantity time is NOT quality time. I cannot stress this enough. Presence does not always equate to connection. Very easily we can be present in the body, but absent in the mind and heart. Conversations are so so so important. Talking AND listening, even when we think what is being said is lame or uninteresting or senseless or different from our own opinions. Pause. Make eye contact. Pay attention. Respond. Share from our end as well. Remember that when we listen, the person talking to us feels loved and validated. When we talk, not only does the person we’re sharing stories and silly jokes with feel valued and trusted, but we are able to release and breathe.
God’s plans prevail. Whether we think we can or cannot, whether we believe in our own skills or not, whether confidently or with fear and trembling. When God wants to include us in His plans, He will give us the opportunity to be part of it. I like writing more than speaking mainly because it’s easier to edit myself and there is less pressure because I do not see the audience 😂. But I enjoy speaking to a group of women in person, albeit always nervously, so much more than recording myself on video. Never did I imagine that I would be part of any video or any teaching on camera, because CRINGE….. But when God wants me there, to teach, I am compelled to say yes. I did say no to hosting though hahaha. Because I know that is so not in my wheelhouse. I don’t have my husband’s energy. 😂 Although appearing on video is waaaaay out of my comfort zone, teaching is teaching. It is always a privilege. Any part in advancing God’s Kingdom is a privilege. We just trust and obey. Because He is worthy.
Here’s hoping this doesn’t last another year, but even if it does, let’s keep the attitude of gratitude. Let’s be learners. And let’s flow with the rhythm of God’s grace. 💙
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9