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How to Find Joy and Peace During a Pandemic

I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath for my response to COVID-19. You’ve likely received e-mails from every company you’ve ever given your e-mail address to in recent weeks. I just know you’ve thought, “Where is Lauren’s response?????”

But, seriously.

How are YOU doing?

Besides some new freelance opportunities being put on hold for me, our family has experienced a minimal impact from the coronavirus. Scott always works from home, so the kids being home has been the biggest change to our days.

Our adoption paperwork has been moving along smoothly, too. We are very grateful for that.

The kids and I have spent a lot of our time biking all around our town. Even Brielle biked the entire way to Sonic the other day, which was a solid four miles. Don’t ever tell that girl she can’t do something!

This time of stepping back and processing has been good for my introverted side. It’s reminded me of three simple things that always bring me peace and joy.

1. Loving the people right in front of me.

This is a lesson that the Lord has taught me over and over again throughout my life. Every time my plans fail or my dreams shatter, I’m taken back to this simple idea that God only wants me to love and serve the people right in front of me.

After my last speaking engagement for the Spring was canceled last week, I asked God, “Now, what?” I don’t have answers, but I can continue to write words just like I’ve always done. It may not feel like growth to me, but I know that unfelt growth is often the best kind.

I don’t have to search far and wide or leave my own home to make an impact for the Kingdom of God. I have a family to serve, and I don’t have to look too far to find neighbors to serve during this time.

Sometimes, it’s hardest to love the people closest to us. I get that. But your closest relationships have the most Kingdom-building potential. 

2. Giving myself and others lots of grace.

We’re going to need to give ourselves a whole lot of grace right now. We are navigating uncharted territory.

I never imagined that on Thursday, March 5 my kids would be going to school for the very last time this school year. (No, they haven’t officially called the school year in our district, but the realist in me sees the writing on the wall.)

I need grace to navigate my family’s new schedule. The first day we tried to do any type of homeschooling one child ended up in their room crying. It was a major fail. 

We poured grace all over that day and tried again. And the next day, we did better.

I’m also learning to extend grace to the other people in my life right now. Our emotions are all over the place, and I just feel like it’s a good time to give everyone in our lives a few free passes to let off steam or just be crazy.

We’re all going to look at this experience through different lenses and experiences. Some of us live with healthcare professionals, so we’re not even coming out of our houses. Some of us have kids that have to live outside on their bicycles, or they will go crazy. Some of us go to the opposite side of the street when someone approaches our side of the sidewalk so that there isn’t a chance of contact.

Loving people well right now looks a lot like allowing them to think and feel different emotions daily. No judgment. Just love.

We’re all trying to navigate this weird mental health/social experiment happening in all of our lives. Be the first to extend lots of love and grace.

3. Remembering that God is in control.

We like to pretend that we have control, but we don’t.

Yesterday, the kids and I read about God’s promise to Abraham that He would make him the father of many nations. Abraham laughed because he and his wife were kid-less and old at this point, but God gave them a son Isaac to fulfill this promise. (Check out Genesis 17 for the whole story.)

We discussed how Abraham had no control over the situation he was in, and that if we are patient, God always keeps His promises. A good lesson for this virus too!

Without skipping a beat, Ethan said, “Just like our brother.”

Yes, son, just like we have no control over what this virus will do and when life can go back to normal, we have no control over when your brother will come home.

Remember what I said about serving the people right in front of you right now? My kids blow me away with how they challenge and grow my faith.

Submitting to the fact that God is in control has not always come easy for me. If you read my book Made for More, you are well aware that I often feel the need to “help” God out. As if He needs my help.

All we need to do right now is rest in His promises and stay faithful. That is where we'll find true joy and peace.

So, this is my "official" COVID-19 response.

Love the people in front of you well.

Give yourself and others grace.

Remember that God is in control.

Find joy and peace in His promises today!

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