With my preschool girls, we have been talking about opposites. One day for a more visual lesson we held sandpaper and wood. Can you guess which opposites we were discussing? Yes, rough and smooth.
In many seasons in life, I have been the wood and God the sandpaper. This season is no different. I have come to learn that in nearly every season there is some kind of pruning, growing, stretching, or grinding that needs to be done. But these seasons are shaping and purifying my heart to be closer drawn to Jesus.
Once again I am feeling the grinding in my flesh of my desires and plans. This spring and summer were going to be great! I had plans of traveling to see family and friends. I have the energy this year because I am not pregnant or just had a baby. Plans for getting women together to pray in our home. Plans to visit parks, take swim lessons and go on dates with my husband. Plans for family out of state to stay in our home.
It has all been crushed. The first week I was angry and frustrated. The second week I went through a period of grief and acceptance. And the next week as this pandemic escalated I felt overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the loss of lives. Overwhelmed with the change in how I shop for groceries and the pure lack of product. Things I took for granted are not even on the shelf. Baby wipes, laundry soap, my daughter’s favorite cereal.
I know you all can relate because we are in this together. Yes, we all have differing perspectives. Some of us are on the frontlines staring this pandemic in the face. Some of us are in rural areas where the view is no toilet paper and closing of some businesses. Some of us are small business owners grieving over hanging the closed sign. Some of us are stumbling through how to continue our child’s education from home. Some of us are isolated, alone to fight off the ravishing symptoms of this virus. The list goes on and on. But no matter where our view is from in 3 short weeks our lives have changed. We can’t see our friends. Our churches are on screens. Our husbands are out of work or working from home.
So what do we do with all this? How do we navigate this painful, sandpaper grinding season?
Recently I have been listening to an audiobook called Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. The authors were sharing about how our kids can get overstimulated. We as adults can find ourselves over stimulated as well. This chapter really stuck out to me.
The ways I am overstimulated are very different from my little kiddos however before this pandemic struck I was definitely overstimulated. A mental to-do list chased me around my house. Clean out dishwasher, make breakfast, put baby down for nap, preschool lessons with girls, switch laundry, change diaper and on and on. All day long, never stopping. We had multiple appointments over the last 5 months for our baby who was diagnosed with plagiocephaly. My husband and I invited people into our home 3 to 4 times a week. Along with the daily tasks of 3 small children.
Our plates felt full and so did our hearts. It wasn’t a bad season. It was stretching and growing but not necessarily painful.
Since the pandemic started here in the US I have noticed a change in my overstimulated mind. I am not stressed out about the fact that I haven’t gotten the toilets scrubbed this week. I am not frantically throwing laundry in the washing machine. The to-dos seem trivial.
I am not saying I am easy going and happy all the time, absolutely not.
My 2 year old’s tantrums make me want to jump out of my skin. My 4 year old’s demands for fun activities and crafts multiple times a day make my head spin. My 10 month old’s refusal to nap makes my blood boil. No, I am far from perfect. But I see God is shaping me. Calming a part of me that has not been calm in quite some time.
So what do we do in this flip flop, upside down, sandpaper grinding season? We pause. We breathe. We ask God “what are you doing in my heart and the hearts of those around me?”
And then we thank Him. We thank Him for never leaving us. For always having our best in mind. For giving us provision we cannot always see. For drawing souls closer to Him.
Yes, give thanks for soon there will be another season, another change.
Today is what we have been given. What are we going to focus on?
John 15:2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. NIV
1 Peter 1:7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. NLT
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. NLT
1 Chronicles 16:34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever! ESV